The Wonders of Government Medicine

As ObamaCare goes through its death throes, my reaction is that the nation has dodged a bullet.  The whole purpose of this exercise was to bring closer the day when the country would have a single payer system.  I believe that if such a system had been achieved the results could well have been nightmarish.  The National Health Service in Great Britain I believe would have been a model of what the US health system would have become if completely controlled by the government.

A recent survey of 900 nurses in Great Britain revealed:

“A woman ‘barely coping’ after a miscarriage being sent to a ward with male patients.

Children left at ‘high security risk’ and a threat of infection when adults were put on their ward.

One overflow ward being so crammed a nurse could not reach the emergency buzzer when someone had a heart attack. She had to run into the corridor to yell for help.

One patient being left in a mop cupboard where there was only room for a chair, not a bed. At another hospital, a kitchen was set aside for two beds.

A hospital discharging elderly patients before they were ready.

Another using a ward which had been ‘condemned’ for patient use.

Up to three patients being crammed into a tiny office cluttered with staff belongings.

Eighteen patients being stuck on trolleys in the corridor of a medical assessment unit. “

“Maintaining single-sex areas was often impossible because of the sheer numbers of extra patients.

Nurses have to take blood samples in corridors and beds are sometimes placed in isolated corners, meaning nurses cannot see if a patient needs help.

Elderly patients are ‘parked’ in day rooms while waiting to be transferred to another hospital, and left ‘soiled and neglected’, and ‘needing fluids’.

Sometimes spare beds run out – and people have to sleep on chairs or mattresses on the floor.

Nearly half the nurses said patients in non-clinical areas did not have proper access to water, oxygen, suction and a call bell.

Four in ten said they did not have the screening to protect their dignity and privacy.

‘If a patient suddenly had a cardiac arrest, we would not be able to get the crash trolley to them,’ said one nurse at a hospital which squeezed extra beds into wards.

Others said cramming patients into wards put them at risk of cross-infection.

One added: ‘Urine bottles are not emptied, meals are missed as staff are not aware of the patient.’

Many nurses had complained to managers but the practice had stopped in only a handful of cases.

Last night, nursing leaders said poor standards meant ‘compassion fatigue’ set in, meaning nurses did not treat patients with the dignity and respect they deserved.”

Go here to read the whole story. I would also recommend reading the comments.  The rage in most of them is palpable.  Go here to read just how bad conditions got at one British public hospital.

Update:  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a horror story from North of the border this morning.

80 Responses to The Wonders of Government Medicine

  1. Tito Edwards says:

    And to the think the USCCB is part of this motley crew of socialists.

    The USCCB should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. Steve says:

    Wow. Death throes? This seems like a 50-50 proposition right now. I can’t sleep at night!

  3. Donald R. McClarey says:

    The corpse is merely twitching Steve. The Democrats in the House can read the polls and not all of them are willing to throw away their political careers so that Obama can chalk one up in the win column.

  4. Steve says:

    I desperately hope that you are right. I’ve seen that of the original Democrat “No” votes, three have converted to yes (vs. only two that went from yes to no). And one of the Stupak 12 (Kildee) has said he would vote for the bill.

  5. Steve says:

    Another troubling sign is that the vote is scheduled for 3/18, and the White House says they have the votes. Can’t imagine they’d schedule the vote if they didn’t have enough to pass.

    http://www.lifenews.com/nat6071.html

  6. Ryan Haber says:

    I am still dumbfounded by how naive our bishops are about this healthcare bill. I will support, love, and pray for them til the day I die or God withold His grace. But a spade’s a spade, and I gotta call it. They’re just being naive.

    Really, it is precisely the sort of thing that they shouldn’t have gotten directly involved in – it’s not their job; it’s ours. They should have confined themselves to pointing out principles of social justice (and not selectively so).

    My head swims trying to predict the consequences of this thing passing. The only other issues that have ever gotten me to write any letters to the editor or letters to my congressmen have been abortion and the homosexualist agenda.

  7. Mike Petrik says:

    Steve,
    I wouldn’t place too much stock in the March 18 target date. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6213R520100310

  8. Phillip says:

    I can easily see this. Many are led (quite willingly I suspect)by the USCCB bureaucracy. Many quite easily read their own politics (yes bishops have biases also) into their pronouncements. Some may actually have a limited understanding of CST. Some priests at least that I have encountered have a very limited understanding of CST. One priest I know was surprised to learn that CST allows the state to limit immigration.

  9. Gabriel Austin says:

    St. John Chrysostom wrote “never trust a bishop”.

  10. Pete says:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447686/

    Read it.

    With a little American know-how and diverting funds from the bloated military funding to health care I think we probably could pull off a national health service without the problems of Britain. It would at least be a worth while temporary experiment.

  11. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “It would at least be a worth while temporary experiment.”

    There is no such thing as a temporary experiment in regard to a huge government program. Such entities have the closest thing to immortality that can be found this side of the grave.

    However, some of the states have implemented universal health care plans. The results, to say the least, have not been impressive.

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/01/10/massachusetts-health-program-a-model-for-obamas-national-reform-strains-state-budget/

  12. Ryan Haber says:

    Pete,

    The military budget really isn’t that bloated, actually. They tend to run fairly efficiently, compared to other government expenditures. Britain is able to have a national health service because they’ve basically pulled out of the military sector altogether; same goes for France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, the Low Countries… Well, how do they keep themselves safe, one asks, with the miniscule militaries that they have now? None of them fields anything close to the size of an army that they had between or even before the world wars. There are two answers:

    (1) Nukes (Britain and France)
    (2) the U.S.

    It is telling that we have military bases in all of those countries, and that none of them have bases here. In fact, there are British crown properties that previously existed solely as naval outposts in the Indian and Pacific Oceans that NO LONGER HAVE BRITISH PERSONNEL, but only US personnel present. They’ve essentially grown tired of the work of defending the West (which is good) and its global hegemony (which is at best a necessary evil). So they’ve handed the reigns over to us.

    When we can no longer afford to both protect our shores and overseas interests AND take care of all the people who would rather not prudently plan to take care of themselves and their family members – to whom exactly will we turn over the reigns of maintaining some semblance of safety for our nation and its cultural allies?

    The Chinese? Not a change – their demographic pyramid (and thus long-term economic outlook) is more upsidedown than ours. Moreover, as a Christian without any Christian moorings, we should not expect anything like Christian treatment from them once they get themselves in charge.

    The Jihadis? Not only are they incapable of maintaining order (brute force is not the same thing), but they have no intention of preserving anything we hold dear, but of destroying most of it.

    So Pete, once we’ve trimmed our fat military, you know, maybe the only boys in America who aren’t overweight and/or self-indulgent at all costs – to whom shall we turn to save our hides?

    The idea of cutting military spending – of which I am no great lover – right NOW – is laughably insane.

  13. Blackadder says:

    St. John Chrysostom wrote “never trust a bishop”.

    St. John Chrysostom *was* a bishop.

