The missing topic in our ridiculous health care debate

For the rest of the world, our present arguments about health care reform must be a source of amusement, if not confusion. How can America, of all places, pretend that health care is a commodity, and not a right? Who else (except US corporations) would dare try to profit by denying coverage to those who already “paid for it?” Sigh. “Inane” does not even come close as a descriptor.

Most of our news coverage has centered around a Baucus plan that seems intent on maintaining the worst parts of both the status and the quo. Every day we see Democrats caving in to the slightest, weirdest, and most offensive GOP slight and complaint. So far, the only thing that is guaranteed is that no one will be happy with the final result.

My concern is not about the political process. Legislation (especially its birthing process) is always messy. My concern is how small minded and irrational the Democrats have been, and continue to be. It is as though they set aside their brains, and simply looked at the history of health care, trying to minimize past problems.

Back in Thomas Edison’s time, today’s Congress would be concentrating on gas-based lamp lighter legislation, and how to best insure lamp lighter companies’ market share and profits. Electricity? Electric lights? Bah.

Ever since Watson and Crick stole some x-ray images from a far more talented female scientist, the vacationing Rosalind Franklin, science and medicine have been moving ever closer to each other. They may eventually meet, probably in our lifetime.

For many generations, medicine was merely an art. In fact, the very first medical guidebook is a lovely tome, filled with allegory, fear, incest, rape, murder, and much more. Some people call it their bible. I call it mostly fiction. Still, the bible does present the best thinking about medicine and health issues of its time. Blood transfusions, shell-fish born illnesses, limited hygienic understanding, and much more were discussed, because they could at least identify some cause, if not actually solve the problem.

Over the past 25-30 years, we have jumped from guesswork and experimentation, to true insights into the genetic basis of disease, heredity, illness, and how to prevent, cure, or at least alleviate the worst symptoms of many conditions. While future medicine may not fix drunk driver-based, back injuries and broken bones, (then again, it may), most other conditions are prime candidates for cures or at least, major league fixes.

Here’s where the Democrats are ineffably stupid. (Forget the GOP. They are too busy orbiting one of Saturn’s more distant moons to have any serious input on real legislation)

NOT ONE PROPOSAL takes into account the obvious future of medicine, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cures. Even now, stem cell treatments are being tried, to prevent a future illness or condition. Given that our current state of genetic science is akin to homo-apians knocking together two piece of stone in hopes of starting a fire, many early results have been less than stellar, while continuing to show promise. I wonder how many years it took our distant relatives to find that flint worked the best. Well, our growth curve is far shorter. The future is truly within our grasp. Unless you work in Congress.

Any reasonable future health care program must include a well-defined path for the ethical, appropriate, and effective use of genetic diagnosis and treatment. Genetic medicine holds incredible promise, just as it contains huge traps, and worse. During my last semester of college, the guy next door was the biggest drug dealer on campus. As far as I could tell, he never slept. He also once claimed to “taste” everything he sold. His only goal? To get into medical school, then concentrate on making genetic monsters. I gladly lost track of him after he graduated, having been admitted to a California med school. Nuts? Yup. Dangerous? Sure thing. Brilliant? He was, bar none, the smartest people I ever met. Which makes him and his ilk even more dangerous.

The danger exists. But so does the promise. That makes Congress’s failure to even consider genetic engineering, cloning body parts for transplant, and finding cures for deadly conditions even more ridiculous.

Wait. It gets worse.

If we are stupid enough to continue with private, for profit, health insurance for our conceivable future, we must ban any exclusions, rejections of coverage, and denial of claims based on a person’s genetic potential for illness. The idea that an insurer can demand a blood test, and 10 minutes later write a specific insurance policy that excludes every genetic malfunction that your body will eventually have is more than scary. It is ineffably stupid.

To date, after reviewing every page of legislation that I could find, not one pol has even raised a question about genetics, stem cells, or the related sciences, much less propose legislation that takes into account our most promising biological and medical science.

Are they that dumb? (sorry. bad question) Or has the insurance industry thrown up so much dust, that legislating our near future scientific findings is just too difficult for our mentally and ethically deficient senatwhores and congresscritters?

Frankly, if corporations and insurers effectively control our lives for the foreseeable future, it will lead to the death of our great American experiment.

Corporations and “for profit” insurers once served a good purpose. Today, their power and concentration of wealth is no longer an advantage, but a threat. Does anyone think that today’s health insurer will ignore genetics, and voluntarily refuse to exclude “pre-existing conditions” from your policy? When such an exclusion will guarantee an increase of their own profits?

Hell, every day we learn that C-sections, domestic violence, and other common situations are now being defined as “pre-existing,” and therefore not covered under health insurance policies. In view of today’s reality, Washington’s silence on genetics is deafening. And depressing.

Worst of all, few congresscritters have shown any interest in being educated. They are too busy getting all those K Street contributions.

64 Responses to "The missing topic in our ridiculous health care debate"

  1. bryan mcclellan  September 20, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Blackberry Balsam, with Cod liver oil, plus bag balm led me into my formative years.
    Pop said, bees and stings are two different things,
    Mom backed him up..

