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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nationalized Health Care

There are really two primary types of conservatives: The Neo-con, who is pro Big Business and therefore against anything which could impact it, and the Classic Conservative (CC), who is conservative in social issues and makes that his primary focus. (We'll talk about liberals and their beliefs another time).

During the most recent Bush administration, the typical CC has shown himself to be very gullible. All Bush had to do was say "I'm a Christian" and the average CC would fall in line. As we all know, Bush was a Neo-con.

There are those of us who are a strange mix of conservative and liberal, depending on the issues. We're called moderates. And as a moderate, there are times I applaud certain conservative talk show hosts, and there are times when I cringe.

So, despite impressions to the contrary, I still have hope that Barack Obama will be able to make some changes in areas that desperately need that change. These are areas which no Neo-con would touch, although a CC might. One of these areas is Nationalized Health Care (NHC).

I recently heard a talk show host rant on and on about how NHC would be the final nail in the coffin of democracy. He whined about how this was truly socialism, and then self-righteously pointed out that it would be spending even more money than we've already spent... and we're over 3 trillion dollars in debt.

Such blatant hypocrisy!

There is no doubt that we're in terrible debt, thanks to the Bush administration. But does this mean that we should continue to throw good money after bad in the war in Iraq? Because, let's be honest here for a minute, this is a question of whether we want to waste more money and lives in Iraq or if we'd rather put that money into our own country and our own people.

Here's what the NHC controversy is NOT: It is NOT a discussion about socialism.

If these Neo-cons were so hell-bent on destroying any vestiges of socialism in our country, they would have rescinded all taxation and stopped funds for road work, bridges, infrastructure, and parks.

The classic Neo-con answer to every problem is to privatize it. This is due to their mistaken assertion that Big Business will always step in and fill the breech. And yet, I have never had an insurance company call me up and say "You know what, Saur? We see that you're paying too much in premiums and you won't be able to afford this much longer. So, we've decided to help you out by slashing our prices in half!"

I've never had a doctor's office look at my bill and say "Hey! How'd THAT happen? Old Mrs. McGillicutty is only paying $15 per office visit. Now - she has Medicare and they do pay part of that, but we don't think you should be paying MORE than those Medicare rates! No sirree! Let's fix this right away!"

I've never had a pharmacist hand me my medications and say "Wow! $400! Let's see what we can do to help you reduce that cost! Here, let me have that."

Why has none of this ever happened? Because they all belong in the Big Business category and they are greedy.

It is human nature to be greedy. It is human nature to do what we want: Full speed ahead! Damn the torpedos!

And that is why the Federal Government needs to intervene. Because if it were left up to Big Business only, we would not have merely potholes in our roads - we would have no roads at all.

City water works would be a thing of the past. We would only be able to buy water at a premium, and most of us would have our own wells.

As for bridges: We'd learn to use ferries again.

There are times that we need the Federal Government. We cannot expect everyone to feel the charitable need to help their fellow man. In fact, history shows us that human nature is hardly what we want to depend on.

If welfare was completely privatized, how many citizens would donate money and food on a regular basis? We all know the answer: There would be many people left to starve in the streets.

And NHC is a similar concept.

It is currently not in Big Business' best interest to help out those of us who are either uninsured or struggling to keep our private (and crappy) insurance. Big Business succeeds by making a profit while doling out the fewest services and benefits that it can. Only the Federal Government can trump Big Business.

It is time to play the trump card.

25 comments:

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Eva asked me last night if Obama will bring in a form of national health care for America and I said that I don't know but I have a feeling that he'll try and patch the gaps for the large number of Americans that have no medical support, insurance and cover.

How and where the money will come from, I've no idea, I'm just grateful that the UK still has a functioning health service that means a full check up, clean and polish at the dentist (with X-Rays) comes to about $9.

Knot said...

I wonder if this guy realized that public schools, social security, public works and some others are socialistic ideas?

Knot

Ed Abbey said...

You seriously think the government could do a better job running healthcare than the private sector? I've never seen the government do a better job at running anything. We would just end up with another $120 hammer.

daveawayfromhome said...

