Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Its August - Time for the Obamacare Royal Rumble!

I saw a poll today on CNN. Mind you, not exactly an unfriendly network to President Obama.

It was about 83% of respondants were happy with their current healthcare and about 75% were happy with their current health insurance. Polling data routinely shows that about 55% or so of the American public expressly does not want Obama's "public option."

People who have never protested anything in their lives are showing up in droves to town hall meetings on healthcare to voice their overwhelming opposition to the President's plan.

Quite plainly put, the American people do not want Obama's "public option" or the eventual Single Payer system that it WILL (and is expressly designed to) bring about.

To those who claim that Obama merely wants to compete with private insurance, BALDERDASH.

Barney Fwank was recently caught on radio admitting his support for a Single Payer system, but he said that they didn't have the votes. He admitted that a "strong public option" is the way to get Single Payer.

Obama, in 2003 while running for the State Senate told a group of union people that he supports Single Payer.

In 2007, running for President, he told the Service Employees International Union that his goal was to have a Single Payer system in place by the end of his first term in office. He admitted the difficulties and alluded to the fact that he wasn't going to be able to get rid of all private insurance right away. He said it could take 10, 15, or 20 years to implement. But it is his stated objective.

Now, in 2009, he tells us that "if you like your insurance, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep him." He denies expressly that his option is a "trojan horse for single payer" (HIS WORDS).

I must ask you, what do you do in this case if you want to believe Obama? Do you believe the Obama who expressly advocated Single Payer? Do you believe the one who denies that is his goal?

Folks, we have caught Mr. Obama in a BALD FACED LIE to the American people.

I've been through the numbers on this blog before, but I'll do it again and then play a little game.

We are told that 46-47 million American's don't have health insurance. If you break those down, you get roughly 10-12 million illegal immigrants who are not entitled to government provided anything (except a one-way ticket to their nation of origin). You get another 10-12 million who qualify for medicaid or medicare but CHOOSE not to enroll for whatever reason. You get some other 10-12 million young people who don't want to buy the expensive policies that have been mandated by state and federal law and so choose to buy nothing. You get some millions who earn 50K-75K a year and choose not to buy healthcare. Finally, you get somewhere between 8-12 million who really truly do not qualify for any current program and can't afford to buy insurance under our current, non-free-market-based system.

IF we accept the premise that SJ puts out that he believes access to at least basic healthcare is a right for all Americans, OKAY, give it to them! It would cost us between 25-30 billion annually to buy health insurance policies for the 8-12 million who really can't afford it.

We just spent (or at least allocated) $800 billion to "stimulate" the economy. If President Obama was really SO FRICKIN' WORRIED about the uninsured, WHY DIDN"T HE JUST BUY THESE PEOPLE POLICIES!?!

Its because he doesn't want to care for the uninsured. He wants control over EVERY aspect of our life. There is no other explanation. Single Payer care is not about providing the best care. And doing so for those who really can't afford it would not cost any $1.6 trillion, as the CBO has said Obama's will cost.

Here are some gems from the House bill:

• Page 16: States that if you have insurance at the time of the bill becoming law and change, you will be required to take a similar plan. If that is not available, you will be required to take the gov option!
• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (example: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll <>BR
• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll
• Page 167: Any individual who doesnt' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
• Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that.
• Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected."
• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what speciality you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!
• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
• Page 425: Goverment provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.
• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
• Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services.

I must credit the freerepublic for posting this rather short list of problems with the current bill. Its over 1000 pages long, so I'm sure that there are many more problems.

If you've made it through that list and you still support the President's plan, I must ask you, why?

What specifically about this "public option" plan do you like?

My solutions for our health care system are much shorter than 1000 pages.

Tort reform (done it in Texas, God bless that place, and its working like a charm)
Remove state and federal mandates for coverage
Set up Health Savings Accounts as opposed to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability insurance to allow people CHOICE in what health insurance plan they buy.

You do those three things, this system will be vastly improved.

But then again, I want an answer from the liberals:

What do you like, SPECIFICALLY, about Obama's plan? If you, like him, don't know what's in the plan, then at least answer what do you like about Single Payer Healthcare over our current system? Be specific (No answers like, "oh everyone will be covered!" because that's BS).