    If we stop medicating/loading the systems of our youth with crap and alchemy; they may find the will to say nay in the future and prove our worth.

  2. Sandra Price  September 20, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Woody, we are talking about who will insure all Americans. It is too much to expect anyone to live in a way to keep themselves healthy. The decisions we make at home when our kids are still growing their brains and bodies are generally made by television ads. Unless we take the responsibility for ourselves and our families, the government will do it for us.

    We are what we eat and we live according to the strength in our bodies. Many of our habits come from the examples set by our family histories. Now we will have to turn to the government to tell us what not to eat and drink. This is the system that controls us at this time.

    I just read through a thread on RR that seems to say that our government sets the ethical standards for most Americans. We all learn from the missteps made by our government controls whether in economics or actions found in the congress and we know there is not one damn thing we can do about the lack of ethics.

    The standards themselves are too low and our elected officials walk away without being detected and it has frightened many of us who know this to even consider asking the same officials to insure our health.

    We don’t grow healthy kids but they are popular with their peers. We elect representatives who are not ethical but they are popular with the people.

    It all comes down to what we are as individuals.

  3. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

    “How can America, of all places, pretend that health care is a commodity, and not a right?”

    Health care, by definition, is certainly not a commodity – that is, a material good of constant quality. Health care is a service.

    So while your question is a bit skewed, Rob, why would we have to pay for a right?

  4. Rob Kezelis  September 20, 2009 at 11:29 am

    The rights of Americans are mentioned in two parts of our Constitution, the bill of rights, and less directly, in the “general welfare” clause, which is the basic underpinning of our country’s purpose and goals.

    How can the general welfare of every American not include clean water, clean air, and access to health care? I suspect that were our founding fathers to find themselves transported here and now they would be unpleasantly shocked by several realities, the primary one being the overwhelming, suffocating concentration of wealth and power today’s corporations have, followed closely by an inhuman, unethical position held by many who do not support universal access to health care.

  5. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Don’t have an answer, huh?

  6. Naturalist  September 20, 2009 at 11:51 am

    It kills me just how far from the truth and blatant disregard for their fellow man people in this country are and have. Let the Doctors quit! If they are in it for the money I don’t want to visit them anyway. I don’t want them treating any of my family. Most current politicians are for the big corporations and this health care reform is for the insurance companies! Wake up! The only way any and I do mean ANY real change that can occur is through complete government run health care. No one can opt out. Not politicians or the wealthy. Then and only then will everyone get good health care. I am so fed up with the lies about how our government is wasteful. There is always waste in anything. We are a wasteful society and corporations are the worst. How socialism is bad. The next time you want to mail something then use Fed Ex or UPS. Yeah that should save you money over the US Mail system. What a joke people are. The Constitution is completely about persons caring about other persons. The greed and the beggar thy neighbor attitudes in this country are destroying it. When it comes to health care look at Sweden, Japan and other countries. Your being brainwashed and you are tromping on the constitution with your every word and action. We are the government (that came about from the revolution and with the constitution if you don’t remember) and if you don’t like it then look in the mirror and blame yourself or like me your fellow Americans. One other thing. Elect someone other than a Democrat or a Republican for once. There were many parties when this country was started!

  7. gazelle1929  September 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Name ONE right that you don’t have to pay for somehow.

    Right to life: if you don’t think you have to pay for it, stop buying groceries. If you want to breathe clean air you have to pay somehow for the costs of keeping that air clean. Same for drinking water. Your right to life is protected by the military, police, fire departments. Yes, you have a right to life. But remember Heinlein’s maxim:

    “TANSTAAFL (there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, just in case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know what it means), . . . indicates an acknowledgment that in reality a person or a society cannot get ‘something for nothing’. Even if something appears to be free, there is always a cost to the person or to society as a whole even though that cost may be hidden or distributed. For example, as Heinlein has one of his characters point out, a bar offering a free lunch will likely charge more for its drinks.”

    (from the wiki article)

    Right to liberty: if you don’t think you have to pay for it, why not move to the Sudan, where there is no government. Don’t plan on living too damned long.

    Right to worship as you see fit: Don’t want to pay for a government that guarantees that? Hmmm. Move to Afghanistan, where if you aren’t a Muslim male you aren’t crap.

    Right to free speech: do you believe you have the right to speak freely without having a government to deter those who would muzzle you?

    Right to health care: Perhaps if you consider it as the right to access to health care it might change your mind. After all, if you don’t want health care you can save yourself a lot of money by moving somewhere where there is no health care. How about Ethiopia? It’s really nice this time of year. But don’t buy a round-trip ticket because you may not live long enough to get to use it.

  8. Sandra Price  September 20, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    We own the government! Every penny spent comes out of our taxes. We pay directly or allow the government to tax us and pay indirectly. When we look to the government for our rights, we gave them the authority to deny or accept our requests.

    If anyone can locate an insurance system that will cost nothing then I want in. Even when your employers pay your insurance policies, it comes out of your paycheck.

