A reply to Consi on the issue of national health care.

This is a first. I’m actually offended by something Consi wrote…

If you don’t have the talent or the willingness to move to where there is a job that provides health care, well then, that is a bed of one’s own making.

Comments like that are why I laugh bitterly every time I hear some Republican use the phrase “Compassionate Conservatism” as though it wasn’t a complete oxymoron. What the fuck? Only talented people are allowed to have decent health care?

Apparently I’m not talented enough to have a job that provides decent health care. Oh wait, I am that talented as I’ve had those jobs in the past. Shame I got laid off because the company decided to make the position a direct hire and had an arbitrary requirement that direct hires have a four year degree — in nothing in particular — to be considered for employment.

Technically my current job and the Meijer’s job I held previously both offer health care. Of course at Meijers I was earning a mere $7 an hour which came out to around $245 a week after taxes. Insurance for me and my family would’ve cost around $600 a month. How’s your math, Consi?

At this point I’m working for a company that’s paying me $15 an hour which is considered a pretty good wage by some folks. They also offer insurance after 90 days, but from what I’m told the entire cost of said insurance would come out of my pay. When I asked the recruiter about it she said in utmost candor that “It really isn’t worth it unless you’re single, and even then not really.” I’ve not hit the three month mark yet so I don’t know what the actual costs are, but I’m not filled with optimism after being told something like the above. The fact that every single guy on my team hasn’t signed up for the health insurance either is another bad sign about the cost.

So that leaves moving, which Consi suggests as a possible solution. I’m reluctant to move because I have roots here. My family is here, my friends are here, and, I realize this is quaint, I love this stupid state even if its economy is completely screwed up at the moment. I’d rather stay and try to be a part of the state’s comeback and be close to my family and friends. Consi seems to think that means I shouldn’t expect to be able to get reasonable and affordable health care.

In essence, Consi’s position seems to be one of: “Sucks to be you. I got mine and that’s all that matters to me.” The thing that kills me about that line of thinking is that you’d think conservatives would realize that if people didn’t have to worry about health care they could focus on working and improving their situation.

Since I was first laid off from Ford in February of 2005, with the exception of my brief return to Ford last year before a second lay off after just two and a half months, I’ve been without health care for me and my family. In two years we’ve been to the doctor’s a total of three times paying for the office visits out of pocket and one trip to the dentist we managed to squeeze in during my brief stint last year. We’ve been pretty lucky so far, but it’s starting to catch up with us. I lost one of my fillings last year and haven’t been able to afford getting it replaced. That’s come back to haunt me as I’ve been suffering from minor tooth and ear aches on that side of my head so I’m going to have to address it, out of pocket, sometime this week. My left hip is giving me problems which I mentioned in passing during one of the office visits with our doctor last year and the doctor said that if I had insurance she’d have some tests done, but I can’t afford that at the moment so I just keep trudging on hoping that my hip doesn’t have a major problem. Additionally, Anne’s been having some gastrointestinal problems and Courtney injured her foot in dance class at school that still seems to be bothering her.

I’m not trying to drum up sympathy here, just pointing out that back when we had health care we’d have addressed these issues as soon as we noticed them and could get back to being productive members of society in short order. Now it’s a daily question of: Has the problem gotten so bad that we have to find a way to pay for, at a minimum, an office visit. With my tooth I’ll probably end up having to have the dentist just yank the damned thing out as it tends to be cheaper than anything else they can do, my sister has had to do that in the past as has my wife. I suppose given my redneck heritage it’s somewhat appropriate, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

Compared to a lot of people in the same boat as us, our problems are somewhat minor. It was just one month prior to my first lay off that I wrote this entry about my cousin who died from friggin’ pneumonia because she didn’t have health care and couldn’t afford an office visit to find out that she was that seriously sick. Every time one of us gets the sniffles I can’t help but wonder in the back of my head is it just a cold or something more serious?

I said it then and I’ll say it again now: In the richest country on the planet it’s simply ridiculous that we can’t find a way to have a national health care system. But hey, according to Consi, it’s my own damn fault that I’m not talented enough or living in the right place to have a job with decent health care. Spending trillions of taxpayer money on a war started on lies that the vast majority of people don’t want to be in is A-OK, but holy fucking Christ on a stick you’re a communist if you think folks should be entitled to health care. Fortunately it looks like national health care is going to be a big issue in the next election. With any luck perhaps something will actually come out of it once Bush is gone.

67 thoughts on “A reply to Consi on the issue of national health care.

  1. I said it then and I’ll say it again now: In the richest country on the planet it’s simply ridiculous that we can’t find a way to have a national health care system. But hey, according to Consi, it’s my own damn fault that I’m not talented enough or living in the right place to have a job with decent health care. Spending trillions of taxpayer money on a war started on lies that the vast majority of people don’t want to be in is A-OK, but holy fucking Christ on a stick you’re a communist if you think folks should be entitled to health care. Fortunately it looks like national health care is going to be a big issue in the next election. With any luck perhaps something will actually come out of it once Bush is gone.

    I’ve been saying the same thing for awhile and my friends say the same thing to me jokingly, “You’re a communist!”  I know they are joking by to me it’s just not that funny anymore.  Hopefully Michael Moore’s new movie will open some eyes.

  2. “Sucks to be you. I got mine and that’s all that matters to me.”

    Sounds very close to a phrase my dad used when mocking the completely uncompassionate: “I got mine, the hell with you.”

    The Republican/“conservative” approach seems to be, “it is possible to screw up government health services, so we shouldn’t try.”  The fact that some countries seem to manage it quite well, deserves no study, I guess.

  3. I hear ya over here, Les.

    We were without health insurance for years, even while paying for pregnancy and babies.  If I hadn’t had nurse training to take care of their sniffles, we would have been even worse off.
    We were lucky to find a dentist just beginning his practice who was willing to take monthly payments.  For a long time, he was part of the budget, just like electric and phone.