Sorry if I seem emotional about this folks, its just that we have a tyrannical government and a state-run media propping them up. The vast will of the people is against this, yet when we show up to town hall meetings, we are branded "extremists" or said to be funded by some vast-rightwing conspiracy. There is no honest debate. So lets have one here.


  1. As just a side note, Representative Keith Ellison from Minneanapolis held a town hall meeting yesterday. A man asked him whether he would put his family on this public option and if not, why should the rest of us have to?

    The response? "All right, next question."

    Folks, if this government boondoggle is not good enough for them, it is not good enough for us. This is America. We are not ruled by an aristocratic elite. We are governed by representatives of ourselves. No man is above the law.

  2. Another thing to consider,

    In Oregon (where they have a state-run government healthcare) a 70 year old female breast cancer patient was DENIED chemotherapy treatment and instead offered money for Hospus treatment (given care to help die).

    Imagine going to the doctor, ready to receive treatment, and instead, because you're too old, we're not going to give you the treatment. Instead, here's a nice lady to make you comfortable until the cancer eats away at you until you die.

  3. @ Todd and Scott L. with regard to the above two comments

    [citation needed]


    Question at 1:06 of the video.

    FYI, Ellison is the one with the microphone in hand.

    Straight from KATU Channel 2 News in Oregon!

    Man said if they spend thousands of dollars on her that's money taken from somebody else! You have got to be kidding me!!!

    And Todd, how dare you not tell the whole story. They also offered her physician assisted suicide ;-)

  5. I had a HUGE rant, but apparently there is some lame '4,096' character limit on these things... next thing I know i'll need to plug in a "modem". Anyways. Here is my problem with our current system. It is a joke. Scott, you like the numbers, how much of our current GDP goes towards Heath Insurance Industry? 14%? I'm don't recall the number off the top off my head so I apologize if i'm wrong, but I think that pretty close). The only thing I despise more than the Health Insurance industry, is the Industrial Military Complex.

    There is so much to say, and so little text to say it in, however let me also mention that the video, while tragic for that poor woman, is being used in (what I feel to be) a disingenuous manner. What incentive does the government have to offer the expensive treatments? Do you know what an HMO is? Do you know how it works? Scott, do you currently have health insurance? Do you use HSA's? Because I have HSA's and let me tell you, they aren't the answer to all your prayers. They can be a huge benefit in a lot of situations, no doubt, they can certainly help in situations where you know your annual expenditure on health costs. It can be / is great for preventative care. But excuse my ignorance, however I really don't understand how "Health Savings Accounts as opposed to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability insurance to allow people CHOICE in what health insurance plan they buy." makes any sense. HSA as opposed to Medicare? They aren't the same thing, they don't do the same thing. You take money out of your check to put in a HSA, and yes, it comes out before tax, and if you don't spend it in the year (atleast for the HSA i have used) then guess what? I hope you enjoyed playing the health lotto, but you were healthy this year, isn't that worth the money you just gave us? you're welcome. They can be very advantageous, but I can't believe you would really think HSA's can replace Medicare and Medicaid? How does that work?

    By the way, polls are fun right? Like the one that says 76% of people support a government option to compete with private insurance? Competition is key to a striving market place right? The barriers of entry to get into the Private Heath Insurance is relatively significant wouldn't you say? What type of competition exists now? Its the Private Health Insurance against its own policy holders. I think if I have have to chose between Government ineptitude and Corporate Greed, when it comes down to which I trust more to pay for my health costs, I chose government ineptitude. Until someone figures out how to make boat loads of cash by actually COVERING claims rather than rejecting them, capitalism in the Heath Industry just doesn't make sense to me. And I love me some capitalism.

    just my 2 cents.



  6. "What incentive does the government have to offer the expensive treatments?"

    This is EXACTLY my point, Dan.

    Do you know who Ezekiel Emanuel is? He's the brother of Rahmbo Emanuel, current chief of staff for President Obama. He is a doctor and one of Obama's top medical advisors on healthcare.

