By Executive Order...

A quick take on the socialized medicine agenda that President Obama continues to push. You know the old cliche, "Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." Just look at GM for example. They got their government bailout cash, and then President Obama fires their CEO!!

Since when does the government, the US President get to fire private citizens in publicly traded or privately owned companies?!

When those companies beg for, and get government cheese I guess...

So you want free health care coverage for all? How are you going to feel when you get it? Elated? Relieved? Dismayed? I think maybe dismayed.

Why? Well, it's obvious isn't it? Just as in GM, once you've accepted the government cheese, the government owns you.

Under the direction of the executive branch of our great federal government, the Dept. of Health & Human Services will now have power over just about everything you do in your life: You will be told what you can & cannot eat. How much you will have to sleep. How much you can or cannot weigh. How much exercise you will be required to enjoy. What medicines you can and cannot receive. What treatments you will or will not be provided. When you can receive said treatments (if at all). On and on...

Say good bye to fried foods fatty!

12 comments:

wageekrn said...

Hey James,

Glad to see you're bloggin again.

Agreed w/ a lot of what you say. Myself, I am a little up in the air about the whole socialized medicine thing. I actually think it might be an improvement on the current system.

Is that because I think socialized medicine is a great idea? No, not at all. I think it is just another symptom of the lack of personal responsibility that has become an epidemic.

The thing is we ALREADY have socialized medicine...it's just that nobody calls it that. When hospitals are required to treat whoever walks through the door, and they pass on those costs to everyone else, that smacks of socialism to me.

I think the much bigger question, and the one that nobody dares to touch, is how much is enough? At what point do we deny someone access to a medical prodedure?

Under the current system everybody gets to blame the big, bad HMOs and some states even let you sue them for denying a claim (and then they wonder why health insurance is so expensive). Once government takes over, you can bet they'll be denying stuff left and right and we'll just be out of luck. As awful as that sounds, I am not totally opposed to it. If it means that we don't give liver transplants to alcoholics, we don't put people in the end stages of COPD on ventilators, we don't do dialysis on that 78 year old diabetic who is blind and a bilateral amputee...that's not altogether a bad thing. We can't live forever. I wish people would realize that rather obvious fact.

Anyhow, someone is bound to get thrown under the bus.

My big problem with it all is that I have no faith whatsoever in the government's ability to wisely allocate who will get healthcare and who won't.

I hit on this subject in my own blog with a couple of good links to Wall Street Journal Articles.

http://wageekrn.livejournal.com/25546.html

James said...

"...I am a little up in the air about the whole socialized medicine thing. I actually think it might be an improvement on the current system.

...The thing is we ALREADY have socialized medicine...it's just that nobody calls it that. When hospitals are required to treat whoever walks through the door, and they pass on those costs to everyone else, that smacks of socialism to me."


Very true. It costs me (and the company I work for, and my insurance provider) more because I have to pay for someone who doesn't. So yes, in a sense we are already there to a certain degree.

However, I don't want government interfering or mandating or rationing health care because maybe I do want the treatment/drugs that I need to live another 6 months even though I am terminally ill. If I and my insurance are willing to pay for it then that is my choice. If government controls health care, that isn't going to be an option (see the UK for example: this very same scenario actually occurred recently--they said they would provide these medicines to terminally ill cancer patients and then reneged and said NO.)

"I think the much bigger question, and the one that nobody dares to touch, is how much is enough? At what point do we deny someone access to a medical prodedure?"

Cost. It's a matter of cost, right? That's what it ultimately comes down to--what is your life worth in dollars? How cost effective is it to keep you around? It's the Mahan principle as Nibley would say ("[The] Mahan Principle... that "great secret" of converting life into property--your life for my property").

That bears on your question, which basically comes down to deciding who lives and who dies. And/or the quality of life that one may enjoy. If you are asking me, I will pay to live (and live as healthy & well as I can please). Don't force me to go onto the dole and then deny me my life. That's what socialism/communism advocates right? Level the playing field? Everyone recieves the same quantity & quality of care. That isn't going to occur by forcing everyone into a higher standard of living, you can't tax your way into prosperity. No, the only leveling is bringing everyone down. No thanks.

