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Tilting at Windmills

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June 11, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE S-WORD....Ezra Klein, practicing for his career as a TV talking head, responds to a question about whether national healthcare is "socialist":

We should stop running from that moniker. If we're going to call what Canada, France, Germany, England, Japan, and essentially every actually, not essentially, just every other industrialized nation offers socialized health care, but they cover all of their citizens with better outcomes and lower costs than we do, then I'm happy to associate myself with that.

OK, it was only a training session. But still. Can I suggest something a wee bit different?

"Socialist" is a scare word conservatives use when they've run out of serious arguments. But national healthcare isn't socialism any more than Medicare is. It's just a practical and efficient way of providing medical treatment for everyone in the country, the same way that interstate highways are a practical and efficient way of providing roads for everyone in the country.

The facts are simple: A well-designed national healthcare plan gives you greater choice of doctors, it's less expensive than private insurance, it helps rein in spiraling costs, it keeps you covered even if you temporarily lose your job or have a preexisting condition, it helps out small companies that can't afford to provide health coverage for their employees, it helps out big companies like GM and Ford that are nearly bankrupt because they do provide health coverage, and it covers everyone all the time.

And best of all, it gets rid of the bureaucratic hodgepodge we have now: Medicare for the old, employer coverage for people who work for big companies, 50 different versions of Medicaid for the poor, emergency rooms for the destitute, and no coverage at all for people who are unlucky enough to work for Wal-Mart. It's an expensive mess that drives doctors nuts and provides most of us with mediocre care.

Or something like that. In any case, the basic answer to "Is national healthcare socialist?" should always be no, not yes. We are not in favor of command economies, ownership of the means of production, or state control of doctors, and that's what most people think of when you say "socialist."

And that's Kevin's media training for the day.

Kevin Drum 7:58 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (117)

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Comments

As Ezra points out, national healthcare IS socialist. Why do you advocate lying to the American people about the true nature of socialized medicine?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 11, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ok AH, show us you're serious by not posting on the former ARPANET.

Posted by: doug r on June 11, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

As Ezra points out, national healthcare IS socialist.

That's not what Ezra points out. Although I suppose you get extra hypocrisy points for lying at the same time you accuse someone else of being a liar.

Posted by: American on June 11, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK


AMERICAN HAWK: Why do you advocate lying to the American people about the true nature of socialized medicine?

Why do you advocate for allowing American people to suffer in order to further enrich the rich? Why does a naturalized American have the unnatural inclination to let people die who are in need of care?


Posted by: jayarbee on June 11, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

hawk ... you are here in this country legally, aren't you? I'd hate to think that the gop would let just any random illegal post their bullshit here.

... but then, they did let reagan run the country despite the obvious decline ...

Posted by: Nads on June 11, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Kevin, and welcome back. This is the best response I have ever seen to the "Socialist" scare tactic.

Posted by: Sharon on June 11, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm willing to bet that when you say "socialist," almost nobody thinks you mean "control of the means of production. The ignorant aren't familiar with the term, and the educated know what you really mean is Marxist.

Posted by: phleabo on June 11, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Monstrous Commies! America Hawk will save us!

Posted by: Freedom Phucker on June 11, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

We are not in favor of command economies, ownership of the means of production, or state control of doctors, and that's what most people think of when you say "socialist."

I am in favor of the government running the economy in any sector where market failures are very likely. Health care seems like such a sector. So I'm in favor of socialized medicine. You call it what you want.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 11, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin hit the bullseye.

Posted by: The Fool on June 11, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly I think Kevin's answer is better. If people want to attach the label socialist to something that every single other developed country does, then that's their problem, not ours. We're far better off arguing about outcomes and means than semantics.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow on June 11, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

One of the major definitions of "socialism", at least as a boogieman, is something that tightly controls the open market and creates a command economy.

It can be argued that UHC programs in fact do a better job of maximizing market competition and choice than the current system does. In fact, it's pretty easy to argue this. I'll give a few examples.

UHC would give more ability for people to choose their own doctor's and hospitals, much more than the current framework provides.

UHC would provide a more competitive market for labor, as people won't be dependant on their jobs for their health insurance.

UHC would free entrepenures from being tied to their jobs for health care, making it easier for new startups/business to be formed, and not weighing them down with health care costs once formed.

Three good examples of how UHC can actually INCREASE the power of the market. It's my feeling that if you want to be a market evangalist, that's fine. But the thing is, that every decision usually both encourages and limits market freedoms. The goal should be to maximize both efficency and consumer choice.

UHC accomplishes this. (So does net neutrality legislation, but I digress)

Posted by: Karmakin on June 11, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Universal health care is no more "socialistic" than our interstate highway system. In our complex, interconnected and highly specialized society, certain mechanisms like government can provide beneficial services more efficiently than a private system.

Most right-wingers, who bandy about the term "socialism", couldn't define it if their life depended on it. It is used to inspire fear - which is the only way they know how to govern. Your argument is right on the money, Kevin.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 11, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

"..interstate highways are a practical and efficient way of providing roads for everyone in the country. "

Yes, the highway system is socialist, more or less, and at least half funded from flat taxed pay as you go.

To say you are nationalizing an industry is nothing new, just say it, you want to nationalize the health insurance business.

Most of us will be long dead before anthing stabilizes out of this, it is not like nationalizing the retirement bond industry after all.

You will eventually implement a VAT tax, or a 15% increase in the payroll tax, the former will be a major revision to the US economy, taking years. The later is likely to be a flat tax fought against by the poor and middle class.

Otherwise, once you raise income tax progressivity to the point of paying for this, unions will suddenly have the best health care in the world, and they will fight it.

You are stuck trying to optimize a problem in which a small part of the economy will see some efficiency increase, maybe, not an easy sale. Certainly not as easy as te national highway system was sold.

The proponents might try something simple at first, but even here, with all the promises made, even a simple first step will be painfully battled.

Putting this scheme into a new form of rhetoric changes nothing, you have a long, tough hard sale and the Democratic party will be torn apart in the battle.

Posted by: Matt on June 11, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

The military is also socialist.

Posted by: croatoan on June 11, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Legitimate businesses are already overwhelmed with the annual increases in the cost of providing health insurance for their employees. Americans are paying more than citizens of any other country for the service.

The outrageously high cost is the result of a variety of things: insurance cherry picking those who will be covered, hospitals absorbing cost of emergency treatment for many working patients that require emergency care but have no insurance, excessive management costs and outrageous salaries of insurance company executives, legal costs associated with insurance coverage issues, malpractice insurance costs, litigation associated with malpractice, profit for hospital owning corporations, profit for medical management firms that handle billing and filing insurance claims for hospitals and clinics.

I haven't seen a spread sheet that breaks down all these costs. Rest assured eliminating the corporate bureaucracy and profit motive in shuffling paper would reduce costs to everyone.

