A Middle Road for Health Care Reform

Medicare is on track to be broke by 2016. To skirt this progress, the President wants to institute vast reforms with front loaded costs in the billions or trillions (depending who you talk to), and to commit the government even deeper to entitlements to conjure universal health care. Republicans offer nothing but an ideological call for a free market health care system… We’re in trouble. But former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt offers a middle road that makes a lot of sense.

Leavitt recently spoke on the Salt Lake based radio show, Radio West, about our health care system. Following are quotations from his interview.

To begin with, Leavitt sees our country heading toward economic disaster that will affect generations if the health care system isn’t dealt with effectively and soon. But he doesn’t believe either party is offering a viable solution.

If fact, he said republicans proposing a free market solution don’t understand the complexities of the situation.

I think my own party has been deficient in it’s capacity to talk about this issue. We have defaulted to an ideology as a response as opposed to a plan. And I believe my party has an obligation to step up and speak in a far more specific way than they have.

The democrats have a plan, but not a good one. Leavitt rejects the idea that a government run system is the answer because it relies on two wide spread myths. First: That the bureaucracy can effectively reform and manage the health care system. Second: That ramped up spending constitutes reform.

The WHO reports that in 2005 the U.S. spent 15.2 percent of it’s GDP on health care. The closest “developed” nation to that was Switzerland with 11.4 percent. The WHO ranked the U.S. 24th in life expectancy in 1999. According to NPR’s 2005 comparison of health care coverage, 18 percent of Americans under 65 are uninsured. In the other six developed nations listed, nearly all were covered. Clearly money doesn’t fix everything.

Obama’s plan would pour money into developments like computerizing medical records. In the long run, this might save money. But remember, 2016 is when Medicare goes bust. Other systems around the world teach us we can do things to create a much more efficient and cost effective system without these upfront costs. There are a plethora of blaring inefficiencies in our system that, if we fixed, would save money right off the bat. For example, ending Medicare coverage for tests that aren’t proven to give any benefit whatsoever. (See first comment by Maggie Mahar following the article)

In Leavitt’s view, government has a strong role in health care reform -- not managing it, but creating a framework for an organized market system. He poses the question whether health care reform should use food or national defense as a model.

We’ve made a decision that we’re not willing to let people go hungry. But does government make all the decisions about food? No… They set up guidelines to make certain it’s safe. We even have a system that if people can’t afford it we’ll subsidize. It’s called food stamps. And if you can’t go to the store and get your own, we’ll take Meals on Wheels to you. …

On the other hand there’s defense. You wouldn’t want to have more than one. That would be a bad thing. But the government should decide how it’s deployed, should decide how much we need, should decide where it goes.

As you might guess, Leavitt said he sees health care as being more like food -- a system overseen by the government to meet the needs of our citizens, but not planned by it. The government’s role here would be to regulate the insurance market to see that it is affordable, ensure people are made aware of the costs of health care as well as the quality of services, and to iron out inequities including subsidizing people who can’t pay for needed health care services.

Leavitt sees a slow moving congress and an inefficient bureaucracy as incapable, by themselves, of instituting the kind of reforms we need in health care.

Influence from powerful lobbyists is one reason for this. True reform would require shaking up the status quo and rebuilding a fair and organized system. As long as the decision is in legislators’ hands lobbyists will hold undue influence.

One person’s waste is another man’s living. And it’s very difficult to begin, in a congressional atmosphere, creating a conundrum and then resolving it in a zero sum game. They just can’t do it. So why are market forces important here? Because market forces, when they’re organized, are dispassionate enough to find their way to the highest quality at the lowest cost. Legislative bodies can’t do that.

Leavitt said some aspects to health care reform need innovative solutions. So he doesn’t believe the national government is best suited for the role as chief reformer. He would rather see the states take the lead.

We could solve the problem of access to health insurance within four years. … If the national government would say, ‘there is a compelling national interest for everyone in this country to have access to an affordable insurance policy.’ And if congress were then to fix the tax laws, do something about fixing the way hospitals are financed and then say to the states, ‘your job is to figure out how to provide a market place that’s organized and we’ll help you pay for parts of the subsidies.’ The states would figure this out. I know they would, because I’ve worked with as many as 30 of them who’ve been trying, but they’ve been blocked by policies at the national level.

The Federal government doesn’t need to micromanage health care reform or borrow another trillion dollars from our grandkids. Of course there will be upfront costs associated with getting people health care who haven’t been to a doctor in years. That would be a huge problem for a government funded program like Medicare, but it's an investment opportunity in a well organized market.

An organized market will quickly guide health care to a more sustainable path by cutting out waste. The government will need to do a better job regulating to smooth out inequality and catch those who would cut corners and compromise safety, but this is the government’s role in most sectors of the economy. This kind of reform will fix our health care system, not just shift who pays for it.

Posted by Mark Montie at May 2, 2009 10:59 PM
Comments
Comment #281229

We have socialized medicine! It’s called the Veterans Administration! Take a look folks! Sure you want public medicine? sure you want government running health care? That’s all I have to say!

Posted by: Scottie at May 2, 2009 11:35 PM
Comment #281230

If or until America reforms or removes the AMA as the leading Authority in Health Care, the average American stands no chance of having affordable coverage by the Government or Private Industry. For I do believe the recent outbreak of the H1N1 Flu proves that even the very best of the best lack the ability and education to answer and/or respond to the medical treatment of Our Citizens without the need to spend billions in R&D.

Yes, from increased insurance cost due to the organization not policing itself to over medication of individuals I would say that the biggest problem with Americas’ Health Care System is the fact that the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s lumped the entire Medical Field under one Corporation. So now ERs serve as primary care units and Doctors Offices serve as R&D facilities.

So why the Left and Right can say they have a Health Care Plan. I have to ask My Peers to define the difference between the Health of an Indidual and the Illnesses and Injurys that an Individual may or may not see in their lifetime. Especially if “We the Corporation” needing Healthy Workers should not be held responsible for the actions of an Individual outside the workplace.

For why a strong healthy workforce is important, I do not believe America could survive if the CEO’s of Companies were allowed to hire Labor and Management based medical heritage or what one does outside the workplace. Since I do not believe many people would apply for a job that did not allow you to drink, smoke, have sex, eat fried food, etc. In fact, I doubt if “We the People” could get one person to run for Elected Officie knowing that they would have to consent to a deit choose by us, a lifestyle that only promoted healthy living, and being monitored 24/7/365.

Thus, why Health Care and the treament of the sick is important I do believe that the best thing Americans can do is insist on a Federally Funded Program that educate the Individuals on how to deal with the Medical Profession and stop paying for medical treament that does not solve the conditions as “We the People” did with auto mechs.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at May 3, 2009 4:10 AM
Comment #281231

Scottie wrote “We have socialized medicine! It’s called the Veterans Administration! Take a look folks! Sure you want public medicine?”

Well Scottie, if you actually looked at the quality and efficieny of today’s VA health care system, the answer might surprise you. It has received very high grades for its modernized integrated delivery system resulting in improved patient outcome and cost savings. See:

Veterans Affairs Healthcare System No. 1
How the Once-Maligned VA Healthcare System Becomes Best in Nation, an ABC report.

Diabetes Care Quality in the Veterans Affairs Health Care System and Commercial Managed Care: The TRIAD Study.

Posted by: Rich at May 3, 2009 7:43 AM
Comment #281243

Rich,

You really don’t want to get started on the VA as a form of healthcare do you?