  14. Ryan Haber says:

    Lol, it might be apocryphal, but I believe it was also Chrysostom who said that the road to hell was paved with bishops’ bones. It may have been St. Athanasius, another very holy bishop.

  15. Blackadder says:

    Britain is able to have a national health service because they’ve basically pulled out of the military sector altogether; same goes for France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, the Low Countries.

    Actually per capita military spending by most if not all of these countries is above the world average. France, for example, spends $778 per person per year on its military, compared to $986 for the U.S.

    Personally I think there’s a lot we could cut from the military budget without imperiling the national defense. Even if we got rid of the army entirely we’d still have 1) the unrivaled best navy in the world, 2) the unrivaled best air force in the world, 3) the Marines, 4) the National Guard, and 5) the bomb. I think we’d be fine.

  16. Ryan Haber says:

    What does per capita spending have to do with anything, Blackadder? If Papua New Guinea decided to spend $10,000 per capita on defense, you know what they’d have for a navy? Two canoes and a slingshot.

    The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute puts defense spending at:

    United States $607.0 billion
    Chinaa $84.9 billion
    France $65.7 billion
    United Kingdom $65.3 billion
    Russia $58.6 billion
    Germany $46.8 billion

    No, it’s pretty clear to me whom the West counts upon for its defense. We are safe because we are strong.

    Only a lunatic would use a nuke again. We’re all trying to figure out how to get rid of them. Nukes are non-issues except for the wackos who want them. And without nukes, someone’s gonna have to do some shooting. Tell the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan that we only need the marines for ground work.

  17. Joe Hargrave says:

    Ryan,

    I’m really sorry to see that you too are resorting to calling people who hold other political positions “insane.”

    All of this talk of “insanity” in politics means one thing: that no reasonable person can possibly disagree with your position. There are some cases in which this could very well be true, especially when discussing philosophy.

    When it comes to policy, it is rarely true. Reasonable people disagree all the time, and even promoting a bad policy doesn’t make a person “insane.”

    Right now, military spending accounts for half of all discretionary spending and nearly 1/4 of total spending in the United States. The maintenance of an overseas empire (benevolent or not – lets just call the damned thing what it is) costs this country over a trillion dollars a year. It places an unbearable financial burden upon the country, the military policies are now rubber stamped by Congress and have escaped any real semblance of civilian control – as was the clear intent of the American framers – and unilateral American militarism has soured much of the rest of the world on America herself.

    I could also add that the last two popes have opposed the Iraq war and are constantly pushing for peaceful, diplomatic solutions to crises. JP II’s criticism of the arms race during the Cold War hasn’t lost any of its significance toady. There’s also the fact that even as the size of the defense budget, the quality of care for the veterans who suffer physical and psychic trauma never seems to increase along with it.

    At a certain point, we must indeed say that many of these problems are “not our problem.” We have a serious crisis on our southern boarder, and I’m not talking about people looking for work, but violent and vast crime syndicates that operate with impunity in this country.

    And at a certain point, we have to admit that the “war on terror” is as pointless as the “war on drugs” or the “war on poverty.” Its just as idealistic and unrealistic, and is even more dangerous. It is open-ended, perpetual war similar to what one finds in 1984. An American president went on national television to warn us of the dangers of the “military-industrial” complex.

    And the idea that we are “safe because we are strong”, to me, sounds little different than what the Soviet government used to say – in spite of the massive military spending (which ended up bankrupting their government), in spite of an international military presence and the ability intimidate and harass other countries, the official line was also that it was never enough – even more spending was required, even more troops, more planes, tanks, and missiles. As long as the world was divided between “imperialists” (the West) and Marxists-Leninists, such armaments would be necessary. “Safe” was never “safe enough” – a nation that sells and justifies its militarism through an ideology will never be able to rest until the rest of the world shares that ideology. That was communism’s fatal flaw, and the West is rapidly adopting it, only this time speaking instead of “democracy” (while supporting corrupt monarchs and dictators when it suits them, of course).

    So, if you’re going to call me “insane” for disagreeing with you, and raising these points, well, I guess I won’t respond. I don’t think I’ve been officially diagnosed with a mental illness, but if we go by the average combox debate, 99% of Americans are ready for the madhouse.

  18. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “I think we’d be fine.”

    Until we had a ground war. There aren’t enough Marines and naval and air power are of very limited utility in taking and holding ground which is how wars are won on land. Our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are telling. These were two relatively small ground wars and our ground troops were stretched to the limit by multiple deployments. We must remember in a modern military the people who actually pull the triggers are a small percentage of the people in the military. A modern force requires a large logistical tail, and that means that the combat troops are few and precious.

  19. Ryan Haber says:

    Joe,

    Even sensible people have some crazy ideas. I didn’t call anyone insane; but an idea. Reread what I wrote. By insane, I mean, “out of touch with reality.” I steadfastly maintain both:

    (1) Your general sanity is intact, for what my observation is worth 😉 and

    (2) Cutting defense spending when the Chinese are bulking up and the Iranians, North Koreans are getting nukes and have a real will to use them, and Jihadis are doing their darnedest to infiltrate everything we do – that is insane.

    Right now, military spending accounts for half of all discretionary spending and nearly 1/4 of total spending in the United States.

    “Discretionary spending” is a very pliable term. I think Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security are discretionary, or rather, show a real lack of it. I’ll agree to disagree with you on this point, but I believe that the point needs making.

    You’re right, we do have an empire – maybe more like the Athenian “Delian League” than the Roman “Imperium”, but really, the differences are only mechanical. I hate it. I also have a hard time thinking of how we can dismantle it safely.

    All your criticisms of our imperium, our defense spending, the lack of care for our veterans, the Holy Fathers’ criticism of our overseas adventures – I concur fully. I agree about the insecure border and about your principles. I welcome honest workers, and as many as want to come, but like you I believe we need to secure our border so that it is done on our terms and in a way that keeps us safe.

    Your litany of the “wars” we are fighting strikes a chord with me, because I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting – even today at lunch with a friend – on what it means about us as a nation that we “fight” so many “wars” but so rarely solve any problems.

    Massive military spending joined with a massive entitlements system and an immense government bureaucracy and industry rendered inefficient by government “coordination” are what bankrupted the Soviet Union. Of course, we are headed in that self-same direction, aren’t we?

    I don’t believe that we need to democratize the Middle East or anybody else. I also agree that we need to extricate ourselves from other peoples’ affairs, and that alone will end most of the animosity against us – as well as the immorally obtained and corrosive affluence we’ve been enjoying. In fact, I believe that is the only way to long-term peace and prosperity. But I don’t see that reducing our overseas presence will settle the Jihadis or North Koreans down overnight – they’ll go for the throat, like the last time we let down our guard.

    What I said was that the idea of cutting our military budget NOW (and this in the context of looking for a way to fund a national health service – Pete’s initial motivation) is insane. And by calling it an insane idea, I wasn’t short-circuiting rational discourse. In fact, rather than dismissal, I specified a number of reasons.

    I didn’t call you insane. My statement doesn’t imply you are insane. But yes, I think cutting our military budget in the present circumstances, particularly in order to fund another, different, “bloated” bureaucracy – yeah, that’s a real, real bad idea.

