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  • It's not about health care

    There has been much discussion on the board about conservative and liberal view points, this article from the Washing times, seems to show some of the current differences it as much as any does on the view point of goverment.

    and I think it shows what is trying to be done to the governing system, and how the Obama administration is trying to restructure the government, in such a way that limited government is nearly impossible. and what is taking place is not in Americas best interest it is in the interest of a party, or Elite group of people,


    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...h-care//print/

    Sunday, March 7, 2010
    STEYN: It's not about health care


    Mark Steyn

    So there was President Obama, giving his bazillionth speech on health care, droning yet again that "now is the hour when we must seize the moment," the same moment he's been seizing every day of the week for the past year, only this time his genius photo-op guys thought it would look good to have him surrounded by men in white coats.

    Why is he doing this? Why let "health care reform" stagger on like the rotting husk in a low-grade creature feature who refuses to stay dead no matter how many stakes you pound through his chest?

    Because it's worth it. Big time. I've been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally "conservative" parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect. (Let's not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a "conservative.") The result is a kind of two-party-one-party state: Right-of-center parties once in a while will be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast leftist bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

    Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic. Less than three months ago, they were stunned at the way the Democrats managed to get 60 senators to vote for the health bill. Then Scott Brown took them back down to 59, and Republicans were again stunned to find the Democrats talking about ramming this thing into law through the parliamentary device of "reconciliation." And, when polls showed an ever larger number of Americans ever more opposed to Obamacare (by margins approaching 3-to-1) Republicans were further stunned to discover that in order to advance reconciliation, Democratic "reconsiglieres" apparently had been offering (illegally) various cosy big-government sinecures to swing-state Congress members to induce them to climb into the cockpit for the kamikaze raid to push the bill through. The Democrats understand that politics is not just about Tuesday evenings every other November, but about everything else, too.

    A year or two back, when the Canadian Islamic Congress attempted to criminalize my writing north of the border by taking me to the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, a number of outraged American readers wrote to me saying, "You need to start kicking up a fuss about this, Steyn, and then maybe Canadians will get mad and elect a conservative government that will end this nonsense."

    Makes perfect sense. Except that Canada already has a conservative government under a Conservative prime minister, and the very head of the "human rights" commission investigating me was herself the Conservative appointee of a Conservative minister of justice. Makes no difference. Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever-expanding number of government jobs will be statists - sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering, multi-culti statists, sometimes fluffily "compassionate" statists, but always statists. The short history of the postwar welfare state is that you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life: The people can elect "conservatives," as the Germans have done and the British are about to do, and the left is mostly relaxed about it because, in all but exceptional cases (Margaret Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha'penny or some such would agree to go and warm the seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects strolled in and took their rightful place.

    Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A big-time Republican consultant was on TV crowing that Republicans wanted the Democrats to pass Obamacare because it's so unpopular it will guarantee a Republican sweep in November. OK, then what? You'll roll it back - like you've rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago? Like you've undone the federal Departments of Education and Energy and all the other nickel 'n' dime novelties of even a universally reviled one-term loser like Jimmy Carter? Andrew McCarthy concluded a shrewd analysis of the political realities thus:

    "Health care is a loser for the Left only if the Right has the steel to undo it. The Left is banking on an absence of steel. Why is that a bad bet?"

    Indeed. Look at it from the Democrats' point of view. You pass Obamacare. You lose the 2010 election, which gives the Republican Party co-ownership of an awkward couple of years. And you come back in 2012 to find your health care apparatus is still in place, a fetid behemoth of toxic pustules oozing all over the basement, and, simply through the natural processes of government, already bigger and more expensive and more bureaucratic than it was when you passed it two years earlier. That's a huge prize, well worth a midterm timeout.

    I've been bandying comparisons with Britain and France, but that hardly begins to convey the scale of it. Obamacare represents the government annexation of "one-sixth of the U.S. economy" - i.e., the equivalent of the entire British or French economy, or the entire Indian economy twice over. Nobody has ever attempted this level of centralized planning for an advanced society of 300 million people. Even the control freaks of the European Union have never tried to impose a unitary "comprehensive" health care system from Galway to Greece. The Soviet Union did, of course, and we know how that worked out.