    Taxing the wealthy to pay for those of us below the poverty level is ridiculous as most of us have been on the paying end during our years of building a family and then working full time. Retirement has hit many of us with a downsized dollar making our retirement even lower than we anticipated. We paid our way for 50 years and now the next generation is threatening to decrease our medicare coverage. I downsize my living expenses every 10 years and have come to the point where I will deny any further surgeries. I never took a penny of welfare and my kids got their educations and make great income. We support shelters in our chosen cities and do a lot of animal rescue.

    Almandine, do you expect our health care doctors to work for nothing? Were you raised in Cuba? Russia? Medicine is an honorable profession and should be paid for their efforts. If it were free it would have no ethics or standards.

  9. gazelle1929  September 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    “There were many parties when this country was started!”

    Actually there were no political parties in the US until 1792, when the Federalist and the Democratic-Republican Parties began to evolve from attempts by Hamilton on the one hand and Jefferson on the other to influence the direction of the Federal government. State organizations would not spring up for several years thereafter. And the concept of a modern political party was many years in the future.

    Other than the Tolerance Party, a minor Connecticut schism from the state-controlled religion (Congregationalism) which was the only established church left in the United States, the first real, though minor political party with any impact was the Anti-Mason Party (ca. 1828).

    The era following, up to the advent of the “modern” Republican Party, saw about a dozen minor parties form and die away. Of those, only the Whigs achieved anything like a national presence, though they seemed to be cursed by electing Presidents who insisted on dying in office.

  10. Naturalist  September 20, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Gazelle 1929,
    It was 1780 that political parties started, that was the beginning. Many more followed. Maybe they didn’t get elected but they were there just as now. Get your facts straight. The constitution wasn’t ratified until 1788. Try your best, but we need to elect another party into office.

    Sandra Price,
    It’s obvious that you are the type of citizen that I am talking about. Greed and no understanding that we are all tied together like it or not. If a epidemic were to hit then maybe you will understand. You can’t eat your money and if no one is alive to grow, pick and deliver your food to you, starvation is inevitable. It is a ridiculous statement “If anyone can locate an insurance system that will cost nothing then I want in.” Then say to “Almandine, do you expect our health care doctors to work for nothing? Were you raised in Cuba? Russia? Medicine is an honorable profession and should be paid for their efforts. If it were free it would have no ethics or standards.” What are you saying exactly? You want in if it’s free but free things have no ethics or standards? “We support shelters in our chosen cities and do a lot of animal rescue.” So the shelters that you support that are free have no ethics or standards? People are way more important than animals. Boggles my mind.

  11. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Sandra – long time.

    Glad to see you haven’t lost your wit.

    My question was aimed at both sides of the coin. First, if it IS a right, then it ought to be as forthcoming as the air we breathe… you know, one of those inalienable things like the sun and the moon. It would be a Natural Right, as opposed to some social construct. As such, exercising it ought to be discretionary, as in my right to opt out should I wish. If not, why should I be the one to pay for it?

    Otherwise, if we agree that we are going to have to pay for it – that is, purchase the services of the true health care providers (doc, nurses, etc.), and not be granted health care as an insurance scheme, then choosing the provider should be my right, as least as much as I can pay for. In concert with that, I too might opt for no more surgeries, at the least, or buy only whatever I could afford. Thus, if I am the one to pay, it would be my right to decide what to buy.

    Interestingly, I listened to The Big O on TV this morning and the “right” to health care has now morphed into an “obligation”. That’s an obligation on You, not the govt.

    So as you started out above, the govt must have been given the authority to decide whether to honor your requests, as the people actually seem to have No rights and no sway.

    We won’t have any money either.

  12. giving-up-in-nc  September 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    “… why would we have to pay for a right?”

    The constitution “guarantees” rights, but in some cases to “exercise” those rights costs money.

    For example the constitution guarantees you the right to bear arms, but if you want to bear those arms you gotta go out and buy them.

  13. gazelle1929  September 20, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    And the names of those parties would have been?

    I do have my facts straight. The first political parties in the US were the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, first called simply the Republicans. Both started in about 1792.

    “Although the Federalist Party had not yet formed during the presidency of George Washington, many of the ideas he employed were strongly federalistic. He wanted to foster national unity, assure a smoothly run administration, and develop a deep respect across the country for the national government.”

    http://www.geocities.com/new_federalists/history.html

    “After the Constitution was adopted and the new government was established under the presidency of George Washington, political division appeared within the cabinet, the opposing groups being headed by Alexander Hamilton and by Thomas Jefferson. The party that emerged to champion Hamilton’s views was the Federalist party. Its opponents, at first called Anti-Federalists, drew together into a Jeffersonian party; first called the Republicans and later the Democratic Republicans, they eventually became known as the Democratic party. Party politics had not yet crystallized when John Adams was elected President, but the choice of Adams was, nevertheless, a modest Federalist victory.”

    http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/history/A0858083.html

    “The Federalist Party was one of the first two political parties in United States history.

    “During the administration of President George Washington, Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton and several of his friends and associates formed the Federalist Party to promote their political ideas. Federalists believed in a strong national government. They said that the Constitution was a “loose” document that did not define all of the powers that the federal government should have. The government had the right to adopt additional powers to fulfill its duties under the Constitution.”

    http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=887

    I could continue with information about the Democratic Republican Party, which was first called merely the Republican Party (not to be confused with the party by the same name currently which is getting ready to circle the toilet).