    Now, that doesn’t mean I think you’re a bad man, so let’s not take these things too personally, Joe.

  20. Donald R. McClarey says:

    As a percentage of gdp, our current defense spending is fairly low by post world war II standards.

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Features/BudgetChartbook/Defense-Spending-on-the-Decline-Despite-War-on-Terror.aspx

    http://www.truthandpolitics.org/military-relative-size.php

    When comparing what we spend on our military to what other nations spend on their military, it is useful to remember that we try to pay our troops a living wage. It is not enough, but many nations rely on conscripts and pay them a pittance.

    This wikipedia article does a pretty good job in explaining the military budget.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

  21. restrainedradical says:

    Meanwhile Palin used to cross the border to get Canadian health care.

    Polls show Canadians are more satisfied with the quality of their health care than Americans are.

    And back in the US:

    A hospital van dropped off a paraplegic man on Skid Row, allegedly leaving him crawling in the street with nothing more than a soiled gown and a broken colostomy bag, police said.

  22. Joe Hargrave says:

    “You’re right, we do have an empire – maybe more like the Athenian “Delian League” than the Roman “Imperium””

    Ah, and what happened to the Delian League? Athenian imperialism ended in a total shipwreck and defeat at the hands of Sparta. I think we have our own Peloponnesian crisis on the horizon. We’re long past the point of Pericles (maybe that was JFK?). We’re left with Cleon and his cronies.

    After the defeat, though, Plato and Aristotle were around, so there may even be an upside to an imperial collapse.

    “Of course, we are headed in that self-same direction, aren’t we?”

    We are. That’s what Ron Paul believes, its what I believe, and its why I support his foreign policy view. It is not, as some people say, “isolationist” – it is anti-interventionist. There’s a difference.

    “But I don’t see that reducing our overseas presence will settle the Jihadis or North Koreans down overnight – they’ll go for the throat, like the last time we let down our guard.”

    The North Koreans won’t attack the US – they’ll attack South Korea or Japan, if they attack anyone at all. Frankly I don’t think they’ll attack anyone. China has no interest in destabilizing the region and will not allow Kim Jong Il to do so.

    As for the jihadists, we cannot have an entire society revolve around the unpredictable actions of a handful of terrorists. They may strike us and they may kill some of us, though I tell you, I honestly believe that if the US weren’t meddling in the affairs of the Muslim world, and wasn’t bending over backwards to protect and defend Israel, most of their potential recruits would melt away.

    And you did say more than just opposition to cutting the military budget for health care – you said “we are safe because we are strong.” That idea, to me, is fallacious, especially since we are constantly being told we are not safe because we aren’t strong enough.

    As for the insanity thing:

    I’m just sick of it. And I’ve done it alot myself, so I’m not saying I’m good about this. Insanity is a serious problem. Occassionaly I come across ideas I really do think are insane. But much of the time I find so many people, myself included, ready to brand people and ideas with that word (insane ideas, one would think, come from insane minds, or at the least a person has to be a little insane themselves to accept them).

    I think what most people really mean when they say insane is “naive.” And while that can be patronizing too, it is often far more accurate.

    Finally:

    I totally oppose Obamacare or any other national plan at this point. So yeah, cutting military spending just to fund national healthcare is not an idea I support at all. But there are other good reasons to cut it, and plenty of other things we can spend the money on. Ron Paul talks about this here:

    http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/03/07/putting-the-constitution-back-into-the-oval-office/

    Something to think about.

  23. restrainedradical says:

    The military budget really isn’t that bloated, actually. They tend to run fairly efficiently, compared to other government expenditures.

    How exactly would you measure military efficiency? Kill counts per dollar spent? Ratio of countries occupied to spending as a percentage of GDP?

    Fewer Americans would be killed if we abolished the standing army. That means there’s about $400 billion in bloat. $400 billion of capital being allocated for unproductive government services.

  24. Joe Hargrave says:

    Also, Don,

    I don’t understand why “% of GDP” arguments are relevant at all. Government spending is a zero-sum game. If you spend 1/4 of your total revenue on the military, that seems more significant to me than saying that its only 6% of GDP – especially when our gross debt is 83% of GDP.

    To me this argument is almost like saying that my total McDonald’s spending is only worth 1% of all the things I have in my house, even as I spend half of my weekly paycheck on it. It’s true – but is it a good justification for my eating habits?

  25. Donald R. McClarey says:

    (Guest comment by Don’s wife Cathy): Restrainedradical, I heard about Palin’s comments to the Canadian group, too; however, it was Chuck and Sally Heath (Sarah’s parents) who supposedly sought healthcare in Whitehorse (Yukon), at a time when Sarah was all of 5 years old. I hardly think Sarah can be credited or blamed for healthcare decisions her parents made when she was a young child.

  26. restrainedradical says:

    We are. That’s what Ron Paul believes, its what I believe, and its why I support his foreign policy view. It is not, as some people say, “isolationist” – it is anti-interventionist. There’s a difference.

    Unfortunately, judging from his views on immigration and trade, Ron Paul may also be an isolationist. At least, there’s no evidence to the contrary.

  27. Joe Hargrave says:

    No evidence to the contrary? So, guilty until proven innocent? 🙂

    I’m pretty sure Ron Paul an economic libertarian – he is for free trade and immigration, which isn’t the same, by the way, as being for NAFTA, GATT, and open boarders.

  28. restrainedradical says:

    (Guest comment by Don’s wife Cathy): Restrainedradical, I heard about Palin’s comments to the Canadian group, too; however, it was Chuck and Sally Heath (Sarah’s parents) who supposedly sought healthcare in Whitehorse (Yukon), at a time when Sarah was all of 5 years old. I hardly think Sarah can be credited or blamed for healthcare decisions her parents made when she was a young child.

    Nobody’s blaming her for going to Canada for health care. We’re only blaming her for being so stupid as to say that out loud while she opposes the same system for the rest of America.

  29. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Ron Paul was however interested in our government granting letters of marque and reprisal to private entreprenuers to attack the terrorists after 9-11.

    http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press2001/pr101101.htm

    Of course the original letters of marque and reprisal worked because captured ships became the property of the holders of the letter. What the financial incentive would be for holders of letters of marque and reprisalto engage in land combat with terrorists in Afghanistan I will leave for Ron Paul to attempt to explain.

  30. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Restrained radical the Yukon territory did not have socialized medicine at that time. Free feel to try again.

  31. restrainedradical says:

    No evidence to the contrary? So, guilty until proven innocent? 🙂

    I’m pretty sure Ron Paul an economic libertarian – he is for free trade and immigration, which isn’t the same, by the way, as being for NAFTA, GATT, and open boarders.

    For an economic libertarian politician to have no statement on record in favor of freer trade or freer immigration and only statements in opposition to their closest alternatives (FTA’s and amnesty) is very odd, especially given how outspoken he is on other issues. Don’t you think?