    Ezekiel Emanuel is a big proponent of the "Whole life" (not sure if that is exactly the name, but i'll explain) policy for administering healthcare.

    This ideology boils individuals seeking healthcare down to little numbers, where you compare the expected cost of care versus the expected future economic value of the person. Therefore, a 25 year old has much more value than a 65 year old. An infant, since we have not spent any time or money on socializing him or her, is worth very little in this ideology.

    You then allocate care on the basis of who "deserves" to be treated more. So that 25 year old gets priority treatment over grandma and grandpa, and the infant, well, you know how liberals feel about the unborn, and infants are just a few months or a year outside of that, so they have basically no value in this ideology.

    More to the point, Obama himself was asked at a townhall conference on healthcare about a man's 100 year old grandma who, 5 years ago, needed a pacemaker to live. First doctor said no way, too old. Second doctor took a look at the woman's vitality and said what the heck, lets put in the pacemaker. Grandma is still alive, 105 years old.

    He asked Obama whether his grandma would get the pacemaker under his system and he was told no, sometimes its better to just get a painpill.

    Insurance companies may be motivated by that eeeeeeevil thing called profits, but if they deny care, there ARE still other avenues. You can appeal. You can try to raise the funds separately and pay in cash. You can raise a big media stink about it and put pressure on the insurance company that way. There are alternatives. But when Dr. Obama says "nope, take a painkiller and pass away quietly. You've added all the value you can" after you've spent your WHOLE LIFE paying into the system, THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE.

    That is my point again, while our system DOES have room for improvement, it is NOT even close to as bad as 99 percent of other systems in the respect that you always have access, quick access, to what you need. In America, where there is a will there is a way. If Obama takes over, it will be his way or the highway.

  7. "This ideology boils individuals seeking healthcare down to little numbers, where you compare the expected cost of care versus the expected future economic value of the person. Therefore, a 25 year old has much more value than a 65 year old. An infant, since we have not spent any time or money on socializing him or her, is worth very little in this ideology"

    Scott - This exactly what the health insurance companies do now. Deny coverage because it isn't cost efficient.

  8. "You can appeal."

    Who do you appeal to? The insurance company itself. Don't think that's fair.

  9. "Scott - This exactly what the health insurance companies do now. Deny coverage because it isn't cost efficient."

    Scott, it seems you have a deep seated hatred for insurance companies. I know a bit of your own personal story relating to healthcare needs, but a few bad examples do not disqualify an otherwise well run system.

    When you buy health insurance, you have an explicit contract that states what is covered. If something happens to you that is covered under your plan, you make a claim and then the claims adjuster has to evaluate whether the claim is honest or what have you. If they initially deny coverage, you can appeal and if you are in the right, you can take them to court to settle the claim. There IS a recourse that you may take that is not just to the insurance company again.

    An insurance company does not sit around and evaluate whether they ought to pay for a procedure on the basis of one's life value...its on the basis of "is this claim covered?"

    Like I said before, even if ultimately the insurance won't cover your claim for whatever reason: Maybe you really weren't covered for that procedure. Maybe they are some greedy sonsofabitches. Either way, you still have options. You CAN pay out of pocket (I understand this may be prohibitive to many, but the option of working hard and fundraising still exists). You can go to charities. You can put media pressure on the company to cover the claim (Don't you dare try and tell me that the state-run media would not be ALL OVER a chance to bash an insurance company...and if that company deserved it, I would be right there with them).

    Under Obamacare, under the eventual Single Payer system that IS HIS STATED GOAL, you have no other options.

    I know you and many on your side demonize the private companies, but for God's sake, take a hard, evaluating look at the government proposed alternative. You cannot rationally conclude that your situation would be ANY better under that government plan, as it relates to being able to get the care you need when you need it.

  10. "Scott, you like the numbers, how much of our current GDP goes towards Heath Insurance Industry? 14%?"

    Dan, its closer to 16% I believe, somewhere around there.

    This is a common myth perpetuated by the proponents of government takeover, especially Obama.

    Yes, healthcare is a growing sector of our economy, but blaming all that spending on out-of-control insurance companies and doctors is only marginally explaining the full statistic!

