Health Care Reform: How Bad is It?

Screaming HomerOne of the most-linked posts on Memeorandum this morning is Cornell lawprof William Jacobson‘s post  explaining why he hates the health care reform bill that we’re one step closer to enacting into law.

  • Yes, it is that bad. The Democrats are about to put in place the legislative, regulatory and bureaucratic infrastructure for a complete government takeover of health care. Just read the comments from the supporters and you will see a common theme — this is just the beginning. They know it, we know it, and Ben Nelson knows it but doesn’t care because he scored some pork for his home state, just like Mary Landrieu
  • This is the worst of Washington. Payoffs, lies, deceit, and deception. Oddly enough, I’ve come to have more respect for the left-wing advocates of single-payer than the so-called moderates who will sell their principles for money. At least the left-wing has principles, even if I disagree with those principles. The moderates like Nelson and Landrieu have no principles, at least none that cannot be sold.
  • Where is Evan Bayh? His silence has been deafening.
  • How amazing is the number of circumstances which caused this perfect storm, without any one of which we wouldn’t be on Obama’s precipice: Massachusetts changes its rules for a second time to allow appointment of a Democrat in Kennedy’s place rather than having to wait for the special election; Al Franken outmaneuvers and out-litigates Norm Coleman to steal the Minnesota race; Rahm Emanuel recruits “blue dog” Democratic wolves in sheep’s clothing and people fall for it; the media covers up the Obama agenda during the campaign, portraying Obama falsely as a moderate; [added] George Allen says “Macaca,” and so on.
  • Democrats do not care about the 2010 election cycle, or 2012. Obama has said it. He’d rather get his restructuring of society in place and be a one-term president, than be a two-term president and not succeed in perfecting our imperfections.
  • There is a slight, slight chance this legislation can be stopped in the House, so don’t give up until the last vote is taken.

He’s hoping that the voter’s stage a “legal insurrection” by voting the “throwing out the bums who voted for it” next November and rescind Obamacare.

While I’m all for that, shouldn’t the fact that Progressives are hopping mad about the compromise give Republicans some solace?   Well, more mainstream Democrats are crowing about the achievement.

Ezra Klein looks on the bright side:

This is a good bill. Not a great bill, but a good bill. Imagine telling a Democrat in the days after the 2004 election that the 2006 election would end Republican control of Congress, the 2008 election would return a Democrat to the White House, and by the 2010 election, Democrats would have passed a bill extending health-care coverage to 94 percent of Americans, securing trillions of dollars in subsidies for low-income Americans (the bill’s $900 billion cost is calculated over 10 years, but the subsidies continue indefinitely into the future), and imposing a raft of new regulations on private insurers. It is, without doubt or competition, the single largest social policy advance since the Great Society.

Jonathan Chait crows,

The United States is on the doorstep of comprehensive health care reform. It’s a staggering achievement, about which I’ll have more to say later. but the under-appreciated thing that strikes me at the moment is that it never would have happened if the Republican Party had played its cards right.

[…]

The Republicans eschewed a halfway compromise and put all their chips on an all or nothing campaign to defeat health care and Obama’s presidency. It was an audacious gamble. They lost. In the end, they’ll walk away with nothing. The Republicans may gain some more seats in 2010 by their total obstruction, but the substantive policy defeat they’ve been dealt will last for decades.

Why, even Vice President Biden is at it:

IF I were still a United States senator, I would not only vote yes on the current health care reform bill, I would do so with the sure knowledge that I was casting one of the most historic votes of my 36 years in the Senate. I would vote yes knowing that the bill represents the culmination of a struggle begun by Theodore Roosevelt nearly a century ago to make health care reform a reality.

[…]

If the bill passes the Senate this week, there will be more chances to make changes to it before it becomes law. But if the bill dies this week, there is no second chance to vote yes. What those who care about health insurance reform need to realize is that unless we get 60 votes now, there will be no health care reform at all. Not this year, not in this Congress — and maybe not for another generation.

So, the answer is that it’s pretty bad — historically bad, even — if you’re a believer in limited government and pretty good if you believe in more government control.  And once the mechanisms for government to dictate the terms of insurance contracts and so forth are put in place, they’ll never go away.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. steve says:

    This bill achieved what was talked about during the election, it expanded coverage. It is not a particularly bad bill, but it does have potential IMHO. It will be a bad bill if there is no follow up. Assuming it passes, not a sure thing, costs need to be addressed next. I would predict Republican resistance there also, note how they resisted Medicare cuts, but I suspect a few will come over for that cause. I wish Republicans had granted one or two people permission to vote for this in exchange for tort reform.

    Steve

  2. William Myers says:

    Let’s hear it for a complete government takeover, the sooner the better! We should be ashamed of ourselves that the USofA is only Third World in health care!

  3. kth says:

    By way of analogy: suppose we were just now universalizing the school system, but also that private schools were an enormous sector of the economy.

    The Senate bill would be like if we forced people to buy tuition for their children to private schools, and forced the private schools to accept everyone who came through their doors, and didn’t allow them to charge more for children that are harder to educate.

    That would seem like a gross intrusion on the liberties of the private schools and the parents–until you compare that hypothetical with the path we chose: taxing everyone (not just the parents), and having the government operate the schools itself. Right now, private schools are relatively free of restrictions–and also fairly superfluous in the face of a universal entitlement to public education. A similar path could have been pursued wrt health insurers, that would have left them freer–and much smaller.

  4. Herb says:

    Unlike William Myers, I’m not looking forward to a “complete government takeover of health care,” but then again, I think it bears pointing out:

    Regardless of your fears on the negative ramifications of this bill, it is NOT a “complete government takeover of health care” and anyone who claims it is either being dishonest or hysterical.

    As for this:

    “He’s hoping that the voter’s stage a “legal insurrection” by voting the “throwing out the bums who voted for it” next November and rescind Obamacare.”

    This may just be dejection talking, but there are a few steps between “vote the bums out” and “rescind Obamacare.”

    Republicans seeking election can appeal to the “complete government takeover” crowd with no problem…but what do they have to say to everyone else?

  5. Mark says:

    My kid is currently in the hospital in a major urban city. The costs approximate $15,000 per day. We’ve been here four and likely will be for as many more.

    But I’m a lucky man with adequate health insurance and it’s going to cost me $1,000, total.

    Walking these halls though, in a city with a large uninsured population, I can’t imagine how many here have the madness of a looming bankruptcy placed on top of an already incredibly stressful heap of shit.

    I’ve long been a supporter of expanding access to care and believe the market has and will continue to fail on this score. This past week’s experience, and my own good fortune, have only clarified the point.

    Bring on the government. For millions of people, it surely can’t do worse.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    So, the answer is that it’s pretty bad — historically bad, even — if you’re a believer in limited government and pretty good if you believe in more government control.

    Nonsense limited government isn’t incompatible with a welfare state (see e.g. Denmark). The bottom line is that the private sector delivers health care outcomes that are barely on par with the rest of the world, at a significantly higher cost and with a large percentage of people uncovered. Government health care systems do it cheaper, cover more people, and provide good outcomes. The European experience proves this. You can’t argue with facts, much as people like to try.

  7. Right on, Alex Knapp!

  8. Exactly right, Mark!

    I’ll be saying prayers for your child’s recovery and good health!