    Is there a way you can take some college courses to get a sheepskin paper?
    As an older, returning student, I was able to get financial aid.  I’m told a degree and certification opens doors of employment, so I’m looking around more often.

  4. That’s my current plan. At the very least I’m shooting for a couple of certs and, if possible, will be going back to school. I have quite a few credits with Oakland Community College yet so I may try returning there and getting at least an associates to start.

  5. It seems to me that Conservatives and the more extreme Libertarians are all just fine with government intervention in things like building and maintaining commerce and transportation infrastructure, and the enforcement of laws (as long as they don’t infringe on their “freedom”), but propose anything that doesn’t on the surface appear to benefit their precious wallets, and watch out.  You can’t do that!

  6. I don’t know the view in the US but here most people are protective of the NHS and are willing to pay slightly higher taxes for free healthcare. But it would appear to be slowly privitising for some reason, government generally seems to be willing to deliberately mismanage finances of public firms to push forward privitisation more, saying ‘public bad, private good’ – I think it’s because election terms of only a few years force the short-term view; they want a quick sell, spend much now and leave the mess for who replaces them, making your opposition looking worse for being in the mess they inherited

  7. Bahamat, the problem here is political parties run scared of the right wing press, especially Murdoch.  They constantly go on about Public Bad, Private Good, because it suits their (the owners) ends to have a low tax economy- they are billionaires, so don’t need to worry.  They then tell their readers that a low tax economy will suit them, when in most cases only the rich are rewarded.

    In proportion to income, cut in direct (i.e. income) taxes disproportionately benefit the rich, while the benefit to the poor is less than the loss of the government services that have to be cut to make this reduction.

    Thatcher supported tax cuts by selling off state owned industries- even the profitable ones.  Now there are none of the big ticket items to sell the British have to face an uncomfortable question- raise taxes or cut public service.

  8. TAFKA: It seems to me that Conservatives and the more extreme Libertarians are all just fine with government intervention in things like building and maintaining commerce and transportation infrastructure, and the enforcement of laws (as long as they don’t infringe on their “freedom”), but propose anything that doesn’t on the surface appear to benefit their precious wallets, and watch out.  You can’t do that!

    The maybe the real solution is to find a way to make it benefit their wallets.

    Is it possible that the high cost of health care could be reduced by moving it from private enterprise (where the end goal is profit) to public service (where the end goal is the public welfare)? Would malpractice still be the cost enabler that it is under such a system?

    If the cost of government run health care could be reduced to a figure (per person) lower than what most wealthy or middle class folks are currently paying for their insurance, wouldn’t that remove the one real arguement from the equation?

    Just a thought.

  9. LH: They constantly go on about Public Bad, Private Good, because it suits their (the owners) ends to have a low tax economy- they are billionaires, so don’t need to worry.  They then tell their readers that a low tax economy will suit them, when in most cases only the rich are rewarded.

    That does make sense, in terms of why The Sun takes the stance it does, and the pressure is both political and economic with the media. I wonder why people as rich as murdoch (or gates) bother working, they must just enjoy it because by this point it probably won’t affect their lifestyle. Anyway, I bet government prefers having a few super-rich rather than many medium because of the inheritance tax.

    KPG: The maybe the real solution is to find a way to make it benefit their wallets

    Agreed, the most direct and certain benefit

  10. *Applause*

    Well spoken, Les.  Conservatism has nothing to do with compassion and everything to do with holding on to whatever you’ve got, screw the rest of the world.

  11. If the cost of government run health care could be reduced to a figure (per person) lower than what most wealthy or middle class folks are currently paying for their insurance, wouldn’t that remove the one real arguement from the equation?

    I agree. However, there’s another argument in the equation: the health care industry currently makes ungodly gobs of money off the current system.  A national health care plan would no doubt reduce overall profits since there would be probably be better price regulations on things like drugs and hospital costs.  Unless the federal government were to subsidize the difference (I’m not even sure how that would be calculated) I can’t see the industry not doing everything in their power to prevent nationalized medicine from being passed. 

    Given how responsive Congress is to their constituency, I’d think it would take a national referendum to get national health care passed into law.  Anybody know how we can get that sort of thing going?

  12. One of the reasons is why there are reletively few purely private doctors in the UK, most, even the richest, consultants do NHS work.  The reason is they get free training with the NHS- their skills stay up to date in return for doing a few hours a week for the state. 

    Hospital waiting lists are full of people who have been told they have to wait ‘x’ months to see Dr Y, but if they go private, they can see him next week.  One can only wonder if we moved to a purely private system what would happen to the private practice waiting lists.

    A more direct answer to KPG’s question is that universal healthcare tends to be, well universal, and the state treat people that would be rejected under a insurance system- the mentally ill, the seriously ill, the terminally ill.  This pushes the price per head up.

    What the private sector does here is cherry pick.

    (the following numbers are to keep the maths simple, but the principle is sound)

    A Health Care Trust (local hospital, GPs etc) treats 1,000 people, on a budget of £1,000,000.  The government moves 100 of those people to a private health care clinic who has bid £600 per patient for a certain proceedure, picking up the bill. It says 100 out of 1,000 – 10% of the patients the hospital no longer has to treat, so it reduces the budget by £100,000. The clinic gets £60,000, and the government crows it has saved the hard working people of Britain £40,000. No losers right?

    BUT the Clinic only bids on easy and quick work- cataracts is a favourite. They can do this for £300 per patient, so they make their profit.

    The thing is the Trust was actually only spending £250 per cataract- it does not have the overheads that a private company does (loans to public bodies are cheaper, they don’t have the same taxes- its all public money- they have ecomomies of scale, etc) The £750 ‘profit’ was being used to subsidised the Psych hospital which costs £1,500 per patient. It has now lost 10% of its income, but only 2.5% of its outgoings…

    EVEN IF (as the “Right” argue due to public sector screw up) its costs were equal to what the private clinic charges, it has still suffered a net loss per remaining patient.  However because of the factors mentioned above, plus there is no need for a profit margin, the public sector often outperforms the private sector.