There is a difference in appearing to be caring and having good doctors doing good work.

I’m a disabled veteran. I come from a family of vets. I can shoot holes into that study so big only a private practice doctor would be able to sew them up…

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 3, 2009 1:58 PM
Comment #281244

Montie, in your article: “Leavitt rejects the idea that a government run system is the answer because it relies on two wide spread myths. First: That the bureaucracy can effectively reform and manage the health care system. Second: That ramped up spending constitutes reform.”

Leavitt begins with straw man arguments. NO ONE IN GOVERNMENT is proposing a federal government run health care system. Leavitt is arguing against a non-existent policy agenda. What is being proposed is universal health care insurance. Meaning the federal government provides everyone a choice, keep the private insurance they have, or procure federal government sponsored health insurance. Whether the federal sponsored health insurance would be administered by federal employees or not, won’t be known until the bill is on the House Floor. It could be administered by private concerns or a new administrative agency in the White House.

Second, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with federal government employees. Our Soliders and Military are federal government employees, and by all accounts on BOTH sides of the aisle, they do a fantastick job for their pay and benefits.

Before Republicans began parceling out IRS functions to the private sector, the IRS was the most efficient operation in the federal government with cost to revenue ratio that made the private sector slobber over.

Leavitt’s second straw man argument regards ramped up spending constituting reform. Of course increasing spending does nto constitute reform. Offering universal health coverage is a reform. Ramped up spending can be wasteful, productive, or an investment on future returns. Leavitt is an idiot or simply barking to his loyal readers to suggest Obama is offering as reform, nothing more than increased spending. That is false on its face, and Leavitt damn well knows it. And so should all his readers if they have an objective thinking brain cell in their cranium.

But, you know, when a great idea comes along, because it is a great idea, it causes opponents to fashion far less than comparable counter arguments, created out of sophistry and invention of what does not exist and is not proposed, and delivered on the basis of what opponents want to hear, instead of the truth or reality which, because a great idea has arrived, the majority do support and embrace.

In a democracy, believe it or not, the majority of the people actually do get it right more often than not. And that simple fact of life in a democratic nation constitutes no end of anguish and struggle for a minority interest or party. Once in a while, even a minority interest or party comes up with a great idea too are able to sell it to the majority of the people. That too, is part of what makes our form of government one of the greatest on Earth.

Leavitt is arguing the minority view here. And it is an indefensible point of view. Americans DO NOT want any system which leaves Americans without health insurance in time of need. Republicans had the chance to provide it. Didn’t believe in it. So, Democrats will now provide the majority of Americans what they want from their government. That is how elections are won, for better or worse.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 3, 2009 1:58 PM
Comment #281253

Rheinhold,

Perhaps it is surprising but the VA has developed into a model health care delivery system. Don’t take my word for it, review expert opinion. Its modernized and integrated system is producing health services of high quality while significantly reducing costs. A recent article by Philip Longman entitled “The Best Care Anywhere” in the Washington Monthly details the transformation of the VA health care system.

The modernized integrated approach taken by the VA in the public sector and Kaiser Permanente in the private sector are promising models for not only improving the quality of care but also containing costs.

Too little discussion of health care reform addresses potential models of alternative delivery systems. The debate is always framed simplisticly in private vs. public terms. It might do us all well to focus more on alternative approaches regardless of whether operated within the public or private sector.


Posted by: Rich at May 3, 2009 7:24 PM
Comment #281259
Perhaps it is surprising but the VA has developed into a model health care delivery system.

It’s not surprising because it’s just not true. I know that people have written articles trying to make it appear so in order to appeal to government run healthcare, but the reality is a far cry from that imagined utopia.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 3, 2009 9:23 PM
Comment #281261

David,

First off, no one is attacking our soldiers here, speaking of strawman arguments. I would not support any argument that they are not earning their benefits.

Neither I, nor Leavitt, is saying that we want to keep Americans uninsured. My use of the term “universal health care” was not in derision. The question is the right way to see that everyone is covered. So far, republicans haven’t put forward a feasible alternative plan to accomplish that. Leavitt hopes to accomplish exactly that through a different approach.

I want to be clear that Leavitt did not engage in discussing President Obama’s plan directly. I did.

Defense and health care are two very different challenges. Our military does a fine job of protecting us as a government run system.

And you’re right. Technically, Obama’s plan is not a government run system. Yes, we can all stay with our current health care plan if we choose, but the government’s growing presence in the market will come with influence engineered by bureaucracy. This isn’t a government run system just as the Federal Reserve isn’t technically a government entity.

Universal health care is an important reform. But if we can’t sustain our current public health coverage system, how will expanding it with borrowed money be an improvement?

Obama has said:

There’s always going to be an asymmetry of information between patient and provider. And part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options.

I see no compelling reason for the government to take this kind of presence in the health care industry.

We all agree that the current non-system doesn’t work. A large part of the problem is a lack of transparancy in the doctor/insurance provider/patient relationship. The government should set rules to clear that up, but it doesn’t need to become a broker between doctors and patients.

I know much of the money Obama proposes to spend on health care reform is for long term investments. But Obama has, himself, invoked the image of a family sitting around the kitchen table trying to decide what they can do without. In my opinion, Obama needs to have a kitchen table moment. It’s not the time to build a Cadilac system. We need to survive the imminent disaster first. 2016!

You said:

Before Republicans began parceling out IRS functions to the private sector, the IRS was the most efficient operation in the federal government with cost to revenue ratio that made the private sector slobber over.

This argument doesn’t apply hear. First, because again, collecting taxes is a completely different challenge than providing health care. Secondly, health care never has been and never should be the government’s function to “parcel out” to the private sector. Where the private sector can’t meet individuals’ needs in a well organized system, that’s where the government should step in.

In a democracy, believe it or not, the majority of the people actually do get it right more often than not.

I agree. Leavitt is trying to put forth an alternative to the majority view. It’s more informed than arguments you may be use to debating on the republican side. And it’s NOT to leave people without health insurance. I would suggest you study his plan more before you call it undefensible. This article was a very basic outline of his principles and if you think he (or I)advocates leaving Americans uninsured, I didn’t do a very good job of it.

Posted by: Mark at May 3, 2009 9:45 PM
Comment #281262

I have an issue with it… There is a difference between making sure every american can get health insurance if they want it and forcing them to get it against their will.

I think that important point is getting lost.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 3, 2009 9:49 PM
Comment #281265

Rhinehold,

You really need to move to a country where they don’t “force” you to get a driver’s license, wear a seatbelt, and yada yada, yada…. No one cares. These laws save lives and money, and hardly infringe on any real personal freedom. They’ve insisted everyone have healthcare in Massachusetts and it’s an extremely popular program.

Personally, I want universal healthcare. Our big businesses can’t compete and our small businesses can’t get started, because covering the cost of healthcare is too much. Not to mention that it’s obscene that our country can’t get it together to do this.

Take the money directly from the army or wherever it needs to be taken from and get this done. If we can’t compete business wise, we won’t have a country.


Posted by: Max at May 3, 2009 11:49 PM
Comment #281272
You really need to move to a country …

Oh, so we’re there now? The funny thing is, I defended Democrats when the Republicans tried to pull that garbage on them, and what do I get in return? ‘If you don’t like it, get out’.

Classic.

They’ve insisted everyone have healthcare in Massachusetts and it’s an extremely popular program.

Wow, something removing liberty from the individual to better the state being popular in Mass… I’m shocked.

Perhaps we should let those people have that if they want it and let other states not?