  9. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Mark, where do you think the money comes from? Next, explain why my money should pay for your bills. I want a new Bugatti super car. Cost, about 2 million. You going to pay for it or can I get the government to spring. Wait until government tells you how much money you get for the work you do. Freedom is not free, but slavery is very expensive, for the slaves.

  10. Mark writes:

    My kid is currently in the hospital in a major urban city

    .
    ZR3 writes:

    Mark, where do you think the money comes from? Next, explain why my money should pay for your bills. I want a new Bugatti super car.

    Because the life of someone’s child is exactly like a sports car.

    Republicans, ladies and gentlemen, Republicans.

  11. Shame on Zelsdorf Ragshaft III for having~~not to mention expressing in public!~~such an evil attitude! Shame on you!

  12. anjin-san says:

    explain why my money should pay for your bills

    Anyone can have a catastrophic illness or accident Rags. Lets say, God forbid, that tomorrow you are driving along minding your own business, and a drunk driver slams into your car.

    You wake up in the hospital, a quadriplegic. Your insurance does not cover everything, and the bills mount very quickly. Your home needs to be retrofitted for a wheelchair. You probably need a nurse at home at least part time to help care for you. You can’t work.

    In less than a year, you will be broke. With no real prospect of ever getting out from under. Guys like Mark that you never met will be helping to support you and your family for the rest of your life.

    It has happened to people I know…

  13. anjin-san says:

    BTW Mark, I will keep a good thought for your family. My wife and I have spend nearly 100k in the last 5 years on care for our son, who is seriously ill. God knows where we would be without some of the government programs that have helped, when someone is that sick 20K a year is not that much money, so there have been a lot of gaps. Thank God there are some government programs to help, or we would probably be bankrupt by now.

    Our household income is in the top 5% for the country, and we sure as hell can’t afford to cover all the costs. .

  14. Mark says:

    The money comes from the citizens and the priorities they set for their government. Thankfully, more people in the last two elections have priorities similar to mine, so instead of our tax dollars going to causes that I find unseemly (preemtive warfare and the like), we can spend a fraction of the DOD’s annual tab on making sure people don’t go broke because they got sick. Or better yet, actually survive common illness in the richest country the world has ever known…because they got to go a doctor.

    But yeah, rhetoric about slavery is super effective. Keep up the good work, Ragshaft. I only pray the right follows your lead rather than James’.

    p.s. thanks for the kind words. I obviously was trying to make a point not searching for sympathy, but prayers are prayers!

  15. Herb says:

    Sorry, William, but Zels is a reliable right-wing nutjob…or a Colbert-like spoofer. I haven’t quite figured out which one, but he has a tendency to react to issues, not think about them.

    But with that said…his questions deserve an answer:

    “Mark, where do you think the money comes from? Next, explain why my money should pay for your bills.”

    The answer to the first question is: from the tax payer.

    The answer to the second question is: If you’re a taxpayer, YOUR money may pay for someone else, but someone else’s money may pay for YOU. It’s a two-way street.

    This is how taxes work in the real world. Show me the taxpayer who pays and pays and pays and doesn’t receive a single service or benefit from having paid.

  16. James Joyner says:

    Nonsense limited government isn’t incompatible with a welfare state (see e.g. Denmark).

    I suppose you can define “limited” in such a way that government accounts for half the economy.

    The bottom line is that the private sector delivers health care outcomes that are barely on par with the rest of the world, at a significantly higher cost and with a large percentage of people uncovered. Government health care systems do it cheaper, cover more people, and provide good outcomes. The European experience proves this.

    Apples and oranges. You’re comparing aggregate results of people who are all covered with a system with a wide variety of coverages. Beyond that, we have far more violent crime, other trauma injuries, and the like, all of which have a huge impact on the aggregate outcomes.

  17. Whether nutjob or spoofer, it’s antisocial even evil of Zeis to expres such things publicly!

  18. Stan says:

    What exactly do you say, Dr. Joyner, to people like Mark and anjin-san who have seriously ill children but don’t have health insurance?Do you suggest they pray? How about crime? Or should they just pull their kids out of the hospital and let them die at home? Do you have any idea how heartless you sound?

  19. Mark says:

    Seems to me, James, you prove the opposite point with your rebuttal.

    The fact that people are healthier in societies where everyone is covered is…reason for everyone to be covered!

    And “a system with a wide variety of coverages” is a fairly cute euphemism for “some with real insurance, some with kind-of-insurance and some with none.” That’s the most obvious sort of system for a market, with profit motives at the core vice healthier outcomes, to produce. And again, it’s reason enough for reform.

  20. […] Health Care Reform: How Bad is It?. […]

  21. Alex Knapp says:

    I suppose you can define “limited” in such a way that government accounts for half the economy.

    Half the economy is a bit of an exaggeration, but a government can be big but still be limited. The two concepts are not synonymous.

    Apples and oranges. You’re comparing aggregate results of people who are all covered with a system with a wide variety of coverages.

    And yet we spend the most per capita by a mile of any other industrialized country.

    Beyond that, we have far more violent crime, other trauma injuries, and the like, all of which have a huge impact on the aggregate outcomes.

    And when you control for those factors–for example, looking at heart disease and cancer stats, we still spend a significant amount more money than other countries with nothing to show for it. Americans have less access, less coverage, and equal or lesser outcomes for three times as much money as anybody else.

  22. steve says:

    From Frans de Waal’s recent piece.

    In a recent presidential debate, no fewer than three Republican candidates raised their hand in response to the question: “Who doesn’t believe in evolution?” American conservatives are social Darwinists rather than real Darwinists. Social Darwinism argues against helping the sick and poor, since nature intends them either to survive on their own or perish. Too bad if some people have no health insurance, so the argument goes, so long as those who can afford it do. This year, senator Jon Kyl of Arizona went one step further — causing an outcry in the media and protests in his home state — by voting against coverage of maternity care. He himself had never had any need for it, he explained

    http://www.thersa.org/fellowship/journal/features/features/how-bad-biology-killed-the-economy

    James-I guess I believe you are sincere about smaller government, but it is clear that your party is not. It seems to me that we are past that argument and on to what we will spend on, foreing wars of choice or health care.

    Steve

  23. Alex:

    You’re arguing facts vs. ideology. And really, what are mere facts when weighed against the quasi-religious needs of ideologues?

  24. James Joyner says:

    Mark:

    The fact that people are healthier in societies where everyone is covered is…reason for everyone to be covered!

    Sure. But we’re continuing down a worst of all worlds path. We’re not doing single payer or a socialized system where everyone gets access to the system. Instead, we’re fixing the problem of people who can’t afford insurance by mucking up the system even further rather than just subsidizing the cost of their insurance.

    I’d rather be an American with good insurance than a Brit forced to rely on the NHS. The latter isn’t a nightmare — it’s a decent baseline system — but I’d rather have what I have than what a middle class Brit does.

    Stan:

    What exactly do you say, Dr. Joyner, to people like Mark and anjin-san who have seriously ill children but don’t have health insurance?Do you suggest they pray?

    I think I answered that above. I’m for expanding the safety net. But the path we’re on — forcing people to buy coverage and putting bizarre regulations on private companies — doesn’t make much sense to me.