  13. Yep.  Must be simple greed.  No other possible explanation.  None of those tens of millions of conservatives could possibly have a different philosphical take on the world which would explain their position on health care.

    Just dismiss all contrarian views as being sourced in distasteful personal characteristics and no more messy discourse and debate!

    And on a completely unrelated note, Les, you going to Thunder over Michigan?  Catching my flight out of Idaho tomorrow morning to attend.  Mitchels good.

  14. In Oz we have a free health which entails your non choice of doctor (first available doctor) and no private rooms (being in shared wards) in hospital but at least the underprivileged among us have access to health care.

    If an alien came to the planet and learnt our richest nation did NOT have universal health care I’m sure he would be as gob smacked as I was when I found out.

    It reminds me of a TV show I saw recently about the Capital Punishment – an Australian working over there trying to save some suckers on Death Row explained it thus: those with-OUT the Capital get the Punishment.

    USian ideas of Capitalism and Freedom are all at the expense of protection of the weakest among you.

    I’m not surprised at Consi’s statement – he believes in the Meritocracy/Plutocracy form of government as opposed to anything that may smell of Socialism let alone Social Justice.
    I’m alright, Jack; fuck you.

  15. Who is Consi? Seriously, I don’t know who you’re talking about.

    The quoted comment is probably the one of the dumbest on the subject I have ever read. Especially as fewer and fewer employers in this country are providing health care, let alone fully paid health care.

    We have health care (we pay $815 per month for two people for basic coverage), but we still can’t afford to get sick as there are co-pays and deductibles on top of our monthly premium. My husband just had emergency open heart surgery six weeks ago and it’s going to take us a long, long time to climb out of the financial hole we’re in due to the co-pays and deductibles.

    And there are other insurance plans that pay everything but 10%. If you end up in the hospital with a heart attack or need a bypass, you’ll find that the reasonable-sounding 10% amounts to nearly $20,000 for basic surgery with no complications.

    Go see Sicko. Go ahead, see it, shoot it full of holes. Then tell me how many people in Canada or Great Britain die on the ER floor because they don’t have health insurance, or get dumped on the street for not being able to pay the medical bill, or avoid getting the care they need because they can’t afford it.

    Did you know that hospitals bill at two different rates for the same procedures? There’s one rate if you’re insured, and another rate, three to four times higher, if you’re not insured.

    I firmly believe that voting for any candidate at any level of government who is not pushing for national health care is moronic. Just take a gun and shoot yourself in the foot—that’s how dumb that is.

    You know there is a health care crisis when the Republican governor of the richest (per capita) state in the country (Connecticut, where I live) is pushing for universal health care.

    (Sorry, this entry just pushed my rant button big time!)

  16. Yep.  Must be simple greed.  No other possible explanation.  None of those tens of millions of conservatives could possibly have a different philosphical take on the world which would explain their position on health care.

    Just dismiss all contrarian views as being sourced in distasteful personal characteristics and no more messy discourse and debate!

    Perhaps you would like to explain the contrarian view(s) instead of just dismissing the explanation I gave as well?  I’m sure there are other reasons, but is it not valid for me to believe that greed IS a major motivator?  If not, please explain why not, I was simply going off of observable reality, not polling the Conservative base, but I’d appreciate if you would enlighten me.  I’m not being sarcastic here.

  17. When I lived in California, I couldn’t afford health care most of the time.  Here in Austria, my health and retirement payments are relatively expensive (since I’m self-employed) at around $275 a month.  But they cover just about everything, for the whole family (although my posslq is also automatically insured, as she’s a civil servant).  We do now have to pay the first €5 of prescriptions, but that’s about it.

    Isn’t it blindingly obvious that it’s better to have workable universal healthcare than to have expensive secondrate plans, where most of the money goes to corporate profits and litigation?  Not that Austria, and Great Britain, and Australia, and Canada, don’t have problems with healthcare.  But with all its warts, it’s still better and cheaper here.  Conservative opposition to universal healthcare is, as Sean said, based only on greed.

  18. All the other comments aside, I want to know where the guest of honor is on this.  Les goes through all the trouble of throwing a party, and we get a no show.  I am disappointed.

  19. Who is Consi?

    Consi is “Consigliere”, a frequent commenter on this weblog.  He is known for exacting argument unless he’s losing, in which case I don’t think it’s unfair to say his modus operandi is side-stepping questions.  The comment Les is responding to is from this thread about Paris Hilton, which drifted into a discussion of health care, wealth, etc.

    Don’t worry, he’ll make an appearance.

  20. Sean, I’m all up for debate, but it certainly looks like an issue of greed from where I’m standing. That’s based primarily on statements I’ve heard first hand from conservatives about why universal health care is a bad thing.

    I only singled out Consi in this entry because it was his comment that set me off on this little rant, but the sentiments he expressed tend to be echoed more often than not by other conservatives I’ve spoken to. I’m sure there are plenty of conservatives out there with differing philosophies about why universal health care is a bad thing, but when it comes to the well being of people I’m less concerned with philosophy than I am with pragmatism. The number of uninsured Americans has been fluctuating for the past couple of years, but it increased back up by another 2 million last year according to this CDC news item and currently stands at around 43.6 million people. The largest increase was in adults 18 – 64. The one good bit of news is that the number of uninsured children dropped by about 3 million between 1997 and 2006.