    There are several reasons why Americans spend so much on healthcare. The largest reason is very simple:

    We have access to the highest quality, most advanced healthcare technology in the world, and the best costs a bundle. Americans derived OODLES of utility from their healthcare dollars. Last year, Americans spent $34 Billion on "elective" or "alternative" medicine like chiropractic, acupuncture, etc. WE LIKE OUR HEALTHCARE in this country and we are willing to pay for it.

    Another contributing factor is that our population is aging more rapidly than ever before. The baby boomers are retiring and as I'm sure you are aware, the vast majority of healthcare expenses are incurred in the last 5 years of life. So due to our own success with increasing our life expectancy, we are now seeing more chronic health problems sprouting up as a result of having an older population. This is not a bad thing! It means that we are living longer, fuller lives. As we age, more things can break down, so more problems result.

    A third cause is extremely high malpractice insurance premiums for doctors. In many areas of practice, it can cost $200,000 annually JUST TO INSURE against law suits. So on top of all that, doctors are forced to practice CYA medicine and conduct all these unnecessary tests that cost money. But they can't go around giving the John Edwardses of the world any more fodder to sue them over!

    Fourthly, the Customer of the care is not the one who pays for the care. As Mr. Todd Larkin pointed out a month or so back, I'll be 95% of you all reading this have NO IDEA how much one night in a hospital costs, or a visit to the dentist costs. You pay the copay, usually $15 - $25, and go on your merry way, without thinking critically about the costs that you are racking up.

    These are the main drivers of cost increases in our healthcare my friend, not the eeeeeeeeeeeevil insurance companies.

  11. "But excuse my ignorance, however I really don't understand how "Health Savings Accounts as opposed to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability insurance to allow people CHOICE in what health insurance plan they buy." makes any sense. "

    I'll excuse your ignorance, or perchance it was myself who didn't fully explain what I meant.

    First off, it sounds like you are confusing an HSA with an FSA - that is a Flexible Spending Account. Just to review, HSAs are your money and it rolls over year to year with interest and contributions. They are portable and you control how that money is invested, etc.

    FSAs are an account that resets each year and if you don't spend it you lose it. They are not portable and you dont' have any investment control.

    Now then, when I say HSA instead of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Disability, I'm speaking from a government expenditure perspective. I'm saying that instead of having our government dictate who gets what coverage as they do under the current set of programs, lets have the government just allocate funds directly to individuals in these HSAs and then the individual may choose which type of insurance coverage they wish to buy. Have some rules (as already exist) that pertain to what the money may be spent on, for example, out of pocket expenses like checkups, over the counter drugs such as advil or whatever, things like that, along with insurance.

    If you ask people on Medicaid, Medicare, etc if they approve of the way it is run, you get an overwhelming NO. Like I said before, close to 12 million of the "uninsured" qualify for one of these such programs but do not apply. The problems with these programs are myriad and if you'd like, I'd be happy to enumerate a few.

    So maybe that clears things up. Since we already are spending boatloads of cash on trying to insure the poor and elderly, lets just reallocate how we spend that money and put the patients in power of their medical spending. You'd end up saving money in administrative costs and fraud as a result, and people would be out spending money in the private sector, which would just spurn more economic growth. Its a win-win.

  12. Okay, yes, it looks like I did have that confused... I could have sworn that I had a HSA last year, and it did not roll over to this year. Perhaps that is because my heath care options changed this year and the new option didn't have it? Maybe it was just a FSA. Regardless, I would like to state that HSA/FSA's can be confusing :)

    Let me make a few brief points... and once again, by all means, correct me if I'm off base. I have been a bit over worked recently so my mind may have a tendency of wandering and/or interpreting things wrong.

    34 Billion on "elective heath-care". Big number. What was our GDP in 2008? Wikipedia put it at (i know.. shame on me, quoting wikipedia, but like i said, my time is limited and the BEA website takes way to long to find what I need...) 14,264,600 in the millions of USD. If we turn that into billions, we need to divide by 1000 right? 14264.6 in the billions of USD. what amount of spending is then spent on Health care? 16% 2282.336 billion. and 36 billion is spent on "elective" health care? If i recall you were a math major, and as I said i'm tired, so correct me if i'm mixing things up... but from the way I see it its a drop in the bucket. we are talking about .2%? vs 16%? Are they comparable?