Ed, part of the problem is that for the last quarter decade or more, Republicans have been chosing people to represent them that run on the platform that the Government cannot do anything.
That's what you would call a self-fullfilling prophecy.
Since those Republicans have done everything they could to hamstring government effectiveness, this has added to the general perception that business is more effective than government.
Truth is, half of the new business out there fail (somethign we cannot afford for government to do), and, as we've seen, many established businesses arent able to make it very well, either (or, at least, not without billions in taxpayer dollars which they then funnel into executive perks and the creation of even larger, less-nimble corporations).
Really, the system used is less important than the will to make it work. Limited socialism seems to work pretty well in Europe, and say what you will about Cuba, the country runs surprisingly well on rubber bands and chewing gum.
Capitalism is a terrific system for making money, but it sucks for servicing people, which is the function of government. And let's face it, when conservatives talk about wanting "pure" capitalism, they're talking out their behinds. Pure Capitalism would accept both labor unions and monopolies, and we know the former isnt true of Republicans and the latter isnt a great idea either (except perhaps in strictly regulated cases).

Our current health care system fails on the expensive level it does for several reasons:
1. Any capitalistic-run organization that has to compete must put profit first, or it will lose out to its competitors.
2. Our current system has two capitalistic layers between our money and our health - the caregivers themselves, and a gateway organization that regulates the payment of that healthcare based as much on profit as on need, i.e., Insurance companies.
3. Because of the crazy quilt of insurance companies and the bewildering variety of rules for the plethora of plans, every doctors office has at least one full-time person whose job it is to try an unravel the strings that lead to the money. This person is paid for by you.

As for the $120 hammer, who's to say that every health insurance company in America doesnt have a storeroom full of them, sitting unused. Not you or I, because, unlike the government (or at least the government under everyone but George Bush), corporations do not have to tell you anything about what they're spending where. The only place you'll find the FOIA is in government, because the government is yours.

Bottom line: if you want the govenment to work, chose people who will make it work, then ride their asses to make sure they do their job. Just like your boss rides your ass at your own job, because, and this is important, in America the People are sovereign, and those in government are nothing more than our lackeys, something Bush, Cheney, at al forgot.

M@ said...

Good article. My political philosophy draws on classic conservatism (paleoconservatism) and left-wing politics, a strange mix indeed.

You can't type cast me. I agree w/ you about the neocons. Shortsighted. Hey, did you hear that CHINA is getting universal health care!?

M@ said...

Daniel,

The United Kingdom NEEDS universal dental care! :)

michelle said...

The closest I have read about to socialize medicine that may work, and I am skeptical, if France's.

As far as those bills go, did you ask? My company, which has many facilities offers self pay rates on every service. A self pay will pay Medicare's rate plus a percent (20% of so, it depend on the facility).

Have you gone to the county? It isn't just the free clinic anymore. They have PCP's and offices all over the county.

Go to Publix.com and look at their list of absolutely free meds. Go to Walmart and Target and look at their $4.00 meds.

There are dental clinics too. Call me. I will get you a booklet with all this information. There is help.

michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
michelle said...

Oh, and there is a Health Services Mobile Medical Unit.

Prescriptsion from the county:
MEDNET© or to see if you qualify, please call 727-217-7070

Walgreens Health Clinic is near you. Put in your zip code.
http://www.takecarehealth.com/

And I know a local college and Technical Center you can go to for dental cleaning, x-ray, fillings, extractions, and dentures. Low cost.

There is another pharmacy too for low cost.

Call me.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Michelle, I will definately call you and get that info. I'm sick and tired of my insurance and what I've got. I must quit it.

Everyone else, Great discussion and I don't think there's a need to jump in and add anything. I've read what everyone has to say, and I really appreciate the input!

daveawayfromhome said...

For those of you worried about the higher taxes involved in a public health care system, let me say that my health insurance costs my family over $8000 dollars a year before we figure in co-payments, prescriptions and uncovered medical expenses. If we used the insurance available through my wife's job it would be more like $12,000 a year.
Do you really think that it will cost us more if the government handles it?
I'm not sure that it will.
Let's say it cost an additional 10% in income tax. That sounds like a lot, and it's probably more than we'd pay, but it's less money than I pay now to a privately-run for-profit company that is even now complaining that they are losing money and need to raise rates. It will cost the superrich more, but then the same is true of the roads (can you say "push for more tollways"?), education (vouchers and the Republican love of private schools), police protection (tax cuts and the increasing use of private security).