    I donated to the Ron Paul campaign but supporters seem to project their own political views on the man that he may or may not hold. E.g., the Truthers, white supremacists, and free traders.

  32. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “I don’t understand why “% of GDP” arguments are relevant at all.”

    Because it illustrates Joe that our budgetary woes are not attributable to huge defense spending but rather to the skyrocketing nondefense spending. In 1962 this country spent 72.9 percent of all federal discretionary spending on the military. It has fallen to about half of our discretionary spending now. If the rest of federal spending had declined proportionate to defense spending as a share of federal discretionary spending, we would have a much smaller budgetary problem now.

  33. restrainedradical says:

    What the financial incentive would be for holders of letters of marque and reprisalto engage in land combat with terrorists in Afghanistan I will leave for Ron Paul to attempt to explain.

    He proposed a cash reward.

    Restrained radical the Yukon territory did not have socialized medicine at that time. Free feel to try again.

    Wrong. As Palin’s father even admits, Yukon did have socialized medicine at the time, though he had to pay because he was an American.

  34. Joe Hargrave says:

    Restrained,

    I’ve heard him declare support for free trade many times in speeches and interviews. He is a full subscriber to the Austrian school of economics, which few paleocons will also say.

    Don,

    I guess I’m a little dense, but I just don’t see it.

    “it illustrates Joe that our budgetary woes are not attributable to huge defense spending but rather to the skyrocketing nondefense spending”

    How? What I mean is, what is the relationship between the budget and the GDP? Because I’m a layman, I’m going to assume wikipedia is accurate. So, for instance, when I read this:

    “For FY 2010, Department of Defense spending amounts to 4.7% of GDP.[22] Because the U.S. GDP has risen over time, the military budget can rise in absolute terms while shrinking as a percentage of the GDP.”

    It seems to me that this is not an extremely useful indicator. The wiki goes on to give some examples that I think help my point.

    Now the point about the 1962 budget is surely interesting. Without knowing the context, though, I won’t comment on it.

  35. Blackadder says:

    What does per capita spending have to do with anything, Blackadder? If Papua New Guinea decided to spend $10,000 per capita on defense, you know what they’d have for a navy? Two canoes and a slingshot.

    Why would you expect a country with 65 million people to spend as much on its military as a country with 300 million people? I guess you must think that Israel basically has no military. After all, their military budget is smaller than Canada’s. (btw, if Papau New Guinea spent $10,000 per capita on its military it would have the third largest military budget in the world).

    Tell the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan that we only need the marines for ground work.

    It’s true that with a smaller military we would be less able to occupy countries half way around the world for significant lengths of time. I’m not sure that would be such a bad thing.

  36. Phillip says:

    Though we wouldn’t have been able to project power in Europe during the Cold War. That would have been a bad thing.

  37. Donald R. McClarey says:

    1972

    Yukon creates medical insurance plans with federal cost sharing, April 1.

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/pubs/system-regime/2005-hcs-sss/time-chron-eng.php

  38. Blackadder says:

    Defense spending as a percentage of GDP is down not because we’re spending less (we spend more now than during the Cold War, even in inflation adjusted dollars). It’s just that economic growth means that spending the same amount on the military is going to represent a smaller fraction of GDP.

  39. restrainedradical says:

    I’ve heard him declare support for free trade many times in speeches and interviews. He is a full subscriber to the Austrian school of economics, which few paleocons will also say.

    He has his own definition of free trade. He wants to fund the entire federal budget through tariffs. Nobody else in the world considers that free trade. Ron Paul values national sovereignty above free markets and personal liberty. The stated policies of his ideal government would have the effect of getting the government out of everything except sealing the borders from the free flow of goods and people. He’s an American Firster before he’s an Austrian.

  40. Tito Edwards says:

    RR, take it from Don, he’s a Newfie.

  41. restrainedradical says:

    1972

    Yukon creates medical insurance plans with federal cost sharing, April 1.

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/pubs/system-regime/2005-hcs-sss/time-chron-eng.php

    Thanks for the link which clearly states:

    1960

    Yukon creates hospital insurance plan with federal cost sharing, July 1.

    Yukon had socialized emergency care before it extended it to all health care. Palin and her family went to Yukon for emergency care.

  42. Donna V. says:

    Well, Restrainedradical, we can swap stories about the relative horrors of US vs. Canadian healthcare. Here’s another story from Mark Steyn, whose wife miscarried their 4th child:

    A few years back, she felt herself beginning to miscarry. Nobody was at home so she called a cab and went to the emergency room at the Royal Victoria. Knowing what “emergency” means in the Quebec system, she grabbed a novel on the way out–an excellent choice, Mr. Standfast by John Buchan, our late Governor General. It’s 304 pages, and my wife had the time to read every single one of them before any medical professional saw her. While she was reading, she was bleeding, all over the emergency room floor, the pool of large dark red around her growing bigger and bigger, until eventually a passing cleaner ran her mop over the small lake and delivered a small rebuke to my wife for having the impertinence not to cease bleeding.

    Maybe it was just bad luck. Michael Miner at The Chicago Reader got U of T’s John Marshall on the phone to assure him that “Canadian medical standards are on average every bit as high as American medical standards. It has nothing to do with the structures of the health care system.” Oh, really? If Miner’s mother was dissatisfied with her convalescence home, she could always pick another. And don’t give me all the fine print about HMOs and co-payers: in the last resort, you or your loved ones can always reach into your billfold and go anywhere you can afford. At the Royal Vic, no matter how many bills you wave around, you still have to bleed all over the floor because they’re the only game in town.

    Since my wife’s experience, the average wait time in Montreal emergency rooms has apparently gone up to 48 hours. So don’t pack an overnight bag, take two, and the complete works of John Buchan. The natural consequence of a system built on waiting is that more people do what she did–sit in the hospital, waiting to be seen, bleeding all over the floor until a cleaner (and it’s one cleaner per two floors at many Montreal hospitals) wipes it up with a dirty mop and then runs the same mop over the floor in the isolation ward upstairs.

    That’s the C. difficile story. That’s why the fatality rate in Montreal is four times (officially) the North American average. “In many institutions, housekeeping staff has been reduced while nursing workloads have increased,” reports Quebec’s Clostridium Difficile-Associated Diarrhea Clinical Study Investigators Group. “Compliance with hand hygiene has been shown to decrease as workloads increase . . . Wards and emergency departments have become more crowded, and bed turnover is rapid. This makes containment of C. difficile exceedingly difficult, especially among patients with fecal incontinence.” According to Dr. Louise Poirier of the Quebec microbiologists’ association, “It’s not that easy if you are a nurse and you have six patients. You take your gloves off and you go far away, find a sink, wash your hands, go back, put on another gown. You do that sometimes 20 times in an afternoon.”