As to those that don't (or can't) pay for the health care services rendered, "free healthcare" will actually be worse for them then it is now. They may praise BHO for this great gift of "free healthcare for all" but in the end, the quality or quantity of care they receive will go down for them as well as for the rest of us.

No one wins and the taxpayer will still be paying for those that do not.

As to your "78 year old diabetic who is blind and a bilateral amputee" to whom you might wish to deny dialysis? If it's my wife, let me help you make up your mind: You're going to provide that service.

You see things in a different light when it becomes personal.

Of course there are cases where treatment is unwarranted. If I am brain-dead, turn off the machines please. But let me make that choice if I am paying for it.

Well, we come back to that big dilemma, who decides for those that don't pay?

Shortly it will not matter. The decisions will be removed from our collective hands and we will be left with a Health & Human Services committee to decide for us.

Socialism/Communism is the devil's game. Force. Command. Control. "I will save you all, but on my terms. You will be forced to do it my way."

I don't know that I have shed any light on the issue at all but I do know this--socialism is upon us...

It is inevitable Mr. Anderson. --Agent Smith

James said...

Opps, I forgot this part...

"Anyhow, someone is bound to get thrown under the bus.

My big problem with it all is that I have no faith whatsoever in the government's ability to wisely allocate who will get healthcare and who won't."


I absolutely agree. You said it all right there. That is the answer. These idiots in government can't run anything right. We sure as heck don't want them deciding how we live (and die) for us.

wageekrn said...

Modern-day advances make this a real thorny issue. 50-60 years ago we simply did not have this issue of so many people being chronically sick. It was much simpler back then. If you weren't healthy, you died, that was it, end of story.

Now while I have a great a appreciation for the marvels of modern medicine, I am also acutely aware of its limitations. As a culture, we do a very poor job of dealing with and openly discussing issues of death and dying. Too many people view death as something to be avoided at all possible costs. That is why we spend billions upon billions providing care that prolongs but does not cure. Obviously my opinions here are heavily influenced by my religious beliefs, but I simply do not view death as something to be feared. What scares the hell out of me is the thought that I might turn out like some of the people that I take care of. Too many people are in total denial about the obvious fact that you reach a certain age and you die - and that is how it is supposed to be. Perhaps my greatest frustration is seeing how much we put into keeping people alive as opposed to the pitance we spend keeping people healthy.

You mentioned the rationing that they are doing in UK. I'm here to tell you that there is not an ounce of difference between that and your insurance company deciding what they will and will not cover. Whether it be the private sector or the public, there is not an infinite amount of money out there to give us every treatment that we might want (no matter how marginally effective it might be).

While I have my reservations about some of the proposals being floated around, I am glad to see this discussion is happening because the status quo is not a viable option. Something has to be done. Just like $500 per share tech stocks, the current system is not sustainable.

Under the current system, if you lost your job, you would not even have the option of getting health insurance - at any price. Nobody would insure you, and even if they did, there is no way you could afford the premiums. That is precisely where millions of people find themselves. It isn't like car insurance. I can't go out there and get my own individual policy, or, opt to take the bus instead and save that money.

I totally support the idea of universal coverage. But how to do it - that is the big question here and I don't have a real good answer to it. What concerns me is that the ideas I am hearing involve more taxes and more wasteful spending. I think what we currently spend is more than enough if we were to reallocate it. My solution would be far more heavily weighted towards cutting costs rather than increasing spending. While politically it is unrealistic, my cost cutting measures would involve shifting dollars from treating sick people to keeping people healthy. And yes, I would establish some criteria to where we only provided palliative treatment to dying patients.

Clif said...

Oh and tort reform and decreasing regulation (I could go on and on about those two things as well).

James said...

You don't fear death and therefore would refuse treatment if you were terminally ill I assume. How about chronic care? Where would you draw that line? Well, it's great that you don't fear death, but it's likely that many many individuals do. What if they do wish to prolong their lives? Obviously you would rather they just get over it and accept their demise with dignity--after all, they are costing us too much to keep around. As far as spending for keeping people healthy, I'm not sure what that means. Vaccinations, weight control, limits on the types of food you eat, exercise? All sound prevention ideas. Would the government enforce such measures since they are providing your health care? Look at Japan where they mandate waistlines...