  13. A few more side notes I feel worth pointing out.

    "its just that we have a tyrannical government and a state-run media propping them up"

    Tyrannical Government... I suppose I can see where you are going there. But what did we just come from? If we want to talk about Tyrants... shouldn't we wait a bit so it doesn't sound as insane considering the president we just got away from?

    ... sorry to beat a dead horse... but "We are not ruled by an aristocratic elite. We are governed by representatives of ourselves. No man is above the law."

    No man is above the law? Hmm... What about Bush/Cheney and War Crimes? Some men are absolutely above the law (and by that, I mean not only Bush/Cheney, but am making a general statement. Some people ARE above the law, well, perhaps not above, but at least beyond). If you aren't willing to accept that, then I suppose we simply have to accept the fact that we both see two different worlds.

    Finally. Let me state our current health care, while it is at the cutting edge of new technology, is NOT the best health care in the world. While I don't have a ton of faith in the WHO, I think it is worth noting that we are, if I recall correctly, ranked 37th in the world for health care.

    I agree wholeheartedly however with you on one point Scott L, " third cause is extremely high malpractice insurance premiums for doctors. In many areas of practice, it can cost $200,000 annually JUST TO INSURE against law suits. So on top of all that, doctors are forced to practice CYA medicine and conduct all these unnecessary tests that cost money". I agree, the first rant I had went off on that very point. This issue absolutely needs to be addressed. Single Payer, Government Option, "Obamacare" or Private Insurance, regardless, malpractice suits need to be put back into control.

  14. "You CAN pay out of pocket (I understand this may be prohibitive to many, but the option of working hard and fundraising still exists). You can go to charities. You can put media pressure on the company to cover the claim "

    and you can't do that with a single payer system? especially if it were a hybrid system that involved a government option and a private option (which will of course still exist... you said it yourself... what congressman will take the public option? especially with their pockets lined gold with lobbyist money) replace the word(s) "the company" with "the government", and that argument works just as well for the otherside. you think fox news wouldn't LOVE to make a statement about it? They would have a whole show. Glen Beck would wet himself with imbecilic joy. Lets get real.

    that one was actually my last... at least for the night :)

  15. I'll just say this and then drop it, because this post is about healthcare, not whether Bush and Cheney committed any such war crimes, but...

    My comment about no man being above the law was aimed at the idea that Congress and Obama and the rest of the government for that matter will of course, be exempted from this wonderful public option. Just look at all the town halls. Do a quick youtube or google search and you'll find at least five times where a member of Congress was directly asked whether he would put his family in the public option. The answers pretty much tell the tale. That's all I meant.

    To answer your question that you can't pay out of pocket in Single Payer, the answer is no, you can't. At least, the way it works(ed) in Canada, you'd be able to pay out of pocket only for procedures which weren't already covered by the Canadian plan, which was pretty much every important procedure. You and the doctor would literally be committing a crime punishable by imprisonment if you paid out of pocket and went outside the system.

    So its not at all a stretch to think that a similar system would be set up here in America under Pelosi/Reid/Obamacare.

    And as I have pointed out, and is now very well documented, (just google Barney Frank/single payer), the whole POINT of the "public option" is to lead us to Single Payer. That has been the plan from the get go. Obama admitted it in 2003 and 2007. Frank just literally admitted almost those exact words just a week or so back.

    So the goal of this administration is, unequivocally, no matter WHAT Obama actually says in his ABC infomercials on Healthcare, his weekly Youtube indoctrination videos, or his "teletown halls", Single Payer Healthcare.

    I've mentioned in other posts my lack of interest in the WHO. The metrics are not standard across countries (such as what constitutes a "live birth" in measuring infant mortality). The life-expectancy argument is also pretty much nil. Whether its 80.3 in America or 81.3 in France (numbers are made up), its not a dramatic difference and there are a whole host of factors that contribute to life expectancy, and the healthcare system is only one part. Diet, lifestyle, and so many other factors play a role.

