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Tilting at Windmills

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March 10, 2006
By: Roxanne Cooper

LET'S GET THIS OUT OF THE WAY....

Universal Health Care = good!

Next topic?

Roxanne Cooper 1:57 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (63)

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Comments

Roxanne, we are used to thoughtful pieces from Kevin. I hope the rest of your output while Kevin is gone would be marginally better than this. This is pathetic!

Posted by: Crazy Barrone on March 10, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know, I kinda like the Bush-like simplicity.

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

May I suggest a long piece on the spinelessness of the current Democratic leaders.

For the latest example, look at this piece by Glenn Greenwald.

Unless this problem is solved, we will continue to have our collective asses kicked in the elections, no matter how many nice ideas we have or how much against the best interest of America are the ideas and policies and actions of the Repubs.

Posted by: lib on March 10, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

Next topic?

Swim instructors!

Maybe we should build a wall, to keep them from travelling to Mexico...

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

Kinda just speak your mind, donchu Roxanne?
(Of course I agree with you, but that's less interesting.)
--
HRlaughed

Posted by: HRlaughed on March 10, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

lib -

Glenn Greenwald is very very good. Too bad being smart is so worthless.

The only future I see for this country is to split into two - a liberalish part and a "onward to the 19th century" part. We can't go on like this, with meaningless elections and preachers in charge of science and corporations writing their own regulations. It just isn't sustainable.

But enough gloom. Where are the swimsuit models?

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

"Roxanne, we are used to thoughtful pieces from Kevin."

Yeah, like his "Mac users go screw yourselves!" post. Unless you keep your contributions to at least that level, you really are bringing shame to the blog. Also, don't do anything humorous or ironic...it pisses people off.

Posted by: brucds on March 10, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Torture = bad!

At this rate, will Kevin have any topic left to discuss when he comes back?

Posted by: derek on March 10, 2006 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

Mine Wage=Poverty! YaY (says my 19 year old)

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 10, 2006 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

No, no, Roxanne--you don't understand the magic of the free market! If you make health care affordable, it will only encourage people to get sick!

Posted by: rea on March 10, 2006 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

Roxanne, allow me to, hopefully, add a little meat to the bones of your assertion that national health insurance is a good thing, by providing a link to a Paul Krugman article, that argues the benefits more articulately than I ever could.

Now, we just need to get conservatives into therapy to resolve their tax cut fetishes, and we may be on our way to becoming a civilized nation!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 10, 2006 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

Now, we just need to get conservatives into therapy to resolve their tax cut fetishes, and we may be on our way to becoming a civilized nation!
Posted by: Stephen Kriz

Depends on what sort of 'therapy' you'd prescribe.

We've seen ample demonstration here that they are impervious to reason or persuasion, are immune to fact-based refutation of the underpinings of their strange new religion/perversion/obsession, and have, quite obviously, been innoculated against logic.

Might qualify as a new variety of borderline personality disorder, which, I am given to understand, is particularly resistent to treatment.

Maybe the Monty Python 'Fish Dance' would be a good place to start...though perhaps, out of environmental concerns, I'd suggest we substitute rubber chickens...

Posted by: CFShep on March 10, 2006 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

Why? Is the Universe sick??!!

If Canada is an example then I disagree. Now if you can come up with something that actually works....

BTW my wife is in E- circles with many Canadians and NONE of them like their "Universal Health care". They have to come here to get what they need.

I agree that everyone should have access to health care but I do not subscribe to the "Do something, even if it's wrong" mentality. If we are going to do it, get it right the first time. (That pretty much means that the gov't isn't the answer.) LOL

Posted by: Lurker42 on March 10, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Universal Health Care = Oxymoron

If everyone pays for everyone, then ultimately no one will be able to afford health care (we're reaching that point now). At least, not in free-enterprise America, where the sniffles run about $500 to "cure." Maybe in the Soviet Union, where doctors were paid on par with factory workers. Insurance is a welfare scheme for the rich. Health insurance is the worst form of insurance, because there's no actuarial limit on its costs. Extending it to everyone will make it ultimately unavailable to everyone (except the rich), because costs will expand to soak up the additional funds. Then more funds are sucked into the system. So costs rise some more. Etc. If everyone paid out of their own pockets, basic health care would be much cheaper. Anyone remember the '50s? Doctors still made house calls, and I'll bet a larger percentage of Americans could afford that visit then, even though a larger percentage lived in poverty. Anyone remember when pills were not priced as a multiple of their weight in gold? The market can only charge what the market can bear to pay. Who can pay more? You, out of your pocket, or your insurance company? The enormous expense of developing medications is a direct result of there being deep pockets to cover those expenses. Without the deep pockets, there would be compelling incentive to develop the drugs more cheaply. Why do you suppose the same pills cost multiples more in the US than overseas? Because the semi-universal insurance scheme is most highly entrenched in the US. For universal health care to work here, price and wage controls would be necessary, or an independent system where public doctors are paid on par with factory workers. ... It's a conundrum.