    But I do assure you I have my facts straight. There were no political parties prior to about the middle of Washington’s term in office. And there were predominantly two such parties all through our history. In the period preceding the Civil War there was a plethora of parties, the existence of which it is my opinion helped bring on the War.

  14. sherry  September 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    gazelle, thanks for the information.
    Personally, I believe it is high time we have two completely NEW parties.

  15. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    well, it doesn’t say squat about the issue in question.

  16. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    What a stretch…

    life, liberty, worship. speech?

    kill me, imprison me, silence my brain, and cut out my tongue, eh?

    I don’t have to move elsewhere to care for my health, either.

    Always the govt apologist…

  17. Sandra Price  September 20, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Almandine. Please read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights gives us freedoms and controls the government from removing them. The issue is whether we need health insurance or do we live on our own rules of health?

    The Federal Government has no authority to force any of us into a system of insurance coverage. The issue is why you believe the government owes us this system?

    Americans have been spoiled and pampered to the point where they look to the government to solve all their problems. We take no responsibility to eat right, drink 8 glasses of water and instead spend many hours each weekend full of alcohol and fat products. Do you have any health insurance on your own or are you waiting for Big Daddy to fly into your life and take care of all these problems.

    I absolutely understand Rob’s comments as since the science research on Stem Cells, any decent honest nation would be financing the research. America believes these stem cells are babies and that puts a cork in anyone’s brain. I realize that the government is made up of religious zealots and yet the voters made no move to get them out of office. This lack of action has pissed me off since President Bush 43 told his Fundamentalists that he was born again and their brains snapped off.

    Read Rob’s commentary again. I see nothing in the Constitution that promises government health insurance. However I see a possibility of banning certain foods and drinks that I would vote against but people who rely on the government would benefit.

    The government has the right to demand scientific research on those diseases that shorten our lives. Having a life of good health is a full time job and the individual American has that right to choose good health.

  18. gazelle1929  September 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Putting aside your innate and apparently never-ending snideness, what I am saying is that rights do not exist without a framework in which to define and protect them. Regardless of what Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, we are not born with rights. We are born weak, defenseless, totally reliant upon the goodwill of others, primarily our parents. Over time, through the workings of society, we become party to the rights of the tribe into which we were born.

    In the final analysis, the only way we have any rights at all is by asserting them, by wresting our rights from the grasp of strangers who would limit our rights for their gain; the best way we have found of asserting those rights is to join together into cooperative organizations of government or society. Otherwise, Hobbes is ineffably correct: life is nasty, brutish, and short.

  19. Naturalist  September 20, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Here is the list
    The following parties are no longer functioning. Some of them had considerable influence. Listed in order of founding.

    * Federalist Party (c.1789–c.1820)
    * Democratic-Republican Party (1792–c.1824)
    * Toleration Party (1816-c.1827)
    * Anti-Masonic Party (1826–1838)
    * National Republican Party (1829–1833)
    * Nullifier Party (1830–1839)
    * Whig Party (1833–1856)
    * Liberty Party (1840–1848)
    * Law and Order Party of Rhode Island (1840s)
    * Free Soil Party (1848–1855)
    * Anti-Nebraska Party (1854)
    * American Republican Party (1843-1854)
    * American Party (“Know-Nothings”) (c.1854–1858)
    * Opposition Party (1854–1858)
    * Constitutional Union Party (1860)
    * National Union Party, (1864–1868)
    * Readjuster Party (1870-1885)
    * Liberal Republican Party (1872)
    * Greenback Party (1874–1884)
    * Anti-Monopoly Party (1884)
    * Populist Party (1892–1908)
    * Silver Party (1892-1902)
    * National Democratic Party/Gold Democrats (1896–1900)
    * Silver Republican Party (1896-1900)
    * Social Democratic Party (1898–1901)
    * Home Rule Party of Hawaii (created to serve the native Hawaiian agenda in the state legislature and U.S. Congress) (1900–1912)
    * Socialist Party of America (1901–1973)
    * Independence Party (or “Independence League”) (1906-1914)
    * Progressive Party 1912 (“Bull Moose Party”) (1912–1914)
    * National Woman’s Party (1913-1930)
    * Non-Partisan League (Not a party in the technical sense) (1915–1956)
    * Farmer-Labor Party (1918–1944)
    * Progressive Party 1924 (1924)
    * Communist League of America (1928–1934)
    * American Workers Party (1933–1934)
    * Workers Party of the United States (1934–1938)
    * Union Party (1936)
    * American Labor Party (1936–1956)
    * America First Party (1944) (1944–1996)
    * States’ Rights Democratic Party (“Dixiecrats”) (1948)
    * Progressive Party 1948 (1948–1955)
    * Vegetarian Party (1948–1964)
    * Constitution Party (United States 50s) (1952–1968?)
    * American Nazi Party (1959-1967)
    * Puerto Rican Socialist Party (1959–1993)
    * Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (1964)
    * Black Panther Party (1966-1970s)
    * Communist Workers Party (1969–1985)
    * People’s Party (1971–1976)
    * U.S. Labor Party (1975–1979)
    * Concerned Citizens Party (1975-1992) Become the Connecticut affiliate of the Constitution Party (then known as U.S. Taxpayers Party) with party founding
    * Citizens Party (1979–1984)
    * New Alliance Party (1979–1992)
    * Populist Party of 1980s-1990s (1984–1994)
    * Looking Back Party (1984–1996)
    * Grassroots Party (1986–2004)
    * Independent Party of Utah (1988–1996)
    * Greens/Green Party USA (1991–2005)
    * New Party (1992 – 1998)
    * Natural Law Party (1992–2004)
    * Veterans Party (2003-2008)
    * Christian Freedom Party (2004)
    The beginning is not the minute after ratification either nor the second. There were no parties at that moment. This is just a list of those that had major influence but not necessarily any elected officials. Who cares if they were predominant or not? Does that mean they didn’t exist. There were others that are not mentioned. My point was and is there should be more parties and officials elected under those parties. And you don’t have your facts straight it was not 1792 it was 1789. Your have been proven wrong. Now why not focus on the real issues rather than what nanosecond something occurred?

