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Tilting at Windmills

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November 20, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TUMORS AND THE GOP....Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson are all cancer survivors. All three are also Republican candidates for president and have offered up proposals to provide healthcare for the uninsured:

But under the plans all three have put forward, cancer survivors such as themselves could not be sure of getting coverage — especially if they were not already covered by a government or job-related plan and had to seek insurance as individuals.

"Unless it's in a state that has very strong consumer protections, they would likely be denied coverage," said economist Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, who has reviewed the candidates' proposals. "People with preexisting conditions would not be able to get coverage or would not be able to afford it."

....A Giuliani advisor says the former mayor's campaign is aware of the coverage problem and debating how to address it.

McCain, who has offered the most detailed plan, has made a commitment to improve coverage for the sickest people by working with the states, and he has outlined some ideas he would try to carry out.

Thompson's plan is a broad sketch at this point, and an advisor said specific options on coverage remained in development.

Translation: Um, er, look! Halley's comet!

Kevin Drum 12:04 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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Comments

LAT says: "Fred Thompson had lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system."

In fact, Ol' Fred has cancer, present tense. It's "indolent," but he has it.

Posted by: penalcolony on November 20, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sick proles should have the decency to just die and get it over with. Their survival merely perpetuates a defective gene lineage. Don't they know Medicare and Medicaid are going broke? Cake anyone?

Posted by: steve duncan on November 20, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

All of them should be willing to give up their coverage and go with whatever is offered to everyone.

I love this criticism, from the left of the Republicans' plans by a Heritage Foundation wonk:

"When you give a [tax credit] to somebody, that can be a help," said Stuart Butler of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "But if they have a history of severe medical problems, giving them $5,000 doesn't really help them to afford insurance. Unless you build in some kind of risk-spreading mechanism to the equation, a subsidy doesn't cut it."

Ya think?

--Sam Boyd

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 20, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who has posted (here and about a bajillion other sites) that a tax credit in, say, 2010 doesn't do a damn thing to help pay for my coverage in 2009, it's nice to see the media finally find someone who says essentially the same thing.

This, IMHO, is reason enough to NOT vote for any of the GOP candidates. Yes, there are many reasons, but personally, this is the one that affects me the most (long, long story).

Posted by: Mark D on November 20, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary's plan is "give everyone free stuff - we'll get the money somewhere."

How about all these jokers stay out of the medical field?

Politicians simply need to keep things going and quit trying to meddle in every area of our life.

Posted by: Orwell on November 20, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

so, if they were poor when their cancers struck and they had to follow their own plan, they'd be broke, or dead, or both.

it would be nice to rub their noses in that.

I can' speak for the state of Rudy or McCain's disease processes, but I would point out that Thompson is technically not a cancer survivor if what is meant by that is that he has survived and no longer has cancer. indolent nonhodgkins lymphoma is not curable. If something else doesn't kill him first he is statistically likely to die from his disease within 5 years. I've often wondered why this hasn't been a bigger issue for him in the campaign. obviously, people with cancer should be all they can be, but I would think the American people would want to know that the guy asking for their vote has a pretty good chance of dying in office, and that it would be just as accurate to say that he has a terminal illness as it is to say that it is in remission.

Anyway, these privileged republican hypocrites could not handle the taste of their own medicine-- being poor and without healthcare. easy to deny others the privileges they take for granted-- it's the republican way.

Posted by: Trypticon on November 20, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Medicare is going bankrupt, and nobody knows how to fix it. Meanwhile not only do some voters demand that candidates promise a far more comprehensive plan, but they disparage any possible limitations in these fantasy promises.

In reality, it's not going to happen, not even if a Dem is elected with a Democratic Congress. A country that can't afford Medicare surely can't afford a new plan giving even broader coverage to 3 times as many people.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 20, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Only a rightwing dolt would consider trying to get health care coverage for everyone as an attempt to "meddle in every area of our life."

It's a national security issue -- a healthier populace and effective system are better able to withstand a biological or other attack.