  25. But we’re continuing down a worst of all worlds path.

    Worst for whom? Not worst for me. Not worst for people who are being denied health care, or health insurance under the current system. Not worst for people who lose their health insurance when they lose their job. Not worst for people who will be forced into homeless shelters when their kids get sick.

    In fact, the evidence is that we already have the worst. The most expensive health care in the developed world, distributed with the least fairness of any health care in the developed world. We are the worst. We’re living in the worst. And all the GOP has to offer is continuation of that worst.

    Why do conservatives offer nothing? Because as is usual with conservatives you don’t see an inch beyond the limits of a gated community in some prosperous suburb. You are as a species utterly lacking in imagination. It’s the key intellectual factor that defines the conservative: lack of imagination. You lack the capacity to see yourselves and your family in any circumstances other than the present ones. You cannot imagine the day when the Joyner family will have a terribly sick child and no insurance, and now way to save that child’s life without giving up everything you have.

    Imagination. It’s that capacity for imagination that motivated the liberal to stand for civil rights in decades past, and motivates liberals to defend the rights of gays today. It’s why we see conservatives suddenly become aware of injustice only when it directly affects them. Is there a chance in hell Dick Cheney would support gay rights if he didn’t have a gay daughter? No. Because he lacks the capacity to imagine.

    There’s a reason why every creative on earth is a liberal.

  26. Bravo for you, Michael Reynolds, & bravo for the party of Jefferson & Jackson, & for the illuminati that in this dear & ill-freighted country of ours do dwell! Republicans are a sorry sort!

  27. Herb says:

    Wow, Michael, that was a real kick in the nuts…Emotional and a bit shrill, sure, but not undeserved.

    After all, in his latest comment, James is arguing with a straw man:
    “I’d rather be an American with good insurance than a Brit forced to rely on the NHS.”

    So??? Obamacare isn’t even close to the NHS. It doesn’t even have a public option.

    Why would you rather be an American under the status quo than an American under Obamacare?

  28. Duracomm says:

    Michael,

    We are more expensive because the other nations freeload on the innovations our market produces.

    We are more expensive because our patient demographics are vastly different than other countries.

    Folks who talk about expenses without accounting for those differences are not serious about the issue.

    Remember when the canadians had to send high risk pregnancies to the US because there were not enough canadian doctors to handle the patient load?

    Where are the US patients going to go when that happens here?

    Medical innovation means that patients today have vastly better options than past patients did. The proposed bill is going to slow medical innovation.

    The reduction in innovation is going to cause vast amounts of harm and suffering to all patients.

  29. Herb says:

    Ha! Apropos of my last comment, here’s Matthew Yglesias:

    But the larger reason I don’t think this will get repealed is that a staggering quantity of opposition to this bill is fake. It’s fake in two ways. In part, people have been pretending to believe things they don’t believe. For example, lately Chuck Grassley has been pretending to oppose an individual mandate to buy health insurance. In the past, however, he’s supported such a mandate. And insurance companies will want the mandate to be made stronger, not weaker. Then there are people opposing the legislation over provisions that they’re pretending exist. Grassley, for example, is very worried about death panels but since there are no death panels he can’t actually repeal them.

    Like Obamacare’s nonexistent similarity to the UK’s NHS.

  30. Duracomm says:

    Did somebody say that the European system is the way to go?

    Anger as French health cuts unveiled

    Unions and MPs fight reforms of service soon to be £8.7bn in red

    According to the ministry, the French health system, ranked the best in the world four years ago, is now losing €23,000 (£15,554) a minute; it will end this year €13bn (£8.7bn) in the red, and could collapse altogether by 2020.

  31. Duracomm:

    Baloney.

    We are not the source of all medical innovation. France, the UK, Canada and Switzerland all make very major contributions to medical technology, techniques and pharmaceuticals.

    We do not have unique demographics. Canada, France and the UK have diverse populations.

    These excuses are just that: excuses. You are inventing excuses for what is a broad-based, systemic failure. You are inventing excuses for abject incompetence and an inferior system.

    The key difference is not that we are bearing three times the burden of innovation, or that our population is three times as diverse (by the way, are Mexicans especially big consumers of health care?)

    The key difference is that we are a country dominated by conservative, free market ideologues who care more about stuffing the pockets of chief executives than they do about the health of the American people. So we’re paying three times as much money for the same net effect as everyone else.

    Why exactly people are defending their right to pay double or triple is a mystery to me. Would you be defending your right to pay three times as much for a car?

    It’s ideological madness. Blindness. A complete failure of imagination and empathy, and more of the same toadying to the rich that we’ve seen nearly destroy the economy.

  32. kth says:

    I’d rather be an American with good insurance than a Brit forced to rely on the NHS.

    Who wouldn’t? I’d also rather be wealthy than poor, as well as 6 feet tall, young, tanned, and ripped rather than (as I sadly am) middle-aged, pale, and dumpy.

    But if I had to choose between health care access for a person taken at random from the UK versus a similarly random outcome from the US, I’d lean towards the UK. And if the choices included France, Canada, and Japan, there would be no hesitation.

  33. Duracomm says:

    Here is some more information on the european health care systems.

    The cancer death rates in those systems are significantly higher than the US death rates from the same diseases.

    10,000 Unnecessary Cancer Deaths (in Britain)

    However, comparisons with US statistics suggest that cancer survival in Europe is still lagging behind the United States.

    The reports are published online August 21 in Lancet Oncology and scheduled for the September issue ….

    The greatest differences were seen in the major cancer sites:

    colon and rectum (56.2% in Europe vs 65.5% in the United States),

    breast (79.0% vs 90.1%),

    and prostate cancer (77.5% vs 99.3%),

    and this “probably represents differences in the timeliness of diagnosis,” they comment.

    That in turn stems from the more intensive screening for cancer carried out in the United States,

    There goes the nationalization supporters myth that nationalized systems have better preventative care than the free market US system.

    The free market system in the US provides significantly better results and less human suffering when compared to the nationalized European systems.

    Supporters of a more european style system in the US are supporting more human suffering.

  34. You’re still right on the money~~ yes, pun~~ Michael Reynolds! Comparisons are indeed odious, but you, kth, Mark, Alex Knapp, angin-san, & I all get an A+!

  35. sam says:

    @Duracomm

    The free market system in the US provides significantly better results and less human suffering when compared to the nationalized European systems.

    Duradude, to paraphrase Candide, if this is the best of all possible health care systems, what in God’s name are the others like? Oh, wait, we have an answer, and from Matt Welch, archlibertarian no less, writing on Reason’s website:

    Why I Prefer French Health Care
    The U.S. system’s deep flaws make socialism more tempting

    To put it plainly, when free marketers warn that Democratic health care initiatives will make us more “like France,” a big part of me says, “I wish.” It’s not that I think it’s either feasible or advisable for the United States to adopt a single-payer, government-dominated system. But it’s instructive to confront the comparative advantages of one socialist system abroad to sharpen the arguments for more capitalism at home.

    For a dozen years now I’ve led a dual life, spending more than 90 percent of my time and money in the U.S. while receiving 90 percent of my health care in my wife’s native France. On a personal level the comparison is no contest: I’ll take the French experience any day. ObamaCare opponents often warn that a new system will lead to long waiting times, mountains of paperwork, and less choice among doctors. Yet on all three of those counts the French system is significantly better, not worse, than what the U.S. has now.