    Incidentally, I have a dentist appointment for 11AM tomorrow. I’m only going in for the exam and an x-ray, just to find out what the problem is, and that’s going to cost me $83. My dentist doesn’t do monthly payments anymore because with the State’s economy being what it is they have hundreds of people who have left them holding the bag. Instead they offer to sign people up for something called CareCredit after which they’ll pay the interest for the first year. Looking at their site it appears they’re a specialized form of credit card with similar rates:

    Standard card agreement terms apply to non-promo purchases and existing accounts.  As of September 15, 2006 variable APR is 22.98% and variable delinquency APR of 28.99% applies if the minimum payment not made by payment due date, payment not honored or credit line exceeded. Minimum finance charge is $1.50. Subject to credit approval by GE Money Bank.

    And here I’ve been avoiding credit cards so as not to get my ass into trouble. Great.

  21. Something I read a month or two ago: As an uninsured, you can often negotiate deeply discounted rates with a doctor, because it’s still more than what they’d get from an insurance. I’ve seen ads for special-purpose credit and other discount cards in some local offices, too.

    Good luck with your tooth.

  22. Elwedriddsche wrote:

    As an uninsured, you can often negotiate deeply discounted rates with a doctor, because it’s still more than what they’d get from an insurance.

    And is this supposed to be okay? That the uninsured have to pay more for health care than the insured?

  23. With the way having to pay for employees’ health insurance is costing big businesses, (GM being the most famous example), which places them at a competitive disadvantage with foreign rivals, I’m surprised more of our captains of industry haven’t come out for revamping the health care system.

    Granted some things will definitely have to change (tort reform obviously, and other countries won’t be able to mooch off American customers paying R&D;costs for drugs), but things are failing as is without change.

  24. (neurotwitch) And is this supposed to be okay? That the uninsured have to pay more for health care than the insured?

    Allegedly doctors will negotiate deeply discounted rates, because these rates still exceed what the insurances would pay the doctors.

    Whether you like it or not, absent a system of universal health care (and universal insurance), it follows that an uninsured pays more out of pocket than he or she would as an insured. It’s not a question of being okay or not, but a simple question of math.

    Affordability, eligibility, cost, coverage, and insured out-of-pocket expenses of health insurance are questions that are amenable to “okay/not okay” answers.

  25. As a sucker in a $9-an-hour job, I have no insurance and the national health care systems some other countries have are enviable.  But we went from no income tax to (at least) 30% in about 95 years.  This country functioned with no income tax for 130+ years.  I think we need to see a major income tax reform, a removal of all the pork and a majority of the subsidies, before or at least at the same time as a national health care implementation.

  26. The governator of Kahl-ee-fornia has concluded it actually saves the government to have some form of health coverage for the poor.  He’s a pretty hard-headed guy.  So it isn’t a matter of more government spending, just smarter spending.

  27. Bahamat said

    Anyway, I bet government prefers having a few super-rich rather than many medium because of the inheritance tax.

    You should go into stand up, no really, that’s so funn… oh you’re serious.  You think the super-rich pay tax? Two words

    Cayman Islands.

    Have just done the maths on the “Basic for 2” quoted above.  If I paid NO direct tax then I could ‘just’ afford that ‘basic’ cover.  Course, there would be an awful lot of unemployed policemen, soldiers firefighters etc, as there would be very little money to pay them, what with half the Treasury income disappearing…

  28. Les:

    Was out of town for the 4th and went to bed early last night because I was tired from traveling during the wee hours of the morning to make it back in from work.  I’ll post a response in full either late tonight or early tomorrow.

    I understand that the issue is a personal one for you, but I did want to ask you to think about this:

    Consi’s position seems to be one of: “Sucks to be you. I got mine and that’s all that matters to me.”

    There are a whole lot of suppositions in there I’d ask you to think about before I post up a response.

  29. I take it back.  The Conservative bottom line is, “Why can’t everyone be like me?”

    You can dress it up as “values,” “expecting everyone to live up to their potential,” etc. etc. but that’s how it winds up. 

    You can’t afford healthcare?  Why aren’t you rich, like me?  Why don’t you have family in a good place to live so that you can have a good job?  Or why don’t you ditch your family and move somewhere else?  (Family values, don’tcha know.)  Why didn’t you go into my line of work, which makes a lot more money than your line of work?  What’s wrong with you?

    The willful blindness of some people just amazes me.  Along with the hypocrisy.

    FWIW, I’m in a similar boat, Les.  I’m living where I am because I made a commitment to take care of my aging and ill parents until they don’t need me any more.  Regardless of how the economy is going, regardless of how much money I could be making if I went back to my pre-family career, I’m here.  And a $1,000 out-of-pocket medical bill hurts me way more than it hurts someone making double my salary with no dependents.  Why this is supposed to be my fault is beyond me.

  30. In posting this up, the subject line seems to suggest a desire for a conversation between us.  I’m more than willing to engage in that conversation, but that is often times difficult to do here.  The reason being that there are multiple posts of varying value between the replies.  If you do want a conversation to take place, I’m asking you to so state.  If you so state, I’d like to ask your other members to show the courtesy and restraint necessary to allow the conversation to take place by not flooding the thread.

    Finally, you know more about me than most because you are a member at another internet site that allows you to read posts made by me that are not viewable by most folks.  Whether you have or not, I don’t know.  There is information contained in those posts that relate tangentially to health care and health care issues.  Although that information might be helpful for my position here, I’d ask that you allow me to maintain my privacy by not injecting information from those posts into our conversation here.  You are certainly not bound by the request, but it would be appreciated by me.

  31. So many words, and yet, so little actual content.

    Previous post.

    “If you want to talk about this, Les, everyone else should shut up.”

    Oh, and btw, conservative politics for the most part disgusts me.  The extra bonus of making someone else’s shiftless the author of all their problems is not having to lift a finger to change anything. 

    How nice.  For some.