"You mentioned the rationing that they are doing in UK. I'm here to tell you that there is not an ounce of difference between that and your insurance company deciding what they will and will not cover."

You do not know what insurance I carry. You do not know what they will or will not provide. I actually have very good insurance, IMO. It is quite likely that I do have more options and better health care choices then those available in countries with socialized medical care. As to rationing, we certainly must have better coverage and care in the US or you would not see the Canadians running down here for treatments that they cannot get at home. Isn't that an indicator that their socialized system is not as good as what we currently have--flawed as it is? They are willing to "pay to play" and get the care they want from those who can provide it.

There most certainly are options for those who's employers do not provide insurance. I see it advertised on TV quite often. And if you lose your job, you can get COBRA (oh my, is that expensive, but it is there as an option). Granted, an individual plan's out of pocket cost is probably quite expensive, but maybe the big screen TV, multiple gaming consoles, phone & internet service, etc. aren't worth as much as one's health? You may rebut that these options aren't realistic. I am not addressing that, I am refuting the idea that there is no "option of getting health insurance - at any price" if the employer doesn't pay for it. It is apparent that there actually are plans out there for those folks, if they wish to pay for it. Can't afford it, you say? Again, I am not addressing that--I am simply saying that the blanket statement of "no options" is mistaken. As an aside though, I will say that I pay quite a chunk for what I get under my employer's plan. In fact most of what I get paid goes towards health/life insurance (and I mean it--my net pay would be considerably greater if I didn't pay for health care coverage). I'd say we are all in the same big boat after all.

"I totally support the idea of universal coverage."

You have overcome your previous reservations it seems. I will address that in two ways:

1) Where does it grant the Federal government the power to provide health care for all in the Constitution? Not to mention a whole host of other like powers & entitlements that the Feds have taken it upon themselves to wield & provide (a topic for another day). The answer is of course, NOWHERE. Any such powers are designated as belonging to the States & the people in the 9th and 10th Amendments. But then the Constitution has been ripped to shreds (prophecies fulfilled) so the point is moot.

2) Number one being the case, and given that our march toward socialism has turned into a sprint in the last three or so months--this so-called Universal Health Care coverage is going to become a reality. Therfore, let us hold BHO to his word:

On health care reform, the American people are too often offered two extremes--government-run health care with higher taxes or letting the insurance companies operate without rules. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe both of these extremes are wrong, and that's why they've proposed a plan that strengthens employer coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care without government interference.

First, by insisting that the Feds apply the same benefits package they receive to the rest of us--the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). It is based upon (of all things) competition. It seems to be a very reasonable system. See the thoughtful & balanced article: Ensuring Access to Affordable Health Insurance: A Memo to President-elect Obama

Second, allow and encourage the states (as should be their right)to break free from the rigidity of Medicaid and modify it to do as Vermont has done: "...change benefits and use cost sharing in ways not allowed under traditional Medicaid... [to] do a much better job for their poorest citizens..."

For info on Medicaid reform in Vermont & Massachusetts (under Mitt Romney) see: Commentary: Learning from Vermont on health care

It is certain that you will get your wish: health care will be reformed, for better or worse.

I can only hope that the "one size fits all" model is not adopted--that thoughtful consideration will be given to the points in the above linked articles. For more very useful information on health care reform, see: The Heritage Foundation Leadership For America: Health Care

I also hope our children will understand & appreciate the burden they will inherit from the implementation of the various Obama initiatives, including health care reform. In ten years under the Obama proposals, the "annual cost of government... [will be] $32,000 for every household in America"

That's an impossible burden, we will be bankrupt. (Another topic for another day.)

questions_no_answers said...

Socialized Medicine... Look no further than the latest victim of "CanadaCare" While the media morned the loss of a favorite Actress no mention that the head injury she received was a routine injury amongst both novice and accomplished skiers. A routine concussion, and a problem that would have been found by any physician having access to an MRI would have found the "bleeder" that destroyed her brain and took her life. Problem is in order to get that scan in Canada a long series of forms has to be completed, a bureaucrat has to approve the costly scan, then schedule the scan once money is available. It could have taken weeks or even months. If there is one good thing about Socialized Medicine it will weed out the weak and the frail. allowing for the strong to survive. Darwin would be proud or horrified that man had sunk back down to the level of mere animals all for the sake of saving the government a few dollars.