Could the government do a better, more cost effective job? It would pool the risk by making coverage available to all. It would eliminate multi- million dollar salaries for health care insurance executives.

Posted by: Jack Nasty on June 11, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's just a practical and efficient way of providing medical treatment for everyone in the country, the same way that interstate highways are a practical and efficient way of providing roads for everyone in the country.

Absolutely, right, Drum!

And they're both "socialist".

In fact, roads are my facorite argument when talking to my conservative and libertarian friends, they don't seem to mind the socialist roads.

The fact that many of them can't think of a more efficient way to provide roads, in general, just reinforces the notion that socialism has pratical applications.

Of course, I live in Milwaukee, a city with a long, proud socialist tradition of achievement. I'm not out on one fo your coasts where you all know what it is those of us in the vast middle of the country will run from.

Ain't that right, Drum?

Posted by: Lettuce on June 11, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's response is so brilliant that we've digressed to talking about other things. No, wait, we always do that, anyway.

The problem with health care right now is that my brother and many others would like to start their own businesses, but can't. They can't afford the health care system as it stands. Our present health care system is Bad For Business, and anyone who stands up loudly and says it proudly will have my vote.

Posted by: mc on June 11, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a 'funny" littel bit of history for you:

When Joe McCarthy was ranting about communists in the state department, the largest city in his state (yeah, that would be Milwaukee) was being run by Socialists.

Indeed, had been for some period of time and would be for esome time after.

The last socialist Mayor of Milwaukee, Frank Zeidler, is still very much among us.

We aren't all freaked by the word socialist. Maybe you guys are on the coasts, though.

Posted by: Lettuce on June 11, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, 'socialist' is just a scare word the right throws around becuase its argument on universal heath care is so weak.

I don't care what it's called. Call it Hillarycare v2.0 if it makes anyone feel better. Universal health care makes sense on every level.

Great post.

Posted by: abi on June 11, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

So, um, it IS socialist, and YES, that makes people scared because they are ignorant. Socialism works when done correctly, much like Capitalism also doesn't work if not controlled. Yes, nationalized single payer health care is a form of socialism, must as Medicare and Social Security are. We shouldn't be afraid of that.

Posted by: Chris on June 11, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Three good examples of how UHC can actually INCREASE the power of the market.

This is probably an argument that needs to be made more often. I saw the same argument in favor of Social Security, not surprisingly in a TNR editorial. It's an oft-repeated argument that the New Deal saved us from true socialism (or worse).*

I think there are many potential problems with socialized medicine, but I think it's very likely that the end result would actually strengthen American capitalism as a whole. Part of the problem is that some European countries that keep being used as examples (France especially) have many other socalist-like drags on the economy (like ridiculous employment laws) and it's difficult for people to see that this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with national healthcare. If UHC proponents instead focus on how the system would work in the USA, and how it would make our economy and businesses stronger, it'd have a lot more popular support. And it seems likely that Big Business will throw its weight behind UHC eventually for exactly this reason.

(* Incidentally, this is why - despite frequent right-wing claims - Marxists tend to loathe the Democratic party, which genuinely does believe in a market-based economic system, albeit with more rules and gov't. intervention.)

Posted by: Nat on June 11, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Keven Drum, if you want to see how it will play out watch Maine where Dirigo Health of Maine is under full attack by the insurance industry and their Republcan puppets. "Socialized" has appeared in just about every newspaper in the state and a few on the New Hampshire line too.

They just dusted off the old talking points they gave Ronald Reagan and shipped them North.

How about instead of the "s" word we replace "affordable" and "reliable" and "the lords of death can't take it away from you".

Posted by: olvlzl on June 11, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

I get a medical check-up once a year, paid for by my provincial health plan.

In my last visit, my doctor finally convinced me to have a hernia fixed before it became a problem.

I recently saw the surgeon he recommended, and he booked me for an operation at the end of the summer.

I'll have to pay for the post-op antibiotics and pain killers, but everything else will be covered by my provincail health plan.

You can call it whatever the hell you want. I'm just glad I live in Canada and not the States.

Posted by: Joe Canuck on June 11, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

the US can not afford to do anything productive that actually improves the lives of Americans, like national healthcare because Americans have chosen to spend a large percentage of their income to purchase a $450 billion per year white elephant military that is mostly useless for protecting Americans from today's actual threats. Instead, republicans have blackmailed Americans into sacrificing their quality of life to throw obscene amounts of money to purchase huge waste chasing republican bogey men.

You'll never go broke underestimating the stupidity of the average American.

Posted by: pluege on June 11, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Let's compromise: Ezra referred to lots of governments in his response. Many of them are 'social democrats', not socialist.

Whether Medicare and roads are social democrat or socialist isn't important. Neither is universal health care for the non-retired.

There is some stigma on the word socialist. I accept that. There is also stigma on the words liberal and progressive. I refuse to give up perfectly descriptive words because the Rethugs have tried to make those words mean "bad".

Fear of a fight is never going to work to win elections. Surely we don't need to say that UHC is conservative or fascist to make them more acceptable to someone. Regardless of the label, the radicial right in its various forms will find words to discredit the idea. One can almost hear that Jesus would never tolerate UHC, according to the Pat Robertson's of the world.

I'm not saying that labelling isn't something to think about, but falling over oneself to avoid a verbal conflict that is going to occur anyway is giving too many points to the opposition.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on June 11, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

I well remember Ontario without universal medical care. It was awful. 55 different private insurance companies and a physicians insurance scheme as well. It was all swept away by OHIP, the universal scheme in Ontario. It was the most important thing a CONSERVATIVE government in Ontario ever did. And I thank them for it. Don't blame Socialists for this. Absolutely everyone came to recognize its benefits. Single payer is the way to go. It doesn't much matter who provides the service. Just give them a billing number. The card is good when you are travelling in any other part of Canada as well. Portability of benefits was built into the scheme.

Canadian universal care is the product of a socialist government (of Saskatchewwan). The premier at the time was Tommy Douglas, a Methodist minister by former profession. He was voted the most influential Canadian of all time a couple of years ago by Canadians. We collectively thank him every time we pull the card from our pockets to get services. You Americans should thank him to. His grandson is Jack Bauer.

Posted by: Craig McKie on June 11, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Cutting all state funded enterprises will ruin a consumer based capitalist system. Ask the working chinese who MUST save 30-40% of their income for old age.

Posted by: Neo on June 11, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

The facts are simple: A well-designed national healthcare plan gives you greater choice of doctors, it's less expensive than private insurance, it helps rein in spiraling costs, it keeps you covered even if you temporarily lose your job or have a preexisting condition, it helps out small companies that can't afford to provide health coverage for their employees, it helps out big companies like GM and Ford that are nearly bankrupt because they do provide health coverage, and it covers everyone all the time.

I'd love to see an example of a country with "national healthcare" in which all of this is demonstrably true. Of course, the wording is sufficiently vague to give you plenty of wiggle room (for example, what, exactly, does "greater choice of doctors" mean? How do you measure it?)