  32. selkie you are exactly what Consi was talking about.  If you want any chance to learn how the other side thinks on this issue, (and here’s my naive side showing) or any chance at showing them the other side, then shut the fuck up you are not helping at all.  To put it nicely…

    I for one am interested in what Consi has to say and would engage him in a conversation.

  33. Webs, Selkie said stuff not dissimilar to what you and I and others have said from time to time, stated in very economical language.  Chill out.

  34. Sorry, but I was envisioning this turning into a “Come One Come All to Bash Consi Thread”…

  35. I don’t want this to turn into a bash Consi thread either. Despite our disagreements over various issues I have more than a little respect him just the same.

    Consi writes…

    There are a whole lot of suppositions in there I’d ask you to think about before I post up a response.

    I fully admit its a supposition which is exactly why I said it seems to be your position. That’s the impression I took away from your comment.

    In posting this up, the subject line seems to suggest a desire for a conversation between us.  I’m more than willing to engage in that conversation, but that is often times difficult to do here.  The reason being that there are multiple posts of varying value between the replies.  If you do want a conversation to take place, I’m asking you to so state.  If you so state, I’d like to ask your other members to show the courtesy and restraint necessary to allow the conversation to take place by not flooding the thread.

    It was a rant with the primary purpose of blowing off steam. I don’t know how much of a conversation there is to have on the issue because, to be perfectly honest, I’m not smart enough to figure out what a universal health care system should look like or how it should be implemented. All I do know is that we’re the only post-industrial nation without one and as such we have plenty of examples to pick and choose the best parts from as well as examples of the pitfalls we should try to avoid in our system.

    If you wish to state your viewpoint on the issue I’d love to hear it. If for no other reason than you’re notoriously difficult to get you to state your actual position on a topic. I will try to have a discussion with you, but I suspect I’ll do a poor job of it as previously stated.

    Finally, you know more about me than most because you are a member at another internet site that allows you to read posts made by me that are not viewable by most folks.  Whether you have or not, I don’t know.  There is information contained in those posts that relate tangentially to health care and health care issues.  Although that information might be helpful for my position here, I’d ask that you allow me to maintain my privacy by not injecting information from those posts into our conversation here.  You are certainly not bound by the request, but it would be appreciated by me.

    I must confess that I’m not entirely sure what you’re talking about here. Not to say you’re wrong, but if I am a member of such a website I can’t recall at the moment which one it is or if I even read it regularly. I’ve seen you pop up on some of the other blogs I visit regularly (usually blogs of SEB regulars), but I can’t recall reading anything you’ve said that was beyond the purview of the general public. Send me an email with a reminder as to what site in particular you’re talking about and I will honor your request as I sincerely cannot think of what it might be at the moment.

  36. selkie you are exactly what Consi was talking about.  If you want any chance to learn how the other side thinks on this issue, (and here’s my naive side showing) or any chance at showing them the other side, then shut the fuck up you are not helping at all.  To put it nicely…

    Now there’s a way to raise the tone of a discussion.  Telling someone who very, very rarely posts to ‘shut the fuck up’.  What’s next for you, neener, neener?

  37. Selkie, Webs just wants to hear Consi’s thoughts on this issue. He’s one of the few conservative voices hear and he’s a mostly rational one at that. It’s a rare opportunity to get a conservative view without the ridiculous tirades and crayon scribblings you get from most of the right wing.

    Consi has stated that he’ll only get into this conversation with Les if the rest of us sit back and don’t cloud the thread up.

    I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request, and I’ll be happy to follow it. (following this explanatory note, of course, for which I’m sure Consi will forgive me….)

  38. Les:

    First off, let me address this:

    Consi’s position seems to be one of: “Sucks to be you. I got mine and that’s all that matters to me.”

    For the record, I don’t have health insurance.  I’ve not had health insurance for over a year.  So the I got mine part sucks to be you is not very close to the truth when it comes to the actual circumstances. I’m one who doesn’t have health care at the moment, yet thinks it is a piss poor idea to make it an entitlement.

    Obviously that begs the question why would someone without healthcare not think it is a good idea to give me mine?  The answer is a simple one.  I made choices which did not provide health care. 

    Very simply put, because I made the choices I made does not mean that you or the rest of the country should have to subsidize my choices no matter how noble or ignoble the choices were.  I don’t have the right to hoist onto others financial responsibility for that which is mine. 

    Providing health care coverage for myself or my significant other, same sex or otherwise, is my responsibility.  I truly don’t understand, no matter how sympathetic the fact pattern may be, how that responsibility gets shifted onto someone else.  I don’t understand why under any circumstances it should.

    My statement about not being talented enough or willing to move holds true with you Les.  I don’t mean that to be a denigration of your choice.  I just mean it to be a statement of fact about the choice that you have made.

    I’m happy that you want to be part of some type of recovery that may or may not take place in Michigan.  It is both noble and as you put it quaint.  Nevertheless, I find no reason that your decision to be part of a recovery in Michigan that may or may not happen is reason to foist onto an aging couple in North Dakota an increased tax burden to subsidize that choice. 

    If that were the case, how do we draw the line about what are good decisions that should be subsidized and what are just plain head up the ass decisions that should not be rewarded?  That’s a call I don’t want to make and I don’t want head up the ass decisions rewarded either.  With universal health care it seems to me that the only option is to reward the head up the ass decisions so that a government bureaucrat is not the one making the call and creating more head up the ass decisions with their judgment calls.

    So, if we go your route we now reward head up the ass decisions.  We then must decide as well where to draw the line about what appropriate care is exactly.  Tough, tough decisions.  Life and death decisions in fact.

    Imagine if you will that my mom has kidney cancer that has consumed most of her kidneys. Theoretically speaking, I could donate to her a kidney and prolong her life.  Practically speaking, it doesn’t work well because the immunosuppresant drugs that one takes following the transplant allows the cancer to throw a big ongoing party in my mom’s body.  So, do we (you and I since we are the people and thereby the government) decide that mom dies from cancer 2 months from now or do we foot the bill for a quarter of a million dollars and say mom gets 4 months?  Which is it my friend?  When exactly do you want my mom to die?