    The main metric you ought to measure our system against others is success rates in treating illnesses, wait time, access, scope of services, etc.

    In Britain, they mandated a maximum wait time of 4 hours in ER waiting rooms, so they've taken to keeping people in ambulances outside the hospital for hours until they can be sure that the wait in the actual triage will be no more than 4 hours.

    The success rates for prostate and breast cancer are laughably poor in Britain and Canada compared to America.

    And like I said, we have the best here. If we go Single Payer, where will desperate Canadians go to be treated?

  16. I've been poking around on the Drudge Report. Here's another link showing just how our Congressmen view the outburst of legitimate anger being expressed at townhall meetings.


    Got this off Drudge. St Louis Post Dispatch is trying to spin the recent spate of scuffles, shouting, and in the case of the recent Russ Carnahan town hall out in Belleville as evidence that us "conservative mobsters" are responsible for all the violence.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. At the meeting referenced in Wagman's article, SEIU union thugs, dressed in their purple union thug shirts, denied access to the meeting to ordinary citizens who were trying to get in to learn about Medicare and speak their minds about healthcare. Several union thugs beat up a black conservative who was selling buttons and flags, yelling racial slurs at him (ridiculous since at least one of the attackers was black!), and sending him to the hospital. There were 6 arrests, all of whom were supporters of Obamacare.

    Freedom loving people, not all of whom are conservatives, many are Democrats who have a good measure of common sense, do not want Single Payer healthcare. We at least do not want this thing jammed down our throats so quick that nobody has time to understand the full implications. The bill itself would not become effective until 2013, so why the rush?

    Obama wanted a vote before August because he knew that once we had a chance to get the word out about what is in this bill, people would overwhelmingly oppose they are now doing.

    Never trust your politicians when they start wanting to throw around oodles of OUR MONEY on legislation that they claim is too important to wait for the details. We deserve an honest debate on this one. Our freedom is literally on the line.

  18. Life is Hard Under the Hammer and Sickle
    (got this from a good friend)

    This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

    At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

    After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to the local police department.

    I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

  19. David - you have posted something that I've been trying to get across since the beginning of this blog. And I haven't come close to saying as well as this comment. Well done. The government doesn't screw everything up. Scott L - you want me to not let a few bad examples cloud my view of a good system...Funny how my use of a few bad example is my bias, but your use of them is good support for a bad argument.

  20. David and Scott,

    First off, you guys keep avoiding arguing in support of this healthcare legislation.

    Second, Mr. Jones, as you have told me and your students often, using logical fallacies to make your arguments will not work.

    For the sake of argument, I'll say for now that all those things you listed could ONLY be done by the government and that NO private sector entity or company could do at least as good of a job as the government manages to do.

    Even if that were the case, it says absolutely NOTHING about how well they would run healthcare. Its a causation fallacy. One does not prove the other.

    Besides, there are legitimate functions of government. Public safety, roads, regulation of monopolies - these are activities of government that 200+ years of American experience has determined it is fairly good at.

    But what of all of the evidence that I have given to show that government, especially THIS government, would screw up our healthcare system in untold ways? This post is about healthcare. Can there not be some things an entity is suited to perform and others it is not?

    We could get into the constitutionality issue again and whether providing healthcare for all Americans is even something it has the power to do. But we've already decided to have medicare, medicaid, SS Disability, food stamps, unemployment, social security, and on and on.

    And I have pointed out that if the goal really were to insure the uninsured, we could have done it about 28 times with the money we spent in Obama's wonderful "stimulus".

    The system is not broken. There are aspects that can be fixed and I have addressed them. Republicans have been trying to pass things like tort reform for ages. We want to throw out the insurance mandates. We want more freeflow of information in the healthcare market. We want to allow the purchase of insurance across state lines, but to do that we need to get the bureaucratic nightmare of redtape out of the way.

    We conservatives are not arguing on behalf of anyone but ourselves and our freedom. Insurance companies do not want to allow interstate trade for insurance, but I do! Tort lawyers do not want limits on compensation for punitive damages, or a loser pays system, but I do! I'm not really sure whose interest is being served by having all the hundreds of state mandates, but I don't want those either because they screw up the system!