Personally, I want universal healthcare.

I’m shocked.

If we can’t compete business wise, we won’t have a country.

Hold on, so NOW you are concerned about the costs that businesses have to pay to stay in business?

Interesting.

What about all of the money that the they will have to pay to their employees to make up for the taxes that the employees are going to have to pay for insurance? Do you really think that this is going to be paid for without costing what it already costs? You’ll just be passing the cost down to the poor through embedded taxation like everything else…

What a wonderful idea.

Posted by: rhinehold at May 4, 2009 12:55 AM
Comment #281274

I think Henry was right about the issue of the AMA.

While I think a big first step should be insuring everyone, I believe digitizing and streamlining records is another, along with, moving toward a single payer system, eliminating the middle men in the insurance industry. Warren Buffet is rich enough, there are still plenty of other things to insure. ( I actually don’t know if he has any involvement in health insurance or reinsurance, I was being sarcastic).

The next step will be dealing with the AMA. I believe there is a problem with them both in not pushing for adequate policing of bad doctors, and not advocating some de-centralization of MD duties to lesser trained people. Colleges can also be pushed toward increasing graduating classes, to increase the supply of doctors.

Medicine is not cans of food. Comparing it to a box of lettuce or bag of rice is about as absurd as comparing it the the military. I can always eat rice and beans, but if I need heart surgery, getting a mole removed won’t do.

Posted by: gergle at May 4, 2009 1:21 AM
Comment #281279

Mark
I, for one, wish to welcome and thank you for some itelligable,albeit mistaken, comments in the Red column for a change.
I am starting to catch a whiff that the Republican Party,at least the more sober leadership,is finaly starting to soften in regard to health care reform. Jeb Bush and Romney are embarking on a “listenning tour” etc. What do you think they will hear about?
A better option on the table is single payer,IMO. Government involvement is held to the financial aspect only. This allows for price negotiation on a large scale. Private providers would compete on service level etc. as they should.Included in the reform should be financing of medical education and some degree of relief from mal-practice insurance cost, although the latter is not nearly as burdunsome as some would have you believe. A big advantage of single payer is the elimination of a great deal of paperwork. The amount of paperwork we have now under the PRIVATE system is estimated to cost enough to provide health care to the uninsured. Under a well designed single payer system there would be pretty much one form coupled with severe penalties for fraud.
I do like the idea of letting the states come up with their own solutions.That was how Canada started their national solution. Ca.,Ore. and Hi. that I know of have tried but been thwarted in their efforts by the Republican controlled federal government. That is changing now. If we had the time that would be the way to go. The advantage is to see what works and what does not. The problem is that we no longer have the time,as you point out. Instead we have to move forward federally. That does not mean blindly. There are several models out there to pick and choose from. I like the French mixture of private/public delivery myself and they have,argueably the best health care on the planet.

Posted by: bills at May 4, 2009 6:22 AM
Comment #281280

RH

There is no reason to believe that well designed national health care delivery system will cost more than what we have now,period. A look at the figures Mark gave in the original article should prove that to you. It may well cost less. We are already paying out the nose. We are just not getting a good deal.

In CA they passed a mandatory helmet law for motorcycles. You should have heard the caterwall about taking away freedom ad nauseum. You should also tour Laguna Honda State Hospital in San Fransisco. You would see room after room after room filled with motorcycle crash victums living like vegetables at taxpayer expense. Nearly all from head trauma. Those that had private coverage passed the maximum benefit long ago, but by gum, they had the freedom to be idiots and bounce on their unprotected heads for a hundred feet to live out their lives screamming for a bed pan if they are lucky enough to be able to still talk, ON MY DIME.. What is the libertarian idea? Should we allow people to cycle without helmets if they agree beforehand to let the cops shoot them if they get a head injury?Works for me.

Posted by: bills at May 4, 2009 6:52 AM
Comment #281282

Bills,
As extreme as that sounds. I always thought the same way you do about the issue.

Posted by: kudos at May 4, 2009 7:28 AM
Comment #281290
There is no reason to believe that well designed national health care delivery system will cost more than what we have now,period.

I never said it would cost more, but I also don’t expect it to cost less. But I do expect to see the burdeon being passed on as it always is to the middle class.

In CA they passed a mandatory helmet law for motorcycles. You should have heard the caterwall about taking away freedom ad nauseum.

They were right.

You should also tour Laguna Honda State Hospital in San Fransisco. You would see room after room after room filled with motorcycle crash victums living like vegetables at taxpayer expense.

Why were they living at taxpayer expense exactly?

Nearly all from head trauma. Those that had private coverage passed the maximum benefit long ago, but by gum, they had the freedom to be idiots and bounce on their unprotected heads for a hundred feet to live out their lives screamming for a bed pan if they are lucky enough to be able to still talk, ON MY DIME.

And you are helping me prove my points that Stephen keeps saying isn’t the reality. The more and more we put into the hands of government, the more control the government will have over our lives so that they can maximize costs, etc. Why should you be paying for the stupidity of others? You shouldn’t. That is MY point, thanks for making it.

What is the libertarian idea? Should we allow people to cycle without helmets if they agree beforehand to let the cops shoot them if they get a head injury?Works for me.

Not shoot them, but not pay for their healthcare yes.

In a real live scenario, insurance companies would null and void any motorcycle injury claim that someone would get while driving without a helmet. Then, if someone was stupid enough to do it, they would not have the coverage to be taken care of and would probably pay the price for it through their own financial requirements, charity, or by not having treatment. And yes, I mean that they may die because of it.

Imagine the number of people who would choose to wear their helmets if they knew that was the case?

My real question is, why are individuals paying for other people’s bad ideas? We are doing it now with the bailouts, people who chose to live a lifestyle that was out of their reach are now being bailed out by people who lived a more modest lifestyle. What sense does that make?

I’m sorry, but people who make bad choices have to pay the price for those bad choices or else no one will have any reason not to make them in the future. By eliminating that pain, that failure, of an individual we dumb down our society each year, year after year, until we have a society that can’t make good common sense choices on their own.

I fear we are already there. :(

Posted by: rhinehold at May 4, 2009 10:55 AM
Comment #281291

Oh, and btw, just becasue wearing a helmet is the law doesn’t mean that people won’t still ride motorcycles without helmets. It just means we are now criminalizing individual behavior, making more and more of our citizens criminals just for the temerity of ‘making their own decisions’.

Posted by: rhinehold at May 4, 2009 10:57 AM
Comment #281292

Helmet laws are in 31 States now and reduce motorcycle fatalities each year by about 15%.

That equates to about 200 riders per year nationwide.

If you really wanted to save the motorcyclists you would require all new riders take and pass the MSF beginner and intermediate courses as a requirement for licensing.

Posted by: George at May 4, 2009 11:35 AM
Comment #281293


I have been receiving health care from the Veterans Administration for more than a decade. Ten years ago, the care was terrible. Five years ago, the quality of care had improved. Today, the health care provided by the VA is excellent. Now, they actually treat veterans like people rather than numbers.

The difference between the VA of ten years ago and the Va of today is like the difference between night and day. I would call it the Bush Administration’s greatest achievement.

The Bush Administration has used the VA to prove that the government can run an effective, quality healthcare system.

I don’t believe National Healthcare will become a reality because the corporations involved are to powerful and have to much influence on the Whitehouse and Congress.

Posted by: jlw at May 4, 2009 11:56 AM
Comment #281298

Mark said: “First off, no one is attacking our soldiers here, speaking of strawman arguments.”