It's an economic issue -- Without reform and change, the current system is unsustainable. The administrative costs are too high, as are the costs of treating folks only when they go to an ER. To ignore this is folly.

It's a moral issue -- Shouldn't ensuring that every American has access to basic care (without the possibility of bankruptcy) be seen as a truly noble thing? Shouldn't health care be a right and not a privilege?

In other words, Orwell (and folks like him) don't care about the security of our nation, don't care about our long-term economic success, and could care less if someone dies because they lacked access to quality care.

Why does Orwell hate America so damn much?

Posted by: Mark D on November 20, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter ex-liberal: I have no issues with spending billions outside the budget for killing folks, but refuse to find ways to pay for Americans' health care.

Here's a thought: Remove the $90K cap on certain federal taxes. It'd get a lot closer to funding any plan and stop placing the burden on those with less income (as they system does now).

But keep on going, ex-liberal, and show us all how much you hate your fellow citizens.

Posted by: Mark D on November 20, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

he is statistically likely to die from his disease within 5 years. I've often wondered why this hasn't been a bigger issue for him in the campaign.

I've wondered that, too. Squeamishness about the topic, perhaps; the actuarial data isn't that hard to find.

Posted by: penalcolony on November 20, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Where does Rudy get his health insurance from now?

From what I've seen, it looks like he should have been eligible to keep his city-supplied health insurance upon his retirement as mayor.

Are the taxpayers of NYC STILL paying for Rudy's healthcare? If so, it's sort of scandalous that he's saying the so-called "socialized medicine" he currently has will kill us all.

Posted by: anonymous on November 20, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "In reality ..."

Yeah, right -- like you're actually a member of that particular community.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 20, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: RW on November 20, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't know that about Fred Thompson.

I spent two years helping my father through the last stages of a slow growing lymphoma. I guess it might be a great opportunity for shadow president or cabinet -- but I, personally, would never want to have a President who was going through that. No one is at their best while vomiting, not sleeping, and loaded on Lorazepam.

Posted by: B on November 20, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

i have an indolent form of cancer. it's my patriotic duty to die. thank you ex-lib!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on November 20, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary's plan is "give everyone free stuff - we'll get the money somewhere."

As opposed to, "start a war with everybody - we'll get the money somewhere".

"Medicare is going bankrupt, and nobody knows how to fix it. Meanwhile not only do some voters demand that candidates promise a far more comprehensive plan, but they disparage any possible limitations in these fantasy promises."

Yes we do. First of all, the problem is not "Medicare going bankrupt", the problem is "health care spending growing five or six times faster than inflation". This is across the board, even in your beloved private plans. Actually, its worse there.

Secondly, What you fail to realize is that medical spending is not a linear function of the amount of people in it; tripling the amount of people covered does not triple medical spending necessarily.

There is lots, and lots, and lots of waste in our current health care system. There's tons of paperwork, there is tons of salaries (Aetna's CEO made $20 million last year - where did that money come from?). Etc. We are talking about 25%+ of ALL MEDICAL SPENDING in this country! Since medical spending is about 25% of all spending, I am saying that about 1/16th of ALL spending in this country is flushed down the bureaucratic morass of private health care companies!

Medicare is way, way better with this than Aetna or whoever on this. Just getting that crap out of the system will save a lot of money. That's to say nothing of a pay structure which rewards doctors for expensive and unproven procedures towards the end of patients' lives.

Posted by: Joshua on November 20, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Well now! I was going to respond to RW's latest libertarian wankery, but I see the mods are not amused. About fuckin' time. Has that douchebag ever contributed anything to any discussion? Didn't think so...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 20, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans giving fiscal advice to Democrats after GOP Rule 2000-2006 is kind of like the Miami Dolphins giving football advice to the New England Patriots on how to win.

Posted by: RobertSeattle on November 20, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: RW on November 20, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Orwell hate America so damn much?