Posted by: GOP on June 11, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

If UHC proponents instead focus on how the system would work in the USA, and how it would make our economy and businesses stronger, it'd have a lot more popular support. And it seems likely that Big Business will throw its weight behind UHC eventually for exactly this reason.

If the economic benefits to Big Business of UHC are so clear and so large, why don't they enthusiastically support it already? They're always looking for ways to save money and increase profits, so it seems highly unlikely that if UHC would benefit them as much and as clearly as you say, they wouldn't already be pushing for it.

By the way, do you really mean UHC (universal health care), rather than government-funded single-payer health care? Clinton's plan, for example, provided universal coverage, but it wasn't single-payer.

Posted by: GOP on June 11, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

We are not in favor of command economies, ownership of the means of production, or state control of doctors, and that's what most people think of when you say "socialist."

I don't think that's what they think of, because that would imply they actually know what socialism is. I just think they respond to a lifetime's Pavlovian training and start twitching when they hear the dreaded word.

Despite which, your answer is excellent. All Dems should be forced to memorize it forthwith!

Posted by: craigie on June 11, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Argh!

We MUST, we must must must, distinguish between universal healthcare PROVISION and universal healthcare FINANCING.

SINGLE-PAYER healthcare cuts out the insurance companies without doing anything to our existing system of doctors, hosptials, etc.

Doctors PREFER single-payer, since it would reduce their overhead by 50% or more.

Businesses PREFER single-payer, since it takes the burden of health insurance off their backs.

Single-payer is NOT "socialist" health care. It is not a government takeover of doctors and hospitals. It is not turning hospitals into the DMV.

Instead, it simply is cutting the profit-making, blood-sucking, insurance-company middlemen out of the process. Simple as that.

It's NOT "socialist." It's NOT a "government takeover." It's merely efficient, as doctors and businesses will attest.

For crying out loud, STOP PLAYING THE GAME ON THEIR FIELD!!

Posted by: bleh on June 11, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think most people think "fascism" when they hear socialism. Why repeat the bullshit right-wing talking points while trying to make a case in favor of a health care system Republicans have devoted seventy-five years to preventing?

Posted by: NealB on June 11, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK


GOP: If the economic benefits to Big Business of UHC are so clear and so large, why don't they enthusiastically support it already?

But as soon as they do, you're all over it, right? I guess it makes sense to let them do your thinking for you if it's not one of your strong suits. While you're waiting for cues from them, though, there's something else you might want to get someone else to think about for you, since it calls in to question the great wisdom you ascribe to Big Business. You see, as it happens, just as is the case with income groups of all levels, the economic performance of Business is greater under Democratic administrations than it is under Republican. CEOs do better under Republicans, though. Are you one of those, GOP?


Posted by: jayarbee on June 11, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Single-payer is NOT "socialist" health care.

This needs repeating, as often as possible.

Posted by: American on June 11, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

jayarbee,

But as soon as they do, you're all over it, right?

No.

If the economic benefits to Big Business of UHC are so clear and so large, why don't they enthusiastically support it already?

Posted by: GOP on June 11, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Doctors PREFER single-payer, ... Businesses PREFER single-payer, ....

Both of these claims seem to be false.

Posted by: GOP on June 11, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure this point was touched on earlier, but the best way to handle this "point" by the Republicans is to turn it right back on them.

Namely, simply point out that they called MEDICARE "socialist" when IT was first proposed. Proceed to offer up such quotes from them from that very era (Bob Dole would be a nice source).

Ask the audience if that was in fact a good objection to Medicare. If not, if Medicare seems instead like a great success, why should it be a important objection to the extension of Medicare to all Americans? We had the courage at that time to enact Medicare despite the scare tactics -- why should we not do the same with this extension?

Posted by: frankly0 on June 11, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

It's an interesting question why business doesn't support universal coverage / single payer. Some have come close to calling for it (GM's CEO for instance). One reason might be just a fear of letting the government get into anything like this (and especially, getting into it and doing a good job) because the next thing you know, they'll find themselves on the receiving end of some regulation they don't really want to deal with. The slippery slope argument.

I think the bigger issue is why rich people tend to vote Republican even though they actually get richer faster under Democrats. I think it's because the real issue is what the money is for: to buy power and control. This is maximized not so much by maximizing their own wealth but by maximizing the difference between their wealth and everyone else's. And there are clear non-linearities in this: even if people aren't wealthy, if they have enough to feel reasonably secure, they have some ability to withstand the power and authority of wealth.

Hence the program: take this security away from them wherever possible.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on June 12, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

If you don't like medical care driven by profits, wait until you see medical care driven by politics.

Posted by: Andy on June 12, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure this point was touched on earlier, but the best way to handle this "point" by the Republicans is to turn it right back on them.

In which case you'll have fallen into the trap of getting distracted into a pointless argument over a word and who-said-what-when instead of focusing on promoting your policy.

Kevin's right. If you have any sense, you'll avoid the word "socialism" like the plague.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Um, the current system is so bad that it will eventually self destruct. At double digit price increases per year, that is pretty much inevitable.

The conservatives are doing nothing about this. If that is their approach to it, they lose.

If current trends persist, who cares if the conservatives call it socialist. There will come a point in time in which GM (and a lot of the blue chips), almost all small businesses, and the public at large demands change.

The current system is too broken to survive for more than another decade as is.

If the conservatives insist on attaching the label socialist to a single payer plan, they may yet end up not killing a single payer plan, but rather, improving the image of socialism.

Posted by: Paul on June 12, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK


GOP: If the economic benefits to Big Business of UHC are so clear and so large, why don't they enthusiastically support it already?

Rather persistent with this question, aren't you? They don't because there are three or four thousand people and their families who control about 40% of the wealth in this country. They have each other's backs. They are in-bred in the sense that they intermingle on boards of directors across sectors, making decisions which primarily protect their own interests first--ahead of stockholders and ahead even of the companies they oversee, many of which are in insurance and related fields. Short answer: Selfishness. It is the why to almost any question.

Note: larry birnbaum makes excellent points above; but it comes back to the same thing: Selfishness


Posted by: jayarbee on June 12, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

I am a cancer survivor.

I KNOW that I would not have received the care (6 chemo cycles @ 18K per) that I got in UK and pretty certain not in Canada, either.

I have Canadian friends. They ALL come to US for medical care.

Canada routinely sends cancer patients to hospitals in VT. (Fletcher-Allen and Rutland); Canada can't provide the care

Talk about bureaucracy. The UK NHS is the BIGGEST bureaucracy in the country.

Are you left moonbats ever going to give up on socialism and "kumbaya?"

Churchill:"If you are 20 and are not a socialist, you have no heart.
If you are 40 and still a socialist, you have no head."