Posted by: Scippie AM on March 10, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

LOL. Perfectly describes the liberal mindset. It's good cause I say so!

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats pushing universal health care = Great for Republicans.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 10, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

LOL, Freedom Fighter.

Perfectly describes the conservative mindset.

It's wrong because I say so!

Posted by: Freddo on March 10, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans without a vision = Great for the Democrats.

Posted by: Joan Jett on March 10, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, I was soooo hoping that TBrosz would make me feel all warm and fuzzy about our present "wonderful" health care - I either feel better when he explains the system or when I remember I am in the VA system. Thank you Mr Broz for paying taxes to support me and others who served. Now, if only Twiggie doesn't cut even more from the system-----------

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 10, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, now I know Roxanne Cooper = unreadable

Posted by: Jeff on March 10, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

I'm fine with how Roxanne started this discussion. Why do you need some long and winded story or point to start things rolling?

Posted by: Lurker42 on March 10, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, no! Call the blog police. I am "bringing shame" to this blog! Oh, you haven't seen anything yet.

/snark

You folks might need to chill. That was a middle of the night bit of sarcasm. I'm flying today and on a lay-over right now. There'll be more later!

Also --it's true. I'm not Glenn Greenwald.

Posted by: Roxanne on March 10, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Attempting to strap another massive entitlement program on the backs of the dwindling taxpayer base without addressing the shortcomings of the other entitlement programs and failing to reach any consensus on tax reform; well........

Say hello to President McCain

Posted by: Jay on March 10, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah Jay, because the people receiving the benefits aren't paying taxes.

And since your so against people receiving benefits that they don't pay taxes then you agree that we should remove the payroll tax cap on social security, right?

I mean, your not a hypocrite are you?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 10, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

I have no problem with that Dr. and I will cede you that when you allow me to take a portion of my SS contribution and put it into my own private account. You're not a hypocrite either are you?

Posted by: Jay on March 10, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Roxanne, please let us know how the Tapes n Tapes show at SXSW is. I'm curious to see how they are live.

Posted by: Luke on March 10, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

The entire set of universal health care lies from the Reichwingnuts revolve around the horrors of rationing.

We need rationing. Rationing will bring rational choice.

Here's my plan: At birth, each American is given 1000 hours of Health Care dollars, and certain other goods. Each contact with the health care system reduces this amount. When you run out, you pay out of pocket.

In high school, you buy an additional policy if you play sports.

In childbirth, you buy an additional policy.

The insurance industry goes from selling BASIC insurance to selling ADDITIONAL add-on insurance.

Everyone is covered. However, if you are 90 and facing a 3-month stay in a hospital with little chance of good recovery, my rationing plan would make you think twice about this choice.

Posted by: POed Liberal on March 10, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

I agree its Good

helps big business and little ones to
by removeing burdon of medical insurance.

eliminates need for medicade and medacare.

Helps the working class who every year
spend more and get less for insurance coverage.

levals out medical cost. They no longer get payed
less from goverment and much more from private
insurance.

makes goverment give aways to pharmacy companys
unnessasary.

Posted by: Honey P on March 10, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Great link stephen kriz

Posted by: Honey P on March 10, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

You already can put your money into a private account. It's called a 401K.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 10, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Don't be a hypocrite, I can't touch any of the 6% mandated to SS and the government. Allow me to take up to 3% of MY OWN MONEY and put into a private account and then will raise the cap. What in the hell is wrong with that?

Posted by: Jay on March 10, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Roxanne! You don't have to

listen to all the ranting you're getting from other "commenters." But my comment is this: what evidence is there that a majority of voting Americans will support Democratic candidates promising to enact universal health care? The (very)great majority of Americans who vote have health care, by hook or by crook. "Universal health care" means that they'll be paying for the people who aren't getting it now. What, exactly, is in it for them?