I think the vibrations from the real Orwell spinning in his grave every time this moron uses his name have reached the ultrasonic and, like an old TV with a defective flyback transformer, the subliminal racket is making the fake Orwell a bit testy.

Posted by: thersites on November 20, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

And, apparently, you're still looking to squelch dissent.

Bullshit! Go start your own blog where you can rant away ad infinitum.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 20, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: RW on November 20, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Politicians simply need to keep things going and quit trying to meddle in every area of our life.

Is it meddling when a majority of Americans support and want government to provide health care? No. It's called democracy, you asshat.

NYTimes, Mar. 1, 2007:

A majority of Americans [55%] say the federal government should guarantee health insurance to every American, especially children, and are willing to pay higher taxes [as much as $500 more in taxes a year and forgoing future tax cuts] to do it, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

Kevin has previously posted about the popularity of govt.-funded health care among Americans. One poll, I recall, said that 70% think the government does not spend enough on health care.

So I guess you are willfully ignorant, Orwell, or a trash-mouthing GOP shill. An idiot, IOW.

However, Republicans sure as hell do meddle in our private lives far, far too much, I'll give you that.

MarkD: In other words, Orwell (and folks like him) don't care about the security of our nation, don't care about our long-term economic success, and could care less if someone dies because they lacked access to quality care.

Word.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 20, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Go start your own bank account where you can pay for your own doctor bills.

The government has not paid for any of my doctors' bills, moron.

Nice red herring, too, BTW, which has nothing to do with your whiny sniveling complaint about squelching dissent.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 20, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. Go mods! Who do I thank? Tinkerbell?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 20, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Go start your own bank account where you can pay for your own doctor bills.

That is what I mean by libertarian wankery.

And just to make you sputter...you do pay my doctor bills. Have for my entire life. Cradle to the grave, baby. And all it cost my family was just under 60 years of cumulative military service.

I just want everyone, by virtue of citizenship - which I stepped up to defend - to have the same access.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 20, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's the same reason that Clarence ("Uncle Tom") Thomas now opposes affirmative action after enjoying the benefits of it all of his pathetic life. Self-absorbed conservative sphincters like Rotten Rudy and Dogface Thompson want to kick the ladder out behind them from those who would benefit from the same things they have benefitted from. A very warm place in Hell awaits all of them.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 20, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"And, apparently, you're still looking to squelch dissent."

LOL.... No, dear, we're just squelching stupidity.

"Go start your own bank account where you can pay for your own doctor bills."

Still cannot accept that this is not possible for millions of people, can you, dear?

Posted by: PaulB on November 20, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl: ...you do pay my doctor bills. Have for my entire life. Cradle to the grave, baby. And all it cost my family was just under 60 years of cumulative military service.

I'm proud to pay taxes to pay for it, too, BG. Hat tip.

BTW, Kevin... love your headline, TUMORS AND THE GOP. Nice snark intentional or not.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 20, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK
I think the vibrations from the real Orwell spinning in his grave every time this moron uses his name have reached the ultrasonic and, like an old TV with a defective flyback transformer, the subliminal racket is making the fake Orwell a bit testy.

Posted by: thersites

I was going to go with "he's clinically fucking stupid," but your answer is much less shrill.

:-)

As someone who's paying off a pair of back surgeries and saving for a third, I'm probably way too personally wrapped up in this issue at times. But something I've posted before bears repeating and is yet another way to frame the issue (in addition to the frames in my response to Orwell):

Why in the hell should health care be treated in the same way as a consumer good?

MY LIFE -- AND THAT OF MY SON -- IS NOT A FUCKING WIDGET OR SOME COMMODITY TO BE TREATED AS NOTHING MORE THAN A LINE ON A BALANCE SHEET!

So stop treating it as such, assholes. It's my life you're playing with, not a set of snow tires or a crop of green beans.

For whatever reason, that angle gets lost in this debate with free market types.

Granted, lots of facts get ignored by these clowns, but that's the biggest one surrounding this issue.

Posted by: Mark D on November 20, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Still cannot accept that this is not possible for millions of people, can you, dear?