  20. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I’ll go with Jefferson, thanks.

    As for wresting them from those who would take them, I know where to start looking… nothing snide about it, just an appreciation of what some stand for.

    Your values are all too clear.

  21. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Sandra –

    The govt owing us health care is the FARTHEST thing from my mind. I’m on the other side of the coin. But if you haven’t noticed, the govt plan is to mandate insurance coverage.

    My questions/argument are for those who do indeed believe that we are guaranteed the RIGHT of health care – at the expense of OTHERS. Where do they get off?

    I also have an argument with banning anything that we find to consume on this great planet. To do that would be in the same league as using govt violence to effect mandatory health care.

  22. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    No Toga Party?

    I thought they were the very first!

    Good show.

  23. almandine  September 20, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Gazelle –

    Funny how none of the 3 articles you cite as evidence to support your post says anything about the date of origin of any political party.

  24. gazelle1929  September 21, 2009 at 3:49 am

    I assumed that the words “There were many parties when this country was started!” meant exactly what they said. Apparently in this case the writer meant by started the period prior to say 1861, but my view of “started” is that in this case it means around the time our country was delivered, which would have been at the time of adoption of the Constitution, 1788.

    I assumed further that the words: “It was 1780 that political parties started, that was the beginning. Many more followed.” also meant exactly what they said.

    I assumed that people here would know that Washington’s first inauguration was on April 30, 1789, since it’s one of those more or less important dates in our history. I assumed further that anyone who read the statement “Although the Federalist Party had not yet formed during the presidency of George Washington,. . . ” would be able to figure out for himself or herself that this meant that the Federalist Party was not started until after that date.

    I apparently was wrong in my assumption that simple declarative sentences here say what the utterer mean and mean what the utterer says. Perhaps in the future I will have to engage in prayer and mind-reading in an attempt to suss out meaning.

  25. Sandra Price  September 21, 2009 at 6:41 am

    This morning in our Phoenix paper new numbers were printed on the subject of Alzheimer’s disease. The number of patients has doubled as stated in the article.

    It takes special training and a facility to take these patients into a Hospice facility. I mention this as the amount of research money is nowhere near the demand.

    http://tinyurl.com/lzuwo2

    None of us come with a guarantee that we will not be in this condition in our late years.

  26. giving-up-in-nc  September 21, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    In your previous post you had the following.
    *****
    “How can America, of all places, pretend that health care is a commodity, and not a right?”

    So while your question is a bit skewed, Rob, why would we have to pay for a right?
    *****
    I read that as if Health Care is a right, why would we have to pay for that right?

    Am I correct in that reading?

    If so that is why I used the right to bear arms as an analogy. The constitution gives you the right to own a gun, but to exercise that right you have to pay for it by buying a gun.

  27. woody188  September 21, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    LOL, that darn Alexander Hamilton was an NWO stooge! ;p

  28. Rob Kezelis  September 22, 2009 at 8:34 am

    what, 45,000,000 sufferers already? That’s almost as many as the tea baggers who descended upon Washington last week.

  29. gazelle1929  September 22, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Perhaps tea is the problem. Or a symptom, which could help explain the lack of wits of those who showed up in DC with their scurrilous, venomous, and demeaning message boards.

    If tea is the root of the Alzheimer’s problem, the Sons of Liberty had it right, and were trying to save us from ourselves by dumping all that tea into the harbor.

  30. almandine  September 26, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    None taken John, but when you set salaries by govt violence instead of the marketplace, what do you call it?

  31. John1172002  September 23, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    The answer is simple, but would get Obama immediately impeached.

    Nationalize every private health insurance company, and make an altered and improved version of Medicare the one and only insurance company, with everyone enrolled. Charge more if necessary, and have a tax increase if necessary. I doubt that, with the improved health of the Nation, those steps would be necessary, but I, for one, would gladly pay them.

    Pay doctors well, force Big Pharma to sell drugs at a reasonable markup (as in Canada), and get rid of the multi-million dollar “bonuses” for the top executives. As a matter of fact, fire every top executive. All the other employees should be absorbed, if they want to be, in the national Medicare plan, which would need a lot more employees than it now has.