On the bright side the husband of the fallen actress can't sue the doctors for malpractice, even if in their haste to cure her they cut off her head.

Clif said...

As to the case of Natasha Richardson mentioned above, her case had nothing to do with a socialized vs. free market health care system. It is very common for people with subdural hematomas, or chest pain, or difficulty breathing, etc. to either be misdiagnosed or to sit on it for too long thinking it will go away on its own until it is too late. Happens all the time. I have certainly seen that happen right here in the USA more than a few times.

Obviously you would rather they just get over it and accept their demise with dignity--after all, they are costing us too much to keep around. As far as spending for keeping people healthy, I'm not sure what that means.

Well I wouldn't state it quite like that, but yes, that is essentially how I feel. I think you are oversimplifying my position though. It isn't like keeping many of these people alive is not, in the end, a futile effort anyways. I am sure that you have heard it said that most people rack up the lion's share of healthcare expenses in their last 12 months of life. In other words, we are spending the most money where it is doing the least amount of good.

Let me give you one recent example (I could give you dozens more). A 60 year old female patient comes in with some bleeding from her rectum. On day 2 she starts gushing copious amounts of blood. She is rushed to surgery. Turns out her gut is just packed full of cancer. The more the surgeon cuts out, the more is found. The patient is so unstable they can't finish the surgery because she is going to die right there on the table. They stuff a couple of sterile towels in her and rush her back to the ICU where I get her. Her blood pressure is going down the tubes. We start running IV fluids into her just as fast as we possibly can and start her on dopamine to maintain a barely survivable pressure. Meanwhile juices are gushing out of her open incision saturating the towels and linens we have packed around her every 10 to 15 minutes.

At this point, it might have been a good time to have a frank discussion with her spouse and throw in the towel, right? Given the extent of her cancer, even the best case scenario isn't very good at all. Well, the husband, without understanding the true nature of his decision, understandably wants us to do everything we can to save her. (Really, how many people are going to just say "yeah, you should give up?")

Well, she survives the night, and the next one as well. Her blood pressure stabilizes and she goes back to surgery. By the time it is over she has less than 100cm of small bowel left. Basically her stomach is directly connected to her large intestine. Not only that, but she has two fistulas beween her gut and her abdominal wall so that intestinal contents are just running out into a collection bag we have taped to her belly. She is still extremely unstable. She remains on a ventilator for the next 2 weeks and requires 1:1 nursing care around the clock. Two weeks go bye. She is off of the ventilator now but still much too weak to get out of bed. She is getting TPN (nutrition) through her IV and an attempt is made to start feeding her through an NG tube. Most of the tube feeding comes right back out through the fistulas. The rest goes right through her system with minimal digestion and gives her an awful case of diarrhea. She is constantly nauseated. Everytime we turn her, she pukes. She also is a little bit off mentally due to the lack of oxygen to her brain during the acute phase of all of this. Gradually she gets some strength back and can sit up in a chair for 30 minutes at a time. Her mental slowness never improves. Her digestive system never does get started and it become apparent that she is going to be on TPN for the rest of her life. She still has a massive wound on her abdomen that requires the care of a wound specialist. It will never heal properly. After weeks of working with physical therapy she finally gets strong enough to where she can leave the ICU (it's been a month at this point). She spends another month upstairs on the general med unit getting feeding, wound care, and IV antibiotics. Eventually she gets to go home. Of course she still requires daily home visits from an RN and around the clock supervision from husband and family. Within 2 months of leaving the hospital, she is dead. So all of our efforts, and what was surely well over $1 million worth of care, we bought her an additional 4 months - 2 of which were spent in the hospital.

Just because we can prolong someone's life doesn't mean that we should. Look at Terri Schiavo. How many years did she rot in a nursing home bed doing nothing more than getting fed through a tube? Could a health commision pass a regulation stating, "no tube feeings after 180 days"? I don't think that's too unreasonable.

I want to be very clear on one thing. I do not support active euthanasia. I don't think we should Kevorkian people who are terminal. However, I think we can, and often should, let nature run its course and we should stay our hand.