Rabid Wingnut probably still believes that poor people are poor by choice.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 20, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Medicare is going bankrupt"

No, dear, it's not. The problem, of course, is health costs.

"and nobody knows how to fix it."

LOL.... Actually, dear heart, the Democratic Party does, in fact, know how to fix it.

"Meanwhile not only do some voters demand that candidates promise a far more comprehensive plan"

A sizable majority of voters is not "some," dear heart.

"but they disparage any possible limitations in these fantasy promises."

Funny that you cannot identify any "fantasy promises," dear, not any of those "possible limitations." Probably because, as usual, you're making shit up.

"In reality, it's not going to happen"

The reality, dear heart, is that it will happen. It's just a matter of when. We cannot afford not to do it.

"A country that can't afford Medicare"

Since we can, in fact, afford Medicare, I'm afraid that, as usual, you don't have a point.

Posted by: PaulB on November 20, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Rabid Wingnut probably still believes that poor people are poor by choice."

That certainly is a prevailing attitude among quite a few wingnuts, libertarians, and randians. Remember old Joe Schmoe and his assertions to that effect? That because he had gotten the breaks in his own life, therefore anyone who wasn't as wealthy as he was must have made bad choices and deserved their fate.

Posted by: PaulB on November 20, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Paul B: LOL.... No, dear, we're just squelching stupidity.

Thanks. Best line of the thread.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 20, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Second what Apollo said. PaulB, collect your prize from the emcee before you leave.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 20, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

One could say that certain Republican candidates are malignant (as Evelyn Waugh said of Randolph Churchill after the latter was diagnosed with cancer), but I won't.

Posted by: Tom S on November 20, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

We don't need no stinkin' health care INSURANCE, we need health care. How about a network of low cost, walk in clinics? And they could be staffed with the 1000s of new health care professionals brought into the system by new health care teaching colleges and hospitals. Cheaper and more effective than funding the friggin' insurance companies.

Posted by: slanted tom on November 20, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

The only people who don't worry about their health care coverage are rich people and politicians.

Posted by: Speed on November 20, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

The Conservative Deflator: It's the same reason that Clarence ("Uncle Tom") Thomas now opposes affirmative action after enjoying the benefits of it all of his pathetic life.

First of all, Thomas's experience with affirmative action makes him particuarly well suited to evaluate it. He claims that he was harmed, not helped, by affirmative action. He also believes that it does more harm than good to black people in general. It's arrogant and condescending for TCD to believe that s/he understands affirmative action better than Thomas does.

Second, TCD's line of logic makes no sense. Even if Thomas personally benefitted from some government program, why does that obligate him to support its continuation?

E.g., there are legislators who receive millions of dollars each year in farm support payments. Does that mean that when they vote to continue providing federal support to millionaire farmers, they are taking the high road? I don't think so.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 20, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

I was denied coverage two years ago because of a small growth on my thyroid, which, after a couple of ultrasounds, was checked using Fine Needle Biopsy, and was found to be benign (ie. a plain old goiter). But the presence of an un-exised tumor was/is an automatic denial in Califonia.

Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson might be denied because that had or have cancer; I was denied because I DON"T have cancer! How fucked up is that?!

Posted by: Robert Earle on November 20, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Robert Earle: I was denied because I DON"T have cancer!

If you pointed that out to a Republican candidate, they'd probably say you didn't really try. If Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson can get cancer, then you can get cancer too! Where's your sense of personal responsibility?

Posted by: alex on November 20, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lax at 5:46 PM First of all, Thomas... claims that he was harmed, not helped, by affirmative action.
He also claims that he didn't sexually harass Anita Hill that claim is not accurate either. If it were not for affirmative action, that clown would never quality for the Supreme Court. He has never shown any evidence that he has even read the Constitution let alone understand it.

ex-lax at 5:46 PM Second....why does that obligate him to support its continuation
It's the hypocrisy of denying the same benefit to other, more deserving individuals.

ex-lax at 5:46 PM E.g., there are legislators who receive millions of dollars each year in farm support payments.....
Reality is not one of your strong suits. Logic and rationality escape you entirely.