  36. Herb says:

    I’m reading along with your comments, Michael, nodding along, agreeing with every word. And then I read this:

    “The key difference is that we are a country dominated by conservative, free market ideologues who care more about stuffing the pockets of chief executives than they do about the health of the American people.”

    I only agree with half of that. I don’t think conservative free market ideologues –at least the ones I know– care more about stuffing the pockets of CEOs than America’s health.

    I think it’s something worse: A complete lack of perspective.

    “So people will die and go bankrupt and not get the treatment they need,” they seem to say. “So what? At least we’re not spreading the wealth!”

    I mean, listen to Duracomm argue that the French healthcare system sucks because it’s losing money. Um…dude…it wasn’t designed to make money. It was designed to provide people healthcare.

    Does it do that? Well, let’s ask Matt Welch, contributor to Reason magazine: Yes!

  37. Alex Knapp says:

    @Duracomm –

    Your link does not contain those numbers, so it’s impossible to make an analysis.

    The information that I’ve found shows that France and Japan produce equal or superior outcomes:

    http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20080716/cancer-survival-rates-vary-by-country

  38. Alex Knapp says:

    And keep in mind, Duracomm, that the link above refers to the exact same Lancet study that you claim to be citing.

  39. Our Paul says:

    A round of applause and hosannas to James Joyner for presenting this stimulating thread. I will save my Hallelujah Chorus for when the bill passes, but I will practice my Handel on Christmas Eve.

    Alex, you have to understand the conundrum brother Joyner faces:

    If he accepts comparison of any piece of the OECD data with the U.S. medical or financial outcomes, the ball game is over. We have an identifiable problem, which has to be solved, or ignored at your own peril.

    If he accepts only U.S. data, the per annual rise in health care costs being higher than gains on gross national product or wages, the ball game is over. The system is unsustainable, it will collapse.

    Dr. Joyner is in a rigid black box. By denying data, he cannot provide any solutions. By not modifying his small government ideology, he excludes practically all solutions…

    Jonathan Chate assuredly is not crowing when he has this to say:

    The Republicans may gain some more seats in 2010 by their total obstruction, but the substantive policy defeat they’ve been dealt will last for decades.

    The Cato Institute way back in 2008 started this drumbeat against Obama’s Presidential bid.

    Chate was wrong in one thing. The Conservative, Libertarian, GOP camp would never recover from a meaningful compromise. Destroy Health Care reform, and there was a chance of return to power. If any meaningful reform slips through, the Obama Presidency is transformational…

    Cheer up James, until the fat lady sings the ball is still in play.

  40. anjin-san says:

    I’d rather be an American with good insurance than a Brit forced to rely on the NHS.

    Well, duh! Hopefully you and you wife will enjoy smooth career paths, and never suffer an unanticipated layoff. The fall from being a well paid professional to being unemployed is a long one indeed, and I don’t know too many people in today’s economy who don’t have to worry about it.

  41. steve says:

    1) The cancer stats are usually misleading. We diagnose and treat everything right away. There are a number of cancers that are slow growing that they just follow and do not treat unless they turn aggressive. The patients live just as long.

    2) The French protest over almost everything. Their system is cheaper. They worry much more about costs than we do.

    Steve

  42. RLN says:

    My wife and I are the parents of 10 children. We have worked hard to raise them right. We follow a healthy diet. We are seldom sick, but when we do get sick, we use herbs and rest and prayer and get better. We do not have health insurance. We do not want to be told we have to get health insurance as we disagree with the medical profession’s love of antibiotics, vaccines, pharmaceuticals and symptom treatment rather than treating the cause. For me and my family it is a matter faith to rely on God and His plan rather than the Federal gov’t for our well being. If we end up having to go to a hospital for trauma care, we will pay the bill ourselves, just like every other bill that we have incurred in almost 20 years of marriage. By the way, we qualify for Medicaid now. Never have used it and find no comfort in it being available. I resent the unending march toward a Federal gov’t that wants to tell me and my family how we need to go about every little item in our lives. America used to be exceptional, after reading these arguments about the need for the gov’t to step in and take care of our medical needs it is clear to me why we are no longer exceptional. Carry on ladies.

  43. anjin-san says:

    after reading these arguments about the need for the gov’t to step in and take care of our medical needs it is clear to me why we are no longer exceptional. Carry on ladies.

    I guess the church you attend skipped all that compassion stuff. I have two relatives with life threatening, chronic illnesses. We have made extraordinary sacrafices to help care for them. Thats ok, that is what family is for. But we can only do so much, and we have more resources than most. Even so, we can’t provide them all the care they need. Without some government help, they would both probably be dead now.

    What is your message to them RLN? “Sorry, Charlie, guess God does not love you?”

    Mark 6:34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

  44. RLN says:

    Actually, anjin-san, we have given money and food and housing to many who needed help to get through health related problems. Some were friends, some were strangers, all were in need and we happened to have the resources, or knew others who did, to help them out. Not once did we send them to the gov’t to get help.

    Interesting verse you chose. You didn’t finish it, though. Verse 34 ends with “So He began teaching them.” Later, we read that it was getting late, time for dinner. He fed them. They weren’t sent away to the nearby towns to get food all on their own, they were fed by none other the God Himself. A God that can feed 5,000 men can certainly provide for my family of 12 and He does.

  45. Obamacare: How Bad Is It?…

    Cornell law prof William Jacobson’s unhappy: Yes, it is that bad. The Democrats are about to put in place the legislative, regulatory and bureaucratic infrastructure for a complete government takeover of health care. Just read the comments from the su…

  46. Alex Knapp says:

    RLN,

    For me and my family it is a matter faith to rely on God and His plan rather than the Federal gov’t for our well being.

    How do you know that it isn’t part of God’s plan to have the Federal government ensure that the poor who cannot afford health care will have access to care?

  47. Drew says:

    Sometimes these threads make you laugh, sometimes cry, sometimes shake your head. In particular, Michael Reynolds is being particularly dishonest.

    In a thread long ago (at OTB and GE) he made it quite clear he was angry about being denied coverage because of a hyperlipidemia issue. If I recall correctly, he was unable to secure new individual insurance coverage when he moved from North Carolina to California. His solution and advocacy? Put his personal problem onto the general population.

    Does my derision sound cold? Well, in the same thread he informed us he was a very successfull writer who made millions of dollars and paid gazillions in taxes. Yet, in his view, his problem was everyman’s to pay for, not his.

    Worse, he told us he was pissed that to fix this problem he was advised he should join a group program, and it might cost him tax /tax advice costs. Egad!! (I even sent him a note: create a tax passthrough entity like an LLC to avoid those costs.) So we have our big bucks, big taxpaying writer bitching about marginal costs for his health care as a predicate for totally upheaving the US health care system.

    Typical liberal. I’ve got a problem. I’ve got an issue. By God, someone else has to pay, not me.

    In fly over country we have a description for these people: Common parasites.

  48. RLN says:

    Alex, good question. The best I can answer is that I have the Bible to tell me about the nature of God and when you see Him building the nation of Israel He is directing the nation and the nation is acknowledging Him and His leadership. When He is not at the head of the gov’t, it fails. David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Jehu and other kings were blessed because they followed the Lord, gave Him the glory and enjoyed Israel’s prosperity. Today, I live in a country that may pay lip service to Him, but little more. I have yet to hear Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or President Obama give the glory to God for their efforts. If God was behind it, we’d hear about it from the men and women that put Him first and do the work for His glory. On that count, all we’re hearing are crickets.