You rightfully ask, "where do we draw the line?" That is a very good question, and it one without a simple answer. Ultimately the question of when someone is going to die and when care is futile is at best an educated guess. So in withholding care, there is bound to be someone who could benefit that gets denied. But no system is going to perfect. The current system certainly is not. I could write a book about the failings of the current system.

Now in the case I mentioned, you might say that it was a decision between her, the husband, the hospital, and the insurer - but it isn't. As you well know, the costs of this case, and thousands more like it, get passed along in the form of higher costs and higher premiums and creates the current situation where health insurance is unobtainable due to either prohibitive costs or rejection by insurance companies. You mentioned places where individual policies can be purchased. Surely you know that the companies that sell those policies are notorious for cherry picking healthy clients and denying those with extensive health histories. If they do not outright deny an application, then the premiums would be so high as to make it impossible to afford anyways.

I guess my point is that any system we have is going to fail if we do not find a way to control costs first and foremost and doing that means making some unpopular (albeit common sense) decisions. Everyone wants top-notch healthcare right up to their last breath, but that simply is not sustainable. Like I said, like or not, we're all going to die in the end and I believe that a lot of what I see everyday is nothing more than people in deep denial of this rather obvious point.

Also, it is folly to believe that what we have now is a free market system. I don't choose my health plan, my employer does. I see the doctors my plan outlines (or else I pay through the nose). I take drugs that are patented (read: monopoly) and indirectly pay for the lavish parties that drug reps throw for the doctors. I'm telling you, the current system stinks.

I've been going on a while here, but I'll wrap up with this. You said you weren't sure what I meant by spending to keep people healthy. What I mean is that it is insane that we will not spend money for somebody's blood pressure pills and regular annual checkups at a doctor's office, but when they show up at the hospital with a stroke or CHF or failing kidneys that is a direct result of years of untreated high blood pressure, then we decide that we have to treat them. The time to spend on healthcare is the beginning and middle of one's life - not the end. That is another key to controlling cost.

I am quite sympathetic to your arguments abouts the 9th and 10th amendments. However, as you alluded to, we threw those out the window years ago. Doesn't make it right, but that's where we are.

James said...

questions_no_answers said: "As to the case of Natasha Richardson mentioned above, her case had nothing to do with a socialized vs. free market health care system. It is very common for people with subdural hematomas, or chest pain, or difficulty breathing, etc. to either be misdiagnosed or to sit on it for too long thinking it will go away on its own until it is too late. Happens all the time. I have certainly seen that happen right here in the USA more than a few times."

I'm sure I would have initially ignored a little bump on the head myself. Who wouldn't? But when you start puking, etc. Time to hit the ER. ER --> MRI --> Detection --> Surgery --> I live. They had a little girl on a morning show who ran into this same scenario right after the Richardson tragedy. The girl was playing baseball with her dad, and got hit in the head. The parents picked up on the signs that it was more then a bump on the head and got her into the ER quick enough that she was saved.

Was the Richardson case of "CanadaCare" failing where "AmeriCare" succeeded (socialism vs. our system (whatever you want to call it))? I've seen more then one report indicating that it was, and if it was bureaucratic red tape that interfered with treatment (as questions_no_answers stated) then that is definitely NOT a direction we want to take. I don't know what all the factors were in the treatment delay...

I said: "Obviously you would rather they just get over it and accept their demise with dignity--after all, they are costing us too much to keep around. As far as spending for keeping people healthy, I'm not sure what that means."

Clif said: "Well I wouldn't state it quite like that, but yes, that is essentially how I feel. I think you are oversimplifying my position though. It isn't like keeping many of these people alive is not, in the end, a futile effort anyways. I am sure that you have heard it said that most people rack up the lion's share of healthcare expenses in their last 12 months of life. In other words, we are spending the most money where it is doing the least amount of good."