    Hygiene is the number one issue in Canadian hospitals, and a problem with hygiene is the logical consequence of a system built on “waiting.” On March 7 last year, Tse Chi Kwai went to Scarborough Grace Hospital and, as is traditional, was left on a gurney in emergency for 12 hours, exposed to hundreds of people. Two days earlier, his mother had died of SARS but, despite displaying to her doctor all the symptoms detailed in the several health alerts on the subject, had cause of death listed as “heart attack.” And at Scarborough Grace, even after discovering that Tse’s mother had recently died after returning from Hong Kong, Dr. Sandy Finkelstein concluded that, even if Tse was infectious, it was only with TB. Lying next to Tse on that ER gurney hour after hour was Joe Pollack, who was being treated for an irregular heartbeat. He was subsequently sent home but returned on March 16 with symptoms of SARS. He was admitted and isolated, but apparently it never occurred to the hospital to isolate Mrs. Pollack. So she wandered around the wards and infected an 82-year-old man from a Catholic Charismatic group.

    Mr. Pollack, Mrs. Pollack, the 82-year-old Catholic Charismatic and his wife all died. None of these people went anywhere near Southeast Asia. They were exposed to SARS by the Toronto health care system, as was the 82-year-old’s son, who was also unknowingly infected at Scarborough Grace and went on to expose another 500 to SARS at a religious retreat. As I wrote in the National Post at the time, “Only in Canada does the virus owe its grip on the population to the active co-operation of the medical profession. In Toronto, the system that’s supposed to protect us from infection instead infected us. They breached the most basic medical principle: first do no harm.”

  43. Donna V. says:

    That Canadian timeline gives both 1960 and 1972 as the years the Yukon implemented hospital insurance plans, so obviously someone messed up.

    Does that timeline also show how wait times for basic services have steadily increased in the Canadian healthcare system? Or ratios of MRIs to population as compared to the US figures?

  44. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Hospital insurance is a far cry from socialized medicine restrainedradical. The current system in Canada didn’t come into being until, fittingly enough, 1984, with the Canada Health Act when private fees were banned and doctors restricted to what the government would pay for patients. So the Palin bashers are left with Palin’s family, when she was a little girl, going to Whitehorse for treatment and paying for it out of their own pockets, in a healthcare system which had hospital insurance, but nothing like the current Canadian socialized healthcare system.

  45. Donald R. McClarey says:

    What was the cash reward figure proposed by Paul restrainedradical? Considering the cost of modern warfare, not to mention the risk to life and limb, the cash reward would have to be very generous indeed to get any serious takers.

  46. restrainedradical says:

    Hospital insurance is a far cry from socialized medicine restrainedradical. The current system in Canada didn’t come into being until, fittingly enough, 1984, with the Canada Health Act when private fees were banned and doctors restricted to what the government would pay for patients. So the Palin bashers are left with Palin’s family, when she was a little girl, going to Whitehorse for treatment and paying for it out of their own pockets, in a healthcare system which had hospital insurance, but nothing like the current Canadian socialized healthcare system.

    IOW, they only had ObamaCare at the time.

    What was the cash reward figure proposed by Paul restrainedradical? Considering the cost of modern warfare, not to mention the risk to life and limb, the cash reward would have to be very generous indeed to get any serious takers.

    Paul’s bill left the amount to the discretion of the president. The rewards would have to be huge and I’m still not sure anyone but sovereign nations would be able to afford the upfront costs. Not to mention, they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of government intelligence. I do think that more privatization of the military may be a good idea though.

  47. Joe Hargrave says:

    At least one analyst sees the problem with the GDP argument. This was in the Armed Forces Journal:

    “The GDP argument exasperates defense budget expert Christopher Hellman. To say that defense spending as a percent of GDP is historically low “is accurate, but it is also misleading,” said Hellman, who heads the Project on Military Spending Oversight. It is equally accurate to say that the proposed 2008 defense budget, minus war funds, “is more than 25 percent above the Cold War average — and this for a military one-third smaller than it was in 1990,” he said.”

    http://www.afji.com/2007/03/2545232

    The whole article is worth a read.

    Really, logically, intuitively, the % of GDP argument applied to anything we spend money on is, as the analyst says, specious and misleading. It is based on a logical fallacy.

  48. Donald R. McClarey says:

    From the same article Joe:

    “The defense budget’s percentage of GDP best serves as a measure of the burden military spending is placing on the U.S. economy, said Baker Spring, a defense analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. At 4.4 percent — the proposed level of defense spending when war costs are included — defense spending can hardly be said to be an economic burden, he said. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid consume 8.7 percent of GDP, nearly twice defense’s share, he said.

    The U.S. economy could easily handle spending 5 percent of GDP on defense, “but I’m not saying we need that much,” Spring said. “Heritage is the most pro-defense think tank in town, and our benchmark is 4 percent” in peacetime, he said. It is the portion of GDP devoted to entitlements, not defense, that is a matter of concern, Spring said. With baby boomers nearing retirement age, the U.S. will be “trying to swim upstream against a demographic tidal wave” if it attempts to provide the full Social Security and medical benefits long promised. “It will bankrupt this country,” he said.

    But if Congress tries to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, the handful of generals and admirals complaining about their paltry share of the GDP will be overpowered by the cries of 79 million baby boomers.”

    In regard to current defense budgets, another factor to consider is that military pay is much higher than it used to be prior to 1974 after adjustment for inflation. When we had the draft military pay tended to be quite low for the first few enlisted ranks. We could cut our defense budget if we returned to the draft, although I think that would be a huge mistake.

  49. Art Deco says:

    Allocations to the military fluctuate considerably in response to external circumstances, which is not the case for most categories of public expenditure. The military-industrial complex ain’t got nuttin’ on the farm lobby, the geezer lobby, and the public employee unions.

  50. Joe Hargrave says:

    Don,

    I read the whole article, thanks.

    Obviously it also quotes people who take the GDP perspective for granted.

    What I haven’t seen is logical argument in its defense. Why is the percentage of GDP spent on anything a concern at all? This reason, in my view, is fallacious:

    “The defense budget’s percentage of GDP best serves as a measure of the burden military spending is placing on the U.S. economy”

    Wouldn’t this actually be an indicator of what the military contributes to the US economy? After all, doesn’t a good chunk of military spending go to private defense contractors that provide jobs and put their profits in banks and invest in this and that?

    This is why the statistic is misleading when the topic at hand is military SPENDING. It isn’t the burden on “the economy” that should be our primary concern, but on the budget, on the spending capacity of the government.

    This statistic is useless, unless you can show the concrete relationship between the size of the GDP and the size of the budget. There might be some relationship, but there are so many other immediate factors influencing the size of the budget in a given year that I can’t see it being anywhere near the most important. 4% of GDP is meaningless; defense spending is almost 25% of the total budget and 50% of the discretionary budget. In the volume of real dollars, it is higher than it ever was during the Cold War, as the article also points out.

    Here’s that example from the wiki I mentioned before, for instance:

    ” For example, the Department of Defense budget is slated to be $664 billion in 2010 (including the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan previously funded through supplementary budget legislation[23][24]), higher than at any other point in American history, but still 1.1–1.4% lower as a percentage of GDP than the amount spent on defense during the peak of Cold-War military spending in the late 1980s.”

    So, in my view, this “% of GDP” argument is a way for the war hawks to disguise the real costs and the real burdens of a bloated military budget.