  49. Drew says:

    I’m also fascinated by the overreliance on catastrophic anecdotes.

    If we relied on my long advocated solutions we could provide catastrophic insurance to everyone.

    But our system covers hang nails and the sniffles, making it too expensive to do what an insurance system should: cover catastrophies.

    Come clean, lefties, you just want a comprehensive entitlement program. You don’t want a viable insurance program.

  50. Franklin says:

    Whether nutjob or spoofer, it’s antisocial even evil of Zeis to expres such things publicly!

    Dude, let him express himself. It tells the rest of us who the idiots are.

  51. Brett says:

    William Jacobsen’s fear is music to my ears. He’s part of the usual “American-Health-Care-is-the-best-in-the-world-By-God!” crowd, which I suppose is a perk of being a tenured professor at a legacy institution.

    There goes the nationalization supporters myth that nationalized systems have better preventative care than the free market US system.

    I love how you quote “European” statistics (which includes the wealthy western and northern european countries as well as the more impoverished eastern and southeastern ones). How about we compare “North American statistics on cancer survival” including Mexico?

    “So people will die and go bankrupt and not get the treatment they need,” they seem to say. “So what? At least we’re not spreading the wealth!”

    That’s fairly close in some cases, usually from the libertarian types. I remember reading in T.R. Reid’s book about a conservative commentator’s response to a question that was basically, “If two boys – one poor and one rich – get sick with the same cancer, do they deserve equal treatment?”. The commentator replied on the lines of “no, we shouldn’t, because in order to do so we’d have to distribute the wealth, the rich family would fight it, and we’d all end up poorer.”

    That said, there are some legitimate conservative concerns. Many are concerned about budget issues. I think this is over-stated, and generally results from an overall unwillingness to consider raising taxes in any form, even though we’re actually lower than historic tax rates over the twentieth century – but it is a concern.

    Combine that with an overly optimistic view of private charity and the market (seriously, go ask the late 19th century America, or various countries where there are no forms of government assistance, how well that worked out for them), and an overly pessimistic view of government aid (which tends to brush off other examples from other societies because they’re not exactly like America – as if America somehow sprung wholly from the earth, uninfluenced and unshaped by other factors throughout history), and you get the conservative position.

  52. anjin-san says:

    Not once did we send them to the gov’t to get help.

    What’s wrong with getting help from the government, as long as those who need help get it? Probably half of the homeless in this country are mentally ill. Their sheer numbers suggest that the good works of churches, individual and foundations are not getting the job done. The problem is so large that it needs to be addressed with resources from across the spectrum of our society. What is wrong with that?

  53. Drew:

    In fly over country we have a description for these people: Common parasites.

    I assume you put Mark above in the same category? Parasite with a sick kid?

    It’s a bit ridiculous to accuse me of being dishonest when you quote chapter and verse on things I’ve freely divulged. I stated the facts as they relate to me. You repeat them and accuse me of dishonesty. Want to explain that?

    And how exactly am I a parasite if I state — again, quite clearly — that I’m willing to pay an insurance premium appropriate to my presumed risks? My complaint was not about my costs, it was about the sheer bloody-minded stupidity of a system that won’t insure me unless I jump through some entirely unrelated hoops.

    Come to think of it, since you accept that I pay a fairly impressive amount of tax, how am I a parasite in any way, shape or form? I don’t know precisely what I’ve paid the federal government, but I can say it is safely into the mid single figure millions.

    So I’m a parasite despite paying millions, and I’m dishonest despite having openly explained my own position.

    Let’s see how honest you are Drew. If you’re honest you’ll apologize.

    What guys like you don’t get is that my own personal axe is not the main reason I support health care reform. Odds are pretty good that I can self-pay my way through most scenarios. (Although again, to be completely honest, I’ve done a pretty good job of squandering my money.)

    The reason I support HCR has only a little to do with me, and a great deal to do with working class people whose lives are ruined by illnesses and who in many cases are blatantly defrauded by health insurers.

    In point of fact if taxes are raised to cover the cost of insuring more people I imagine I’ll be right in the line of fire. Which would make me one of the guys volunteering to pay more tax so Mark doesn’t have to end up living in a homeless shelter.

    Just another example of my parasitism.

    I’ll repeat: Republicans, ladies and gentlemen, Republicans.

  54. anjin-san says:

    In fly over country we have a description for these people: Common parasites.

    Thank you Mr. Potter…

  55. Galileo says:

    “What’s wrong with getting help from the government”, says anjin-san in response to RLN’s “we have given money and food and housing to many who needed help to get through health related problems. Some were friends, some were strangers, all were in need and we happened to have the resources, or knew others who did, to help them out. Not once did we send them to the gov’t to get help.”

    This neatly encapsulates the difference between a good, charitable, person, who freely gives what they own to others (RLN) and a bludging oppressor, who uses the coercive power of the state to take from some and give to others (anjin-san). Christ, like the bible, advocated charity (ie given of one’s own volition) and condemned theft.

  56. floyd says:

    Well, the Bolshevik lie has found itself lodged once again in the weak minds of cowards,who sell themselves into slavery for false promises made by men who lie to them in jest.
    Looks like “fear itself” is enough to fear, and “Lady Liberty” will die at the hands of a feverish minded lynch mob.

    OR …. Wait…. could it be that we instead are the weak and huddled masses, powerless and daunted at the prospect of self determination, about to be rescued in the nick of time by Big Brother himself proffering a progressive Utopia?

    Which is most plausible? Who is more realistic?
    The Cynic or the Golem?

  57. Galileo:

    This neatly encapsulates the difference between a good, charitable, person, who freely gives what they own to others (RLN) and a bludging oppressor, who uses the coercive power of the state to take from some and give to others (anjin-san). Christ, like the bible, advocated charity (ie given of one’s own volition) and condemned theft.

    Yes. Which I suppose explains why the best and freest nations on earth are those with the least government: Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Chad, Haiti. While Denmark, Canada, Netherlands, France, Germany, and the US are living hells in which the populations are reduced to slavery.

    Brilliant.

    Every single one of the richest nations on earth redistribute income. Every single one. ‘Splain that, will you?

  58. sam says:

    Ah, I see on the estimable Prof. Jacobson’s web page this piece:

    Big Pharma Meets Knife In Back

    You guys won’t see this, but I’m gonna rub my thumb and forefinger together–you know what that’ll be, right? It’ll be the world’s smallest violin playing “You’re Breaking My Heart with Your Story.”

  59. Duracomm says:

    Supporters of this reckless bill don’t understand how risky it is.

    The performance of other countries government healthcare systems shows the danger this bill poses to the health of everyone in the US.


    Late cancer diagnosis kills 10,000 a year according to government tsar

    Up to 10,000 people die needlessly of cancer every year because their condition is diagnosed too late, according to research by the government’s director of cancer services. The figure is twice the previous estimate for preventable deaths.

    Richards found that

    “late diagnosis was almost certainly a major contributor to poor survival in England for all three cancers”,

    but also identified low rates of surgical intervention being received by cancer patients as another key reason for poor survival rates.