Posted by: greywolf on June 12, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

It's an interesting question why business doesn't support universal coverage / single payer. Some have come close to calling for it (GM's CEO for instance). One reason might be just a fear of letting the government get into anything like this (and especially, getting into it and doing a good job) because the next thing you know, they'll find themselves on the receiving end of some regulation they don't really want to deal with.

Right. Like, say, a huge new payroll tax that they must pay for every employee and that they have no control over. Or a huge increase in the federal budget deficit that makes it harder to attract investment and sell overseas. Hmmm....maybe the benefits of UHC to Big Business aren't so clear after all.

I think the bigger issue is why rich people tend to vote Republican even though they actually get richer faster under Democrats.

Oh, I'd love to see the proof of this.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK


GREYWOLF: I KNOW that I would not have received the care

Well, there you have it then. greywolf knows. I don't know about the rest of you, but that's good enough for me. I mean, would he have capitalized it if it weren't so?


Posted by: jayarbee on June 12, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Wel it's certainly socialistic. Not saying "socialism" isn't a deathtrap that Democrats should avoid, but it is what it is.

Posted by: Dustin Ridgeway on June 12, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

jayarbee,

Rather persistent with this question, aren't you?

You didn't answer it the first time you quoted it, so I asked again.

They don't because there are three or four thousand people and their families who control about 40% of the wealth in this country. They have each other's backs. They are in-bred in the sense that they intermingle on boards of directors across sectors, making decisions which primarily protect their own interests first--ahead of stockholders and ahead even of the companies they oversee, many of which are in insurance and related fields. Short answer: Selfishness. It is the why to almost any question.

Huh? If the economic benefits to Big Business of UHC are so clear and so large, why wouldn't "selfishness" make them even more likely to support it? If they're acting selfishly, they would embrace something that makes them richer, not oppose it.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Paul,

Um, the current system is so bad that it will eventually self destruct. At double digit price increases per year, that is pretty much inevitable.

I haven't seen the latest numbers, but the increase in health care costs between 1990 and 2001 was lower in the U.S. than the OECD average, and lower in the U.S. than in Britain, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Poland, Norway, Mexico, Korea, Greece, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Australia, all of which have "universal" health care.

The current system is too broken to survive for more than another decade as is.

I remember people saying that when ClintonCare was being promoted. That was almost 15 years ago.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Drum:

"And that's Kevin's media training for the day."

Hell's bells.

One day of training ain't enough.

These Democrat dummies need 24/7 schooling in framing incisive and credible arguments.

When it comes to vibrant talking points... the democrats mumble like a bunch of weak fairies.

Posted by: koreyel on June 12, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

"Socialist" is a scare word conservatives use when they've run out of serious arguments. But national healthcare isn't socialism any more than Medicare is.

No, the correct answer is:

Why yes, it IS socialist. Why is that a problem?

Posted by: Strawman on June 12, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

You can call it Super wonderful capitalist patriotic Healthapalooza for all I care just as long as it does what it needs to do. Allow EVERYONE who needs medical care to be able to receive medical care.

I know this rubs assholes like American Hawk the wrong way, but hasn't invading Iraq satiated your blood lust and desire to inflict pain on others even a little? Do you have to keep stamping your boot on EVERYONE's face forever? Here's a reason for you to support it Hawk, if everybody who can't afford health care gets sick and dies who you going to oppress then? When we are all gone maybe YOU will be at the bottom of the heap.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on June 12, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Socialism, which isn't the same as fascism, is defined by state ownership of all business. Communism was a non-pure form of socialism. Universal healthcare systems developed in the UK, Canada, France, etc are not government or state owned. Thus the term socialism isn't descriptive of these healthcare plans. If all the hospitals were owned by the US government and all doctors worked for the US government then it might be socialism. Moron conservatives with poor dictionary/encyclopedia skills that are unable to look up "socialism" confuse social programs whereupon "social" means about and for people with socialism which implies state ownership. No truly social government would ever have or desire to have health plans like the UK or Germany etc. Ice cream socials are family or community get-togethers not outbreaks of socialism. Duhhhhhhhh.

Posted by: Where's osama on June 12, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Any pool of money developed for common cause is not socialism. Even if the government manages to the pool and the contracts for the common cause to be done. The highway system is no more socialism (gas taxes used to build highways) that is a national basketball game (ticket prices used to pay athelites).

Posted by: Where's osama on June 12, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the thing: conservatives think that there's only one (domestic) problem that government needs to tackle--crime. Everything else, The Market will handle.

They are mistaken. And Americans actually DO want government to solve big problems like people getting sick and dying more than they need to. So eventually, we WILL see a single-payer, or highly-regulated multi-payer, health system. The only question is how much more pain our country's conservatives subject us to before it comes to pass.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 12, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

GOP

Big business would prefer NO healthcare costs at all,
private socialized or whatever, it is all about profit, not your health.
In Germany you can see any Dr. within your reach, even taking a vacation you can see any Dr. If you know anything otherwise please provide links. Back up your facts.

Who cares if it is called socialism or single payer or whatever the only thing that counts is; "does it work?"

All other nations systems work better than our system.

Posted by: Renate on June 12, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Just wanted to air one of my pet peeves. Whats wrong with being a talking head? The word is used only in a dismissive manner, by cynical people who are used to putting everything down. But what else on TV has any intelligence? As if the only stuff worth watching is the stuff that movessex, guns and explosions?

Posted by: James of DC on June 12, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

The argument is over. Ample proof is already at hand that the government does health care better than the private sector in every area it touches.

In research, NIH is the gold standard. The best scientists take pay cuts to work there. Much of the raw research goes free to the drug companies, who then get high on the profits, stiffing the taxpayers who paid for the original research.

Statistics prove the VA delivers the best health care. I asked a friend who is a VA nurse why this is so. He said because the VA uses whatever procedures are necessary to treat a patient. All other hospital systems factor in what are their chances of collecting, so the poor and uninsured dont get the expensive stuff. This is sick, in the way that only the uncaring, unconscionable Americans can be sick.

What else? Surveys show seniors are happier with Medicare than other Americans are with their private plans.

Then there are the national health care systems in other countries, which all outshine us in the quality of overall care. If foreign systems were better than the US in only some areas we could have an argument, but they outshine us in almost every area.

No one can serve two masters. Wherever anyone does medicine for profit, caring gets sacrificed on its altar.

Posted by: James of DC on June 12, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Here is a simple problem. Let's say you or I have a medical emergency and have to spend four days in the hospital. The accounting (NOT a Bill) from the insurance provider is for $25,000 in round numbers. An amount, let us say 20% of this total is the actual amount negotiated by the insurance company to be paid to the hospital and doctors. Then why the big numbers? The actual money changing hands is more like $5,000.

The reason I have come up with has to do with the deductibles and co-pays. Most policies have a deductible of $1500 to $5000 that the customer pays first. Then the customer pays 15% or more of the total up to a fixed amount , say $25,000 as a co-pay.