People think that health care reform means lower health care bills for them. How do we increase the amount of health care delivered at the same time we reduce expenditures (other than the "Bush plan" of borrowing $15 trillion or so from our descendents)?

Posted by: Alan Vanneman on March 10, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Well, you seem to have convinced The National Review. Good work.

Posted by: Noam Sane on March 10, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

...

I think we HAVE to start with the no-brainer though.

UCHC - Universal CHILD health care

All kids under 18 qualify.
Its not their fault that their parents can't help them.

Who in the world would be against that?

....OK, BESIDES Karl Rove?

....

Posted by: wellstoner on March 10, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

...

Its like the way the GOP is picking away
at Roe V. Wade

Start with UCHC

....

Posted by: wellstoner on March 10, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

POedLib -- that was a joke, right? plz??

Posted by: e1 on March 10, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

POedLib -- that was a joke, right? plz??

I dunno, it makes a lot of sense to me. Of course, if you're born with some serious health problems, you might not make it out of childhood - but that was true in the 19th century, and yet here we all are. So it's all good. For us.

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Your OWN money, Jay? That stuff you print in the basement, you mean? You surely don't mean the money that exists as a communal way of facilitating exchange, do you? How is it "yours"? It has its value-which is disappearing because of George Bush-because this is the United States, because we're all in this together, red and yellow, black and white, rich, poor, sick, well.

Oh, never mind, why would you suddenly start understanding life now?

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 10, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

I want to hear about SXSW please! Who did you see? Who was good? Who sucked? A little musical interlude into this blog would be nice :)

Posted by: sarah on March 10, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

universal Health care good. Yes. Universal housing, good. yes. Universal food eating good. Yes. universal access to transportation good, yes. Universal anything good, yes. the problem lies in the execution of the utopian dream, not in the dream itself

Posted by: Chris on March 10, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

For universal health care to work here, price and wage controls would be necessary, or an independent system where public doctors are paid on par with factory workers.

Well, I'll tell you what. Since this is your vision of how it would have to work, we won't ask you to design the system. We'll ask folks who have an idea of how it can work, rather than those who are already convinced (and just waiting to prove) that it can't.


Posted by: Ducktape on March 10, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

We've seen ample demonstration here that they are impervious to reason or persuasion, are immune to fact-based refutation of the underpinings of their strange new religion/perversion/obsession, and have, quite obviously, been innoculated against logic.

I would like to see a well-presented argument about how we get from here to there. Given, for instance, that so many people spend so much money on what is called "futile care", how do we persuade them to stop doing that and contribute about half that amount of money to medical care for those who are presently uninsured. And taking the Johns Hopkins example above, how do we persuade people that America's many centers of excellence (to which people come from the nations that have universal health care), how do we persuade people that the excellence of those places won't be diluted. Also, granted that nobody really likes insurance company bureaucrats, how do we persuade a majority of the swing voters (who actually have insurance now) that government bureaucrats will do any better -- especially since nobody really likes government bureaucrats.

I come here every day seeking intelligent liberal commentary, and mostly there's just smug, self=-righteous, illogical crap. Plus the plainly self-defeating belief that all you need to do to win elections is insult the 40% of the electorate that would never vote your way.

Posted by: republicrat on March 10, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

UHC will never, ever come to the US unless (1) it does not result in a lowering of the quality of medical care for the majority who are already insured (e.g., by institution of rationing of services or limiting choice of physicians) and (2) it does not result in higher expenses (through taxes or otherwise) for the majority who are already insured and paying (either directly or indirectly as part of their compensation package) for their own insurance. I suggest you all try to figure out a solution to these two seemingly insurmountable problems.

Dr. Morpheus - The reason there is a cap on the wages subject to social security is to give life to the illusion that social security is an insurance plan in which people pay for the benefits they receive, rather than an income transfer/welfare program. If the Democrats are willing to concede the latter, then they will have a better chance at lifting the cap.

But why not this: Do away with all payroll taxes of all stripes and do away with all income tax brackets and deductions of any kind and have a single flat rate income tax. I haven't run the numbers and frankly don't know what that rate would would have to be. But it would certainly be a fairer system than we have now, it would boost employment, and most importantly, it would put all citizens in the same position of paying income taxes. Right now, over half of all taxpayers don't pay any income taxes - they only pay payroll taxes, so they think, correctly, that any increase in income taxes comes out of someone else's pocket. Better to remove the payroll tax burden and put everyone on the same playing field so that all voters have the same cost/benefit analysis to make when faced with proposals for new government programs.