    But if someone wants to make a logical argument, by all means, be my guest. Walk me through the steps and arrive at the relevance.

  51. Blackadder says:

    The current system in Canada didn’t come into being until, fittingly enough, 1984, with the Canada Health Act when private fees were banned and doctors restricted to what the government would pay for patients.

    Okay, but nothing in ObamaCare would ban private fees, etc.

  52. John Kelly says:

    It’s really sad how mean spirited and selfish most people are on this board. Thank God for the bishops. Universal health care will save lives, especially of the poor. The spectacle of catholics defending the military budget and complaining about extending health care to millions of people is tragic.

    I pray that none of you lose your insurance. Hopefully you can find it in your heart to care about people other then yourselves someday.

  53. Joe Hargrave says:

    It’s neither mean-spirited nor selfish to oppose a massive allocation of resources to a program you don’t think will do much good and in fact might make the problem even worse.

  54. Mike Petrik says:

    Joe, I think your budget versus economy distinction is misplaced. If you are correct that much military spending is wasteful, then the burden is indeed on the economy. To say otherwise would suggest that we ought to all get up and bust windows in order to keep window sellers employed. Economics is about the sound allocation of resources, not the arbitrary waste of resources.

  55. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “The spectacle of catholics defending the military budget and complaining about extending health care to millions of people is tragic.”

    What is tragic is anyone, Catholic or not, who thinks this boondogle called ObamaCare is primarily about healthcare rather than its true purpose: a radical expansion of government power.

  56. Joe Hargrave says:

    “If you are correct that much military spending is wasteful, then the burden is indeed on the economy. To say otherwise would suggest that we ought to all get up and bust windows in order to keep window sellers employed.”

    I don’t think so. I think it is a mis-allocation of resources. So that may be a burden on the economy, sure; but it isn’t the primary concern, especially if it is only 6% of GDP.

    The reason that I and others point out that military spending is wasteful is because we think it would be better spent on other things, if not cut entirely from the budget. That’s why the % of the budget it eats up is more important than the % of GDP, at least with regards to the point we want to make. We think that at least some of that 23% or 50% could be better spent elsewhere or not spent at all. What GDP has to do with that is still beyond me.

  57. Mike Petrik says:

    Joe, I’m really not interested in your larger debate. I was making a narrower point, which you can’t even bring yourself to admit is correct. Why?

  58. Joe Hargrave says:

    I thought I did when I said,

    “So that may be a burden on the economy, sure”

    I thought perhaps a clarification was in order.

  59. Art Deco says:

    I have to say, Joe, your hostility to denominators is most perplexing.

  60. Ryan Haber says:

    John Kelly,

    “Mean” isn’t a compelling argument to me. I try my best to deal with facts. (Yesterday I was a bit hot under the collar, and apologize for it.)

    Fact: we have no money to pay for anything. We’re out. Reserves basically empty, our entire economy mortgaged 83% (or is it 87%?) to the hilt.

    Fact: ObamaCare will not be budget/deficit-neutral. Nobody’s even pretending that anymore.

    Lastly, what really bothers me about this debate is how polarized it’s become. There are so many possible options that haven’t been raised or seriously discussed for how we can better share our nation’s prosperity and top-notch medical resources, particularly with those who, through no fault of their own, haven’t got access to them.

    Our options have been reduced, to hear the media and the Congress babble on, to either (1) create hundreds of new government programs and committees at trillions of dollars in cost; or (2) free the reins of insurance companies to do what they like. This dichotomy is a false one, and I reject it. Buying into it only helps the people who set it up.

  61. Phillip says:

    John Kelly is working from the meta-narrative where govt. provision of care is the only compassionate/Catholic means to achieve the common good. This meta-narrative as more compassion felt than compassion reasoned does not take into acount either the feasibility of a given plan nor the ability to pay for it.

  62. Ryan Haber says:

    Right, Phillip. And that’s the main problem of speaking of health care as a right. Aside from the fact that such talk is nonsense and untrue. What if there were no doctors? What if there was no such thing as medicine? Does that mean a person has the right to an ultrasound? Even before they were invented? Such imprecise language causes more problems than it solves.

    Compassion-felt also doesn’t take into account whether the solution will actually help. Feelings are great. We need them. They are part of the bridge between mere animality and the angels. But they are meant to power, motivate our decisions – not direct and decide them.

    Health care is a common good, like food, clothing, and shelter, that all people need; moreover, it is the sort of common good that most cannot provide for themselves singlehandedly. We as a group therefore have a vested interested in helping each other out. We have a duty to do so because it is the right thing to do.

    So the question is about the best way to do that. That’s a starting point that can be discussed meaningfully and is open-ended enough to allow any number of possible solutions to be raised: sensible or hare-brained, simple or sweeping. It does not leave us with an either/or solution in which neither of the proscribed paths is likely to solve the problem without creating new ones as serious as the original problem.

    I’ve heard an idea once or twice. I’d like some input because I’m trying to work it out more in my mind. Here’s the idea:

    Health care co-ops.

    The idea is that, like a credit union or an employee-owned company (Southwest Airlines), it would be investor/employee owned. The insured parties would be the owners. Like a credit union, membership would be contingent on membership in a served group, and like a credit union, once one had a membership, the membership couldn’t be ended because of medical-related reasons. Like an employee-owned company, members have a vested interest in keeping service-quality high and costs low. At the end of the year, rates go up or down based on costs, and dividends may be handed out from the profits of the health care co-op’s prudent investment returns beyond what is needed for prudent cash reserves. The communities served might be based geographically (like county or city), based upon job/career/association membership (like teachers unions), based on hobbies (like sky divers), particular employers, religious groups (like the KofC), and so on. This would allow competition among them as well. It would also help distribute cost among the insured more proportionately – my premiums wouldn’t go up to cover someone else’s skydiving, because he’d presumably not be covered by a plan in which nobody else wanted that, but could get coverage for that specific activity in a related group’s co-op. There would even be a role for local and state governments to establish co-ops to cover people who don’t otherwise qualify for any other plan… provided that the governments were not subsidizing otherwise pricey benefits to drive out competition. In this way, a basic plan would be available to everyone, something covering yearly checkups and emergency care, at reasonable rates.

    There’s obviously a ton that I don’t know and haven’t thought of. It’s one idea, anyway.

    Ideas, anyone?

    In happier news, the Virginia state legislature has just passed a law that the governor says he will sign, and which nullifies any healthcare reform affecting insurance within that state, using the 10th Amendment as its basis.

    How’s that for subsidiarity?

  63. Ryan Haber says:

    Another idea is requiring hospitals to standardize costs – preventing them from putting the squeeze on people who cannot collectively bargain, i.e., the uninsured. As it is now, they compensate for the reduced rates given to insurance companies by increasing charges on the uninsured. That would be a good step toward shifting costs toward those who use the services, reconnecting the purchase and the price – which are almost completely disconnected in the health care industry right now.

    Just another idea for discussion.