Posted by: Mike on November 20, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

There is no contradiction here.

The GOP *is* a tumor, the goal of which is to destroy the body politic.

Health coverage is contraindicated.

Posted by: Disputo on November 20, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

As the old joke about Randolph Churchill goes: "They operated on him and removed it; pathology says it's not malignant".

"So like a doctor to find the only part of him that isn't malignant and remove it..."

Posted by: Alex on November 21, 2007 at 5:43 AM | PERMALINK

What a bunch of cowards, scared of a dissenting view.

Heh. Buncha girls.

Posted by: RW on November 21, 2007 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

RW: Heh. Buncha girls.

"Girl" is your idea of an insult? No wonder you're so socially inept.

(Can't be good for your son, either.)

Posted by: express written consent on November 21, 2007 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it's certainly not as good as "douchebag" or "rabid winger".....but I guess that's due to my intolerance and selfishness (not wanting everyone else to take care of me is selfish, I understand).

I'd say it's due to your marked lack of smarts, if you can't spot the difference between barbs based on conduct you chose and a purported insult that goes to the fundamental biology of more than half the population. You ain't too bright, pal; but what real or fake libertarian is good at thinking things through?

Posted by: express written consent on November 21, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Ooohhh....a douchebag called me a "girl" and I'm all flustered and gettin' a case of the vapors over it all.

You have provided ample evidence of your dipshittery, douchebaggery and rabid wingnuttery. We just point out the obvious. Moron.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 21, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

This, of course, is the nut of the thing:

"But under the plans all three have put forward, cancer survivors such as themselves could not be sure of getting coverage — especially if they were not already covered by a government or job-related plan and had to seek insurance as individuals."

I am a three-time cancer survivor, and have been battling it for over 30 years. No health insurance company will even talk to me. I'm 62 years old and in a dead-end job, but at least it offers health coverage. Were I freelancing, I'd be earning triple what I am now, but I'd be shut out of the US health care system.

All I'm asking for is coverage similar to the coverage that I'm compelled, under penalty of law, to help buy for George Bush, Dick Cheney, and every member of Congress. They like socialized medicine just fine. They just don't see why we should have it, too.

Posted by: slideguy on November 21, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"What a bunch of cowards, scared of a dissenting view."

Dear heart, we welcome opposing views; we just have this funny habit of insisting that they possess some small modicum of intelligence, data, reason, or logic. Sadly, I fear your posts rarely qualify.

"Heh. Buncha girls."

ROFLMAO.... Oh my, what a revealing, and pathetic, attempt at an insult, saying far more about RW than it does about anyone here. I wonder if the poor chap realizes just how much he gave away with that little gem?

Posted by: PaulB on November 21, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

"First of all, Thomas's experience with affirmative action makes him particuarly well suited to evaluate it."

Not really, dear, particularly when he has demonstrated a lack of truthfulness and an overabundance of ideology.

"He claims that he was harmed, not helped, by affirmative action."

Since his entire career belies that statement, forgive us if we don't take it too seriously, dear.

"He also believes that it does more harm than good to black people in general."

Since he has never presented any concrete evidence that this is the case, forgive us if we don't take this statement seriously, either.

"It's arrogant and condescending for TCD to believe that s/he understands affirmative action better than Thomas does."

ROFL.... It's called reality, dear. You should visit us here sometime.

"Second, TCD's line of logic makes no sense. Even if Thomas personally benefitted from some government program, why does that obligate him to support its continuation?"

ROFLMAO.... I wonder whether dear little faux-liberal realizes just how much he gave away about himself with this little statement? I think I'll just let it lay there, since it says far more about him than it does about anyone or anything else. The example he provided was just too silly to respond to.

Posted by: PaulB on November 21, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Ever notice that you guys are always so......needy?

Posted by: RW on November 26, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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