But you quote from Leavitt saying: “Leavitt rejects the idea that a government run system” as if you agree with him that government employees can’t get anything right. Which is it, Mark? Do our military government employees do a great job, and if so, can we not expect and demand the same from other government employees? Or, do you agree with Leavitt that government employees are the bureaucracy that is inept and incapable regardless of education of doing a competent job with health care, defense, or any other bureaucratic function in service of the people and nation?

From my point of view, one can’t have it both ways.

Mark said: “Defense and health care are two very different challenges.”

Yes, many in defense get 16 or 24 weeks training before given the power of life and death over others. Whereas those hired to administer health care and insurance have 2, 4, and 8 year college degrees required of them.

Seems to me, doctors and nurses and Accountants and Actuarial Science graduates with vastly more education and training will do as good a job as our soldiers do at theirs, don’t you think? Or, is keeping to the same standard and measure of logic too much to ask of Republican supporters?

Mark said: “Universal health care is an important reform. But if we can’t sustain our current public health coverage system, how will expanding it with borrowed money be an improvement?”

If you would listen and think about Obama’s plan as well as you listen to Leavitt, you might have your answer. If universal health care is important, then, let’s get on with it. If one is not willing to get on with it, then one does NOT really think it is that important. Secondly, by lowering health care costs and even lowering profits on health care, the savings can be redirected toward universal coverage.

Some of the reasons the current system is unsustainable in cost terms are the escalation of profits and pricing, and inflationary effects created by oligopolies and monopolies in on the technical and production side of the health care industry. Another is extremely high cost of Emergency Room treatment for the uninsured. Another is the enormous number of malpractice and errors created by an intensely for profit health care delivery system in the private sector that is unable and unwilling to make the investments in accurate and computerized and portable medical records which eliminate large amounts of malpractice and errors, costing billions and billions in premium costs each year.

All these costs are addressed and will drop under the Obama plan, and the savings in tax dollars redirected to providing health insurance for everyone. By requiring young people to buy into the universal plan and paying lifetime premiums, revenues will increase to offset the additional cost of insuring 47 million other Americans.

Additionally, IF young persons pay a little more than the actuarial charts would indicate, to offset their last years of life costs in which their premiums will be well below covering their actual costs in those last years on the health care system, the deficits currently projected will be offset to a large extent. Obama’s plan doesn’t appear to go in this direction yet, but, down the road, this will have to be the case, where the actuarial charts are updated to reflect lifetime costs and premiums, not just current age group costs and premiums which leaves the system grossly underfunded and saddled with high end of life costs for seniors least able to afford extraordinarily high premiums.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2009 1:12 PM
Comment #281299

Rhinehold,

Strange, isn’t it? That you don’t see the slaves in Europe holding daily protests about the universal healthcare they are forced to pay for!

I think when your argument concludes with suggesting that society leave people who have been hit by cars bleeding on the side of the road unless they are insured that you have really hit an extreme.

Let’s just leave it at that. You have an extreme point of view that hardly anyone shares… That was my point when I said move to a country that… I was not suggesting you love it or leave it, I was suggesting that no such place exists and the notion of a society that passes no laws abridging personal freedom in any way is a fantasy. As it is, the current structure forces people to work at jobs they might otherwise not, simply to get healthcare. Doesn’t the alternative of society providing healthcare give the average person much more freedom?

Also, BillS nailed it, although you do have a point though that everyone’s taxes will go up. So be it. I can’t think of anything I would rather pay for.

Posted by: Max at May 4, 2009 1:23 PM
Comment #281300

Rhinehold, anyone who would ride a motorcycle on public highways without a helmet is NOT smart enough to have a motorcycle license and operate a vehicle on public roads. Just my own personal opinion, as one knows another whose life was probably saved by the Helmet law in a bad accident hitting damp leaves on a curve.

One of my concerns over universal health care insurance deducted from paychecks, is the very natural tendency for lawmakers to want to elevate the premiums on higher risk lifestyle choices. The higher those premiums go, the more incentive for workers to leave the above ground economy and move to the cash only basis or underground economy as a method of dodging income deductions while preserving an income.

Of course, that is a very real problem already in America from the Corporate world with off-shore accounts to beat taxation, to the drug peddler or landscaping entrepreneur on a cash only basis. And there appears to be no obvious remedy to that problem today save abolishing government and taxes altogehter.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2009 1:26 PM
Comment #281301

Rhinehold,

In my personal opinion if you want repression you would ban motorcycles from the roads all together. I’ve never met a motorcycle rider that didn’t have a road rash story. It was enough to convince me as a young man.

That said, Texas does not have a helmet law. I never wear a helmet when I ride a bicycle, but then I never have had an injury from bicycling. I’m against helmet laws and seatbelt laws for libertarian reasons. People should be responsible for their own safety, BUT, I find your argument hollow.

It could be reasonable to say people should be careful on construction sites. They are. If they do something stupid, should we just ignore them because they are illegal aliens, or did sonething careless and are uninsured? Should they simply be buried in the debris and work continue? What kind of inhumanity are you advocating? What if the is no charity to come to the resue? Do you have ANY responsibilities to your fellow man in a society of human beings?

No one would advocate taking an injured motorcyclist and throwing him out on the street to die because he was doing something illegal or irresponsible. Yes, a wealthy nation should be willing to pay for his treatment, regardless.

You benefit from living in a wealthy nation. It is a standard across the wealthy nations to care for the injured. Currently, counties and states pay for indigent and emergency care. We are now paying for it, anyway.

It is a duty of society, to care for all it’s people equally. If you wish to live outside this society, you may enjoy the most libertine of lifestyles. As an American, it is deeply callous an self centered to advocate what you attempt to here.

While it may be logical, or sensible to you, what you are advocating, it makes absolutely no sense to sensible people, in my opinion. It is principle run amok, without conscience.

Posted by: gergle at May 4, 2009 1:50 PM
Comment #281313

David,

My sense is that the military has some important differences from other bureaucracies in the federal government. One is that they have efficient communication both down and up the chain of command. Another is that the military’s missions are objective based. Decisions at the top are dependent on success at the bottom.

The weakness of a bureaucracy is not typically the quality of the people in it. It’s the nature of a bureaucracy itself that makes it slow moving and unresponsive. Bureaucracies are good at putting structures in place but not at managing the day to day operations where responsiveness is key.

Let’s start comparing apples to apples. If we want to debate how the bureaucracy will manage health care, let’s not talk about the military, let’s talk about how the bureaucracy has managed health care. You know, that system that is on the verge of bankruptcy. When Medicare and Medicaid were created they had a clear mission: To see that the poor, sick, and elderly would always have access to health care. Sound familiar?

I know a woman in her 20s who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. She was not covered by insurance at the time due to cost. She doesn’t smoke, she doesn’t drink, and she is physically active. When she applied for Medicaid she was told she may be too healthy to qualify. When asked if she had any children out of wedlock, she said no. The Medicaid rep said, “Too bad, that would have been automatic approval.”

I don’t believe this kind of gap was intentionally built into the Medicaid system. It’s the product of bureaucratic top-down decision making without practical measurement tools. I don’t like the idea of doctors being on the bottom rung of a system like that.

Could we fix the health care bureaucracy? Maybe. But I’d rather try my luck with fixing the market.

There is a clear national interest in every American having access to affordable health care. So, maybe the industry needs to be regulated like a utility, similar to broadcasting.