By creating a fictitious "retail" cost for the services provided (not the actual money that changes hands) the insurance company gets the customer to pay the full cost of the hospital stay. Clever.

No Republican or Democrat has every been successful in changing this system. Some Democrats have tried though. Some Democrats from states with influencial insurance companies support the current system.

Of course, if you must stay for a long period of time, say 35 days, then the insurance company starts to pay real money out of the money they collect in premiums. Name one person who has spent 35 days in the hospital. The elderly on Medicare are not in the private system and should not be counted in this analysis.

And by the way, if you walk in the hospital door without insurance, you pay "retail." This is the incentive to get you to pay premiums to the insurance company each month. Or you can just declare bankruptcy, which has recently been made much harder to do. More and more companies are forcing their employees to carry the cost of health insurance. The 45 million who cannot afford insurance in this country rely upon the tax supported, public health system.

No other rich country in the world treats their patients this way. That's why most Europeans pay about half what we do for equal care. Republicans always seem to think this is OK. I don't.

Industrialized countries, with more worker participation and stronger unions, have suceeded in gaining universal coverage for all citizens at half the cost of our system. "Socialism" is worker control over the means of production. Socialism is not necessary for Universal Health Care, but stronger worker participation can force the issue.
Socialist have always advocated better and less expensive medical coverage.

Posted by: deejaays on June 12, 2006 at 5:20 AM | PERMALINK

GOP: I haven't seen the latest numbers

That's because you've had your eyes closed in order to avoid acknowledging the truth. Health insurance inflation leapt into double-digit territory in the US in 2001. The introduction of managed care in the '90s managed to hold down health care inflation for a decade. But eventually all the savings managed care could get were squeezed out of the system.

You can keep mentally living in la-la land with your five-year-old out of date statistics. Out here in the real world, US health care costs are blowing the roof off the system.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 12, 2006 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

OK - It's solved.
PRACTICAL HEALTHCARE IS THE NAME - NOT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. See, even a carpenter can figure this out.

Posted by: rik @ work on June 12, 2006 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

Churchill:"If you are 20 and are not a socialist, you have no heart.
If you are 40 and still a socialist, you have no head."

Churchill was right about exactly one thing in his entire life and the left was right about Hitler a lot earlier than Winnie was. He was a 19th century aristocart held over out of necessity.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 12, 2006 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

I predict that the next troll response, after consultation with their leaders, will be "Well, what about Stalin, Huh?".

Oh, my dear, poor, ignorant fool. Stalin was to the right of most of the Republican party c. 1965. You just can't leave those buzz words alone, can you.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 12, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

I feel I should mention that the previously socialistic interstates in my state (Georgia)are becoming toll roads, because, you know, the free market can do things more efficiently.

Posted by: allison on June 12, 2006 at 7:34 AM | PERMALINK

> It's an interesting question why
> business doesn't support universal
> coverage / single payer.

Because they use the fear of lack of health care as a whip to keep their employees in line. Even thought that system is breaking down along with the rest of our heath care system, they don't want to give it up.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 12, 2006 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Main Entry: socialism
Pronunciation: 'sO-sh&-"li-z&m
Function: noun
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
(Merriam-Webster)

UHC does not fit this definition. No one is talking about nationalizing hospitals or having only government agencies provide health care. Under a single-payer system, the only thing that would be "socialized" is health insurance. Does anyone seriously consider health insurance to be a "means of production?"



Posted by: Virginia Dutch on June 12, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

for example, what, exactly, does "greater choice of doctors" mean?

In France, Canada etc you can go to any doctor in the country. With most inusrance programs in the US, you have to go to a doctor that is "in network" or pay extra.

Posted by: Stephen on June 12, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, too long. Ezra wins.

Maybe you should take media lessons from him.

Posted by: IMU on June 12, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

"We are not in favor of command economies, ownership of the means of production, or state control of doctors, and that's what most people think of when you say 'socialist.'"

Most around here seem to be in favor of price controls which is the modern way of crippling market incentives while leaving technical 'ownership' out of the hands of the state. See especially--pharmaceuticals.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on June 12, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Most around here seem to be in favor of price controls which is the modern way of crippling market incentives while leaving technical 'ownership' out of the hands of the state. See especially--pharmaceuticals.

I want some of that sweet Cracke Rocke you been smoking, Sebastian. The pharmaceutical industry has been crippled by lack of market incentives?!

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 12, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Hell, I think the whole Medicare Drug Plan was a scheme by Bush to create the notion that Medicare sucks and doesn't work. Mission Accomplished!

Posted by: tripoley on June 12, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK
We are not in favor of command economies, ownership of the means of production, or state control of doctors, and that's what most people think of when you say "socialist."

This should be "We are not in favor of command economies, state ownership of the means of production, or state control of doctors..."

But even then, the argument you reject is better; the fact is, a national healthcare system will indeed involve more direct state regulation; will be, in the field of healthcare, more like a "command economy" than the status quo is, in terms of the state role, will involve more state power over, if not more outright government ownership of, the means of production, and will involve more government mandates on doctors. So, certainly, in terms of direction, all the things you say we aren't for are essential components of a national universal healthcare program. Whether or not they are as binary categories is a semantic game that Ezra rightly avoids, in favor of turning the debate to substance rather than labels. The substance of your argument fits well with that (strike the first two sentences and the word "just" from the third), but you try to play the label game and that's ultimately self defeating, because in fact national healthcare would be more socialist than the status quo.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 12, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK
Under a single-payer system, the only thing that would be "socialized" is health insurance. Does anyone seriously consider health insurance to be a "means of production?"

Health insurance is clearly a good, intangible though it may be, that provides utility, if only as an instrumental means of securing access to healthcare services -- otherwise, we wouldn't care so much about its distribution.

So, obviously, the health insurance industry contains the means of production of a good that provides utility. Now, true, its about outside the traditional industrial-age Marxist focus which is far more on tangible goods, but...

Posted by: cmdicely on June 12, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know, Kevin. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, then what's the point in pretending it's not a duck?

And do you really think people are so stupid that they can't figure this out?

Posted by: DBL on June 12, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

And Americans actually DO want government to solve big problems like people getting sick and dying more than they need to.
http://bbbe.org/nikki/hoopz+nikki.html
I predict that the next troll response, after consultation with their leaders, will be "Well, what about Stalin, Huh?".

Posted by: yang qian on June 12, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

It should be no surprise that corporate media have done a very good job demonizing the word and ideas of socialism. Corporate media have trained the American people into thinking their teeth are not white enough and that their men's penises cannot acheive proper erections, which are examples of its power. Socialism is what made America the great middle class nation, but, due to continuous repetition, even those who have benefitted the most from socialism accept the dominance of capitalist market power. This prevents solving problems for providing public goods like universal education and healthcare.

I was speaking to a new college graduate last night and found out grants have been abolished and only loans are available for un-affluent students these days. It is part of the plan to indenture the young to big capital.