    The early detection rates are worse than the US. Which means the vaunted idea that preventative care is better in the nationalized systems is a cruel myth.

    The treatment after cancer detection is also inferior to what is currently done in the US.

    Which means supporters of this risky bill want to move to a system that is dangerously inferior to the current US system.

    Bill supporters are apparently comfortable moving to a system that gives results as poor as those shown above.

    Those of us in the reality based world are not.

  60. Duracomm says:

    When the nationalized system in canada fails they can always send patients to the US for treatment.

    Where will we send our patients when the system this bill puts in place inevitably fails?

    Canada’s U.S. baby boom

    With neonatal resources stretched thin, more and more high-risk infants are sent south to find a bed

    The inability for Canada to care for all of its sick and premature babies has caught the attention of renowned pediatrics professor Shoo Lee, who is studying the health outcomes of infants sent abroad, in addition to those who remain here, often under stretched staffing conditions.

    For parents, the devastating news that their baby is sick due to a malformation, illness or being born prematurely is compounded by the reality that there simply is not a bed available for their infant close to home.

    “Whenever a sick baby is born, it’s really a disaster for these families because it was unexpected. And it just puts a terrible stress on them,” Dr. Chessex said.

    “If they are sent out of country at that moment, it is just unbelievable the kind of pressure that they must go under.”

  61. wm says:

    Michael Reynolds, in sarcasm: “Which I suppose explains why the best and freest nations on earth are those with the least government: Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Chad, Haiti.”

    Um, what?! These countries do not have “least government.” They are dictatorships or totalitarian in nature. What are you talking about?

    “While Denmark, Canada, Netherlands, France, Germany, and the US are living hells in which the populations are reduced to slavery.”

    Europe would collapse into the Dark Ages if it were not for U.S. capitalism, which provides the capital and innovation to keep them just above zero. You are dangerously ignorant, Michael.

  62. Dave H says:

    “What exactly do you say to people like Mark and anjin-san who have seriously ill children but don’t have health insurance?”

    I’d say, “If they’re not eligible for coverage under SCHIP, then you could probably have afforded insurance.” Why do we have to change the whole system when uninsured children (esp. considering SCHIP already exists) is such a relatively small problem on a national scale. Which is not at all to deny how huge it may be on a personal scale.

    The “Uninsured” is not a big enough problem to merit this monstrosity. America provides everybody with the most basic need – food – without a government takeover of the grocery industry. You need to force uncoupling of employment and insurance, remove interstate barriers, regulate insurers like banks, not doctors (i.e., limits on investment risk, not mandates on coverage). Then a small program to target, specifically, the small portion of the public not getting enough (like food stamps, “insurance stamps”). The market didn’t fail. It’s like tying and muzzling the dog and then blaming it for failing to guard the house. Let the market go, like the food industry, and people will get the health care coverage they want.

    Socialized medicine converts a system where 80% of the people have satisfactory care and 20% don’t into a system where 100% of the people don’t have satisfactory care.

  63. Herb says:

    “They are dictatorships or totalitarian in nature. What are you talking about?”

    Ha! Quick…name the dictator of Somalia. Oh, that’s right…

    “Europe would collapse into the Dark Ages if it were not for U.S. capitalism,”

    Right, because U.S. capitalism is what pulled Europe out of the Dark Ages in the first place…

    And you have the nerve to call Michael ignorant?

    But what I really wanted to comment about, before I saw this nonsense from wm, was Duracomm’s links. I didn’t click over because…well…you’re arguing with a straw man.

    Obamacare is nothing like the health care systems in Canada or England, so you can cite links showing Canada/England sucks till you’re blue in the face, you are not saying ANYTHING about Obamacare.

    I really wish you would get that.

  64. Brett says:

    When the nationalized system in canada fails they can always send patients to the US for treatment.

    That’s a myth – more US patients actually head north than the reverse, and those few who do head south are often covered by the provincial plan in doing so. Why do you think Shona Holmes (the Canadian who became one of the poster people for anti-reform efforts) is suing to have her treatment covered?

    Hell, your globe-and-mail article points out that it’s a small problem – 39 high-risk pregnancies in Ontario Province in the past 3 years, when there were over 36,000 of them in 2006 alone.

    The “Uninsured” is not a big enough problem to merit this monstrosity.

    The uninsured are only part of the problem. The other big part are the “under-insured”, so to speak – people who think they’re covered but then end up bankrupt when they get sick, because of patchy and/or inadequate coverage.

    America provides everybody with the most basic need – food – without a government takeover of the grocery industry.

    Yes, by heavily subsidizing agriculture and giving out hand-outs in terms of food purchasing. That’s in the health care bill, by the way.

    You need to force uncoupling of employment and insurance

    A significant part of the average insured American’s premium is paid by their employer. De-coupling that without some form of replacement is a guaranteed way to drive millions into un-insurance or under-insurance.

    The market didn’t fail.

    At what goal? If it’s coverage, then yes, it did – more than half of all seniors were un-insured before the advent of Medicare, for example.

    Socialized medicine converts a system where 80% of the people have satisfactory care and 20% don’t into a system where 100% of the people don’t have satisfactory care.

    Why don’t you ask the Germans, French, Taiwanese, and Canadians about that? Like us, they bitch about their health care system – but virtually none of them are willing to give it up.

    Moreover, the first two beat the US on most health care metrics, including wait times and accessibility.

  65. Stan says:

    Dave H: The present bill is not socialized medicine. It 1) requires people to buy health insurance if their employers don’t provide it, and 2) provides a subsidy based on income to help them pay for their insurance. It 3) forbids the insurance industry from refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and 4) prevents the industry from dropping you if it looks like you’re going to have large medical expenses. In what sense is this socialism?

    James Joyner: You say that you favor expanding the safety net? How?

    Dittoheads who post about how bad the (fill in foreign country) health system is: If the health systems in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Canada, etc. are so bad, why don’t these countries go over to a system like ours? They’re all democratic countries and they all have strong conservative parties. Why don’t they go over to our system if our system is so good?

  66. Herb says:

    And, Dave, I can’t believe you cited S-Chip. You must have forgotten the big debate not too long ago about expanding that. Right-wingers were against that, too. (Google “Graeme Frost”)

    “Socialized medicine converts a system where 80% of the people have satisfactory care and 20% don’t into a system where 100% of the people don’t have satisfactory care.”

    I repeat: Obamacare is NOT socialized medicine. Next!

  67. anjin-san says:

    This neatly encapsulates the difference between a good, charitable, person, who freely gives what they own to others (RLN) and a bludging oppressor, who uses the coercive power of the state to take from some and give to others (anjin-san).

    Read back a bit in the thread and you will see that my wife and I contribute about 20K a year in after tax dollars to go to the care of a sick relative. We also do a fair amount of voulenteer work in the community and give to charity.

    I am concerned about the sick and poor in neighborhoods where people do not make the 100k a year that allows them to do that.

    Frankly Galileo, you sound like an asshole, not a “good and charitable person”.

  68. anjin-san says:

    “If they’re not eligible for coverage under SCHIP, then you could probably have afforded insurance.”

    And you would be wrong. Our son was an uninsured adult when he got sick. My wife and I both have excellent insurance, but he was too old to be on it. One day he is diagnosed with a chronic, life-threatening illness. Guess what, when that happens and you don’t have insurance, and you don’t ever get it.