I agree that exorbitant profits are a large problem in the current system. Requiring insurance companies to offer affordable coverage even to higher risk customers (now typically uninsured) would soak up much of that excess. It might also create a motive for insurance companies to focus on preventative medicine, which is cheaper in the long run than treating illness.

The market is fluid enough to react quickly to changes in regulation and to find socially beneficial ways to make a reasonable profit much sooner, in my opinion, than it would be to fix and expand Medicaid and Medicare.

Bills,

I can live with intelligible but mistaken. Although a single payer system would keep government involvement at bay, it would also stifle the benefits of competition. As you said, private providers could still compete on service, but I get the image of used car salesmen with that. In my opinion, what differentiates doctors best is capability. I want my doctor to be the smartest person available if my life is on the line. But under a single payer system, the most intelligent or capable will find a way to use their abilities to make money — either in some other industry or some other country. That has been a major problem in Canada.

Posted by: Mark at May 4, 2009 11:06 PM
Comment #281314

RH
You and I both know that mororcycle crash victums are usually young males. Don’t you remember when you were invincible.The paramedics call them “donercycles”. In CA the enforcement is pretty rigorious and compliance quite good.
Whether we should just let them die slowly is not really worth discussing. We are not,nor should we become a society that does that. Charity? I wonder how hard it would be to ask for contribution to provide for 24 hour care for brain damaged fools on a large scale. Much harder than trying to get food for kids or puppies,I imagine. Bottom line ,what you are proposing is not realistically going to happen. And helmet laws and similar measures regarding public health and safety do not impose great denials of freedom. We are not denying freedom of speech or religion here and to equate helmet laws with a threat to liberty is ,frankly,silly.

Posted by: bills at May 4, 2009 11:23 PM
Comment #281317

Mark
There are other factors involved. Many doctors ,in particular, are just in it for the money. Its a calling. Maybe they are not the smartest but I would not bet on it. Doctors in France do pretty well,not as well as they do in the US by any means but pretty well and they are gratified to work in a system that does not ration treatment based on ability to pay.
Another thing the do is provide free medical school. Thats right,FREE! The competition to get into the schools is fierce and only the best and brightest make it.

Posted by: bills at May 5, 2009 1:26 AM
Comment #281319

Universal healthcare is also likely to produce other substantial savings. One big potential savings,if it includes mental health care, as it will, and drug and alcohol treatment,as it should, will be a major decrease in the prison population. Now our prison system is the largest mental health facility in the world. Medication and treatment is far cheaper than incarceration not to mention more humane. There should also be fewer lost work days and likely a drop in the crime rate, lowering enforcement cost. There may well be other savings that no one can predict.
I hope it includes dental care. Thats an area where prevention goes a long way and general health is improved with little cost. Dental care would also be a boost for the poor to get a leg up. Poor teeth are like a badge of poverty. Would any of you even consider hiring someone missing their front teeth for any but the most menial task?

George

Taking your figures as correct, helmet laws save about 200 lives a year, amounts to a good deal of taxpayer savings,not to mention grief. Most bike riders are young and in good shape. When they recieve crippling head injuries ,if they don’t die from them ,they will live for years,often requiring 24/7 care. That can be millions of dollars for each.

RH
LOL, If they do manage to boot you out of the country you might like the RP. No helmet laws,seatbelt laws or traffic laws in general, at least that they enforce anyway. There are guns all over the place and people can and do die on hospital steps because of lack of funds and they can lock you up until the bill is paid. They have lots of laws but a little mordida can get you out of about anything.

Ship me east of the Suez
Where the best are like the worst,
There aren’t no Ten Commandments
And a man can raise a thirst.
RK

Posted by: bills at May 5, 2009 6:49 AM
Comment #281326
Strange, isn’t it? That you don’t see the slaves in Europe holding daily protests about the universal healthcare they are forced to pay for!

I don’t expect I will see many here in the US either. Individual liberty is just not something people care about anymore, at least until it affects them personally. Of course, by then it will be too late, but what the heck, politicians are very good at wedging things in little by little in order to get their precious power, pitting us against each other until one day people wake up and realize it…

Oh, btw, you do know that England is now keeping people who disagree with the government out of their country now, right? It’s just a matter of time…

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/16-banned-from-britain-named-and-shamed-1679127.html

I think when your argument concludes with suggesting that society leave people who have been hit by cars bleeding on the side of the road unless they are insured that you have really hit an extreme.

Which of course I didn’t suggest. No worries, once someone abandons the idea of individual liberty it is understandable that they can’t understand the argument rationally.

Let’s just leave it at that.

Of course, because it’s much simpler to just accept that people will want to be forced to act certain ways if it follows what you want and then complain when you fall under that rule.

The majority of people in the US right now want us to declare the US a christian state. I fight that tooth and nail too, which I am sure you would to, for the same reasons. At least my views don’t lead me into the realm of hypocrisy.

You have an extreme point of view that hardly anyone shares…

Yes, and that is an unfortunate. It’s a sign that the ideals that this country were founded upon are dead. Good Job!

I was suggesting that no such place exists

Not anymore. :(

Doesn’t the alternative of society providing healthcare give the average person much more freedom?

No, not really. It just opens up the government to do even more, emboldened by their successes in depriving the US citizenry of their ability to choose what to do with their own bodies. But at least I can go to bed at night knowing that I’m consistent…

Also, BillS nailed it, although you do have a point though that everyone’s taxes will go up. So be it. I can’t think of anything I would rather pay for.

Then pay for it. But that’s not what you are doing, what you are doing is making others pay for it too. At the point of a gun. How Compassionate.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 5, 2009 12:09 PM
Comment #281327
Rhinehold, anyone who would ride a motorcycle on public highways without a helmet is NOT smart enough to have a motorcycle license and operate a vehicle on public roads.

And I agree. Unfortunately, I don’t think that we should have that power to tell people that they can’t do what they choose to do with their own bodies. I never ride a motorcycle without a helmet myself, that is just stupid.

Just my own personal opinion, as one knows another whose life was probably saved by the Helmet law in a bad accident hitting damp leaves on a curve.

So, you are saying that without the law you wouldn’t ride a motorcycle without a helmet? Because that is the only way that the law would have saved you, if you had chosen not to wear one unless the government forced you to.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 5, 2009 12:12 PM
Comment #281328
If they do something stupid, should we just ignore them because they are illegal aliens, or did sonething careless and are uninsured? Should they simply be buried in the debris and work continue? What kind of inhumanity are you advocating? What if the is no charity to come to the resue? Do you have ANY responsibilities to your fellow man in a society of human beings?

There is a difference between not taking care of someone who makes a mistake and setting up government programs to take care of people who makes mistakes…

I know, to many these days, they don’t see the difference but it is one that keeps us from a police state…

Or should at least.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 5, 2009 12:14 PM
Comment #281343

Rhinehold,

No, I am with you. I don’t believe the federal government should be telling folks what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.

Objectivity requires, however, that I observe, as a former bike rider of many years, that there is a machismo that accompanies riding motorcycles that challenges young and inexperienced riders to not wear a helmet as a warped test of manhood. I felt that pressure myself by my peers when I first made motorcycles my sole mode of transportation during my college years in Tx. Then Tx passed the helmet law, I resented it. But an acquaintance of mine’s life was very probably saved by the law that induced him to wear his helment that day he went down at 50 mph on a curve in the highway, shattering his collar bone, hip, and breaking an arm and leg. He was 2 years recovering from that accident. His helmet no doubt prevented his skull from incurring the same injuries as the rest of his body.