    Those aren’t decisions I want you to make.  Those aren’t decisions I want the American public to make for me.  Those aren’t decisions that you should have to make for me.  They are mine.  If the contract that my mom entered doesn’t grant her another 2 months then I need to figure out how to make that happen if I want it to.  I need not be burdened with the fact that you killed my mom with a cost-effective policy choice to ration health care.

    Never do I want the decisions about health of anyone to be based on the rationing of services.  I can’t think of anything worse in fact.

    So, there you have my position in a nutshell.  Is it inhumane?  I don’t see it that way. Do you?

  39. Les,

    I wanted to follow up on one point this morning.  It may not be clear why I find the denial of services by a public health care system more problematic than say a denial by an insurance provider.  Why am I more bothered by one than the other?

    I know well what benefits and burdens exist under a contract that I enter.  When health care is changed to an entitlement, that changes.  Not only do I not want you to tell me when you think my mom should die in the hypothetical, I don’t want to tell you either.

    In fact, I doubt I could if it was you in the hypothetical situation.  If it was my decision I would want all medical treatment options available for your mom.  I couldn’t fathom the thought of you not having the option to provide her with additional time. 

    Yet, that is not what would happen.  We would have to draw the line.  I don’t want to draw that line.  I want no responsibility for that line, because I’m not good at drawing lines.  Sympathetic facts move me. 

    The obvious difference with private health care in the hypothetical is that my mom chose the lines to draw by her choice of insurance coverage. You and I aren’t responsibility for that.  Each individual is.

    I’m not certain if the distinction matters to you, but I know it does to me.

  40. Consi, I doubt any of us would expose personal information you had posted elsewhere in a restricted area.  You’re a smart guy; you know what arguments I myself would probably make using it anyway.  Your conscience is your business.

    Let’s just not confuse the two situations of having money but no health insurance, and having no money OR health insurance, shall we?

    The obvious difference with private health care in the hypothetical is that my mom chose the lines to draw by her choice of insurance coverage.

    This is so amazingly obtuse it takes my breath away.  Your choice of insurance coverage is whatever you can afford, NOT your choice of treatment lines to draw in the sand.

    I don’t see any difference between an “entitlement” (as you put it) and a private contract.  The former is a contract between the public and the government it voted for.  Either way, someone will be reviewing claims and drawing lines, and either way, if you have money go out on your own to get additional treatment, yay for you; if you don’t, sucks to be you.

    The BIG difference is that more people who aren’t you, don’t live as you do, and don’t live where you do would still be able to get affordable health care.  Your answer still boils down to, “Why can’t everyone be like me?”

  41. I have to admit that GM pretty much nailed my first thoughts on reading your reply.

    In the entirety of my career I’ve had exactly one company where I had any kind of a choice as to what kind of health care I could sign up for. That company was the contract house I worked for when I was at Ford Motor Company and they had a grand total of four different plans from two different companies for medical insurance. Two from HAP and two from

    BlueCross/BlueShield.  As far as Dental and Optical insurance they only offered one option for each so there was no choice involved there. This is the only company I’ve ever worked for where I had any real choice with regards to the insurance coverage I got other than the most obvious choice of “can I afford to sign up for it and still put food on the table.”

    At the height of my career I wouldn’t have been able to afford to drop the coverage provided and go out and find my own insurance company to try start a contract with as they generally don’t want to deal in individual contracts so they make it unaffordable to do so. They’d much rather lock in an entire company all at once if they can manage it. You tell me how this is any real kind of a choice at all?

    We would have to draw the line.  I don’t want to draw that line.  I want no responsibility for that line, because I’m not good at drawing lines/

    I fail to see how this is any different than letting a private insurance company draw the line. Especially considering how with the private insurance companies they can decide to shift where they draw those lines on a whim for no reason other than to improve their profits.

    You’d rather let an organization who’s sole motivation is the bottom line draw the lines as opposed to an organization that’s trying to do the most good for the most people?

    You offer the following as an attempt at explanation:

    The obvious difference with private health care in the hypothetical is that my mom chose the lines to draw by her choice of insurance coverage. You and I aren’t responsibility for that.  Each individual is.

    Again I ask, did she really have a choice in the issue? I suspect she didn’t. She has what she has because it’s all that’s offered that she can afford given her existing circumstances.  If you actually had a choice in the matter I suspect you’d choose to have insurance coverage. I know I would as I have two other people I’m responsible for. My only choice at the moment is have the insurance and not afford to eat or not have the insurance and not afford to go to the doctor when my family needs to. That’s a helluva choice.

  42. I’ve opened up a peanut gallery for those of us who want to discuss universal health coverage in our crude way, without flooding this thread with comments of varying value.  We’ll try not to be too loud so as not to distract Consi.

    Selike, Webs, Theo, et al, are invited.  Popcorn and sodas are allowed…  smile

  43. The…difference is that more people who aren’t you, don’t live as you do, and don’t live where you do would still be able to get affordable health care.

    You mean free. 

    Those people not like me, who don’t live as I do or where I do?  Who are these people that you reference?  Let’s break down the uninsured population though to find out who these people are:

    According to the US Census Bureau, 17 million of those without health insurance live in households having over $50,000 in annual income. That’s 38% of the uninsured in America. (See table 8 here
    If we look even further we will find that 9 million or 20% of the uninsured – reside in households pulling down more than $75K a year. 

    So of the 45 million those that make more than 50k a year but don’t have health insurance account for 17 million.  All of us in this group are more than capable of getting health insurance.  So we obviously have chosen not to.  That means the number of uninsured is realistically more like 28 million, or is it?