    Why won't the liberals on this blog debate the merits of the bill? Or do you agree that a total healthcare overhaul, like the one being proposed by Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and others, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and wrong?

  21. I'll just leave this here for all the people that support our now in place "well run healthcare system".

    Take a close look at his topic about the "line by line analysis" of the healthcare bill, which i'm sure is where you and the rest of the people who posted their problems with it got their information.

  22. Just for grins, here's to David.

    I awoke this morning to the alarm from my cell phone which I bought from a PRIVATE business. I then went and took a dip in the lake which is provided to me by the courtesy of my PRIVATE college which also took the liberty of insuring the water is clean and to their standards of excellence. I then grabbed an article which I buy from a PRIVATE printing group to read up on the news on my way to class at my PRIVATE college. On my way to class, I determined it would be a nice day based on my own knowledge and experience of being outside. I stopped along the way to pick up (offering a funny joke and company later that day rather than paying with cash) some home-grown foods and felt fine. In fact recently, I've discovered that adding more natural fruits and veggies to my diet has reduced the need to introduce drugs into my body which has done fine without them so far.

    I showed up to class on time as deemed on time by the Professor of this PRIVATE institute by walking on my own 2 god given feet (today not because I was feeling green, it just so happened to be a nice day (remember because I looked outside and saw it was a nice day and made my own judgements) perhaps later I'll hop into my gas guzzling SUV because I bought it from a PRIVATE group and can afford to pay for the luxuries it provides. I was nearly late to class though, thanks to the GOVERNMENT MODOT who had closed off a section off road I needed to take (closed, still closed, been closed for 8 months now)

    After class, I pull out the craft I've been making for my Mom and send it to her via FED-X because I want it to arrive tomorrow and I didn't have the money for the overnight shipping charge the US postal service charged.

    Amazingly, no one attacked me today (probably because people aren't inherintly evil murderers)and I went over to a friend's where we enjoyed homemade salad from his garden out back. Later that day though, we both enjoyed chasing after some hooligans with baseball bats as they had been attempting to vandalize my neighbors car.

    I then head over to my brothers house (still walking bear in mind because it is just such a nice day) to use his fancy Blackberry bought from a PRIVATE group to read a news article about how there is an uproar from all sides of the political aisle to shut down this healthcare bill.

    I then go to sleep (camping outside tonight) in my tent which I bought from a PRIVATE company because again I see it is a nice night out and know from experience it will be very peaceful tonight, as I lay recollecting on my very fun/productive government-free day.

  23. I am unsure of all the facts about this plan. Needless to say I need to do some more research on the topic. However, what I am gathering so far is, this whole health care that Obama is presenting seems to belittle anyone who is not perfect. Only the strong who can definately be "fixed" or have the best outcome are going to be able to get this coverage. There was a story I read about a father who's son has cerebral palsy, and by his research into the plan his son would not be covered.

    My point is that if we let the government step in they are going to decided who is worthy of treatment. Almost as if only the strong survive. Personally I don't want the government to have that right. It seems almost communist!

  24. I have to admit that I have not led the massive bill on health reform that is on everyone's minds right now, but I think things are really getting more carzy than is warranted. It seems everyone is stressed out (some with good reasons I'm sure), but there doesn't seem to be any objective discussion anymore. I don't agree with the tea-partiers, but when I first saw them on the news, I thought their protests were kind of clever... They were publicizing their positions in creative ways that seemed to generate intelligent questions and discussions. But lately, all I hear is a lot of yelling. And it's getting uglier.

    There are many ways to reform health care, and I don't think all the options have been explored yet. Even if the public option exists and a large majority of Americans take it, agencies (with health professionals on the boards) will still control what happens on the local front. It's not like Nancy Palosi or Barack Obama is going to sit on a board to "pull the plug" on some poor old grandma. That kind of thinking is unrealistic.

    Federal legislation will trickle down to state agencies, but health care delivery is still in the hands of the hard-working men and women who work in our hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, etc. Doctors will still diagnose and write prescriptions; that's their job. Not the insurance company's, not the state's, not even the federal government. Laws provide a framework, and will always set policies in individual healthcare settings. But if you visit different places in the same state (and therefore same laws), you will see that the quality of care rests more with how much the health care professionals care for their patients. Professional people who care will take the steps to find resources for their patients and make sure that they are moving toward the best health they can achieve.