The helmet laws save lives. But, again. I agree with you. The federal government has no business telling folks what they can and can’t do with their personal lives, provided there is no direct negative consequence on the rights of others to lead their own personal lives.

We have universal state laws against drinking and driving. They don’t work very well. And unlike motorcycles, drinking car and truck drivers do kill thousands and thousands of innocent and law abiding bystanders and passerbys. The cost of enforcement of drinking and driving laws is mandated by the public welfare. The cost of enforcing motorcycle helmet laws is not, by my way of reckoning. And that is my second important reason for opposing helmet laws. Laws against victimless crimes are an incredible waste of public resources, since there can be no convincing a violator of a victimless crime that they don’t have the right. They do have the right by virtue of their ability to choose to engage in that victimless activity, whether it be heroin use or suicide. There are no logical nor rational moral or ethical arguments that can convince such a person that their behavior is a violation, as opposed to murder or theft on the other hand.

Human behavior can be modified by moral and ethical arguments and values. Absent sound moral or ethical arguments, however, modifying behavior can only be accomplished by persuading a person to consider their own best interests, and that kind of persuasion will never be accepted if forced. Humans will participate in freedom when and where they reasonably can.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 5, 2009 3:01 PM
Comment #281344

David,

Well stated and I agree completely.

Absent sound moral or ethical arguments, however, modifying behavior can only be accomplished by persuading a person to consider their own best interests, and that kind of persuasion will never be accepted if forced.

Now I think there are ways to change the balance sheet on their best interests, but not at the hands of government force, by the insurance companies charging more to those who aren’t wearing their helmets at the time of an incident, much like I suggest for seat belts. Money talks, as they say. And it isn’t a solution that requires the violation of their individual rights, which is what I challenge us all to do, find solutions to problems that don’t have to violate our individual rights.

But that’s just an idea, in the end the people who are really responsible for their actions are they themselves.

Posted by: rhinehold at May 5, 2009 3:06 PM
Comment #281345

Rhinehold,

Now you raise an entirely different topic with insurance. Elective insurance vs. mandatory insurance is a real tough public policy issue. I understand the need for mandatory liability insurance for vehicle drivers because victims of imprudent driving have every civic right to compensation for injury caused by another.

But, mandatory insurance is like laws against drunk driving. To really make it mandatory and insure compliance requires enormous public resources and no small measure of public inconvenience by the public to demonstrate sobriety or insurance coverage. Our society does not want to bear the costs of true and full enforcement of such laws. And thus, such laws for all practical intents and purposes, become token laws and relatively impotent.

Token and impotent laws breed contempt for both law and law enforcement, and such contempt is very prevalent in our society and most western societies. One need only observe drivers and speed limits and turn signal usage on our highways to observe such contempt for rule of law.

Which brings my reasoning to respect the Libertarian principle that fewer laws, which are fully enforced, is a better prescription for society and government than many laws with only marginal enforcement or no laws at all.

And this reasoning as much as any other, forces me to oppose the Democratic and Republican Party’s views of law and order, which seek to impose laws which can never affordably and preventatively be enforced, and actually breed disorder as a direct consequence, as in the underground economy of prostitution, drugs, and the latest 21st century addition of identity theft.

A society which has preventative enforcement of law is either authoritarian, or, a society in which the citizenry acts as voluntary partner and eyes and ears of law enforcement authorities. This latter is what we should strive for.

But, that can only become a reality if the citizenry develop a voluntary respect and kinship with law enforcement authorities, which our authoritarian management structures in law enforcement cannot and will not accommodate. Thus, we have too much crime and abuse of authority by law enforcement officers themselves, which the citizenry fears and opposes, instead of partnering with, and championing. This is the legacy of law enforcement design of the 20th century, which has left a gulf between our law enforcement authorities and the citizenry maintained by suspicion and distrust of motive and intent.

Entire cultures have failed in whole or part, due to such chasms between the public and their law enforcement regiments. I doubt ours will fare much better in the end if we don’t bridge that gulf.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 5, 2009 3:52 PM
Comment #281373

Mark,

One difference explains why our military operations in the field are efficient, and why our absence of a medical care system isn’t. It is because our Military system is a Bureaucracy with strong punitive measures for failure built in (UCMJ), and our medical system is NEITHER a bureaucracy nor does it have strong punitive measures built in.

Our National Park system was a model of efficiency and effectiveness UNTIL Regan et.al. decided to underfund the system. User fees never equaled the budgetary cuts and many of our Parks are now trashed, switch backs eroded, and maintenance costs skyrocketing, if maintenance is performed at all due to gross and prolong neglect.

IRS was the envy in the world in terms of cost and efficiency. Then Bush et. al. decided to contract to the private sector and the costs per revenue dollar collected began a rapid ascent.

Republicans DO NOT KNOW how to run a government bureaucracy NOR do they want to. Which is why Haliburton, KBR, and BlackWater ripped off the American tax payers to the tune of billions upon billions in unnecessary cost overruns, shoddy work which killed our soldiers, and equipment at 100 to thousand’s of times the regular cost.

Best leave universal health insurance to the Democrats and Independents, and let the voters lean on them heavily to insure the most bang for the buck. That has potential. There is no such potential for any bureaucracy under Republican rule.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 6, 2009 2:33 PM
Comment #281387

God I have to laugh at everyone throwing up “socialized medicine” as a Boogey man.
Right now with our “efficient” Private sector run Health system, we have the most expensive and the least effective and efficient in the industrialized world!!
So for the sake of “purity” of a private sector system you want to pay more to get less.
Consider also
All the health insurance scams that rob you of your premiums, and then deny any claims you make.
have such a convoluted, disparate, disorganized system that many Dr.s have to keep expensive full time staffs just to handle all the paperwork and keep all the miriad of codes straight.
Right now, if I want to visit a specialist I have to “coordinate my care” with my insurance company — otherwise they will only cover at the lessor “extended network” rate, even for a Dr who is within their network!! — this “coordination” consists of me calling someone and letting them know — and getting a number — that is only good for 90 days mind you before I have to do it again. Mind you this is not a pre-approval, nor anything other than me informing them — and for this, they have to have a phone bank system, a database, etc etc etc — this money does NOTHING to deliver healthcare.
Now
consider a single payer system
No Corps of phone bank people to pay for
No Corps of clerks at Dr.s offices and Hospitals to pay for
No thousands of different codes to keep straight
No worrying about how to get around the insurance companies weird ideas of what is and is not “coverable”

The money (and paper??) saved by such a system would more than offset whatever Misperceived “cost to the taxpayer” you are sooooooo afraid of.

additional benefits
people who otherwise cannot afford it might actually get preventive healthcare — or receive treatment in the early stages when it is cheap to treat.
By forcing people to not be covered YOU are FORCING them to hold off treatment until it is waaay more expensive, and less effective — does the term “Penny wise and pound foolish” ring a bell?
Oh, and by the way YOU STILL get to pay, regardless of the option you so stubbornly insist upon — so YOU get to pay MORE for being so PURE about NOT providing health care to EVERYONE.

YOU are ALREADY PAYING that is what is so Damn funny about all you BOZO’s that are so afraid that YOUR TAXPAYER money Might just go to someone else for THEIR healthcare.
SUPRIZE SUPRIZE — IT ALREADY DOES — WHY DO YOU THINK HOSPITAL BILLS ARE SO HIGH?? — THOSE THAT CAN PAY, PAY FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T.
ONLY YOU DON’T GET TO VOTE
(WELL, ACTUALLY YOU DO, AND YOU HAVE VOTED TO MAINTAIN THE SYSTEM THAT IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE TO YOU!! AREN’T YOU THE CLEVER ONES!!!)
IT WOULD REALLY BE FUNNY IF THE REST OF US DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR IDIOCY AS WELL!!!