    This "reform" is not about health care, and certainly not about "controlling costs." As with Medicare, it "controls" costs by declining to acknowledge them or pay them. Dr. William Schreiber of North Syracuse, New York, told CNN that he sees 120 patients per week - about 30 percent on Medicare, 65 percent on private insurance plans whose payments take into account the Medicare reimbursement rates, and about 5 percent who do it the old-fashioned way and write a check. He calculates that under Obamacare, for every $5 he makes now, he'll get $2 in the future. That suggests now would be a good time to retrain as a Realtor or accountant or the night clerk at the convenience store. Yet Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, New York Democrat, justifies her support for Obamacare this way:

    "I even had one constituent - you will not believe this, and I know you won't, but it's true - her sister died. This poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister's teeth."

    Is the problem of secondhand teeth a particular problem in this corner of New York? I haven't noticed an epidemic of ill-fitting dentures on recent visits to the Empire State. George Washington was said to have had wooden teeth, but presumably, these days, the Sierra Club would object to the clear-cutting. Yet, even granting Mrs. Slaughter the benefit of the doubt, is annexing the equivalent of a Group-of-Seven economy the solution to what would seem to be the statistically unrepresentative problem of her constituent's ill-fitting choppers? Is it worth reducing the next generation of Americans to indentured servitude to pay for this poor New Yorker's dentured servitude?

    Yes. Because government health care is not about health care, it's about government. Once you look at it that way, what the Democrats are doing makes perfect sense. For them.

    Mark Steyn is the author of the New York Times best-seller "America Alone" (Regnery, 2006).
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

  • #2
    Re: It's not about health care

    I believe most of us want some type of Health Care reform just not the current Bill. I think pre-existing conditions, buying across state lines and tort reform would be a good place to start. However, of the 300,000,000 people in this country, 253,000,000 are already covered under one plan or another. In theory, the new Bill would increase that number to 283,000,000 people covered but at what cost? We would still end up with 17,000,000 without coverage and risk the services to the existing 253,000,000.

    Mark
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: It's not about health care

      I don't think it would hurt our healthcare system or economy to be humane in offering "emergency" treatment for illegals, but recognize the burden to all in giving long term care. We must make hard decisions, and like other countries insist "visitors" have their own helath coverage. If we are serious about reducing costs, we must stop providing expensive treatment for folks who are not here legally. Just a small part of the problem but a part none the less.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: It's not about health care

        Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
        I don't think it would hurt our healthcare system or economy to be humane in offering "emergency" treatment for illegals, but recognize the burden to all in giving long term care. We must make hard decisions, and like other countries insist "visitors" have their own helath coverage. If we are serious about reducing costs, we must stop providing expensive treatment for folks who are not here legally. Just a small part of the problem but a part none the less.
        The sad part is 68% of voters in a recent poll feel employers should be held responsible if they hire illegals yet last week Congress did not reauthorize the federal E-Verify program which allows employers to check on the immigration status of prospective employees.

        Mark
        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: It's not about health care

          I am opposed to forcing insurance companies to accept people with preconditions and have a community rating. If you're sick, your healthcare will cost more than someone who isn't. It is already against the law for an insurance company to drop you if you get sick, so if you have insurance and get sick you should keep it. You shouldn't wait until you're sick to get it.

          The changes I think that it would make sense to make are:
          - Make health care costs, both insurance and payments to providers tax deductible. Get rid of the 2% floor; AMT exclusions, and the like. If you choose to pay less for insurance and have a higher deductible, but have to spend money on the services the money you spend on the services should be deductible just like the money you spent on insurance.
          - Make open enrollment a common period across plans. One of the reasons we stick with my wife's plan is that you can't reliably change them. Her enrollment period is before mine, and we don't even know the costs/options of my plan until after her enrollment period is over.
          - I agree with tort reform. There is no real reason that a Doctor should end up ordering $2000 worth of blood tests when a woman gets pregnant, but if he doesn't test her for every STD known to man and she has one (even though she tells him it is not possible) he could end up being sued. We also need to make sure that we don't swing so far in the other direction that bad doctor's who actually are culpable are punished.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: It's not about health care

            What a surprise that The Reverend Moon's newspaper objects to a democrat.

            Back in 1986, COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) included an amendment titled the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. This act prevents hospitals and ambulances of denying emergency services to anyone based on legal status or ability to pay.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: It's not about health care

              In California we have a program in our car insurance system called assigned risk. The coverage is much more expensive based on risk. I don't see why the same thing would not work with Health Care where each insurer would be required to carry a measured level of higher risk clients at an increased rate.

