On Health Care and Motives

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A reader writes…

I’m in the category whose taxes will increase and whose insurance premium will increase. I’ll have less money for discretionary spending. How does this bill give me, specifically me, more power?

RomneyCare is a financial disaster. If it doesn’t work on a small scale, why institute it on a grand scale?

My objective is less government and lower taxes. I believe that by reducing the role of government in the lives of its citizens, those citizens become more ethical and responsible. The result of the liberal agenda, hence your agenda, is the opposite of that. It decreases people’s sense of personal responsibility by making them more dependant on the government.

Liberals promote class envy every time they blame the rich for taking advantage of the poor. You beat down the rich, instead of encouraging the poor to move up. The proof of that is in the reaction you had to my first sentence above. I’m sure you thought “Big deal, he already has more than the average guy.” Yes I do. But isn’t that the American Dream?

I openly and honestly state my goals every time I comment here. Do you? I see you beating around the bush a lot, but you’re never really defining what your vision of this country is. What’s your American Dream?

Assertions that health care reform is about sticking it to the rich is a straw man. It has no bearing on this matter. The fact is the health care system was broken and still is. Insurance companies were unregulated to the extent that they were in truth the real death panels deciding who gets coverage, who gets what medical procedure, who gets to keep their policy after people fall ill. They were free to cancel policies on a whim. They decided who lived and who died based on a single premise: their bottom line.

Tens of millions have no health insurance. Tens of millions of others have lost their insurance because they lost their jobs in the time of recession. The cost of health care in the United States is one of the highest in the world. I could go on here but you know the rest, I’m sure.

How is this acceptable to anyone regardless of their political persuasion? This is the point. As much as conservatives want to make this an issue of bigger government, it is not. It is about fiscal responsibility and respect and dignity for your fellow Americans.

Claims that allowing insurers to sell over state lines and tort refrom are the answers to fixing health care are false. They are not. This has been shown repeatedly. There is a crisis at hand and Republicans are playing politics. Health insurance lobbyists have spent a fortune in fighting reform. Ask yourself why?

I understand and respect our reader’s Libertarian views but I believe they’re misplaced when it comes to health care. If government cannot prevent a corrupt health care industry from taking advantage of Americans, then who can? Over 45,000 a year die needlessly from the current system. How does this not bother everyone? How is it that they don’t care?

You ask me about my goals? As a Canadian, I have had worries and struggles like most experience in life but health care costs have never been one of them.  Living with my American partner in Florida gives me a perspective which many don’t have.  I watch her and her family and friends living in fear of losing their jobs and in effect, their ability to cover the costs of their health care.  I hear the horror stories of many who have lost their homes and savings because they were so foolish as to get sick and require a major operation.  I’ve met people who have worked their entire lives, paid their insurance premiums in a timely basis and then, at the time they needed coverage, had it pulled away because of a preexisting condition.  These are not isolated cases.  The stories are out there in the millions for anyone willing to take the time to listen.

Is this your idea of the American Dream?

It stuns me that a country as rich as the United States deals with the health and well-being of their citizens as it does.  While life has no guarantees and it is incumbent on every individual to work hard and strive for success, the cost of health care should not be one of their concerns.  Not in this country.  Not anywhere.

I have no goal here except my respect for what this country stands for and the welfare of the people I love.  If anyone chooses to take issue with my motives, then they need to do better than that of the reader I quote above.

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35 thoughts on “On Health Care and Motives

  1. Well said Mario. If we can have more Americans understanding the health care crisis as you’ve described it, we’d be a better country.

  2. This is an intelligent and moving piece. You have articulated the need for reform and shown an understanding of this health care system that is lacking in a lot of our citizenry.

    Everyone should read this piece, I agree with @johnbelker, if more understood the health care crisis we’d be a better country

    Thank you!

  3. @john

    Don’t count on it. Politics is so ingrained in every problem facing us that people can no longer tell truth from fiction. As long as we have conservative politicians and media hell bent on lying their way through every issue, it will always be a struggle to get the truth out.

  4. The crisis is based on high costs, most of which can be attributed to expenses related to government interventions. It’s ludacris to think that the same entity responsible for the problem, can solve the problem by doing more of what it did to cause the problem.

    Just because I don’t agree with the “solution”, doesn’t mean I don’t understand the problem.

  5. This health care crisis is brought about by high costs, that is correct. Most of which, however, can be attributed to the pharmaceutical companies and the health insurance industry as a whole.