If you want to see where privatization, minimal government services and low taxes on the wealthy will lead a country, look no further than Mexico. If you want to live the Mexican Dream, more power to you, but I think you'll find that the Mexican dream is to live somewhere where their hard work has results that benefit them (regardless of whether it is from taxes or not) rather than the oligarchs who run their country.

Scott said...

In Canada we have a mixed system in place, any trip to the Hospital is free but we must still pay for dental care and medications, that being said our medications are much less expensive than many other places in the World.

Our system is by no means perfect but it is great to know that if I get sick I will not have to ask permission from a company whose focus is on profit whether or not they will pay for my procedure.

It is also good to know that all citizens receive the same treatment regardless if they are rich or poor. I value that fairness a great deal.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

M@ you bitch, how dare you!

michelle said...

Choices. I do not want government telling me when, where, and what I can have regarding my health. I will chose my doctore and we will chose my medication, appointment times and dates, and procedures. I should not have to "wait in line" for tests and procedures.

I don't think that many have a clue how many people from Canada, England, and others around the world come to the US to have babies, surgery, and other treatment.

I suppose if a person is relatively healthy and only need routing healthcare with lab work here and and xray there universal would work. This is not something this country needs to rush into.

In the US on any given day the hospital sees and treats many uninsured patients. This included necissary tests and surgeries.

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan said...

It sounds to me like you are promoting a gigantic public-private medical partnership, which is one of the cornerstones of the United Nation's Agenda 21 (Sustainable Development).

You do realize that public-private partnerships bring businesses desiring protection offered by government's legalized force together with government agents that want the power that comes with economic control, right?

Private enterprise and government must serve as checks and balances on each other. When the two are combined, tyranny always results.

I know our medical system is broken, but socialized medicine isn't the way to fix it, Saur. Once this genie gets totally out of the bottle, there will be no return.

Madeleine Cosman writes:

Sustainable Medicine makes decisions through visioning councils that determine what shall be done or not done to each body in its group in its native habitat. Sustainable Medicine experts do not refer to citizens in sovereign nations but to “humans” in their “settlements.”

Sustainable Medicine uses two classes of public actions to affect the largest numbers of people worldwide most efficiently. The first class of actions attacks high technology products. The method is to create a public health crisis that forces government or industry to eliminate a valuable medical or surgical technology that because of its expense and inequitable distribution makes it medically “unsustainable.” Sustainable Medicine therefore clamors to eliminate such important, life-saving and life-extending medical devices as flexible polyvinylchloride plastic tubings treated with phthalates. During the past 50 years, flexible medical tubing has revolutionized breathing machines, intravenous medicating and blood transfusing, kidney dialysis, parenteral feeding, and neonatal medicine and surgery.

Sustainable Medicine’s second class of public action attacks ideas of high technology scientific progress. The method is to revise people’s expectations for health, for medical care, and for long life “in harmony with the environment”. Sustainable Medicine devotees celebrate human death as natural, inevitable, and environmentally beneficial. Rather than a mere right to die, Sustainable Medicine inculcates a duty to die.

You can read her whole article here: http://www.newswithviews.com/Cosman/madeleine6.htm

daveawayfromhome said...

"socialized medicine" and "sustainable medicine". Funny how those who oppose nationalized healthcare come up with these clever labels as an aid to negating them.
Most of us dont care what you call it. What we do care about is getting medical care when we need it. And it would be nice if we could get that care without worrying whether we can afford it or not (and not getting it if we cant).

Michelle, no one is saying that you have to use the government system. I think if you look in countries with government-funded healthcare, you'll find that there are still doctors with private, non-funded practices. Also, since we've already got a system in place, whatever government system we come up with will be based on that set-up; there will not just be a sudden shift to the Gulag Medico ("Here is your Assigned Doctor, comrade"? I think not - conservatives might have more luck convincing liberals of something if they didnt keep pushing every "outcome" to the extreme edges)(and vice-versa).