              Mark
              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: It's not about health care

                Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                In California we have a program in our car insurance system called assigned risk. The coverage is much more expensive based on risk. I don't see why the same thing would not work with Health Care where each insurer would be required to carry a measured level of higher risk clients at an increased rate.

                Mark
                We also have assigned risk in NY. But the problem is in the health care proposal that is being advanced, and in most states they require the insurer to have a community rating. I'm 27 and relatively healthy, so my health care is going to be cheaper than the average 55 year old or someone with a precondition. When you require a community rating, healthy people are in effect subsidizing less healthy people. There are some legitimate reasons to require a community rating, otherwise women would likely have higher premiums than men for example which could be considered unfair. For example, my wife's first pregnancy probably cost $20,000 and her second around $10,000. That is just not something that an insurance company is going to incur with a male.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: It's not about health care

                  Originally posted by cpw View Post
                  We also have assigned risk in NY. But the problem is in the health care proposal that is being advanced, and in most states they require the insurer to have a community rating. I'm 27 and relatively healthy, so my health care is going to be cheaper than the average 55 year old or someone with a precondition. When you require a community rating, healthy people are in effect subsidizing less healthy people. There are some legitimate reasons to require a community rating, otherwise women would likely have higher premiums than men for example which could be considered unfair. For example, my wife's first pregnancy probably cost $20,000 and her second around $10,000. That is just not something that an insurance company is going to incur with a male.
                  I am fairly certain under my existing plan, women of child bearing ages are already more expensive because of the "risk" of pregnancy.

                  Mark
                  "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                  I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: It's not about health care

                    Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                    In California we have a program in our car insurance system called assigned risk. The coverage is much more expensive based on risk. I don't see why the same thing would not work with Health Care where each insurer would be required to carry a measured level of higher risk clients at an increased rate.

                    Mark
                    I take excellent care of myself. I watch what I eat and I workout, cardio and resistance training. That I am in excellent health is by no means an accident or a blessing of good genes.

                    Why should my premiums subsidize people that consume excessive amounts of unhealthy food and/or engage in lifestyle choices known to cause serious, chronic health conditions?

                    When does personal responsibility enter when we are discussing health care? Accidents will always happen. People will get cancer and diabetes. Often times these situations can be avoided or mitigated through better choices.

                    If you choose to smoke, your premiums should be exponentially higher. Ones premiums should be based on BMI, cholesterol, triglycerides or whatever biometric measure you want to consider an accurate measure of health.

                    Just like taxes, why punish the people that work hardest for their health?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: It's not about health care

                      Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                      I am fairly certain under my existing plan, women of child bearing ages are already more expensive because of the "risk" of pregnancy.

                      Mark
                      This is one of those interesting situations that would start coming up with selling things across state lines. Who's laws should be followed? That is illegal in NY, but is perfectly fine in CA. I suspect that most NYS insurers would go belly up in a death spiral (not necesssarily a bad thing, just the way it is). I would want a CA policy, because it should be cheaper. My wife might stick with an NY policy, but so would everyone else's increasing the costs; until she just gets a CA policy because the NY one becomes so expensive.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: It's not about health care

                        Originally posted by SpiffPeters View Post
                        I take excellent care of myself. I watch what I eat and I workout, cardio and resistance training. That I am in excellent health is by no means an accident or a blessing of good genes.

                        Why should my premiums subsidize people that consume excessive amounts of unhealthy food and/or engage in lifestyle choices known to cause serious, chronic health conditions?

                        When does personal responsibility enter when we are discussing health care? Accidents will always happen. People will get cancer and diabetes. Often times these situations can be avoided or mitigated through better choices.

                        If you choose to smoke, your premiums should be exponentially higher. Ones premiums should be based on BMI, cholesterol, triglycerides or whatever biometric measure you want to consider an accurate measure of health.

                        Just like taxes, why punish the people that work hardest for their health?
                        Spiff, I've had similar thoughts, maybe it will be a reality someday? I think there would have to be a transitional period of several years to allow folks to conform to some kind of standards. There would be a lot of legal hassles and in all fairness, even with accepted "norms" there are many exceptions. Smoking, drinking and drug use aside, some folks are big or overweight due to genetics or other yet undiscovered reasons not as a result of careless eating. Would we force these people to undergo gastric bypass in order to have an optimum weight and B.M.I.?

                        I bet there would be plenty of lawsuits aimed at eateries and bars, the food and alcohol industry for contributing to a individuals higher insurance rates.