    And yes, fund stem cell and other research. During the last 16 years at the least, the USA has put research of all kinds on the back burner, and ignored any results of said research anyway. We used to be number one. Now, what are we? Number 27?

    John1172002

  32. Naturalist  September 24, 2009 at 12:36 am

    John1172002,
    Your right on. Are you stating that only medicare would need more employees? I ask this because the reason our health cost so much is because of the paperwork. If that was GREATLY reduced there would be a GREAT reduction in the amount of employees to run it. Doctors get paid well now. Have you seen the homes they live in? I have, and they are doing just fine with what they get paid. Some of them shouldn’t be Doctors. For many of them it is just money and not a dedication. Fuel for your thoughts. Corporations many years ago did just what you stated. They started insuring their employees themselves for anything under $10,000, $20,00 or more. Getting catastrophic insurance to fill the gap.

  33. John1172002  September 27, 2009 at 11:00 am

    almandine,

    Then all our exchange of words here simply boils down to the fact that you and I have very different definitions of “violence”. I have no desire to change your definition of that word. You are entitled to your own opinion, as am I.

    I offered one possible solution, that is all. If you think that I am throwing the baby out with the bath water, that is your prerogative.

    John1172002

  34. almandine  September 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    my reply to Sandra below answers your first question.

    Ever seen a zip gun? Homemade crossbow? Bowie knife? Sword? Spear? Honed arrowhead? Gotta buy those?

    The constitution does not limit itself to guns. Interestingly, that is not a trivial fact.

    For example, check out kniferights.org to entertain the discussion about outlawing pocket knives that can be opened with a single hand.

    Maybe I don’t need to purchase my arms.

  35. John1172002  September 24, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Naturalist,

    I’m thinking of almost zero paperwork. The doctor would need a nurse and a receptionist. Those alone involve paperwork in terms of payroll, deductions, etc., etc. But the doctor should be able to submit a bill to Medicare via computer(that work being done by his receptionist) and be paid a flat fee depending on his specialty, if any. Medicaid is done away with.

    Medicare would need people to check for fraud, but these employees probably could be covered by the tremendous reduction in paperwork. If upper middle class is $250,000, as Obama says (I felt I was well paid, and I made $48,000 to $50,000, myself) then pay a GP $500,000 and a heart surgeon $1,500,000, with other specialties falling in between.

    We do need to recognize that these doctors made a tremendous investment in their education. Perhaps the loans they had to take out to become a doctor could be forgiven, if they spend 10 years in their area of origin.

    The patient pays a premium to Medicare, and maybe taxes go up a little bit. But every case of the sniffels would not result in a trip to the ER, where costs start at $250 per visit at the least.

    It’s a starting point, anyway.

    John1172002

  36. Naturalist  September 26, 2009 at 12:08 am

    John1172002,
    $500,000 for a GP, $1,500,000 for a heart surgeon? Is this before their overhead? If so then that is about right. In Sweden GP’s are paid around $50,000 a yr. I don’t know about the Surgeons but I would bet it isn’t $1,500,000. I watched a interview with one of the Swedish Doctors and she said “We have lost Doctors but we are better off because they were in it for the money. They were not in it to be a great Doctor. The medical profession is better off without them.” One more thing. A medication over there is $3.75 and sells over here for $175.00. The medication is made by a Swedish Pharmaceutical company. Doesn’t that make Americans stupid? In my mind it does.

  37. almandine  September 26, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Boy, you guys are really on a roll. Got plans for setting salaries, medication costs, ethical standards… and at the mere drop of an adjective or verb. Don’t even need more than an anecdote to decide how to solve the entire health care crisis.

    I’ll bet the GPs and cardiologists are pretty happy with their raises, but the orthopedic surgeons who have larger average salaries now will probably be pissed with their fall from grace:

    http://www.allied-physicians.com/salary_surveys/physician-salaries.htm

    Let’s face it. If medicine was easy, even you could do it. Ditto for figuring out how to improve the system.

  38. John1172002  September 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Hi almandine,

    1. That’s why they call it the ART of medicine.
    2. Please note my last line,”It’s a starting point, anyway.”

    I very much realize that my ideas are not the be-all and end-all of the universe. I said “it’s a starting point.” A proposal. A possible step in the right direction.

    We need proposals, IMHO, not verbiage to the effect of “It’s a step onto the slippery slope of Socialism, etc.” State-run medicine is no more a step onto the slippery slope of Socialism than Social Security or Medicare have been.

    No offense meant.

    John1172002

  39. John1172002  September 26, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    almandine,

    Please, please show me the word “violence” in any of my posts on this thread?

    Obama said “If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system.”

    I’m saying “why not do it that way anyhow?” Except that the Republicans would have a hissy- fit about it, and waste another 40 million trying to impeach Obama, just like they tried to impeach Clinton. And couldn’t find any impeachable offenses.

    And yes, I yell at the Democrats about as often as I yell at the Republicans. And it does me just about as much good, that is to say, no good at all.

    John1172002

  40. almandine  September 27, 2009 at 9:47 am

    No good at all is right.

    I said violence, not you. And I rarely search anyone’s posts for past ramblings.