  69. James Joyner says:

    James Joyner: You say that you favor expanding the safety net? How?

    I already said this: Expanding Medicaid eligibility.

    I’m also not philosophically opposed to vastly expanding Medicare. But unless we take drastic measures to reduce costs, that’s not fiscally sustainable.

  70. JohnR22926 says:

    The article is spot on that the REAL issue here is not the initial bill, but what the Left intends to morph it into over time. The ink won’t even be dry before you’ll see new legislation expanding the original bill. And also ask youself how many “trap doors” the Left has built into this 2,000 page monstrosity. And how many unintended consequences there will be once the political activists and shysters start twisting the fine print. The Left’s goal is neo-marixism…total govt control of all aspects of our lives…health care is just one battle and a pretext at that.

  71. sam says:

    @Duracomm

    Late cancer diagnosis kills 10,000 a year according to government tsar

    Blah, blah, blah

    That’s an extremely bad argument against the proposed revision of our health care system. And to see why, one need only note that that figure reflects underdiagnosis in a system where everybody is covered. Now, contrast that with our system, under which millions are not covered and get no cancer screening at all, timely or otherwise. I wonder many of these folks die each each year of undetected cancer? More than 10,000 I’d bet. (For comparison purposes consider this: The UK has about 60 Million people; the number of uninsured in the United States might be close to 50 Million now, given the recession). See, Overview of the Uninsured in the United States: An analysis of the 2005 Current Population Survey.

  72. davod says:

    1. A majority of the 30 million already have access to health coverage via Medicare, Medicaid or Schip. Millions have the income to purchase insurance if they desire. How many really have no access to health care?

    2. If we are to believe the rumors then $500 billion will be removed from Medicare at a time when millions more seniors will be moving on to Medicare. Massive cost shifting to the states will occur by adding many patients to Medicaid (This is why Nebraska was given a walk on any increases in Medicaid, and a number of other states have lesser agreements to limit the effect of Medicaid increases).

    3. The latest bill is listed by the CBO to save $187 billion over 10 years. The CBO can only score based upon the parameters given.

    If a bill takes in billions in taxes and levies before any spending, and shifts billions of costs to the states, it may save money for the Federal government but it certainly does not save money for the country. The ten year operating estimate the the Feds is over $3 trillion dollars.

    4. WRT to the claims that this is or is not Socialism. At this stage with an overbearing executive in league with the large players in health care industry I would suggest Fascism is more applicable form if government.

    One of the more balanced liberal commentators is Juan Williams. I can tell all is not well in Denmark when Juan calls Bill Crystal a scaremonger for quoting, not commenting on, page and verse out of the health care bill. This is how the debate is twisted.

    This legislation no longer, if it ever, reflects a positive change to provide health care to those without options The CBO said about 18 million will be without at the end of ten years. If memory serves me, this number is more than the real number of those without any options). It seems that everyone who could already have healthcare if they applied for Medicare, Medicaid, Schip or purchased whatv they can afford will be covered. Yet those who had no access before will still be out in the cold. Or maybe this is a different $18 million?

  73. Drew says:

    “I assume you put Mark above in the same category? Parasite with a sick kid?”

    Typical. Invoke a disaster case as the predicate for a terrible malformation of policy that could be corrected by other means, as I have suggested many times.

    What a sad debating technique.

    “It’s a bit ridiculous to accuse me of being dishonest when you quote chapter and verse on things I’ve freely divulged. I stated the facts as they relate to me. You repeat them and accuse me of dishonesty. Want to explain that?”

    Easy. You invoke your personal problems as the rationale for overhauling the national health care system………in spite of your supposed financial means. Am I to interpret that you are copping to being totally self centered, and not focused on the greater good?

    “And how exactly am I a parasite if I state — again, quite clearly — that I’m willing to pay an insurance premium appropriate to my presumed risks? My complaint was not about my costs, it was about the sheer bloody-minded stupidity of a system that won’t insure me unless I jump through some entirely unrelated hoops.”

    Revisionist history, Michael. Nice try. You bitched and whined like an old women about paying the freight given your condition. And you wanted other people to deal with it, and it appears you still do. Typical liberal, high minded talk about the greater good…………but in reality….”as long as other people pay for my problems.”

    “Come to think of it, since you accept that I pay a fairly impressive amount of tax, how am I a parasite in any way, shape or form? I don’t know precisely what I’ve paid the federal government, but I can say it is safely into the mid single figure millions.”

    Bravo! The same argument people like me make all the time. This is not a “my unit is bigger,” argument, but I’ve payed many multiples of that. And yet we find ourselves continuously attacked for not paying more. How ironic that you now invoke the “jeeze, guys, just how much do you want to rape me argument?’ Now, that’s entertainment.

    You seem to be a good guy, Michael. But here is my bottom line. You claim to be a man of significant financial means, yet you desire to (You are now revising history, and claiming your intent is for the little guy. But your self interest is in print; they were your words and positions, not mine.) offload your personal issues onto society by completely overhauling the health care system into something that will most assuredly either bankrupt the country, or result in a rationing scheme.

    I, too, have a hyperlipidemia issue. It would make you gag. I should be dead. And I’m uninsurable. But I’m not screaming for my neighbors to pay for it. That’s the difference between you and me.

    Liberals, people, liberals.

  74. Herb says:

    “WRT to the claims that this is or is not Socialism. At this stage with an overbearing executive in league with the large players in health care industry I would suggest Fascism is more applicable form if government.”

    Ha! I submit that this is DEMOCRACY in action. A democratically elected executive, overbearing though he may be, working with democratically elected representatives, securing among them a 60-40 majority, and you call that fascism????

    I submit also that you wouldn’t know fascism if it came into your house in the middle of the night and threw you in a prison camp.

  75. Herb says:

    Drew, quick question:

    Perhaps instead of accusing Michael of being a “typical” parasitic liberal, you should try and wonder why a self-employed guy making decent money CAN NOT AFFORD decent health care.

    “I should be dead. And I’m uninsurable. But I’m not screaming for my neighbors to pay for it. That’s the difference between you and me.”

    Michael’s not asking his neighbors to pay for his healthcare. He’s asking for his country to come up with a better healthcare system.

    You are so stuck in your ideological trap that you can’t even conceive of improving our healthcare system. You sit there smug in the knowledge that though you are uninsurable, at least you’re not making your neighbors pay.

    I would be impressed with your willingness to endure hardship so you can remain ideologically pure, but how come you won’t even let your neighbors try and improve the system that screws you over so?

  76. sam says:

    If we are to believe the rumors then $500 billion will be removed from Medicare at a time when millions more seniors will be moving on to Medicare.

    That $500 billion will come out of Medicare Advantage, which, the argument goes, offers Medicare enrollees no more advantage than regular Medicare, but makes the insurance companies offering it a bundle. No senior will be denied Medicare coverage.

  77. steve says:

    “The Left’s goal is neo-marixism…total govt control of all aspects of our lives…health care is just one battle and a pretext at that.”

    May I suggest you go to Hit and Run and read Matt Welch’s article on why he gets his health care in France? Matt is libertarian, the only political grouping with any credibility when it claims it favors smaller government. What Matt discovered is that you have a lot more real personal liberty when you dont have to worry about getting health care and when it costs less. Wait times are shorter nd you have more choice in France.