Posted by: DBL on March 10, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

it does not result in a lowering of the quality of medical care for the majority who are already insured (e.g., by institution of rationing of services or limiting choice of physicians)

Already in place, even for the insured. Most definitely already in place.

it does not result in higher expenses (through taxes or otherwise) for the majority who are already insured and paying (either directly or indirectly as part of their compensation package) for their own insurance.

Are you allowing for the fact that those people would no longer be required to insure themselves?

Posted by: Auguste on March 10, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I never understood the stereotype of the humorless, elitist liberal until I read this particular discussion thread.

Now I get it.

Posted by: Auguste on March 10, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

This blog needs nothing more than the terse statement written.

Roxanne on Universal Health Care = correct

Posted by: goodasgold on March 10, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Roxanne, we are used to thoughtful pieces from Kevin.

I must have missed those. I've seen the ones that rehash clichd received wisdom, and the ones that make uninformed guesses about the motives of people to his left. Can someone point me to the archve of thoughtful posts?

Posted by: Chris Clarke on March 10, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Man, tough crowd.

Posted by: Jedmunds on March 10, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone point me to the arch[i]ve of thoughtful posts?

Chris:

Start here.

Oh, sure, some of them are terse and humorous, snarky and personal, but that's just because the author realizes that no matter its scope, a blog is just as much a reflection of personality as it is a bully pulpit.

Posted by: Auguste on March 10, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

It would probably be good for most consumers. Would existing insurance agencies go out of business? I know, "we don't care about capitalists," but even Wavy Gravy put in a pitch to help capitalism by buying hotdogs.

Posted by: Neil' on March 10, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Wwaaayyy back in 1949 I was stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas doing desert survival training. A friend of mine who went home on an emergency leave for a funeral, got into a club car conversation with a civilian medical doctor about President Harry Truman's universal health care proposal. A loyal soldier, he spoke enthusiastically about his Commander-in-Chief's progressive idea. Shortly after he returned to camp he was placed on a security watch, thus being barred from access to any "confidential information of a sensitive nature" that may come his way as a private soldier in an infantry training company. The good doctor had ratted him out to the FBI.

My, how times change! Or do they? Universal health care=socialized medicine=communism. J. Edgar Hoover, where ared you now that we need you? Anne Coulter can't wage war against these treasonous bastards all on her own.

Posted by: buddy66 on March 10, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK
It would probably be good for most consumers. Would existing insurance agencies go out of business?

Those focussed entirely on health insurance no doubt would (unless they radically altered their business models), those for whom it was one of many functions would not.

Which is why concrete proposals are likely to (as does, e.g., California's SB840 single-payor proposal plan) include transitional assistance for displaced workers.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 10, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'd point out to Republicrat that I was responding to "therapy to resolve their tax cut fetishes".

We've had an infestation of Laffer Curve delusionals recently. I'm natually somewhat concerned that Mr. Dicely may get carpal tunnel syndrome from slapping these guys down.

Fish optional.

Posted by: CFShep on March 10, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

I work in healthcare. We have to do something. One bout with cancer, and your savings are wiped out, you've lost your job and then you have to go on charity care. And that's just the area I work in. If you get really sick, you are hosed.

And what do you propose we do with that 90 year old who needs medical care, even though the outcome isn't good? Just kill him? Let him die in pain? I think not. Someone who was pretty healthy prior to getting that final illness will often take 3-6 months (or longer, depending on what it is) to die, and that is without life prolonging care. Unless you just shoot them, you have to at least do palliative care. You don't want someone dying of, say, bedsores. Anything else is cruel.


Posted by: Jody on March 10, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

UCHC - Universal CHILD health care
wellstoner

One of the big arguments in favor of UHC is that it will cost *less* than what the current system costs.

But if all you're doing is keeping the current system, but saying that everyone under 18 gets free care paid for by the the gov't, it ends up cost a lot more than the current system.

How do you pay for it?

Posted by: rkimball on March 10, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of things sound good. Hell, who doesn't like "free" stuff?