When they talk to Drs in France and Canada
Who do you get approval from for the tests, for the procedures?
No one
who decides — or how do you decide how to treat your patient
I do — I decide what the patient needs and how to treat them.
The cost doesn’t enter into it
insurance doesn’t enter into it
The patient does not have to stress about paying and heals faster.
Aghhhh the American Idiot is just so frustrating sometimes.


Posted by: Russ at May 6, 2009 9:17 PM
Comment #281388

David
I have to disagree with you concerning helmet laws and the perception that they are “victimless”

Again, I agree with you about society not telling you what to do, when your actions do not affect others.
However head injuries DO affect others
The company you work for
The rest of us
Few families can afford to pay for the continuing health care costs that are tied up in treating severe head traumas — you will note that there are no “required leathers laws” to protect the rest of your body — those injuries, for the most part, are healable and “affordable” — (and you would have to agree that wearing leathers makes equally good sense for reducing Motorcycle injuries — plus they are sexier than Helmets!!)
anywho.
I would agree with no helmet laws only as an option — you don’t have to wear a helmet if you have a $1 million (or more) Bond to cover the costs of your health care should you get into an accident — and perhaps another Bond that is strictly for taking care of your family — instead of relying on the Public sector to help them out after you stupidly scramble your brains.

Head injuries are NOT victimless — they are EXTREMELY costly to the Public — and as such many communities rightly (in my opinion) inact such laws in an effort to reduce the costs that will be passed on to them because someone STUPIDLY has to show their MACHO and “independence”

Posted by: Russ at May 6, 2009 9:28 PM
Comment #281400

Russ-

Shouldn’t we also close every McDonalds, every Burger King, since they are killing far more people and costing our public healthcare system 100X more than the few people who die or are injured on motorcycles?

Again, according to this study in the American Journal of Public Health mandatory helmets saved about 600 people in the last 10 years in the 31 States that have helmet laws. If you made helmet laws universal in the U.S. you mau be able to double that statistic. In my post above I went out on a limb and said you might be able to save 200 lives a year.

I’ve been a motorcyclist since the mini bike days. If you want to reduce the burden motorcyclists put on you and the public then ban all cell phones in cars. If you want to save motorcyclists then make better rider training mandatory. But for the uninvolved (those that are not friends and family of Mr. Midlife sans helmet) the impact of helmet laws are very minimal and the slope that you stand on is very slippery.

Posted by: George at May 7, 2009 9:50 AM
Comment #281405

George
The 600 lives is misleading
Although saving lives is important, the higher cost to us is due to the traumatic head injuries that do NOT result in death.
Actually what is commonly overlooked in all this “you are restricting my freedoms by forcing me to wear a helmet” BS is the one big thing
Driving (anything) on PUBLIC ROADWAYS is a privilege — NOT A RIGHT!
I would suggest you choose your battles a bit more carefully.
If you want to drive on Private property without a helmet — go for it.
But we are talking about regulating PUBLIC ROADWAYS where the PUBLIC sector has the authority, and the responsiblity to set REASONABLE restrictions to who can use the roadways, and how they are used.
and again — it is NOT about saving lives
This may sound cold, but if it were merely a choice between living if you wear a helmet, and ASSURED death if you didn’t — go for it — your choice, and you and your family will be the ones to suffer.
But traumatic head injuries (which the study did not cover) is a much bigger and costlier issue.
and again, it is a Private Decision that results in PUBLIC paying for it.

Helmet laws a “slippery slope” PLUEEEEEEZE” are you REALLY trying to sell that one? That is just plain insulting our intelligence.


EXACTLY HOW ARE YOUR “FREEDOMS” LIMITED BY HAVING TO WEAR A HELMET????
VERSUS
ALL THE FREEDOMS YOU LOST (GLADLY?? WERE YOU ONE OF THOSE??) UNDER THE PATRIOT ACT?
GIVE ME A BREAK.

ANYWHO, THIS WAS ABOUT HEALTHCARE, NOT SURE HOW DAVID ET ALL GOT SIDETRACKED INTO HELMET LAWS.

Posted by: Russ at May 7, 2009 11:03 AM
Comment #281406

to those who continue to argue that giving up a little more liberty in the name of the greater good, i would ask, where should it end? after all you can make the argument that almost anything any individual does will in some way, no matter how convoluted, affect someone else.

what is truely the more valuable commodity, saftey, or freedom? personnaly i’ll take my chances with freedom.

Posted by: dbs at May 7, 2009 11:16 AM
Comment #281407

Re: Closing McD’s etc
ahhh, no that is “fixable” and takes along time to occur, there is time for education, consumer response (which McD’s is already responding to!) etc and other things that can have an impact on the cost to the Public sector
— unlike — you really don’t have time to change your mind in the middle of an accident and decide, “Hey, a helmet might not be a bad idea after all”! — Right after I scramble my Brains THIS time I will wear my helmet from now on!!
(actually I have seen that — sort of sad, people with head injuries wearing helmets in their wheel-chairs to protect the openings in their skulls)

Posted by: Russ at May 7, 2009 11:20 AM
Comment #281408

“ANYWHO, THIS WAS ABOUT HEALTHCARE, NOT SURE HOW DAVID ET ALL GOT SIDETRACKED INTO HELMET LAWS.”

connect the dots russ, and it will become pretty clear.

Posted by: dbs at May 7, 2009 11:20 AM
Comment #281410

russ

“EXACTLY HOW ARE YOUR “FREEDOMS” LIMITED BY HAVING TO WEAR A HELMET????”

good question russ.


maybe we should pass mandatory condom laws. after all how much does the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases cost US every year? why should society pay for some knuckleheads shot, or aids treatment because he didn’t practice safe sex. how about unwanted pregnencies. why should society pay for someone elses abortion. hell, i could go on all day.

the bottom line is that it is whatever is the flavor of the day. hey lets outlaw outdoor grilling, after all, we all have to breath that damn air, incinsiderate bastards.

you can’t have it both ways. you either believe in individual freedom or you don’t.

Posted by: dbs at May 7, 2009 11:32 AM
Comment #281414

Russ-

What dbs said.

And sorry to insult your intelligence.

George

Posted by: George at May 7, 2009 11:55 AM
Comment #281418

OMG —
the lengths you paranoid people will go!
Yea, that’s a real slippery slope that ANYONE will see will lead to a real Nanny State —
Do you look under your beds at night for the boogy-men that are hiding there?? REALLY?

again
Driving on the highways is a privilege NOT a right — and is open to regulation
Sex in your bedroom is your private business, — etc
STD’s (with the exception of aids) is NOT a life-sentance to Millions/person in health costs (most treatments actually cost pennies)
Even aids is now controllable — a friend of mine has been living with HIV much longer than he has any right to — a regular, normal life.

If you want to drive a MC on private property without a helmet, be my guest.

You guys didn’t even want good sex education so don’t even go there re: the cost of unwanted pregnancies, aids, STD’s etc —
and now you don’t even want decent healthcare for everyone — what a joke.
Again, choose your fights a bit more wisely.