Perhaps not "oversimplifying", how about distilling the essence of your position? Either - Or I suppose. At any rate, I think you made a good case with the story you related regarding the cancer patient. As you say, I'm sure you have many more like incidents you could cite from personal experience. There's no doubt that it is expensive to keep the terminally ill alive--and someone has to pay for it in the end. And, I believe you when you say that there are not unlimited resources to draw upon--we can't provide everything for everyone (not yet anyway, again another topic for another day). In every aspect of life we need balance. I see your point that reform is necessary to obtain balance in health care. I just don't believe the government can achieve that balance. I see government taking over health care as just another means of controlling the masses and forcing an agenda. Dismiss that as "conspiracy theory" if you want, but the fact is it will be a means of control. The example I mentioned in the initial blog post of the President firing the CEO of GM once he gained control of the auto industry with the "bailout" money is case in point. An unprecedented move and a harbinger of things to come.

You make several points regarding where we should (or might) draw the line in keeping the terminally alive or letting them go. I don't want this decided by a government committee in some one-size-fits-all rule book. I don't want the corruptocrats deciding whether I live or die. If such decisions become mandated and arbitrary (regardless of the patient's or family's wishes); I at least want a panel of competent physicians (at least three) to make the call on a case-by-case basis. I have asked Kim to weigh in on this issue with her own experiences in the ER of a major hospital. She has some middle ground to relate that may be useful--you know, since we are deciding the fate of health care in America right here. ;-)

Clif said: "Also, it is folly to believe that what we have now is a free market system. I don't choose my health plan, my employer does. I see the doctors my plan outlines (or else I pay through the nose). I take drugs that are patented (read: monopoly) and indirectly pay for the lavish parties that drug reps throw for the doctors. I'm telling you, the current system stinks."

I get to pick any doctor I want under the plan we have, I can go to any specialist I wish without getting a referral first. I'm telling you I pay a good penny for my insurance but it's awesome--not the best, but very good. Obviously not all are so fortunate, but something is better then nothing. Also, it certainly is a free market system: insurance companies compete for you or your employer's dime. With socialized medicine, it is highly likely that any competition will be eliminated. When you get to make all the rules, you can eliminate the competition if you so desire, right?

As to drugs, it takes YEARS to develop and test medicines. This costs a fortune. Drug companies have to patent them. They have to recoup the cost (and shockingly enough, they also have to make a profit) or they will be forced to stop developing medicines. There is no choice. Monopoly? You bet. For a time. But, once the patent expires we can get generics. Meanwhile, they use the money they made as the only source of particular medicines to finance the development of new ones. This course is the way it has to be or pharmaceutical companies will go out of business. The govt. can demand "green cars", that doesn't mean they will get them, the same thing applies to medicines. You may demand lower prices, but you'll end up with fewer drug choices in the future because of it.

Pharm. companies also have to "sell" the doctors on their medicines. What you see as wasteful parties constitutes part of their pitch. Their drugs don't get prescribed, they (again) will go out of business. If I am not mistaken though, many of these sales pitch tactics have been disallowed recently . Money rules this world, we all have to get paid--even nurses. We both know who controls the treasures of the earth and how he uses them. You won't see a perfect system until the perfect law is implemented (yet another topic for another day).

Note: You will definitely see Pharmaceutical companies become a target of the BHO administration in coming days. Just as he demonized the banking industry and AIG, he will do the same to the Pharm. industry. It is the modus operandi of this group. It's brilliant. It really works to their advantage in moving their agenda forward, and it is right out of Saul Alinsky's playbook, Rules For Radicals.

Clif said: "...You said you weren't sure what I meant by spending to keep people healthy. What I mean is that it is insane that we will not spend money for somebody's blood pressure pills and regular annual checkups at a doctor's office, but when they show up at the hospital with a stroke or CHF or failing kidneys that is a direct result of years of untreated high blood pressure, then we decide that we have to treat them. The time to spend on healthcare is the beginning and middle of one's life - not the end. That is another key to controlling cost."

I agree. Our company/insurance provides a "wellness plan" and if we want to pay less for our insurance we are required to participate. It's not a bad thing at all really. Smoke? You don't get to participate and you pay more for your coverage. You may point this out as a means of control similar to what government might insist upon. Perhaps, but I think my insurance company knows what they are doing (as opposed to the govt.) and I can see the benefits. And, they aren't going to cut me off or send me to reeducation camp if I don't comply (see the article on Japan's waistline mandate). I don't want Barney Frank deciding what's good for me, do you?