  6. What is ludicrous is that anyone believes that the high costs of hc can be attributed to “government intervention”. What does Tommy suggest? That the government further deregulate the hc industry so they can stick it to us even more? That worked real well for the banking industry, didn’t it.

  7. Tommy’s thinking is why this country is so fucked up. We’ve been fighting for reform for a 100 years and he still buys into every stinking lie the healthcare industry tries to sell us. What are his solutions?

  8. Mark, it’s not black-and-white. “Deregulation” is a derogatory term used by liberals. Its meant to derail efforts to decrease the role of government in people’s lives. It’s an old tactic.

    Oscar, what is it that you’ve been fighting 100 years for? Please define the end game for us.

    Jerry, I think it’s selfish to demand that one person pay another person’s expenses. Where do you stop with that line of thinking? Do you think it’s ok to demand selflessness of someone? And again, this isn’t black-and-white. I “volunteer” my time and money generously, but I resist being told to give.

  9. So, are you willing to give up others paying some of your expenses? Are you willing to give up all public services, services that we all pay for? This is not a case of one person paying for someone else’s expenses.

  10. I don’t think Jerry was saying all or nothing Tommy. The way I read his comment is he is wondering where do you draw the line?

    I know you are for minimal Government but where is your line? Do you want public services, sidewalks, firehouses, postal services, social services, courts, educational grants or are these intrusive to you as well? Or are these services okay but just stay out of your health care?

  11. Public services, such as the ones that you’re describing, are paid at a local level for the most part. I’m fine with them because I can move to the next town over if I don’t like what my current town is doing. The same is true on a state level. That’s the genius of our form of government. It gives flexibility and choice to its citizens.

    When regulations are imposed on a federal level, it takes away all of our choices. Some are necessary, there’s no question or debate about that. In my opinion, healthcare isn’t one of them. And that’s the true debate.

  12. So you are okay with State Government restricting your choices because you can move to another state if you don’t like it. But wouldn’t the same hold true with regs at the Federal Level? if you do not like it the choice is always there to relocate.

    Do you approve of environmental regulation, regulation of chemical factories? I do understand Health Care is the debate here but you cannot simply say those regs take away your choice and then not discuss other regs that, in your opinion, would do the same thing.

    And just what choice is this health care bill restricting you from making? (other than you saying you will have less discretionary spending?)

  13. Tommy, how is this hc reform deal hurting you? You won’t be seeing any changes in your life except lower premiums down the line. You’re screaming for nuttin.

  14. “But wouldn’t the same hold true with regs at the Federal Level? if you do not like it the choice is always there to relocate.”

    Are you suggesting I leave the country Janine? My ancestors came to this country because they were tired of the oppression in their own countries and wanted the freedom offered by this new frontier. When England tried to limit those freedoms, they fought a war to keep them. Now, little by little, “fair-minded” liberals like you are trying to remove those freedoms. And what frustrates me is that you don’t even know you’re doing it! You actually think you’re doing the right thing!!

    Let me turn this around on you Janine. Why are you ok with being told what to do? What’s your tolerence level for restrictions? When will government regulations get to the point that you say “enough!”. I personally don’t want to get to that point, yet I see us moving that direction.

    He who promises security for all, intends liberty for none.

  15. Notice how Tommy has no answers on how to fix health care. No response for the millions that suffer every day because they have no insurance. Thousands die each year and Tommy doesn’t give a hoot. He’s only concerned in cherry-picking 200 year old quotes and protecting the health insurers monopoly and right to screw with your life.

  16. I did not suggest you leave the country Tommy, I merely pointed out it is a choice, much like you can choose to move States if you do not like the State law……

    I do not feel I am being told what to do Tommy. I believe in individual freedoms. Luckily, the right has not taken away my ability to vote, the ability to medically decide whether or not I terminate a pregnancy and what health care coverage I choose to cover my medical needs. True I must obey traffic, state and federal laws, but I can always choose not to. I have a myriad of choices each and every day Tommy. One who thinks his choices are diminishing will only see diminished choices. One thinks his choices are limitless will have limitless choices.

    You throw around words like ‘oppression’ and ‘restriction’ without specifics. How are you oppressed?

    My ancestors came to this country because they were tired of religious oppression and poverty that was rife in the countries in which they lived and wanted to explore the new frontier. They were businessmen, farmers, soldiers, dock workers, rail road employees and Pony Express Riders. They stood for progressive ideas even then. They fought and died for this country Tommy and in their letters and papers not a one mentioned they thought they were losing any of their freedoms.

    Again, Tommy, I have to ask, what freedoms are being removed from you? and btw, I’m not removing any freedoms from you Tommy..I know you are fond of lumping me into a category, perhaps that makes it easier for you to respond to me Tommy, but I am an individual.

    Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.

    The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being viewed dogmatically, they are held tentatively, with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.

  17. I do not understand why I am paying 1% of my income to fund the program (increased medicare withholding) plus increased social security too–when others do not? If this is a socially responsible system why doesn’t society, regardless of income levels, pay equally into the fund? I agree it is unacceptable that folks go without health care. However, if this is a social responsibility then everyone should pay in at the same rate–not just us “richies”—not feeling it as I sit here and write my 2009 fed and state taxes and find out that because of other “new” tax regulations I lost my right to deduct any tutition paid for my kids in college (which I pay 100% of without subsidy or grant as our kids don’t qualify becuase of our income. Note these kids will be the next generation who get to unequally fund health care)and the right to take any loss for my rental property that is upside down just like everyone elses homes. The “rich” are getting significantly less “rich” and less able to spread the wealth around. I vote for fiscal responsibility for ALL too.

  18. You are right Lawla. The rich should pay their fair share of Social Security. Right now, you only pay SS tax on the first 100,000 dollars (actually it is a little more). If the SS cap was removed, there would be no problem with Social Security funding.

  19. ” You beat down the rich, instead of encouraging the poor to move up.”

    What? How do “we” beat down the rich? With progressive taxation, maybe?

    “I believe that by reducing the role of government in the lives of its citizens, those citizens become more ethical and responsible. ”

    I can’t find one single reason to believe that those with more wealth are more ethical or more responsible. I don’t even know what you mean by that. Do you mean the managment of AIG, CitiBank, Enron etal are among the more ethical?

    I do know that as far as health care is being managed right now, you and I are paying for those poor who can not afford health insurance. If you doubt that stop by any emergency room between Friday night and Monday early morning. Hospitals are mandated to care for anyone who can make it through their doors, insurance or not. And those of us with insurance pay for that emergency care which is far more expensive than preventative care in a doctors office. So once the new health care plan is established we could easily save money in the longer run. With the new health care the poor have a chance to get care, before they and their children are very, very ill.

    We are all vulnerable as long as the insurance companies have the power to drop our coverage when we are diagnosed with a serious or life threatening disease. The major reason for the new health care bill is to protect those who would be dropped after years of making insurance payments, some for many years, only to be dropped or priced out of the insurance market just when they need that care the most. Health insurance companies have been running a huge scam on the middle class and it is time to put a stop to it.

  20. “Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.” (Janine)

    Huhh?! So our right to freely express our opinions is dependant on the government feeling secure? Our government exists by our whim, not the other way around. This is getting scary.

    I’ve liad out my definitions of modern, liberal oppression in previous threads. I’m not going to repeat myself.

  21. Tommy, actually I see I didn’t credit the quotes I used at the end of my comment. They are quotes by Bertrand Russell, a philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian

  22. If it’s what resonates with you, it’s still scary.

    BTW, you didn’t answer my question about your tolerence level for government restrictions. How much is too much? What regulations could the government try to institute that would get you to join me in wanting them to back down?

  23. Tommy, I did answer your question. I do not feel my individual rights are restricted (except perhaps by my Homeowner’s Association) If it gets to be too much for me I’ll let you know.

    BTW you didn’t answer my questions about how you are oppressed and what freedoms are being removed from you. Saying you’ve answered them before in a comment section is hedging. I can’t read all the comments in all the posts so humor me and answer the questions.

  24. I didn’t ask if you feel that your rights are currently being restricted. I asked you to think about what the government could do that you would consider “going to far”.

    Here’s a link to a website that has some research about actions the government has taken to restrict the rights of individuals. It should be noted that many of the restrictions have happened during republican administrations. (You all know I dislike both parties equally)

    http://www.historycommons.org/project.jsp?project=lossofcivilliberties

  25. Lisa T – I posted this comment in July 2009.

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    First of all, the problem with health care in this country isn’t about access or quality, despite a few exceptions. The problem that everyone is working to solve is about the high cost, which by it’s very nature, can restrict access and influence decisions about the level of quality care to give. So with “It costs too much” and “Companies make too much money from health care” being the themes, here are my thoughts.

    Lets break it down in simple terms. Every company makes money by selling its products and services for more than they cost. Hopefully, they sell enough products and services to cover the operating expenses. Most companies also have a goal to grow, so they try to make a profit. In order to sell more and more products or services, companies need to market themselves.