As long as UHC is sold as "You get all the health care you want! For free!" then, sure, lots of people think it's great. It's only when people start looking at the hard details that they might start thinking, "Hey, wait a minute..."

Most of what I've read here is still on the level of "You get all the health care you want! For free!"

What we need is a workable proposal, unless the proposal is simply going to be "Adopt the French/German/Swedish health care system".

Posted by: rkimball on March 10, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Canada's universal healthcare system was fine when it was about healthcare. Right-wing politicians sold it south of the border, and now, like Americans, we've got stockholders share, not healthcare.

Posted by: Pony on March 10, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

As long as UHC is sold as "You get all the health care you want! For free!" then, sure, lots of people think it's great. It's only when people start looking at the hard details that they might start thinking, "Hey, wait a minute..."

Most of what I've read here is still on the level of "You get all the health care you want! For free!"

Most of what I've read here is on the level of "I've never really, honestly had to explore the depths of the current medical system."

Believe me when I say that there is no such thing as a hard detail of a UHC which is more disturbing than what we have now - for those people who really need it.

And for those who are relatively healthy that are high and mighty and saying "but I won't get to choose my favorite dermatologiiiiiist" can eat it.

Posted by: Auguste on March 11, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

[The (very)great majority of Americans who vote have health care, by hook or by crook. "Universal health care" means that they'll be paying for the people who aren't getting it now. What, exactly, is in it for them?]

Allow me to answer: they'll get cheaper health care.

In most countries with an universal public health care system, the costs are lower than the ones in the private system. It's not that we're paying doctors the minimum wage -but they aren't sucking our blood either.
The way it works in most european countries, is, you have basic coverage for any illness or condition, but you're out of the public system for some "optional" services like dental implants, some kind of orthopedics, well, it varies from country to country. Some include alternative therapies aswell, some others only include serious conditions.
This way the private health companies have their share of market too: they cover those cases which ar left out of the public system.

And now, just compare the figures: the US spends an average of 5700 $ per capita in health care, while Norway, the public system which spends more, "only" spends 3800$ per capita, while most european countries range from 2000 to 3000$ per capita. Tell the people with a private health care that, even paying for those who haven't a coverage right now, they'll be able to save an average of 1000-2000 $ a year, and maybe you'll find them more inclined to a public system.

Posted by: elgie on March 11, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, those figures in the european countries include the total spending: the public and the private one.

Posted by: elgie on March 11, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

And, don't worry about the good ole' doctors, they won't starve. My cousin is a doctor in france and she does a fairly good living; she can work only 6 months a year and enjoy a good standard of living.

Posted by: elgie on March 11, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

DBL: UHC will never, ever come to the US unless (1) it does not result in a lowering of the quality of medical care for the majority who are already insured (e.g., by institution of rationing of services or limiting choice of physicians) and (2) it does not result in higher expenses (through taxes or otherwise) for the majority who are already insured and paying (either directly or indirectly as part of their compensation package) for their own insurance. I suggest you all try to figure out a solution to these two seemingly insurmountable problems.

UHC is the solution. The one irrefutable fact you need to focus on is that the health care system we've got in the U.S.A. is at least twenty-five percent more expensive, as a fraction of our GDP, than the nationalized health care systems of every other first-world country. It achieves this fantastic degree of inefficiency despite leaving tens of millions of citizens almost completely uninsured.

As for "lowering the quality of medical care," have a look at this table. We're number 42.

Since every other first-world nation's system is so much more efficient than ours, it would be trivially easy to design a national health care system for the U.S.A. There's no need to reinvent the wheeel; simply copy anybody else's.

Once the U.S.A. got past the transition costs, we would all actually save enormous quantities of money. You say it must not result in higher expenses, when it's obvious from the experience of every other first-world country that national health care would deliver superior results with enormously lower expenses. Any average citizen would have to pay higher taxes, but his insurance bill would go to zero; that would more than make up for it. Companies would pay higher corporate taxes, but no more of the exaggerated rates they currently pay out for our inferior health care; again that would more than make up for it.

We're talking about saving two or three percent of the entire Gross Domestic Product here! What we achieve today, for the convenience of a few small groups of shareholders in the medical and insurance business, is as if we were to take three percent or so of our entire national product out in a field, pile it up in a great big heap and set it on fire. Every two weeks when I get my paycheck I know that I spent two or three hours working to produce... smoke.

Posted by: W. Kiernan on March 11, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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