Posted by: Powerpuff on June 12, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

It should be no surprise that corporate media have done a very good job demonizing the word and ideas of socialism. Corporate media have trained the American people into thinking their teeth are not white enough and that their men's penises cannot acheive proper erections, which are examples of its power.

Damn those corporate media for brainwashing people into thinking they want Crest Whitestrips and Viagra!

In the glorious Socialist Utopia that is the logical culmination of human civilization, such decadence will not be tolerated, and everyone will have yellow teeth and limp penises--even the women.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

"The pharmaceutical industry has been crippled by lack of market incentives?!"

Uh, no. The policies discussed for setting prices under national health care WOULD cripple the market incentives. I certainly don't claim that they are crippled now. I would suggest that the pharmaceutical companies have been so successful because they haven't been crippled. (Would you rather pay to have access to modern drugs or get drugs for free but only those available in 1975?)

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on June 12, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, no. The policies discussed for setting prices under national health care WOULD cripple the market incentives. I certainly don't claim that they are crippled now.

Oh, good. In the future, when using the "see ..." formulation (e.g., "[s]ee especially--pharmaceuticals"), one generally should provide an example of the phenomenon one is describing, rather than a counterexample.

Cheers.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 12, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

In France, Canada etc you can go to any doctor in the country. With most inusrance programs in the US, you have to go to a doctor that is "in network" or pay extra.

So you're defining "greater choice of doctors" to mean the ability to see any doctor without paying some additional expense. According to Ezra Klein, the only country with national healthcare in which this was ever true was France, and it is apparently no longer true:

"France is the only country where access to care is unlimited. Patients can see as many doctors as they damn well please. They don't need referrals to see specialists, and there's basically no gatekeepers at all (this is going to change, recent reforms mandate a principal doctor -- a gatekeeper -- if you want full reimbursement)."

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh, good. In the future, when using the "see ..." formulation (e.g., "[s]ee especially--pharmaceuticals"), one generally should provide an example of the phenomenon one is describing, rather than a counterexample."

It is an example. See the price controls suggested by progressives for pharmaceuticals. Sorry if the example was too complex.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on June 12, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, I know I'm just the wacky liberal who doesn't like to fit in, but of course a system that provides health care for all is socialst, and jeez, isn't health care for all a good thing? I'd rather rescue "socialist" than walk away from it.

That said, I also think Ezra's description is more realistic than Kevin's "and by the way, everyone gets a puppy" version of how wonderful everything will be when we magically elminate beaurocracy. There will still be beaurocracy, and some element sof the plan will be unwieldy and one size will not fit all. But, if we keep our eyes on the idea that health care for all is the goal, we can work through the challenges. Staying simply on the sunny side just sets up false expectations.

Posted by: weboy on June 12, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

this is going to change, recent reforms mandate a principal doctor -- a gatekeeper -- if you want full reimbursement

Are there any restrictions as to who your "gatekeeper" is ? Does the gatekeepr have any restrictions on what doctor he refers you to ?

In the US, your gatekeeper has to be in network.

In the US, you can only see specialists that are in network and only after you jump through the insurance companies hoops.

Obviously, there will be some be some limitations in any system.

Posted by: Stephen on June 12, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

'GOP' posted:

"I think the bigger issue is why rich people tend to vote Republican even though they actually get richer faster under Democrats."

"Oh, I'd love to see the proof of this."

Well, the data is readily available, but requires some calculation of after-tax inflation-adjusted incomes. However, there's this from Barron's Mag (print):

"Conventional wisdom states that Wall Street and American business likes Republicans, but the smart money knows better. Since 1960, across five Democrat and five Republican administrations, the S&P has performed much better under Democrat White Houses for both the first year and the full term":

S&P 500 POST ELECTION SINCE 1960

+11.8% - Democrats (1st Year)

+03.0% - Republicans (1st Year)

Of course, this was as of 2000, but since the stock market has declined every year of the last five years, it would just further reinforce reality.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 12, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Are there any restrictions as to who your "gatekeeper" is ? Does the gatekeepr have any restrictions on what doctor he refers you to ?

I don't know. The choice in question here is the choice of patients to see doctors, and if patients have to go through a "gatekeeper" doctor--I'm assuming this is what in America is usually called a Primary Care Physician--in order to see a specialist then that is obviously a restriction on patient choice of doctor.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

VJ,

The claim was that rich people "get richer faster under Democrats" than under Republicans.

Obviously, the U.S. presidency is not the only public office held by Democrats or Republicans. There is also the federal congress, state legislatures, state governorships, and numerous lesser offices. So even if you were to show that the rich have gotten "richer faster" under Democratic presidents, that would not support the claim in question. It is notable that, under the period of rapid economic growth during the latter half of the 1990s, although the U.S. presidency was held by a Democrat, both houses of congress were controlled by the Republicans.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian, read your original comment. Try to see how a person who didn't write the comment might've interpreted it to mean that you thought the pharma industry suffers from price controls.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 12, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Dj Moonbat, I wrote:

"Most around here seem to be in favor of price controls which is the modern way of crippling market incentives while leaving technical 'ownership' out of the hands of the state. See especially--pharmaceuticals."

In favor of price controls....

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on June 12, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

in order to see a specialist then that is obviously a restriction on patient choice of doctor.

No restriction on who your primary is and no restriction on who he refers you to vs. primary must be in network and he\she can only refer
you to another doctor in network if you meet insurance company criteria.

No more of a restriction than what we have in the US. Take away the insurance company hoops and
you end up with more choice and less hoops.

Now compare healthcare per capita healthcare expenditures and life expetancy to see what countries beat the US.


Posted by: Stephen on June 12, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

VJ,

but since the stock market has declined every year of the last five years, it would just further reinforce reality.

I'm guessing you don't own stocks yourself. The total return of the S&P 500 (the stock market index you cite) was +29% between December 2002 and December 2003, +11% between December 2003 and December 2004, and +5% between December 2004 and December 2005. It has also increased every month so far this year, except for May.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Kevin,
Don't forget the 'public' part of the ownership of the means of production. You make it seem like no one owns the means of production. This is your inner capitalist carefully censoring your thoughts, so the truth won't accidentally slip out. If "we" are going to be non-socialist, we have to be for the private ownership of the means of production, and against the public ownership of the means of production. You are for the public ownership of the means of reproduction of the relations of the production of health. It doesn't sound so sweet in theory, does it?

Posted by: kodd on June 12, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

About 3 or 4 years ago I mentioned the teeth must be blindingly white campaign the Proctors and Colgates were waging to an associate, and the first thing that occured to him was green smelly teeth. He had no idea his reaction was a result of advertising. Advertising has been able to fool people into thinking their perfectly healthy teeth are not. And the dentists have played along, for the money of course, selling whitening products their clients/patients do not need.

GOP thinks limp American penises are commonplace. He does not know erectile dysfunction is quite rare.