    Of course ability to pay often chages parameters of care (how long, where they can go, which doctors they can see)! That happens now, unfortunately, and that is why most hospitals and most physicians are asking for the single-payer plan. They are supporting reform this even though they are aware of the risks of changes and pay reduction.

    In some European countries (I know UK is one), primary care physicians make less on average but the government pays them on a sliding scale based on the quality of care that they provide. If they can get patients significantly healthier in documentable ways (smoking cessation, healthy weight loss, blood glucose control for DM patients), then they are rewarded with more pay. Citizens are more likely to be healthier and happier, but they still have the choice of being a fat smoker if they want to. Doctors are happier because they are getting rewarded for helping patients, which is why most of them became doctors in the first place. The country has healthier, more productive citizens and the government saves money in the long run.

    That, I think, is an example of government-run healthcare done right. Now, I have heard that other aspects of UK healthcare may have its downfalls, but most of my English friends seem to really like the health care they have back at home. They are deathly afraid of getting sick here, even though they are heavily insured through private insurance. This sounds so different from the "death panel" rhetoric I hear so much about.

  25. I am scared that when I get older that there won’t be any money left to help me out. Medicine and healthcare is getting so expensive these days that people aren’t going to be able to retire till they are like 70 or 80 yrs old. Health insurances need to start basing procedures and medicines on if it will help save someone’s life not how much money it is going to cost them. All these insurance companies are money hungry and could care less if they saved someone’s life. As long as companies get their money before a person dies, the insurance company is cool. The sad part is that if you are born with a medical condition, then you have like a 0 percent chance of ever getting help with money when needing a medical procedure or medicine that is going to save your life. As part as Obama’s reconstructive plan I think he needs to do something to fix the way our insurance companies are.

  26. First thing Obama could do to start "fixing" our insurance companies would be to open up the insurance trade among the states. Right now, you can only buy insurance in your state. Open that up and competition will help drive down prices. Get rid of all the mandated coverages and allow insurance companies to price products people actually want and that will come down as well.

    Besides, your view of insurance is totally wrong.

    You cannot insure your health. What you are insuring is financial solvency in the event of a major catastrophic event. Far too many "insurance plans" these days are really prepaid medical care, but often times the user of the care is not the prepayer, as is the case with employer provided insurance in many instances.

    If people truly bought real insurance against catastrophic expenditure and then paid for routine care and drugs on their own as you would for cable TV or a new car, you'd see the cost of care come WAY down in this country.

  27. "Right now, you can only buy insurance in your state"

    In order for conservatives to do this, they would have to liberalize their interpretation of the interstate commerce powers of Congress.

    If conservatives adopt this view of the "interstate commerce" clause, then nationalized health care would also be constitutional.

    A win-win for both sides

  28. "If conservatives adopt this view of the "interstate commerce" clause, then nationalized health care would also be constitutional."

    So, you're saying, right now, nationalized health care is un-constitutional? Hmmm.

  29. Wardo - good to see you back...Nice job taking my words out-of-context. All I was saying that the above conservative proposal concerning health insurance within the states is unconstitutional under THEIR interpretation of the Constitution. They have to change their views for their proposal to be constitutional under the conservative view of the interstate commerce clause.

  30. This whole health care reform is really crazy. The people that have health insurance do not care about the health care reform; and the people that do not have health insurance want a reform put in place. I do not think that the government should decide who gets health care. If that is the case, they will only choose people who are healthy and hardly use their health insurance. Why would they choose someone who has a disease or numerous aliments? This to me would not be fair. Most people who are not healthy did not choose to be that way. Most diseases are unpreventable and some people are even born with. I feel there needs to be a line drawn somewhere...I do not want the government controlling my health insurance and I do not want to sacrifice my health insurance for anything.
    I also feel there needs to be a plan for children who are uninsured. I do not think children should be at fault because their parent does not provide them with insurance. I believe children should be covered regardless.