But really, let's quit pussy-footing around and say what the real problem here is: conservatives dont like the idea of "their" money going to the Undeserving. Period. Never mind that for 90% of America what you pay in taxes is less than the cost of all the services you recieve.

michelle said...

I already pay in to systems I don't use, can't use, don't qualify for, etc and so on. If I lost my job tomorrow I would still not qualify because I have a 401K plan so I have an asset, my retirement. I pay into Social Security and I doubt I will see that either. I pay plenty to the government.

I do have some benefts. I have decent roads to drive my car on. There is a pedifile infested park near my home I can take my child too. The school that educates my child is failing half the kids, the of half struggle due to poor behaved children sitting next to them. I pay my own garbage, afterschool care, swimming for my son, tutors when he needed last summer, school lunches. I give to charities, yes more than one. Yep I pay plenty to help others and ask for nothing in return. So no I don't want to pay for more failed government run healthcare systems.

It has nothing to do with money going to the undeserving. I work with peope with no insurance all day everyday and I help them get benefits for which they qualify for, the deserving or not. The one's that help themself or not. I work on accounts for months to the cooperative, or not.

No system is perfect, but a government run system....no. Just look at Medicare, Medicaid, and County.

undergroundlogician said...

Saur:

Sorry, I'm not with you. Government take over of the private sector is a socialist move. Why can't you all see this. When public sector is government controled though privately owned, that is called National Socialism. Just ask Daveaway about this. >:P When the govt. owns and operates everything, it is called Socialism. Then, to run the thing, you need...COMMUNINISM as a political arm. The Pied Piper of NHC is leading all of us down to the river...

I can see neo-cons gradually accepting this because they are the big spenders; Classical Conservatives hands down reject it totally. Remember, Neo-cons are liberal repubs who are into the Bush doctrine of regime change. Moderates shift back and forth.

I know it "makes sense" to do NHC, since there are other countries that have it, and they all say it is Nirvana. But, when our govt. makes the move towards Nationalized Health Care, you'll see a mass exodus of physicians and health care workers from the field. It's not worth it. Some on the left call it greed, most will say that the amount of money it takes to pay for medical liability insurance is suffocating. Lower the costs and they'll go broke, and so will the lawyers. No doctor will take the chance. One lawsuit, and the doc's finished. Then with so few doctors, we'll have nice long waiting lists for maladies like appendicitis, hip replacement, etc. Canadian healthcare is not so utopian. They come down to the U.S. to get the care they can't up there.

Your post is overly simplistic and smacks of pandering the leftists like friends of ours across the Atlantic...those who look at govt as the trump card. Actually, when a democratic people say the Federal govt is the trump card, they are no longer thinking deomcratically. In fact, in their confusion, they are mistaking it for folding...

daveawayfromhome said...

You dont work with the "undeserving" Michelle, because you have chosen to give them help, and so they are therefore somehow desrving in your eyes.
Are you on the PTA? Did you work for or against a candidate for the school board? Did you follow the decisions made in that school board to ensure that they made the right ones for improving the schools?
Do you vote Republican? If so, can you explain why you would vote to put someone in charge when that person believes that the system they're supposed to run cant possibly work? I wouldnt hire a man to mow my yard who thinks that grass ought to grow wild, or a mechanic who thinks that automobiles are the work of the Devil and ought to banned.

I'll agree that government is certainly an imperfect instrument, but it can only work as well as the people who run it think it can. If you think it cant work, then there's no motivation to make it do so.
And what is the alternative to government exactly? Anarchy? Privatization?
What is a business anyway but a localized type of government run for the personal profit of the owner?

UL, there's a very simple answer to the problem of doctors leaving the field, and that's to train more at government expense, with the caveat that they must then work for the government for a set term (ten years?). I've always thought the current system of choosing doctors is kind of crazy anyway, since so many of them seem to choose the field for the money rather than to help the sick. Dont lower standards, just make it possible for anyone who is qualified to go to college and become a doctor, regardless of their income level. The end result could be an improvement in health care.