                        I agree with you that it's a good idea and food for thought, but implimenting such a plan might be tough.

                        Imagine the personal lawsuit? I could blame my wife for driving me to drink and binge eat causing my insuance rates to climb.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: It's not about health care

                          Doesn't everything boil down to personal responsibility? Do alcoholics sue bars or whiskey makers for getting them drunk?

                          Health insurance as it is currently configured doesn't reward good behavior or habits. Yet those of us that take care of ourselves are expected to be there for the kids that are obese and develop diabetes from drinking too many sodas and one too many happy meals. Or the life long smoker that now has COPD and requires a electric scooter and oxygen.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: It's not about health care

                            Personally I believe that we need healthcare reform rather badly and urgently. When the average cost for a broken arm is $17000, or when a heart attack or cancer can wipe out a family's entire worth, not just their savings... well, to me that says there is a problem.

                            But I staunchly oppose a socialized medicine scheme, no matter what it's called.

                            And I don't think it's terribly practical to address it by BMI or any other individualized factor. Are we going to base it on family history? Genetics? No. THe premise is that people need reasonable access to affordable health care. Dialing in a lot of conditions provides fertile ground for abuse and denials of coverage or extreme premiums. That's more or less exactly what we have today.

                            Historically, you can look at just about all government programs. Even considering the few that worked.... none of them are cost-effective. In school I wrote a research paper in Economics (was working on a double major until UCLA decided engineers couldn't get double majors in 1978) on private utility companies v. public ones and it became very clear that the public ones were, in overwhelming plurality, waaaaaay inefficient.

                            If the government is in charge of it, no matter what it is, you can count on it working badly, not at all or very probably making things worse. And it WILL cost a fortune.

                            I think the biggest problem with healthcare is that Government refuses to address the fact that the healthcare industry is no longer a healthcare industry. It's an insurance industry.

                            I read somewhere recently that the United States is the only Western nation where insurance companies are allowed to make unrestricted profits off of healthcare.

                            That's the biggest part of the problem. Obama knows this. He just the other day complained about the insurance company jacking premiums out of sight, but he did it to promote his goofy plan.

                            Why not REALLY go after the bad guys in all this instead of turning it into a stupid partisan fight??

                            That is why we have gotten to the point of $17000 average costs for a broken arm. If the government plan happens, it won't get cheaper.

                            The solution isn't the nonsense that Washington is proposing. We need to reign in the insurance companies. There are too many leeches sucking away your healthcare money. We need to fix that. We also desperately need to strengthen and enforce anti trust and anti-cartel laws, so that the market can more freely regulate. We sure don't need to add more government-sponsored leeches.

                            Another thing that we be an appropriate reform IMO is to regulate medical schools. Not the content... just the number of seats. At UCLA (a good medical school), I remember that they had, when I was there, 40,000 applications for Medical school, but the incoming class was restricted to 144 seats. The restriction in seats is the result of the American Medical Association's (AMA) influence. They clearly want to restrict the numbers of physicians so as to keep the salaries high. Supply and demand. Yet to this day, it's true that there is an abundance of physicians in popular places like Southern & Northern CA and other desireable locales, and a shortage in other places such as rural America.

                            Of course the landscape is changing completely because now a significant and growing number of physicians are from India and other countries, willing to work for the insurance companies (like Kaiser) for comparative peanuts. I guess in that sense the AMA has gotten what they had coming, but as usual We The People suffer.

                            It doesn't have to be that complicated... it's become that complicated because, as usual, greedy people are making too much money off of it. We don't need socialized medicine in any form and under any moniker. The politicians aren't talking sense, and they're not attacking the problems. They're using the issue to expand government and take more money away from you.

                            What we need is common sense.
                            Last edited by Andy_M; 03-09-2010, 02:44 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: It's not about health care

                              Originally posted by cpw View Post
                              This is one of those interesting situations that would start coming up with selling things across state lines. Who's laws should be followed? That is illegal in NY, but is perfectly fine in CA. I suspect that most NYS insurers would go belly up in a death spiral (not necesssarily a bad thing, just the way it is). I would want a CA policy, because it should be cheaper. My wife might stick with an NY policy, but so would everyone else's increasing the costs; until she just gets a CA policy because the NY one becomes so expensive.
                              I don't know what cheap coverage would be but I currently pay $21,600 per year for the wife and I, is yours more expensive?

                              Mark
                              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                              Comment

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