    Well, the Actuarial Research Corporation (ARC) estimates that about 14 million people are reachable through Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs.  Approximately 9 million of those were actually enrolled but undercounted by the Census Bureau which readily admits this. 

    So 28 million minus 14 million leaves us 14 million uninsured, not 45 million. 

    What you propose to do GM is take a system that is covering the overwhelming majority of Americans with the best health care in the world and changing that to a rationed system for 14 million people. 

    The reason that we do this is why again? 

    Les, I know if you moved you would be employed more readily, at a higher pay scale, and with health insurance, if that is what you would choose to do.  You have to much talent not to be.  Why is it that others should be burdened by your decision to live in Michigan?

    Just as baffling, why should you be forced to pay for my decision to not work for a year?  How on earth did my decisions ever become your responsibility?  What did you ever do to become responsible for my choices? 

    GM points out that there is a difference between having money and no insurance, but having made the choice to not work for a year, why should I be entitled to receive health insurance from the sweat of your brow?  What did the aging couple on a fixed income in North Dakota ever do to become responsible for my choices?  Nothing I tell you.  Nothing. 

    With the numbers broken down, clearly the working and uninsured are but a small percentage of the population and with evidence that those percentages contain such talented people as yourself Les, someone who could find a job that gives him insurance should he choose to do so, I fail to see a health care crisis. 

    I do see a crisis about what treatment options are available to the vast majority of hard working Americans that bust their ass (obviously these are the people not like me) for a loaf of bread,  some bologna, a jug of milk and the right to choose their own paths, should GM get to implement her rocking social policy.

    By the way, that universal coverage, that covers that gang banger who killed a couple of teens last week and didn’t get caught.  Poor soul got a touch of the flu and praise be to GM’s sensitivity and inclusiveness of all head up the ass decision makers, because that universal care it covered him straight up.  The kicker, the grieving families tax dollars helped to pay the bill.

    Rock on GM.  Rock on girl.

  44. Consi writes…

    So 28 million minus 14 million leaves us 14 million uninsured, not 45 million.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that your claims as to the actual number of uninsured people are correct, does that mean that 14 million people not being able to get decent health care is perfectly OK with you? I thought you didn’t want to draw lines in the sand and yet you appear to be saying that this isn’t a crisis because it’s “only” 14 million people. Honestly, I think it’s a travesty if there’s a single person who can’t get decent health care. How many millions of people does it have to be before it becomes a crisis to you, Consi? You would seem to have a number in mind so, com’on, draw that line for us. At what number would it become unacceptable to you?

    Les, I know if you moved you would be employed more readily, at a higher pay scale, and with health insurance, if that is what you would choose to do.  You have to much talent not to be.  Why is it that others should be burdened by your decision to live in Michigan?

    Why should I be burdened with paying for an illegitimate war, Consi? It’s not my fault half the population voted a war mongering moron into office. You can argue that my taxes go to pay for the military to benefit the greater good and that’s exactly the same argument I’d use in defense of universal health care.

    Do you really think that you don’t foot the bill for the uninsured? Who do you think they stiff for the bill when the uninsured turn up at the emergency room because they’re so sick they have no other choice and they have no chance of repaying the bill? If they wait until the condition is life-threatening they cannot be legally turned away. Had my cousin realized how sick she was she could have gone to the hospital and would have to be admitted by law for treatment.

    According to the National Coalition on Health Care hospitals spend $34 billion worth of uncompensated care a year. Who do you think they pass those costs off to in the form of more expensive care? The uninsured are 30 to 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized for an avoidable condition, with the average cost of an avoidable hospital stay estimated to be about $3,300. Who do you think ends up paying for what could’ve been avoided? Not to mention that because the uninsured increasingly rely on Emergency Room services for care that A) the cost is higher than it would’ve been had they been able to visit a doctor and B) they take up ER space reducing the resources available to people with non-avoidable emergencies.

    If you think we’re not already burdened with paying for the health care of others then you are sadly misinformed.

    Just as baffling, why should you be forced to pay for my decision to not work for a year?  How on earth did my decisions ever become your responsibility?  What did you ever do to become responsible for my choices?

    Who said anything about paying for your decision not to work for the year? All I’m offering is paying to keep you as healthy as possible. You’re still going to have to find a way to put food on the table. Maybe I’m just too nice a guy, but I think letting you visit the doctor every now and then so you’re not jamming up the ER once you catch something life threatening is the right thing to do even if you tend to hold opposing political views.

    GM points out that there is a difference between having money and no insurance, but having made the choice to not work for a year, why should I be entitled to receive health insurance from the sweat of your brow?  What did the aging couple on a fixed income in North Dakota ever do to become responsible for my choices?  Nothing I tell you.  Nothing.

    Because it’s cheaper than the alternative. Because you’re part of the same society and things work out better when we try to help each other to get along. Because if you’re not worried about health care then you can do whatever it is you need to do to become a productive member of society. Simply because you can go to the doctor doesn’t mean you can afford to kick back for the rest of your life.

    With the numbers broken down, clearly the working and uninsured are but a small percentage of the population and with evidence that those percentages contain such talented people as yourself Les, someone who could find a job that gives him insurance should he choose to do so, I fail to see a health care crisis.

    So again I ask you to draw that line you claim to be unwilling to draw: How many millions of people would it take before you considered it a crisis? How many lives have to be impacted before it’s worth doing something about?

    And even if I move to another state and land a job with decent insurance, how much of a choice do I really have in what’s offered to me? How many companies offer more than a couple of choices? How much money do you have to earn before you can truly be said to have a choice in the matter? I can tell you it’s a lot more than the $72K I was making a few years ago.

    I do see a crisis about what treatment options are available to the vast majority of hard working Americans that bust their ass (obviously these are the people not like me) for a loaf of bread, some bologna, a jug of milk and the right to choose their own paths, should GM get to implement her rocking social policy.