  64. Joe Hargrave says:

    “In happier news, the Virginia state legislature has just passed a law that the governor says he will sign, and which nullifies any healthcare reform affecting insurance within that state, using the 10th Amendment as its basis.”

    Now that’s change I can believe in! I love it. AZ did the same, I think.

  65. restrainedradical says:

    Health care co-ops

    You’d get co-cops based on risk profiles. Sick elderly people wouldn’t be able to afford insurance. It almost destroys the point of insurance.

    In happier news, the Virginia state legislature has just passed a law that the governor says he will sign, and which nullifies any healthcare reform affecting insurance within that state, using the 10th Amendment as its basis.

    How’s that for subsidiarity?

    Unless Virginia is willing to provide its citizens with universal health care, I think it violates solidarity.

    Another idea is requiring hospitals to standardize costs

    Interesting. It would have complex effects on the negotiating positions between providers and insurers, competition between insurers, and the incentive for individuals to get insurance but I don’t know how exactly.

  66. Ryan Haber says:

    “co-ops based on risk profiles”

    To some extent, perhaps. But because, presumably, people would join a plan when younger and keep it when older, not necessarily.

    Nothing in law requires Virginia to provide universal health care; the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution reserves authority over the matter to the states, and simple inaction by the states in no way empowers the federal government. If Obamacare is rammed through, a number of lawsuits by states or against them will certainly end up in the Supreme Court very quickly.

  67. Art Deco says:

    I suspect that restrained radical is correct: part of the utility of the employer-based system is that it creates viable actuarial pools, systematically excluding only retirees and the disabled.

  68. restrainedradical says:

    What if you want to switch insurers or you have to drop your insurance for a while or you’re a sick child?

    Virginia is required by solidarity to provide its citizens with health care.

    If, as the GOP wants, we get interstate insurance, federal regulation is unquestionably constitutional. Commerce Clause challenges are always an uphill battle. If Congress can prevent me from growing marijuana in my own home for personal consumption, Congress can probably regulate my health insurance too. The more interesting constitutional challenge would be against the mandate which imposes a penalty for inactivity (failure to buy insurance). Congress can impose penalties to regulate conduct but it’s one thing to penalize an activity and another to penalize inactivity. To my knowledge, courts haven’t addressed that yet.

  69. Ryan Haber says:

    Restrainedradical wrote:

    Virginia is required by subsidiarity to provide its citizens with health care.

    Err… not exactly. The principle of subsidiarity is the principle that a task falls upon the most local, smallest entity capable of undertaking it. That’s all. Applied to health care coverage, it means that if the states are capable of doing it, then they should do it rather than a more remote, larger entity – like the federal government. It doesn’t mean that the states must, or that anyone must.

    You’ve gotta be kidding, right? People get penalized for inactivity all the time. It’s called tort law, which is all about responsibility for negligence, i.e., penalties for inactivity.

    You are right, though, that interstate insurance can surely be regulated by the federal government. That’s fine.

    The idea about health care co-ops not being able to drop somebody for medical reasons has precisely the intention of obviating the question of “pre-existing medical conditions.” In a co-op-based scheme, people could switch to whichever other co-op they qualified for, and conceivably have insurance in more than one co-op to cover different situations. So if I qualify for the Kensington Citizens Health Co-op, I might buy from them. I might buy something supplemental from the Road Runners Club Health Co-op. Later I might decide on a less expensive but less comprehensive plan offered by the Writers’ Guild Co-op. When I get older, I might buy something from the AARP Co-op that, while it eats more of my pension, since the house is paid for so that’s OK, because it will pay for my new hip. All the while I might steadfastly decline the Knights of Columbus Co-op thinking I can do better elsewhere.

    Umm… if someone decides to drop their insurance, then they go without insurance, it would seem. Are you really asking for the government to provide insurance for anyone who just doesn’t want to pay for it? “Have to drop your insurance for a while,” can mean a lot of things. Lots of people have cable TV but no insurance, when basic insurance would cost less than the cable.

    Sick children? That’s a hard case. Hard cases make bad law. We already have programs to insure children, with lots of money and bureaucrats to ensure they never get sick and die. Haven’t you heard of CHIP and S-CHIP?

    A weird thing happens. If we do not publicly insure children, then some children will undergo hardship because their parents are imprudent with resources or just run out of them without having had messed up priorities (quite possible, but less likely). On the other hand, if we do insure children publicly, we penalize parents who have their priorities lined up right and have been paying for their children’s basic needs. Why should they continue to look after their children when, if they spend the money on cable television or a cruise or whatever, the government will insure their child anyway. Moreover, if they are already paying for children’s insurance through higher taxes, aren’t they stupid to also pay for it again through a private provider?

    What we are getting at is something pretty fundamental here: what is the role of government?

    I cannot accept functions for the government that imply that its role in the life of my family is to make us happy; or to protect us from foreseeable harms that we ourselves can ward off.

    Do Obamacarers really think that, even with the golden calf of universal, nationalized healthcare in place, no children will ever die prematurely?

    I think it will be only one more way in which government interference will reduce the apparent dependence of children upon their parents, and responsibility of parents for their own children, thereby severing the ties between them yet more thoroughly. As a society there are things we can do to help make healthcare accessible to everyone. The thought that a child might die, horrible as it is, does not logically lead to Obamacare as it is now being proposed.

  70. restrainedradical says:

    Ryan, you changed my words. I did not say “subsidiarity.”

    Tort law is state law. It isn’t imposed by Congress’s taxation powers. Negligence requires a duty. It’s not even on the same planet as a federal health insurance mandate.

    Some people can’t afford insurance. I’m saying the government should help them. We can debate the details but I support the general idea of universal health care. I.e., make sure everyone can afford some basic level of health care. Yes, we can debate around the margins of how much care to provide but I think we’d all agree that in this wealthy nation everyone should be able to afford to get a broken leg fixed.

  71. Ryan Haber says:

    Ah, you’re right. You wrote “solidarity” and I misread it. My apologies. Solidarity requires that we look out for our neighbor’s best interest when they cannot do so themselves. It does not require a particular act, let alone a particular act of Congress (or the Virginia legislature) – let alone government-provided health insurance for all.

    I know negligence requires a duty; my point was only that inactivity can very well be regulated and penalized, and it is.

    The plan by Congress to penalize people who do not buy health coverage frankly implies that I have a duty, for the sake of my compatriots, to buy health insurance – since otherwise they’ll be stuck with the bill. If I am then to be fined, say $1000 per year that I don’t have coverage, and will be covered retroactively (i.e., with a pre-existing condition) if I have an accident or illness, and my coverage costs $150/mo, or $1800/yr, why on earth SHOULDN’T I just pay the fine, rather than the coverage?

    I agree with you that “in this wealthy nation everyone should be able to afford to get a broken leg fixed.” I do not see a multi-trillion dollar package creating over one hundred new commissions and programs as “debate around the margins of how much care to provide.”

    I also think universal health care, in the sense you described of everyone having health care, would be great. I like the idea a lot.

    I also like the idea of working within the framework of reality using the assets that we really have.

    The simple fact is that WE HAVE NO MONEY.

