Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dialogue on health care

One of my favorite people on my RSS reader is rubigimlet, proprietor of The Drift.

Seriously, if you haven't subscribed or added her to your blogroll, you should do it. Now. I'll wait.

Got it? Okay.

The reason I like The Drift is that even though there are typically only a couple of posts a month, they're always worth reading. The more serious ones even make me think (dammit). The recent entry on community health care co-ops is a great example.

There's also today's post, a general discussion about the health care "debate." Even though (or maybe because) I don't agree 100 percent, I started to leave a comment. That comment turned into an entire post which you are (hopefully) about to read.

Ruby wrote:
Let’s cut to the motherfucking chase – conservatives are motivated by fear mongering liberals are motivated by class warfare
This is the first statement that I wanted to comment on.

This theory about what motivates conservatives vs. liberals is highly, er, theoretical. That is, it doesn't have any practical bearing on the world that we live in. By that, I mean that in the current state of our society where there is very little difference between "conservatives" (an extreme minority of whom are truly conservative) and "liberals" (who claim to be fair minded but, in fact, employ the same bullying rhetorical style they castigate others for using).

On the contrary, fear and money are the primary motivators in both parties.

Since it became clear that the national Hopium high is beginning to wear off (gee, never saw that coming), much of the rhetoric from the ruling party has been about the impending cataclysmic collapse of health care if the government doesn't step in and take over.

On the other side, you have to be a complete dolt not to recognize that reform in the health care industry is needed.
personally, i’d rather put my stake in someone beholden to VOTERS rather than shareholders. then from there, we can at least honestly address this whole idea that the electoral college is a farce. -- rubygimlet
Good point. My personal view is that, given the federal government's history abject failure in pretty much everything they do, I don't see how people can trust national health care to the same people who brought us Walter Reed Hospital.

Also, I agree that we should be able to count on "someone beholden to VOTERS..." Unfortunately, thanks to the godzillions of dollars accepted in donations by pretty much everyone in DC (but especially the Obama administration (which has already sold out to Big Pharma)), such an animal does not exist.

So I suppose the next best thing is a way for me to vote with my dollars, which sickeningly are worth more than my actual democratic vote.

As for the merits of the electoral college, well, that's another post. But it seems a civics lesson might be in order.

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  1. "...given the federal government's history abject failure in pretty much everything they do, I don't see how people can trust national health care to the same people who brought us Walter Reed Hospital."

    Thank you.

    I think that if the government has such a hard on for wanting to be like Canada, they should start out smaller, and allow gays to be open about their sexuality in the military. Then we can see where to go from there.

  2. "...given the federal government's history abject failure in pretty much everything they do, I don't see how people can trust national health care to the same people who brought us Walter Reed Hospital."

    They also gave (some of) us Medicare and Tricare.

    Also -- civics lesson is not in order; I just didn't flesh out my point about the electoral college. Mainly because I was drunk but also because I was wandering. My intent was to state that if healthcare policies are created by government and the voters don't like it, our vote is our veto -- Unless elections are getting stolen of course and popular vote vote being subverted.
    Which is, in the light of day and pretty meandering end to my post. wtfe. go response though. I think your strongest point is in the third to the last paragraph. However, my point remains: Got a problem with all of that money those Congressmen and this administration received (hey, it's even YOUR money!) from the ins companies/big pharma/AMA? Vote them out. Got a problem with all the profits your ins company made by letting people die? What are you going to do? Go to another insurer? Keep doing that and you run out of options pretty quickly. Ultimately, who do you trust more the government or the market? I don't know that I trust either one but at least I have a bona fide vote in one.

  3. Rubigimlet, do you honestly believe that if congress passes a government option health care plan, AND it turns out to be a colossal screwup, that voting those folks out of office would change it?

    Money talks. Votes don't do shit. It is the sad reality of our political process that money buys votes.

    Vote out congresscritter "A" because you disagree with him/her, and vote in congresscritter "B" for opposing the shitstorm "A" helped create, and I guarantee in 80% of the cases, "B" will get bought off by special interest donations.

    It's all about money.

    People, voters, and integrity don't matter.

  4. rubi,

    Thanks for continuing the conversation.

    I absolutely agree that we need reform in health care. Costs have gone up 70 percent or so since 2000.

    But a complete government takeover seems like a nuclear option. Medicare is paid for by everyone who earns a paycheck whether you use Medicare or not.

    That may be fine as far as it goes, but when we have to cover everyone in the country we'll either have to reduce benefits, reduce quality or drastically increase costs/taxes. Of course, the already high cost of health care is why we're having this discussion in the first place.

    Rather, I would like to see our so-called leaders take an honest look at the entire system and determine the best way to reform it. This includes cost and quality of care, insurance, liability laws, preventative health care, etc.

    Of course, finding honesty in DC is about as easy as finding worthwhile conversation on Twitter.

  5. "But a complete government takeover seems like a nuclear option. "

    I suppose 'complete government take-over' is in the eye of the beholder? Granted I've not read all of the bill the house committees ok'd (and even if I had, legislatese is not my forte) for senate review but what I have read doesn't sound like a complete government take-over. It sounds more like a blending and expansion of Medicare and Medicaid. Are those programs inherently bad? The cons at townhalls worried about their Medicare benefits don't seem to take issue.

  6. Rubi,

    You bring up a good point when you mention reading the bill. At 1,000-plus pages, I would be very surprised if there were even a minority of congrescritters who read the bill before voting on it.

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