If you are going to argue against helmet laws lets keep the dialog alittle bit more in the realm of reality than “it’s the slippery slope to being forced to wear condoms!!!”

Many states have had the helmet laws for YEARS and to the best of my knowledge.
The MC riders are still free.
Condom use is still voluntary
McD’s are thriving and doing well
as are Burger King, etc
You are still free to get as fat and dumb as you want to.
So knock off the “OMG the jack-booted thugs are coming to force a helmet on my head” routine!


Posted by: russ at May 7, 2009 1:35 PM
Comment #281419

you can’t have it both ways. you either believe in individual freedom or you don’t.

What a JOKE!
there is no such thing as unconstrained individual freedom and you know it
It is NOT as Black and White as your statement above wants to pretend

What a load of garbage.

You are NOT free to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre
You are NOT free to dump toxic wastes on “YOUR” property
You are NOT free to expose yourself to others in public
(wow, my freedom of expression is being supressed!!)
You are NOT free to cross the intersection on a red light
You are NOT free to drive a Motorcycle without a license, registration, and in many states MANDATORY INSURANCE!! —
So what was this about either you have individual freedom or you don’t?
Yes or no, black or white, no inbetween????
Give me a Break!
f that is how you feel then the answer has to be

we don’t —

guess it’s no — so I guess you better move to some country that allows total individual freedom if that is what you believe in.
But methinks that’s going to be pretty hard to do, cause you ain’t gonna find it eh?
Unless you buy your own island and live on it by yourself.

Posted by: Russ at May 7, 2009 1:42 PM
Comment #281420

To be frank
I get real sick and tired of this “individual freedom” BS when it applies to
“I have the right to make stupid decisions that I don’t have to pay for — I get to make the decision, and when it goes bad, the Public gets to pay for MY idiocy”
That is NOT individual freedom
If you REALLY want individual freedom, then you need to be ready to take INDIVIDUAL responsiblity for your decisions — and don’t tell me that YOU are ready to do that — big whooppe do — we cannot apply that on a case-by-case basis —

It is a moronic arguement
and a selfish one
It is real easy to be stupid when somebody else gets to foot the bill.

Posted by: Russ at May 7, 2009 1:50 PM
Comment #281422

The joke is your view, Russ… Let me explain.

You are NOT free to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre

Right, because this goes from being an individual right to one that affects others. I can yell fire all I want to in my own home, or in my car, or on my motorcycle, etc. It affects only me. But when my actions DIRECTLY affect others, then it is something that can and should be regulated.

You are NOT free to dump toxic wastes on “YOUR” property

Well, you are, or should be, as long as those toxic wastes do not affect anyone else’s private property. However, in most cases it doesn’t so there are regulations about that.

You are NOT free to expose yourself to others in public (wow, my freedom of expression is being supressed!!)

Again, see the first answer. If it affects only you and other consenting adults, yes. If it affects others, then no.

You are NOT free to cross the intersection on a red light

Actually, you are in many cases. There are laws and there are guidelines and that is the sticky wicket, isn’t it?

Let me ask you, you approach a red light at 3:00am in the morning. You need to get to the hospital in a hurry. There is no one around and you can see that you would not endanger anyone by ignoring the light. Are you ‘free’ to do so?

You are NOT free to drive a Motorcycle without a license, registration, and in many states MANDATORY INSURANCE!! —

Yes, that mandatory insurance is not on yourself though, is it? These are things we do to ensure that your actions don’t affect others DIRECTLY. You have to have insurance on the liability you can present to another individual, but you are NOT required to have insurance on yourself, that is your INDIVIDUAL RIGHT.

So what was this about either you have individual freedom or you don’t?

You do have individual rights as long as your actions don’t encroach upon the individual rights of others. It’s a clear and easy concept to understand I think…

Yes or no, black or white, no inbetween????

Yes.

Give me a Break! f that is how you feel then the answer has to be

we don’t —

Unfortunately, we have violated that ideal, but it is the one we founded the country upon. Sad, isn’t it?

so I guess you better move to some country that allows total individual freedom if that is what you believe in.

We live in one, or this one USED to until the progressives decided that social engineering was more important than individuals.

But methinks that’s going to be pretty hard to do, cause you ain’t gonna find it eh? Unless you buy your own island and live on it by yourself.

So, you are of the ‘if you don’t like it leave idiocy?’ I’ll remember that the next time something happens that you don’t like, I’ll just say ‘if you don’t like it, leave!’ That’s a great thing to know for future reference.

Posted by: rhinehold at May 7, 2009 2:34 PM
Comment #281423

russ, your comment quoted below violates our Rules for Participation. This is your only warning to comply with our rules or find your comment privilges at this web site suspended.

“the lengths you paranoid people will go!”

Posted by: WatchBlog Manager at May 7, 2009 2:40 PM
Comment #281430

The troops refused to have their medical insurance privatized - ‘nuff said.

Posted by: Max at May 7, 2009 5:19 PM
Comment #281435

russ

“It is real easy to be stupid when somebody else gets to foot the bill.”

now this i agree with.

Posted by: dbs at May 7, 2009 6:55 PM
Comment #281456

Our heath care system is designed to maximize profit, until we change our campaign financing I don’t see that changing. Our health care reform will just pump more money into that black hole we call our health care system. They tell me 3/4”s of the people declaring bankruptcy for health reasons had insurance, but it didn’t pay enough. So you scrimp and save all your life to buy insurance, and then when you get sick you declare bankruptcy. It’s a great way to generate corporate profit, but a terrible way to run health care.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at May 8, 2009 4:24 PM
Comment #281496

dbs agreed with: “It is real easy to be stupid when somebody else gets to foot the bill.”

dbs, that’s the advantage of having everyone foot the bill. Everyone foots the bill for our military, and they seem to have a record of being the smartest and most capable military on Earth. War is dumb where ever and whenever avoidable. Our military is very smart. Smart bombs, smart drones, smart weaponry, smart camouflage, smart lasers, smart cloaking and stealth. All funded by everyone and contracted out to the absolute highest bidders and monopolies.

Perhaps if our Congress were paid by mandatory minimum contributions every April 15 as a line item on tax forms, leaving open the opportunity for voters to contribute more than the minimum on that line, we might get smarter governance, fiscal management and contracting practices from our politicians like we do from our military.

Of course, voters ALWAYS have the option to vote for a challenger instead of their incumbent, if they want Congress to change the way it does things. They just aren’t aware of that option and the political parties do their best to insure they remain ignorant of that most obvious course of action. Voting Out Incumbents routinely in the wake of poor governance is the only true path to effective democratic voting.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 11, 2009 12:52 AM
Comment #281517

Rhinhold said:

Why should you be paying for the stupidity of others? You shouldn’t. That is MY point, thanks for making it.

Since when most people get sick due to their stupidity? Parkinson? Alzeihmer? Breast cancer? Brain cancer? These are costly deceases, but none are due to stupid choice made by patients.

Nobody have total control over its own health.
Please, be serious: a largest part of health cost are not due to stupid behavior but long time deceases. It’s true in every developed nations with an health care system reporting statistics.

Stop insulting sick/wounded people by spreading the idea that’s their fault.

PS: don’t try to clone french health system, because at the current rate Sarkozy’s bills are turning it into your current one, you will see no difference.


Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 12, 2009 7:06 AM
Comment #281557

Philippe, try talking about what I write. Everyone gets sick, but not having insurance or putting yourself in a position to take care of it yourself is stupid.

Notice the difference?

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 14, 2009 12:59 PM
Post a comment