GOP is correct to damn corporate media. Afterall, it caused his impotency.

Posted by: Hostile on June 12, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

The last time Hostile had an erection was during the, er, Johnson Administration, and his teeth are the color of dried puss. But he likes it that way.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Churchill:"If you are 20 and are not a socialist, you have no heart.
If you are 40 and still a socialist, you have no head."

Churchill never said anything of this sort.
http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=112

Posted by: Commodify Your Dissent on June 12, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

'I'm guessing you don't own stocks yourself. The total return of the S&P 500 (the stock market index you cite) was +29% between December 2002 and December 2003, +11% between December 2003 and December 2004, and +5% between December 2004 and December 2005. It has also increased every month so far this year, except for May.'
--gop

And Im guessing that you havent owned stocks for very long. You are only measuring how far stocks have climbed since the sewer that is the Bush presidency began. The Dow still hasnt climbed back to where it was during the boom years of the Clinton era, and the Nasdaq is barely half what it was during that glorious time. What a short-sighted worldview the GOP has.

The Rand Corporation did a study that has shown that since the Great Depression, the stock market consistently does better under a Democratic Administration, than under a Republican one. One more piece of conventional wisdom shot through the head.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 12, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

"his teeth are the color of dried puss"

Really? The color of a dried cat?

Posted by: illiteracy alert on June 12, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Dried puss is another affliction that the Proctors and Colgates want people to think they need to 'cure.'

Posted by: Hostile on June 12, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen Kriz,

You are only measuring how far stocks have climbed since ... the Bush presidency began.

No, I'm rebutting VJ's clearly false claim that "the stock market has declined every year of the last five years." It hasn't. He's wrong.

The Rand Corporation did a study that has shown that since the Great Depression, the stock market consistently does better under a Democratic Administration, than under a Republican one.

If the only thing that affected stock prices was the executive branch of the federal government, this observation might have some relevance to the merits of the economic policies of Democrat executives vs. Republican executives. But that's obviously not true. There are obviously many other influences on stock prices, not least the actions of the U.S. congress.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

No restriction on who your primary is and no restriction on who he refers you to vs. primary must be in network and he\she can only refer
you to another doctor in network if you meet insurance company criteria.

As I have already explained, if a patient needs the approval of a "gatekeeper" doctor before he can see a specialist without additional expense (as patients in France now apparently do), then that is obviously a restriction on his choice of doctor.

No more of a restriction than what we have in the US.

Kevin's claim was that national healthcare provides greater choice of doctor, not merely the same. That doesn't seem to be true even in France, let alone anywhere else with national healthcare. But like I said, "greater choice of doctor" is a term of art that could mean a number of things.


Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

GOP
We have 45 million uninsured people, high infant mortality, high co-payments, high deductibals, people going bankrupt because of medical bills, unaffordable presciption drugs, loosing insurance because of job loss, no coverage for pre-existing coditions, very limited choice of physians, ( I had the choice of one within a 45 miles radius).

Please provide information of ANY just ANY developed nation with single payer, socialized or any other name national healthcare that is as bad as ours. And please do provide facts.

Reading your posts I conclude that your ideology
does not allow facts to get in your way of thinking.

Please remember, no system is perfect, some are better than others. all have to be paid for, some are more economical than others. The final question is to get the most for your money.

We do have the most expensive and ineffient system of them all. That is undisputed fact.

Religion and reason just don't mix.

Posted by: Renate on June 12, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

'GOP' posted:

"The claim was that rich people 'get richer faster under Democrats' than under Republicans."

Correct.

.

"Obviously, the U.S. presidency is not the only public office held by Democrats or Republicans. There is also the federal congress, state legislatures, state governorships, and numerous lesser offices. So even if you were to show that the rich have gotten "richer faster" under Democratic presidents, that would not support the claim in question."

But the assertion did not claim Democrat or Republican Congresses.

.

"It is notable that, under the period of rapid economic growth during the latter half of the 1990s, although the U.S. presidency was held by a Democrat, both houses of congress were controlled by the Republicans."

It's even MORE notable that:

A) The legislation that reversed Reaganomics, turned the economy around, and produced the greatest prosperity in the history of our country, was implemented under a Democrat President, with both houses of Congress in the hands of Democrat Majorities.

B) Although the Republican control of both houses of Congress commenced in January of 1995, there was no major budget legislation signed into law from 'Newtie and the Blowhards' until AFTER they had shut the government down for the second time in February of 1996. The national economy was already WELL on it's way to historic levels.

C) Even when the Congressional Republicans were involved in federal budget legislation in the last four years of President Clinton's term, they never submitted their own budget legislation, but instead utilized the Clinton administration's budget legislation as the framework.

The national economy benefited by NOT having the Republicans involved. We've now witnessed the disaster that results when they ARE involved.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 12, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

'GOP' posted:

"I'm guessing you don't own stocks yourself."

You're "guessing" wrong (no surprise there, given your track record).

.

"The total return of the S&P 500 (the stock market index you cite) was +29% between December 2002 and December 2003, +11% between December 2003 and December 2004, and +5% between December 2004 and December 2005. It has also increased every month so far this year, except for May."

Ah, the S&P 500 closed out 2000 at 1,320.28, and closed today at 1,236.40. In inflation adjusted dollars, it would have to be over 1,500 just be even with where it closed out 2000.

The DJIA closed out 2000 at 10,786.85, and closed today at 10,792.58. In inflation adjusted dollars, it would have to be over 12,500 just be even with where it closed out 2000.

All the stock indices are off by about 15% over the last five years, which is why the stock market is DOWN for the fifth straight year.

How ever did you get so clueless ?
.

Posted by: VJ on June 12, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

VJ,

We now know not only that you made a false claim about the stock market returns of the last five years, but that you even refuse to admit your error after it is pointed out to you.

You claimed:

"the stock market has declined every year of the last five years"

That's a direct quote. You're now pretending that you didn't say that, and that instead you made the completely different claim that the stock market is lower today than it was in 2000.

Again, what you said was: "the stock market has declined every year of the last five years." I then produced the S&P return data showing that this claim is false. The stock market has increased every year of the last three years. Why can't you admit that you were wrong? Is your ego really that fragile?

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Renate,

We have 45 million uninsured people, high infant mortality, high co-payments, high deductibals, people going bankrupt because of medical bills, unaffordable presciption drugs, loosing insurance because of job loss, no coverage for pre-existing coditions, very limited choice of physians, ( I had the choice of one within a 45 miles radius). Please provide information of ANY just ANY developed nation with single payer, socialized or any other name national healthcare that is as bad as ours. And please do provide facts.