    “Violence” is what it is called when the govt intervenes in an otherwise autonomous market…

    or come to think of it, any process that the people could run without govt “help”.

    Cheers, John

  41. Procrustes  September 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    John,

    Your words have been dismissed as rambling. Personally I don’t think you ramble; though I do not always agree with you at least you present cogent arguments.

    Procrustes

  42. Naturalist  September 27, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Almandine,
    The government, federal, state, county and city or town has intervened and does intervene in all things. You say “Violence” is what it is called when the govt intervenes in an otherwise autonomous market…” Are you saying that all of our history has been violent? That violence is rampant in your life? The horse ranchers, carriage makers etc. I am sure thought that is was violent as you put it when the Automobile was invented. Things progress and get better hopefully. I appreciate that I can walk down the street without worrying about stepping in you know what. There would be a lot of it right now if it wasn’t for the automobile. If you think that we would be better of with no government then you are a Anarchist. Unfortunately for you and I we are unable to pick and choose what we would like and dislike in government. It takes a majority to change things. But I will tell you this. There are two types of people. Those that care about others and those who do not. There are many frauds that tell you they do care but there is no in between. Either you do or you don’t. It’s a matter of finding a way to help. There is a need, do you want to find a way? Or do you want to help some and let others die? Who will you choose to live? The ones you agree with? The rich ones? The ones you deem worthy? I say this to you with respect and hope.

  43. Naturalist  September 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    One other thing for all of you. Wake up. Socialism is all of us getting together and agreeing to chip in to lower costs for a service. Fire, Police, Schools, Trash Service, Roads and much more. You couldn’t afford all these services without socialism. Period. Just what in your minds do you think happens when you send money to a insurance company. When you pay money to the insurace company aren’t you doing the same thing? You are all chipping in together to pay for a service. Your getting ripped off. Our president makes $400,00 a yr! The CEO of a insurance company makes millions. You are all brainwashed into thinking that YOUR Government is costly and wastes money. I wonder why that is and who is doing it? From now on send all your mail by UPS or Fed EX and see just how cheap that is for ya. Or better yet ask your State Congressman to privatize your roads and start paying tolls. That should make you feel beter. You make the very thing that you cherish out to be a monster. Something to be chained. Your chaining yourselves. Some of you want to take us back to the stone age. Only the rich getting a education. Hear this! The Government is US. If it’s not, then you don’t live in a democracy. You live in a corporate controlled country. My definition of insanity is someone who believes in two opposing ideas at the same time. So which is it? Is OUR Government a democracy controlled by it’s citizens or not? If not then why are you so proud of your country? Freedom what freedom? Without Government there would be anarchy. Make your minds up. Decide one way or the other. We will never be UNITED until we care about each other.

  44. almandine  September 28, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Are you saying the govt imposed the automobile on us? Are you saying that only the govt can be trusted to “care for others”? That is your idea?

    The issue is whether the govt steps in and destroys free enterprise by taking over banks, car companies, insurance companies, etc. THAT is the violence… the govt interfering in otherwise capitalistic markets, “managing” them into inefficiency. And yes, our govt has a long history of market interference, and that is in large measure why we’ve gotten where we are today.

    Your last 6 questions present a study in the kind of pseudo-argument used to defame individual liberty and responsibility. An alternative to the entire health reform being touted today would be to make medical education and training highly affordable, essentially free if necessary, and allow the market to flood itself with medical service providers. The increase of available services produced by this abundance of medical talent would bring about the enhanced competition in the market place that the so-called public option is touted for, and the govt wouldn’t have a hand in any of it except whatever assistance would be provided to the education/training process. The price of health care would decline accordingly, based on actual market competition, not some set of formulas the govt deems appropriate. Good old supply and demand, the American way.

    When such a system is in place, there is no need to question the ethics and morality of health care decisions, as there will be enough treatment options to go around. You can’t say that about any of the so-called reform proposals being debated. They will ALL be forced to ration services for lack of providers.

  45. almandine  September 28, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Well, Naturalist –

    Your statements suggest you need a couple of good courses in political systems and macroeconomics to help you sort thru the anger you feel for business and allow you to frame your socio-economic theories more cogently.

  46. almandine  September 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Hi John –

    I was using “violence” as an economic, not legal, term.

    As for solutions, I suggested what I consider the quintessential one to Naturalist, below.

  47. almandine  September 28, 2009 at 10:55 am

    We all ramble, eh Procrustes?

    Sometimes it’s worthy, others not. No one has a claim on omniscience or infallibility.

  48. Naturalist  September 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Almandine,

    Your response is not fluid and does not answer the questions.

    I don’t want to tax you too much. Just these these for starters.

    Corporate Socialism vs Government Socialism

    1.Explain the difference between chipping in to your government for health insurance vs paying a corporation?
    2.Why would keeping insurance companies benefit you?
    3.Do you really believe that private services are cheaper than government services? If yes then give at least 10 examples.
    4.How do you think poor states get their good roads?
    5.Is it Our Government or not?
    6.If not whose Government is it? Corporations?
    7.Tell me why you covet Corporations?
    8.Are you against Social Security?
    9.Do you want schools privatized?
    10.Are you against socialism at the federal level only or does that include State, County, City or town level also?