    Health care companies are no different. But what if they weren’t allowed to advertise their products or services? The immediate effect would be to reduce their operating cost by cutting marketing and advertising from their budget. That allows them to sell their products for less. “But we won’t sell as much!” is going to be their response. So what? Isn’t that good? If people are only buying more health care because it’s being marketed to them, what’s the problem with stopping it. Consumers will seek out the treatment they need.

    Next comes operating expenses. I contend that much of the health care industry’s expenses are the result of lawsuits and government regulations. Find a way to curb both of them. That will further save money.

    Health care companies who want to grow should not be restricted (or encouraged for that matter) from doing so. It’s called free enterprise. Without advertising, only a good reputation for delivering a good product at a fair price will bring in more “customers”. The best ones will thrive.

    As a result of all this, insurance costs will already be much lower, but they can be reduced more by having them only pay for emergency care, major medical and chronic illness treatment. Head colds should be paid out of the consumers own pocket. This will encourage personal responsibility for one’s own wellness.
    ————-

  26. Hi Tommy

    I have to respond to your last post about the high cost of advertising for pkarma companies and the drag on their bottom line. No offense intended, but that is a completely misleading statement. You may not remember, when drugs didn’t have fancy names, lyrica, cialis, Viagra, but I do. There used to be this little old regulation barring big pharma from direct advertising to the public. But what do you know, pharma decided that NOT advertising was a little too inconvenient for their tastes. And after a bit of lobbying, and I’m sure, a bit of palm greasing….. Drug companies are free, free, free to advertise their little hearts out. And you know what? After that sleight of hand deregulation??? Prices and costs skyrocketed! Now there is backroom lobbying to keep patent on new drugs developed for 20 years rather than the modest 7, ensuring that generics aren’t available, artificially boosting profits. So, Tommy, what was that again about advertising? Bad regulations?

    I can handle the libertarian double-think, but for goodness sake, put your arguments in historical context!

  27. Tommy,

    No matter what restriction the government ‘puts’ on you, one still has a choice to follow it. On the way to work this
    morning, I rolled a stop sign, didn’t yield to oncoming traffic, and exceeded the speed limit by >10mph. All of these are both state and federal violations punishable by a monetary fine and jail time. Again, I willingly and knowingly disobeyed these state and federal mandates because of my autonomy and freedom of choice. No matter the restriction local, state, and federal government place on you, your freedom and choice are never, ever taken away.

  28. How about do away with murder laws. Those are gov’t restrictions. Won’t people just naturally not kill each other if we didn’t have laws against murder?
    And how is a gov’t of the people, for the people, by the people serve its people if it has no involvement by the people or for the people? Just as they draw conclusions that our progressive opinions will lead to socialism, then their opinions will lead to anarchy, wouldn’t they?

  29. If this health care bill follows the MA model, then it mandates purchasing insurance with a deductible. If you are too poor to afford insurance, in the first place, that is absolutely worthless. All it does is hand over three million uninsured people to the tender mercies of the insurance industry. Rotsa ruck.

  30. Steve is exactly right, the MA model is a proxy for Obama’s new plan. Basically, it is:
    1. Give Insurers 40,000,000,000 more customers
    2. Taxes will cover the difference in whatever the insurers decide to charge.
    It is a complete and utter joke, this is just more of the same – give everything we have to the corporate political sponsors. Can you say Corporate state? Look at what has happened to credit cards and mortgages and wall street – all had record profits last year. The the gubmint fixes things the more they are broken! It isn’t a democrat versus republican thing either, stop! This is all about corporates making policy that benefits them, politicians have no choice but to let it happen given ALL their real money comes from them.
    Sad state of affairs, healthcare is just one of dozens of major problems the country has. The only possible way to have any impact is to ALWAYS vote against the incumbent no matter what.
    Here is one summary on this bill and here is another.

  31. Lower Taxes equates to reductions in Domestic Spending, a favored expression made often by Republicans.

    Although it may sound nice and tickles many peoples funny bones it can and does relate to killing people more often than not.

    Domestic Spending includes Mine, OSHA, Drug, and Food safety Inspectors which under the last Administration had been cut to the bone to a degree many people have become ill bad enough to require hospitalization or Killed.

    Many individuals are blaming the Government for lack of Inspections or claiming inspectors are improperly trained instead of the Massey Mine Companies Republican, Tea Party $1 Million supporter, Company CEO for not keeping up with existing safety standards. If he stayed in compliance with Safety standards without being forced by Government Inspectors and Laws 25 and possibly 29 miners may not have died recently.

    Let us listen to more Republican BS and cut more Domestic Spending and the next to die may be one of your friends or relatives.

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