You haven't offered a single fact to support the claim that any nation with single-payer/socialized/national healthcare is better than ours. Simply pointing to problems in our own system obviously does not establish that any other country's system is better. Yes, our system has serious problems, some of which you have mentioned above. But so do the systems in other countries. These problems include such things as long waiting lists for surgeries and other procedures, long wait times for access to specialists, huge deficits in public health insurance funds, and rationing of health care due to insufficient government funding. Any serious comparison of our health care system with those of other countries must take these problems into account, instead of ignoring them and focusing solely on the problems in our own system.

We do have the most expensive and ineffient system of them all. That is undisputed fact.

This statement isn't just wrong, it's ridiculous.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

VJ,

But the assertion did not claim Democrat or Republican Congresses.

So what? It did not claim Democrat or Republican presidents, either. It just asserted that rich people "get richer faster under Democrats," period. So even if people have gotten "richer faster" under Democrat presidents, that wouldn't mean the assertion is true anyway.

It's even MORE notable that....

I don't think any of those dubious claims are notable. I think you would have a very, very hard time showing a strong causal link between the economic growth of the late 1990s and the legislation passed in the first two years of Clinton's presidency. Professional economists certainly don't agree that Clinton deserves much credit for the economic boom that occurred during his second term. Most economists seem to think the primary causes of that boom were things like the effects of the economic cycle, the growth in international trade, and the maturing of various technological advances--notably computer technology and the internet--that produced significant gains in productivity.

Posted by: GOP on June 12, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

My knowledge is my own experience, and I do trust my experience.

You just will not let us know where you get your facts. You do make statements without backing them
up.

If private systems are so efficient why do we even talk about it??

People could not afford retirement savings, that is why we have social security, could not afford healthcare, that is why we have MEDICARE in the first place.

Why do Republicans always resist and object to anything that would benefit the middle class?

Why are the NEW DEAL and MEDICARE and the GI BILL and VA benefits democratic accomplishments and would you say they are wrong we would be better off and would be a better nation without them??

These programs were created because there was and still is a need. If you think we do not have a need for them please explain.

Posted by: Renate on June 13, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

'GOP' posted:

"We now know not only that you made a false claim about the stock market returns of the last five years"

False.

.

"but that you even refuse to admit your error after it is pointed out to you."

I made no "error". Your problem is that you are ignorant of the facts.

.

You claimed: "the stock market has declined every year of the last five years". That's a direct quote.

Exactly.

.

"You're now pretending that you didn't say that"

I am not. You must be halucinating.

.

"and that instead you made the completely different claim that the stock market is lower today than it was in 2000."

Both are true. When the stock market declines for five years, you end up "lower today than it was in 2000".

Do try and keep up.

.

"Again, what you said was: ‘the stock market has declined every year of the last five years.’ I then produced the S&P return data showing that this claim is false."

You did not. You didn't even post any data from five years ago, you only went back to 2002, and then you picked various selective time periods in an attempt to fake a point.

.

"Why can't you admit that you were wrong?"

Because YOU are wrong, and getting more pathetic with every post.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 13, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

'GOP' posted:

"So what? It did not claim Democrat or Republican presidents, either."

That was my point, chocko.

.

"I don't think any of those dubious claims are notable."

Because you choose to believe the propaganda. It suits your emotional needs.

.

"I think you would have a very, very hard time showing a strong causal link between the economic growth of the late 1990s and the legislation passed in the first two years of Clinton's presidency."

You think wrong (again, no surprise there).

.

"Professional economists certainly don't agree that Clinton deserves much credit for the economic boom that occurred during his second term."

The "economic boom" was not confined to his second term. If you check Greenspan’s statement in February of 1994, you will notice that he claimed he was raising interest rates because the economy was "OVERHEATING". That was almost a year before the Republicans took control of Congress, and two years before they actually got any substantive budget or tax legislation signed into law.

Your ignorance seems to know no bounds.


.

"Most economists seem to think the primary causes of that boom were things like the effects of the economic cycle, the growth in international trade, and the maturing of various technological advances--notably computer technology and the internet--that produced significant gains in productivity."

Wrong.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 13, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

VJ,

I don't know who you think you're kidding with this act. You said:

"the stock market has declined every year of the last five years".

This claim is false, wrong, in error. The stock market declined only in the first two years (2001 and 2002) of the last five years. In the other three years (2003, 2004 and 2005), the stock market increased. It increased by 29% in 2003, by 11% in 2004, and by 5% in 2005.
Your claim that "the stock market has declined every year of the last five years" is therefore wrong. Admit it.

Posted by: GOP on June 13, 2006 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

Furthermore if you think the decline in 2000 was the fault of Bush you might want to examine the timing of the peak.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on June 13, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

from upthead, greywolf: I am a cancer survivor.

I KNOW that I would not have received the care (6 chemo cycles @ 18K per) that I got in UK and pretty certain not in Canada, either.

Really? You KNOW? Funny that, because I know several people in both countries who got multiple cycles of chemo and radiotherapy at a cost of nil, nada, zero.

But since that treatment didn't come with supernatural powers like those possessed by greywolf, I suppose it doesn't count. I mean, I know these people, but I don't KNOW them, in the sense of 'believing something that may or may not be true'.

Posted by: ahem on June 13, 2006 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

'Sebastian Holsclaw' posted:

"Furthermore if you think the decline in 2000 was the fault of Bush"

That would be a little difficult with the starting reference of December 29th, 2000.

Helps if you pay attention and actually READ the posts.

.

"you might want to examine the timing of the peak."

You might want to contrast the difference between January 14th 2000 to December 29th 2000, and after December 29th 2000.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 13, 2006 at 6:05 AM | PERMALINK

'GOP' posted:

"This claim is false, wrong, in error."

So, you admit you are wrong. About time you stopped making a fool of yourself.

Oh, BTW, you still have failed to explain why the stock market (as tracked by Barron's Mag) has CONSISTENTLY outperformed by a WIDE MARGIN under Democrat Presidents, for both the first year and the full term, compared to the DISMAL results under Republican Presidents.

Don't feel TOO bad. Weak minds tend to get sucked in by the propaganda.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 13, 2006 at 6:07 AM | PERMALINK

Dead thread, but what the hell..

Ezra proposes 57 words accepting the fram that single-payer health care is socialist.

In repsonse, Kevin proposes 215 words denying it. Sweet Jesus.

How's this: Is single-payer health care "socialized medicine"?

Of course not. It's how every other industrialized nation offers covers all of their citizens with better outcomes and lower costs than we do.

24 words.

Posted by: Gregory on June 13, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

...and, of course, if you make it

"Of course not. It's how every other industrialized nation covers all of their citizens with better outcomes and lower costs than we do."

...it's only 23 words.

Posted by: Gregory on June 13, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

"Both of these claims seem to be false. GOP"

Don't agree with the statement, but I do agree with what it implies, i.e. the claims are true. (They only SEEM to be false.)

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 14, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"The pharmaceutical industry has been crippled by lack of market incentives?!"

Is that why the only pharmaceutical companies producing flu vaccine are in countries (Great Britain and France) where they have (gasp) socialized medicine?

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 14, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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