    Steve

  78. Drew says:

    That’s a really dumb response, Herb……

    “Perhaps instead of accusing Michael of being a “typical” parasitic liberal, you should try and wonder why a self-employed guy making decent money CAN NOT AFFORD decent health care.”

    He can afford it, Herb, he just doesn’t want to. He said so in his posts. Now (after I called him on it) he is claiming he’s advocating for the little guy.

    “I should be dead. And I’m uninsurable. But I’m not screaming for my neighbors to pay for it. That’s the difference between you and me.”

    Michael’s not asking his neighbors to pay for his health care. He’s asking for his country to come up with a better health care system.

    Of course he is. The very essence of “his country to come up with a better health care system” is to have others pay for his bills. Are you awake?

    “You are so stuck in your ideological trap that you can’t even conceive of improving our health care system. You sit there smug in the knowledge that though you are uninsurable, at least you’re not making your neighbors pay.”

    Wrong again, Herbie, but thank you for playing. I have advocated sensible alternative approaches to these issue numerous times. They don’t involve yet another runaway govt program that will tip the nation to default or health care rationing. You? You were saying something about ideological traps?

    “I would be impressed with your willingness to endure hardship so you can remain ideologically pure, but how come you won’t even let your neighbors try and improve the system that screws you over so?”

    Improve? Improve?? The nation currently has three “improvements” to social welfare: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They are leading us to bankruptcy. Look at the numbers.

    One definition of intelligence is not making the same mistake over and over. Get yer head our of yer ass Herbie and ask yourself why you are advocating a program that will lead us down the very same path path to insolvency.

    I know why Michael is. Crass self interest.

  79. Brett says:

    Of course he is. The very essence of “his country to come up with a better health care system” is to have others pay for his bills. Are you awake?

    Don’t be an idiot. The very nature of government and taxation is that it spreads the burden around in order to achieve something that can’t be gotten by a single individual. The very essence of police and emergency services consist of “other people’s money paying for your security bills”. The very essence of all manner of infrastructure, from highways to waterworks, is “somebody else largely paying your bills”.

  80. Security and Serfdom…

    In the comments section to James Joyner’s post Health Care Reform: How Bad Is It?, commenter anjin-san responds to James’ arguments in favor of limited government with the following: Hopefully you and you wife will enjoy smooth career paths, and neve…

  81. Drew says:

    So, Brett, is there any limitation to that?

    Are all expenses to be spread around like peanut butter?

    Have you just declared yourself a communist?

    Do you believe the communist philosophy has worked well?

  82. Drew:

    Typical. Invoke a disaster case as the predicate for a terrible malformation of policy that could be corrected by other means, as I have suggested many times.

    What a sad debating technique.

    Transparent evasion.

    Easy. You invoke your personal problems as the rationale for overhauling the national health care system………in spite of your supposed financial means. Am I to interpret that you are copping to being totally self centered, and not focused on the greater good?

    Doesn’t even parse logically. Can you make that over into something rational?

    Revisionist history, Michael. Nice try. You bitched and whined like an old women about paying the freight given your condition. And you wanted other people to deal with it, and it appears you still do. Typical liberal, high minded talk about the greater good…………but in reality….”as long as other people pay for my problems.

    I never have bitched about paying the freight. I’ve bitched and moaned that I had to incorporate in order to do a stupid work-around of the system you defend.

    And yet we find ourselves continuously attacked for not paying more. How ironic that you now invoke the “jeeze, guys, just how much do you want to rape me argument?’ Now, that’s entertainment

    Um, what?

    You seem to be a good guy, Michael. But here is my bottom line. You claim to be a man of significant financial means, yet you desire to (You are now revising history, and claiming your intent is for the little guy. But your self interest is in print; they were your words and positions, not mine.) offload your personal issues onto society by completely overhauling the health care system into something that will most assuredly either bankrupt the country, or result in a rationing scheme.

    I, too, have a hyperlipidemia issue. It would make you gag. I should be dead. And I’m uninsurable. But I’m not screaming for my neighbors to pay for it. That’s the difference between you and me.

    Except that I’m not asking anyone to pay anything for me. Not a penny. And you’ve not referenced my positions but your willful distortions of my positions.

    But aside from the fact that you are either factually wrong or completely incoherent on each point, I’m sure you’re a nice guy, too.

  83. So just so we are clear, here is what I’ve believed and said:

    1- I paid for a private plan in NC. I did not complain about the cost. It was high, but, meh. I have no idea what would be “fair.” I typically spend twice as much in restaurants as I do on health insurance, so I’d have no great basis for whining about the premiums I pay.

    2- When I moved to CA I was refused insurance on the grounds that I have completely controlled — indeed, exemplary — cholesterol using Zocor which is now a cheap generic drug.

    3- I found that the only work-around was to form a corporation and apply for a group plan.

    4- I thought this was f**king stupid. I thought it was a waste of my time and money. I pointed out that while I can do it, it contributes nothing to health care and just costs me time and money. I particularly resent the time which comes out of work time.

    5- I used this as one example of how our system may not be the best of all possible worlds. Indeed, it may be ridiculous, absurd, inefficient. I really, really hate paperwork, you see, and I get pissy when I’m forced to waste my day filling out forms solely so I can work a reach-around to an idiotic system.

    6- Moving past my personal issues, I have pointed out that health care is cheaper and more available just about everywhere in the civilized world, while affording no superior benefit.

    7- I have worried about the working class guy who can be utterly destroyed by a family illness.

    8- I’ve also said I’d like to see a PO, but assumed from the start that the “public option” was trade goods we’d give up in exchange for other parts of the plan.

    9- But added that we’d probably create a PO later anyway.

    10- I’ve also said that I was willing though not quite ecstatic to pay additional taxes to cover subsidies or a PO for people in distress.

  84. Herb says:

    “Wrong again, Herbie, but thank you for playing. I have advocated sensible alternative approaches to these issue numerous times.”

    Ha! And who are YOU? Just another Republican voter?

    Thanks, but you’re not helping.

  85. Brett says:

    So, Brett, is there any limitation to that?

    Are all expenses to be spread around like peanut butter?

    Have you just declared yourself a communist?

    Do you believe the communist philosophy has worked well?

    Is it difficult to stand upon that gigantic Slippery Slope argument?

    You strike a balance, between cost, efficiency, dead-loss, economic growth, and coverage. Or at least those of us who live in Utilitarian Ethics Land do so.

  86. Our Paul says:

    Brett (December 21, 2009 | 12:17 am):

    Professor William Jacobson’s rant, as quoted by Dr. Joyner at the beginning of this blog was such a hoot that I was wondering whether James had been taken for a ride. Unless Cornell Law has sunk to the level of Liberty College, he assuredly is not a tenured Professor.

    His rank is Associate Clinical Professor of Law; the designation Clinical points to a non tenured position. He joined Cornell in 2007, with only one previous brief appointment of teaching. His area of expertise is Security Law and Arbitration. There are no scholarly papers published in law journals that I can find in his C.V.

    Despite his rant, and his disdain for liberals and all things progressive, his C.V. shows that in his area of expertise, he cut a wide swath. I love the guy for bringing up George Allen’s Macaca moment. Ah sweet mystery of life, what a great day that was!