I was hoping you would comment on the suggested health care options presented in my last post. The articles are brief, but they present positive ideas that could be implemented for meaningful reform--such as letting the rest of us participate in the plan the Feds enjoy (the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program). These proposals really deserve thoughtful consideration by the administration.

Socialized health care has begun, Obama has already signed his "down payment for universal coverage" into law. One can hope that the administration will put aside politics for just a moment and actually try to make it work well. I doubt that will happen, but it would do a lot to dispel the notion that this nationalized "care for all" plan is just another means of control or the Cloward-Piven strategy.

As to earlier points that we are paying for those that do not via increased insurance premiums, etc. Be aware that nothing will change. You will still be paying for those that do not via taxation. Well, I suppose they can print more money to cover the cost, as they are doing for other "programs", but that leads to the dead end of hyperinflation. Any way you look at it, we pay, we lose...

Clif said: "I am quite sympathetic to your arguments abouts the 9th and 10th amendments. However, as you alluded to, we threw those out the window years ago. Doesn't make it right, but that's where we are."

No! You and I did NOT throw the Constitution out the window--the oligarchy in Washington did that "deliberately, purposefully" over time. Most of these guys in Washington are lifers. It was just too easy for them to grab as much power as we would let them take--and just like entitlements, once they have it they will never give let it go, unless their hand is forced.

Many states have begun asserting their sovereignty against the Federal power grab and insisting on our 9th & 10th amendment rights.

Now, if the majority of us actually want all power concentrated in the Federal government; if they want the 2nd, 9th, and 10th amendments repealed then let's do it the right way: Call a Constitutional Convention and make it official. That would end all argument against the abuse foisted upon us by the corruptocrats.

You watched the documentary on the Founding Fathers and enjoyed it? Why give up so easily on what they worked so hard to craft: a nation of liberty? We should not always roll over. Failing to follow the principles of the Constitution is surely bringing about the end of the Republic as it was designed. Maybe it is already too late? Maybe we are terminally ill? Is our demise imminent? Perhaps the plug should be pulled (i.e. China, Britain and Japan should cease financing our debt). Perhaps we should just die with whatever dignity we have left as a nation. :-(

James said...

Correction to my last post:

The quote at the beginning--

"As to the case of Natasha Richardson mentioned above, her case had nothing to do with a socialized..."

--should have attributed to Clif and not to questions_no_answers.

wageekrn said...

I was hoping you would comment on the suggested health care options presented in my last post. The articles are brief, but they present positive ideas that could be implemented for meaningful reform--such as letting the rest of us participate in the plan the Feds enjoy

I think we are arguing two sides of the same coin here. I don't believe that anything that I have said has been in support of a government takeover of the health care system. Like most people, I would much prefer to have more choices, not fewer.

What I have been talking about is cost containment. I see that as the biggest problem to this whole thing and the biggest reason why there just might be enough popular support out there to allow a government takeover of healthcare. I am quite concerned because most proposals out there that I am reading about talk more about tax hikes and increased spending on a system that already costs way too much.

I agree with almost all of the proposals outlined in the link to the Heritage Foundation with one exception...

They spoke negatively of an independent health care commision that would be analagous to the Federal Reserve. If indeed they could form such a commission and keep it truly apolitical (which I have my doubts about), then I would be totally in support of it. Such a commission could enforce the use of evidence-based medicine. As I have argued, a ton of what we do generates huge costs while providing very little benefit. If such a commission could enforce medical decision making based on sound science (as opposed to politics, advertising, special interests, etc.) then it would have my enthusiastic support.

As to drugs, it takes YEARS to develop and test medicines. This costs a fortune. Drug companies have to patent them. They have to recoup the cost (and shockingly enough, they also have to make a profit) or they will be forced to stop developing medicines.

Yes and no. Yes, the research and advertising costs are real. I think there are some very real abuses as well. The best examples involve drugs that compete against a generic that has been around for years (and therefore isn't aggressively marketed by drug reps). Amiodarone versus lidocaine, statin drugs versus niacin, lovenox versus heparin. It's a nasty little secret that a lot of these drugs are only marginally better (or not better at all) while being vastly more expensive.

(This touches on a topic for a whole other thread of discussion, namely, the free market system fails to efficiently allocate resources and when government regulation is appropriate and helpful.)