As for the lawyers, tort reform is needed, but with an eye towards correcting mistakes in the system rather than the current goal of saving insurance companies money. All this might be less necessary if the AMA would step up to the plate and regulate doctors (and their licensing) like they're supposed to.
Another advantage (from your liability-cost angle) of a government-run medical system would be that the government would be liable for malpractice, rather than the doctor's practice (and we all know how the goverment responds to liability - they dont).
And I hope you dont seriously expect me or anyone else to mourn for out-of-work lawyers.

And, again, the government will not be owning all the healthcare. They will be funding it (at a hopefully reasonable rate), they will be regulating it, they will be providing the basics for everyone, not just those who can pay. If you want to pay the premium for health care not provided by the government system, that option will still be available to you, just as it is now.

Really, let's face it, the primary difference will be that your tax-funded health care will be irritating because of bureaucratic incompetence, rather than your wallet-paid healthcare will be irritating through corporate greed. And which do you suppose you have some chance to eliminate, incompetence or corporate profits?

"Actually, when a democratic people say the Federal govt is the trump card, they are no longer thinking deomcratically."

Yes, that would be true if people thought of government in a Big Daddy way (something, I might add, that is encouraged by Republicans and their "strict father" attitude towards everything). It is not true if people actively participate in that government, including voting, educating themselves on the issues, hounding their representitives, voting them out when they dont do the job (really, the rate of return on Congress is mind-boggling - for both parties).

Saur♥Kraut said...

UL, But how do you define what should be private sector and what shouldn't?

As I stated, we already have the government taking care of some things, and this would only be one more. And it's desperately needed.

I can understand objections if the government wanted to spend money on something patently unnecessary, such as hair salons for the needy. But in this case, this is a service that IS very necessary.

Don't forget that at one time we didn't have child labor laws - was that something that we could safely leave up to the individual or business to decide? Apparently not, as nothing changed until the laws did.

We didn't have paved roads, and we didn't have public water works. Why do we have them almost everywhere now? Because the government decided to step in.

We are not a democracy, and if we ever were, that died in the Civil War. What we are is a socialistic Republic. The degree fluctuates from administration to administration, but that's the truth of it.

Don't forget that the original Christians were communists (see Acts 4:32-37).

They were effective communists because they did it in the proper spirit, which goes against general human nature and therefore it's not workable now. But ideally, we are to help our fellow man when possible. And the current system isn't doing it.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Everyone, I'm reading everything. Thanks for making it interesting!

undergroundlogician said...

Saur:

Do we let government decide what is private sector or not? Of course we do. That is how we suckling piglets think now. Is there another way? Of course there is, but we are in a situation in our country where we have lost any true sense of what it means to exercise our civic duty. We have lost our sense of civic duty because we have lost our moral compass and we really don't know what's happening. We have been manipulated slowly and surely for several generations like frogs in a kettle over a slow burning flame. We're being boiled slowly to death, and applauding the whole enterprise.

We got a huge dose of government intervention by the Income Tax, IRS and the Federal Reserve with Wilson. Then came the idea and implementation of Social Security back during the Depression. Then Johnson with Medicare and Medicaid later. These so-called solutions have now become very expensive monoliths. They are a part of us; we can't turn back the clock.

But now, with yet another manufactured crisis (yes, that's what I said) we'll have government nationalizing all our banks along with our Federal Reserve Bank. The FRB has "worked great" so what's the problem? It's just a matter of time...

An uninformed, uneducated gullible public has allowed these monoliths to hatch and grow where they come to have a life of their own. We are slowly becoming accustomed to having our quick fixes with government. We look to government to save us from ourselves. This mentality creates a government that is self perpetuating, ever increasing its power and need for revenue. And we allow it.

Those whom we elect with a Big Government mentality are very patient, waiting for the right time to exert more power in some small "Messianic" maneuvers, chipping away until it takes full control. Libs or RINOS, doesn't matter. And once it has it, it is impossible to free ourselves from it. Why do you think Orwell's "1984" is so haunting in its message? Because we see it in its more primative forms, all around the world.

The framers of the constitution knew well the dangers of absolute power, which was why the Constitution was drafted with so many checks and balances. The Constitution insured that our government be inefficient in order to make sure that unchecked power never becomes a reality.