    I have studied ecconomics and anyone that has an open mind will tell you that the course curriculum is slanted towards capitalism. Some professors have written books on this fact. It is obvious that your only defense is stating someone is not cogently stating their beliefs. I am giving you the chance to convince me that your beliefs are valid. Have at it.

    I want to make it clear to you that your statement “Your statements suggest you need a couple of good courses in political systems and macroeconomics to help you sort thru the anger you feel for business and allow you to frame your socio-economic theories more cogently. Is just a smoke screen for not wanting to answer the question or questions. That ploy, shows just who you are. You always make that statement if someone disagrees with you. You try to insuate they are not educated or unable to communicate their beliefs effectively as a recourse but it is you who are filled with anger. Solidified by your attack on the person and not effectively dealing with their statement. I am not intimidated by it. Yes I do have anger and it is directed towards those that hide their true feelings. Greed and selfishness. By the way, I have owned a few business and own one now. How many have you owned? There are many lies but only one truth.

  49. almandine  September 28, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    My, my.

    1. chipping in or being forced? the proposed reform schemes mandate that people buy insurance or pay the fines. Correct? current insurance is voluntary. correct? No difference? Who’s kidding who, here?

    2. I use insurance to defray my costs, except for dental services, which I find to be more cost-effective on a pay-as-I-go approach.

    3. private services are gnerally cheaper, yes. why would the post office go out of business, if not? get your other own examples. (I know this will be one you fight back on.)

    4. poor states tax their folks, tax gasoline, put in toll roads, and get some of the federal gas tax back, if they’re lucky. many states are net donors when it comes to road tax revenues from the fed.

    5. is what our govt?

    6. corporations hold great sway over the US govt – much more than you or I.

    7. I don’t covet corporations.

    8. Nope, social security is something I’ve been forced to pay into all my life, so I hope I can get my money back when the time comes.

    9.Private schools appear to educate their students better. Notice I said educate, not turn out little worker bees. why not?

    10. Collectivism is slavery at any level. Your definition of socialism, i.e., all us getting together and funding something – anything – as a group, ain’t it. Let me quote Webster: Socialism –

    1)any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods;

    2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property;
    b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state;

    3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism…

    thus, my suggestion that you bone up on politics and economics.

    To continue in rebuttal to your rant, the reason all those courses you’ve taken are slanted toward capitalism is that economics is about market transactions, not central govt control. You don’t need economic theory to force production and distribution to conform to govt demands.

    Statements you have attributed to me are specious. I go for honest debate when possible, answering even the most outrageous questions when necessary to be forthcoming. If I think you are wrong, which I do in this case, I don’t mind telling you straight up, and I’ve been accused way more often of being brash than obscure. As such, I don’t insuate [sic] much either, unless I’m feeling extra nice, as words speak for those who write them, and this is a pretty savvy community. I have an LLC now. And so you see, there are many truths if you just know how to find them.

    How’s that for fluidity?

  50. Naturalist  September 29, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Almandine,

    1.I firmly believe your kidding yourself. Do you think it wise that we stop all vaccinations for all diseases? Would you prefer to have disease run rampant and risk your health? Your families? I think not. What you want is to dictate to people that they must get the care that prevents you from getting a disease but not protect them from diseases you could not catch. If they broke their arm and have no money to bad right? It’s not your problem. If you don’t feel this way, where do you think the money is going to come from to provide care for these people?
    Let rephrase question #2
    2.Why would keeping insurance companies benefit you over government run insurance?
    3.So when Home Depot closed a bunch of stores that means they are going out of business? The US Post Office is not going out of business. You really believe this? Do you think it will be cheaper if it is privitized? You didn’t answer that.
    4.Poor states get an extreme amount of money from the federal government for roads. The same states that bad mouth New York and California wouldn’t have the quality of life if it were not for those states and others.
    5.The Federal Government.
    6.If the Corporations hold great sway over our Government then why do you promote the corporations to give them more power to continue to do this?
    7. You prefer them over the government right?
    8.Slippery. If you could get your all the money you paid into Social Security back plus interest today, would you then want it shut down?
    9. This is why. Before the government (federal, state, county, city or town) stepped in and funded education many people could not afford to send their kids to school. Many went uneducated. Only the rich could afford have their kids educated for 12yrs and beyond in private schools. I have checked into private schools and they wanted $10,000 a year for my son to enroll. The taxes I pay would not cover that. It’s really that simple. It is because of this demon that you call socialism that has allowed millions of people to become educated at some level.
    10. Do you realize that unless you become a hermit and live far far away from everyone that there will always be Collectivism. In the old west many towns sprung up with lawlessness. They had to chip in to hire a sheriff. It was either that or let the rich hire him and do their bidding. That is not a good idea. They even chipped in and helped each other build homes, barns etc. There were community wells that everyone chipped in and help dig. Humans have always been tribal in nature. We don’t abandon our young and even a family is a tribe and collective in nature. So were indian villages, wild west towns and everything in between until now. I really don’t understand your hatred for Collectivism or Socialism. It has always been a part of any tribe, society and civilization.

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