Finally, returning to the points on the 9th and 10th amendments - there can be little doubt to their meaning. I think it's spelled out pretty clearly and I am more than a little dismayed as to how the Supreme Court has not struck down a slough of programs as unconstitutional based on those amendments.

That being said, there have been times when, according to the letter of the law, the Feds have overstepped their bounds and yet I have been in total agreement. I am thinking specifically of issues going back to Lincoln and the Civil War, and more recently, Federal enforcement of civil rights laws. Perhaps we should repeal those amendments just for the sake of consistency. I'm not sure. Generally speaking, I am in favor of a limited Federal Government, but there are some very notable exceptions to that.

James said...

Clif said: "I think we are arguing two sides of the same coin here. I don't believe that anything that I have said has been in support of a government takeover of the health care system. Like most people, I would much prefer to have more choices, not fewer."

Your concern for cutting costs is clear. Your stance on socializing medicine is not so clear. I have consistently argued against it. As far as I can tell, you see it as an option you could support (with some reservations) and you did state, "I totally support the idea of universal coverage." Unless I have missed something in the private sector, the only way such a thing can be achieved is through a government takeover of the health care system. It is quite apparent that you feel the current system is broken and completely out of control and that government intervention, while distasteful, is needed. Unfortunately, we both agreed that we "...have no faith whatsoever in the government's ability to wisely allocate who will get healthcare and who won't." I surmise from what you have written that you are torn on the issue but you feel socializing the system can't be much worse then what we have today?

While I am opposed to socializing medicine, I am resigned to the fact that it has already begun to be implemented. My only hope now is that the best possible options are implemented (and that we don't go bankrupt). The track record of Feds running anything properly is utterly dismal.

Regarding the implementation of a "Daschle Federal Health Board" that would issue one-size-fits-all mandates, why not impanel the experts as you suggested to make general recommendations, and then emphasize this Heritage proposal instead:

"Take bold action to allow states to experiment with better ways of reaching the nation's health coverage goals rather than imposing a national plan on states and families. Our system of federalism is intended to allow states to determine the best ways to achieve objectives we share as a nation... Washington [should] clarify the broad goals of a health system and... encourage states to devise the best ways to achieve those goals." [emphasis mine]

It works, Vermont being the example in the other article I linked.

I said: "As to drugs, it takes YEARS to develop and test medicines... Drug companies... have to recoup the cost..."

Clif said: "...I think there are some very real abuses as well. The best examples involve drugs that compete against a generic that has been around for years... It's a nasty little secret that a lot of these drugs are only marginally better (or not better at all) while being vastly more expensive."

That's probably one of the things where the aforementioned panel could provide input. I'm surprised that insurance companies haven't already figured this out. However, in a strict sense this is not a failure of free markets: you were sold a Land Rover instead of an old Ford Explorer, both do the job. Since someone else (the insurance company) is footing the bill you would think they would say, "Heeeeey, wait a minute..."

There has to be balance. You definitely need Pharmaceutical companies to keep researching new medicines.

Clif said: "Finally, returning to the points on the 9th and 10th amendments - there can be little doubt to their meaning. I think it's spelled out pretty clearly and I am more than a little dismayed as to how the Supreme Court has not struck down a slough of programs as unconstitutional based on those amendments."

You got that right brother! The Supreme Court is virtually useless. They should review every piece of legislation that gets signed into law. 1) Unconstitutional laws would get kicked. 2) It would slow Congress down! Do we really need a bazillion new regulations every year? After 200+ years, might there be enough laws on the books. 3) Congress would be compelled to craft (and actually read) better legislation, pork would be greatly diminished. (Well, I can dream can't I?)

Clif said: "...Perhaps we should repeal those amendments just for the sake of consistency. I'm not sure. Generally speaking, I am in favor of a limited Federal Government, but there are some very notable exceptions to that."

Ugh, I hope you're not seriously in that camp! Destroy Federalism? What, make one giant state? No thank you! Sure, that has been the course we have been on for some time, but I do not agree with it. It leads to totalitarianism, which is what our Founding Fathers did their best to prevent when they wrote the Constitution. No. Let us reverse course and return those powers to the states that are inherently theirs to begin with. I don't want some guy in Washington state telling me what to do down here in Texas. ;-)