The key to the Constitution is the presence and final power of an informed electorate. The voting public has the right to limit the government of the United States, and the Press is to insure that the public is informed properly in order to properly limit government.

The problem is two pronged: we have a public in which the majority is losing it's moral compass, and the powers of intellection are out of reach. Second, our Press, our Media, are not informing us properly. They are manipulators, they run news for advertising; they are lackies, are owned by conglomerates who have political tentacles in the Obama administration, and past administrations. They're lapdogs, with those who have power and they are dream-weavers for those who do not. And now, they're collaborators and promoters of THE LARGEST ACQUISITION OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY. And we aren't even talking national healthcare yet. Our morally negligent media doesn't report the news, they are out to re-engineer our society. They foster panic, they're trying to get runs on banks...they are irresponsible. That is why the blogosphere and talk radio is hated so much...they provide a counter punch to the liberal rope-a-dope the public receives from the MSM 24/7.

You watch what's coming...nationalized banking, nationalized healthcare, commpulsory volunteerism, Nixonian controls (Nixon is NOT me hero; fake repub), all in the name of urgency. "It's a Brave New World" and Saur, our public will lap it up because they're scared. Sad, very sad.

Well, I gotta go and jump in the bread line. Hey, I wonder if they'll have toilet paper at the government grocery today? Gee I hope so...I'm getting tired of using government issue grocery bags...Oh, and does anyone know when the gas will be flowing again...my house is getting pretty cold now that I burned all my furniture...Oh, Mr. Amerikan brown shirt volunteer, I wasn't complaining, really I wasn't, I didn't realize you were in my home...Gee, you look well fed. I'm looking forward to all the ways my government will take care of me...by the way, you wouldn't happen to have a spare roll of toilet paper on you, would you?

Saur♥Kraut said...

UL, I truly do understand your points. And there is some validity to them, of course.

But this reminds me of an age old joke that I've repeated before (but it bears repeating again):

Would you sleep with me for ten thousand dollars?" asked John,

"Sure I will," Paula replied.

Would you do it for a buck?" he asked.

"Hey! What kind of women do you think I am?" Paula snapped, indignantly.

"That's already been established.
Now we're just haggling over the price!"

We're hardly a pure democracy (nor would we like it if we were, in all likelihood). It was established before we were born that this country was to be closer to a socialistic republic than it ever was to a democracy.

We only have so much money. We have so much infrastructure. It's really not a question of WHAT we are, but how much we spend and where we spend it.

If we stop wasting so much money in fighting overseas, and spend it internally instead, we will at least be directly reaping the benefits. We've wasted too much time and money and lives over there - it's time to bring home the bacon.

What we really need to do is put the manpower on the border and stop the porous border problem now while sending all the illegals back to where they came from. This would also take care of the worries about terrorism brought to our door.

And if there are further troubles overseas, we need to decisively destroy whomever is in power there and then get out. If they make the same mistake again: We merely repeat that until they get the message that being nasty to the USA isn't a profitable enterprise. It's much cheaper and more humane to us and ultimately we should be and can be only responsible for ourselves.

daveawayfromhome said...

Man, UL was doing so well, I was actually agreeing with him for the first six and a half paragraphs. Even the bit about the largest acquisition of the private sector ever was plausible, though I personally suspect it was more like a bank heist or a con job than a power grab.

But then he goes and blows it:

"Our morally negligent media doesn't report the news, they are out to re-engineer our society. They foster panic, they're trying to get runs on banks...they are irresponsible. That is why the blogosphere and talk radio is hated so much...they provide a counter punch to the liberal rope-a-dope the public receives from the MSM 24/7. "

Okay, so "morally negligent", yes. Re-engineer? Like they have a plan? I dont think so.
But talk radio isnt hated because it provides a counterpunch to the MSM; talk radio is one of the worst providers of public panic, it is part of the conspiracy, should such a thing exist.

The MSM does hate bloggers, but only in the way that any monopoly hates a competitor. That's why they try their best to co-opt it. Good luck to 'em.


Saur, your reply inspires a response which will be applied at a different post.