    We, America, are that neighbor who lives in the big house with the pool and three fancy cars, but cannot keep the electricity on and the water running at the same time, always running to the bank asking for an extension on our line of credit.

    It’s the wrong time to even consider building an addition to the house.

  72. restrainedradical says:

    I would argue that, at least in our country, solidarity requires government subsidized health care.

    Funding is a legitimate concern but the CBO says the Senate bill would actually reduce the deficit thanks to cuts in Medicare and new taxes. The addition to the house is paid for.

    So we have a bill that makes health care more affordable while reducing the deficit at the same time. With the Stupak Amendment, it would also reduce abortions. Government doesn’t get to offer insurance, provide care, or regulate the free market for health care. Opponents rest on slippery slope arguments. Oppose the rationing when we get there, if we ever get there, not now when it doesn’t exist. I’ll oppose abortion coverage, a public option, rationing, price controls, etc., right along side you.

  73. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Okay, but nothing in ObamaCare would ban private fees, etc.”

    Only because the American public would not stand for it BA. If Obama had his way, unconstrained by political realities, American medicine would follow the Canadian path.

  74. Art Deco says:

    Restrainedradical,

    The problem we face is that the devotion of factors of production and public expenditure to medical care are on an escalator because 85% of it is financed by third parties and the state. We have to shut off the escalator before our public finances are ruined. If we are not to have a comprehensive system of administrative allocation (i.e. a command economy in medicine), a confrontation between patients and costs is necessary. This Rube Golberg scheme or cross-subsidies, administrative allocations, and constituency-group goodies does nothing of the sort.

  75. Ryan Haber says:

    I would argue that, at least in our country, solidarity requires government subsidized health care.

    Ok. Please do so. I’d really like to hear the argument, because I don’t see how it immediately follows from solidarity that the federal government should be the agent of that solidarity. How do you make the argument?

    The CBO is saying that the Senate bill is paid for because of accounting tricks that the Senate is telling them to calculate with. For instance, the Senate is telling them that they will cut doctor pay-outs over the next ten years. Given their annual failure to follow through on statutory obligations over the past 22 years, I don’t see why they would start now.

    We cannot oppose rationing “when we get there” because to do so would require more budgetary expenditure. Rationing will be the necessary consequence of:

    (1) Increased demand with the babyboomers’ retirement, which starts in two years or so;

    (2) End of credit extensions to the US Gov’t by foreign lenders;

    (3) Inevitable refusal of the populace to pay higher taxes, combined with anger over hidden taxes like fees/fines to industries that are passed onto consumers.

    Restrainedradical, the facts are simple:

    (1) We are out of money;
    (2) This plan cannot but cost money.

    It is the sheerest fantasy to think that we can get something (expanded coverage) for nothing (no more debt, deficit, or taxes).

  76. restrainedradical says:

    Art Deco, I agree. Still no reason to oppose the bill. When a bill comes along that bans health insurance and replaces it with HSA’s and subsidies, I’ll support that too. I’ll also support a bill on

    Ryan, there are people who can’t afford health care. The federal government is the only body willing to help them.

    I looked at the CBO report. You’re right. I wouldn’t call them accounting tricks (it really would reduce the deficit if left alone) but there is up to $478 billion in savings that even the CBO admits probably won’t happen. Without those savings the bill costs $360 billion over ten years. That’s a lot but is it too much? What’s too much? Consider also that if the Stupak Amendment is included it would save thousands of lives at a fraction of the cost of either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.

    Taxing employer-provided insurance would not only pay for the expanded coverage but leave a huge margin for error. So if the bill including this tax, would you support it? I suspect that most opponents would oppose even a deficit-reducing bill.

  77. restrainedradical says:

    Submitted too soon.

    Ryan, seniors get Medicare. We can talk about fixing Medicare but your demographic fears mean ObamaCare should become increasingly affordable. And if the people aren’t willing to put up with tax hikes, you can be sure they won’t be willing to put up with rationing.

  78. Ryan Haber says:

    Ryan, there are people who can’t afford health care. The federal government is the only body willing to help them.

    Right, maybe true. DEFINITELY FACTUALLY TRUE: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS NO MONEY. I cannot see for my life how this fact eludes so many people.

    I wouldn’t call them accounting tricks (it really would reduce the deficit if left alone) but there is up to $478 billion in savings that even the CBO admits probably won’t happen.

    I shouldn’t have called them accounting tricks. They aren’t. They are lies, because the people proposing them have no intention of following through.

    Without those savings the bill costs $360 billion over ten years. That’s a lot but is it too much? What’s too much?

    Yes. It’s too much. It’s $360 billion too much BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY! WE ARE LIVING ON DEBT. THAT IS REALLY, REALLY BAD. What’s too much? Too much is whatever is more than you have.

    Consider also that if the Stupak Amendment is included it would save thousands of lives at a fraction of the cost of either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.

    Right. We shouldn’t be borrowing to fund those, either.

    Taxing employer-provided insurance would not only pay for the expanded coverage but leave a huge margin for error. So if the bill including this tax, would you support it?

    What, do you think our employers are going to just magically eat that money when they have to make a return on their investors’ investments, or else lose their jobs? No, they are going to take it out of paychecks. So, no, I would not support it in that case (besides, the $360 billion already includes this new tax) because I ALREADY PAY 1/3 OF MY PAYCHECK IN TAXES.

    I suspect that most opponents would oppose even a deficit-reducing bill.

    I wouldn’t trust it. I don’t see, and nobody can explain to me, how we can get expanded coverage for less money. All the “waste cutting measures” have been shown to be a crock. The Spendocrats don’t even talk about those anymore.

  79. Ryan Haber says:

    Ryan, seniors get Medicare. We can talk about fixing Medicare but your demographic fears mean ObamaCare should become increasingly affordable. And if the people aren’t willing to put up with tax hikes, you can be sure they won’t be willing to put up with rationing.

    Right. So where does the money come from? Trees? How long can we borrow til we’re out of credit? How long can we just print money til it’s worth less than the high tech paper its printed on?

    Medicare (and Medicaid and Social Security) spending needs to be drastically reduced – first and foremost by setting the eligibility ages back up at the life expectancy, right where they were in 1930s when we started down this road.

    “Oh, but I don’t want to work until I die,” many say.

    Good! Then save for your retirement; don’t bankrupt your children and grandchildren for it.

  80. Mike Petrik says:

    The very idea that people are all supposed to live a little below their means throughout their working lives in order to save for retirement is viewed by many Americans as unChristian, unrealistic, and unfair. Weird but true.
    Same is true for college education. Two families live next door to each other. They each earn the same income and each have three children. The Johnsons take nice annual vacations and trade in their two upscale cars every three years. They buy their clothes and furniture at Macy’s and eat out at least three times a week. The Smiths take modest and infrequent vacations, have one 12 year old car with 165,000 miles, and buy their clothes and furniture at Target and yard sales; restaurants are a rare treat. When filling our financial aid forms for college guess which family’s financial condition will allow for generous aid. Welcome to America.

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