    And you’re absolutely certain that said rationing is the only possible outcome of universal health care? Assuming it’s the only inevitable outcome for the moment I again have to ask how that’s different than a private insurance company denying someone life-saving treatment because it would impact their bottom line? You’re OK with a company deciding it’s too expensive to treat you, but have a problem with the possibility that the government may not have the money to do it?

    By the way, that universal coverage, that covers that gang banger who killed a couple of teens last week and didn’t get caught.  Poor soul got a touch of the flu and praise be to GM’s sensitivity and inclusiveness of all head up the ass decision makers, because that universal care it covered him straight up.  The kicker, the grieving families tax dollars helped to pay the bill.

    For someone who didn’t want to draw lines in the sand you seem to be furiously scribbling away. So no free health care for gang bangers? OK, I can see a lot of folks getting behind that one. As long as we’re going to start tossing morality behind it then I suppose we’ll have to deny VD treatment to anyone who’s an adulterer. Wouldn’t want someone clearing up their syphilis when it’s a potential means of their spouse finding out about their infidelity! Hell I suppose we’ll have to eliminate coverage for anyone convicted of a major crime unless they turn themselves in and go to jail where they’ll get room and board and free medical treatment. Yeah, that makes sense. Oh! And of course we’ll have to cut out funding AIDs treatment because we all know that only homosexuals and drug uses catch that disease, or people who hang out with homosexuals and drug users so they’re just as bad.

    Hope you’ve got a long stick, you’ve got an awful lot of lines to lay down Consi.

  45. Consi wrote:

    According to the US Census Bureau, 17 million of those without health insurance live in households having over $50,000 in annual income. That’s 38% of the uninsured in America. (See table 8 here If we look even further we will find that 9 million or 20% of the uninsured – reside in households pulling down more than $75K a year.

    The problem with quoting stats is depending upon which statistic you choose you only see a slice of the whole. Like blind men describing an elephant based on where they are touching it.

    To get a true picture of the uninsured in the United States, you need to do a lot of cross-tab work. Such as: Of those earning $50K or more, how many people are there per household? And where do they live? (In Connecticut, one person needs an income of $26,000 per year just to have a roof, food, and transportation—that’s the poverty level here for a family of ONE. Yeah, jobs pay a lot here more than in Michigan, for example, but food costs more and rents are a lot higher, and we pay way more in federal taxes than we ever get back.)

    Also, you have to take a look at the people with insurance: do they have enough? Why are there so many bankruptcies due to medical costs among the insured?

    You also have to take a look at the real costs of health insurance. Above and beyond the monthly premium that individuals or businesses pay, there are co-insurance costs, annual deductibles, time lost from work due to serious illness because co-pays are so high you put off getting something taken care of, the costs of not expanding a business because employers can’t afford to for the insurance, and all of the ripple effects of having a privately funded health care system.

    Think about what it would cost the United States if we decided people are on their own about getting a basic education. Pretty grim, right? Or how about fire fighting—let’s privatize that. Oh, and law enforcement.

    The cost to the United States in not ensuring a basic level of health for all inhabitants is just as grim. Insurance companies spend more per year in finding ways to deny coverage to the insured than it would cost to fund health care for every kid in the country.

    The role of governments is to take care of what a society needs to remain functional. Defense, sanitation, transportation, regulation of commerce, education, law enforcement—and health   care. Every other developed country on the planet recognizes this (democracies, even!)—so what’s our problem?

  46. How many millions of people does it have to be before it becomes a crisis to you, Consi?

    It is not a number, but a different population than what it consists of now.  Les, if you further examine the numbers of who the uninsured are, you fill find that the biggest single bloc are young healthy adults, 18-34 years old, and account for about 40% of uninsured adults.  I’m not extremely troubled by the fact that the largest segment of the uninsured is also the healthiest segment of the population. 

    I’m in favor of decreasing the number of uninsured in this group though.  We simply mandate that all colleges and universities require that their student populations have health care coverage.  It becomes a part of their tuition.  Fewer uninsured and the responsibility for paying for the insurance rests with the recipient of the benefit.

    Why is it that others should be burdened by your decision to live in Michigan?

    Les said: Why should I be burdened with paying for an illegitimate war, Consi?

    What?  How does that answer the question Les?  The question was not about a war or even a reallocation of resources to different spending priorities, which may or may not be where you are going with that.  The question is one about individual responsibility:  Why is it that others should be burdened by your decision to live in Michigan?  You didn’t answer the question that goes to the heart of the matter Les.

    Do you really think that you don’t foot the bill for the uninsured?…Had my cousin realized how sick she was she could have gone to the hospital and would have to be admitted by law for treatment.

    I do realize that.  I said it, most likely poorly in that thread about your cousin.

    All I’m offering is paying to keep you as healthy as possible. You’re still going to have to find a way to put food on the table. Maybe I’m just too nice a guy, but I think letting you visit the doctor every now and then so you’re not jamming up the ER once you catch something life threatening is the right thing to do even if you tend to hold opposing political views.

    You are not offering to keep me as healthy as possible.  You are only offering to pay my medical bills.  If your interest is truly in keeping me as healthy as possible, I see no reason that you wouldn’t also be willing to provide me with a full supply of meat, bread, cheese, vegetables and fruits, along with shelter from the cold and heat. Oh, and a gym membership.  And some mental health counseling to resolve my ongoing crisis of compassion.  You know, so I can be all that I can be by being as healthy as possible. 

    The provision of all of those things would serve to reduce my medical expenses.  They know doubt would make me more productive at work.  I will even bet there are studies that say it is cost-effective in relation to medical expenses to enhance my diet and exercise.  I’m sure providing me with shelter would enhance my healthiness and reduce the medical expenditures that you would face. 

    Do you pony up for food and shelter for me because it is likely that would be a wise decision if you are looking solely at this from a cost-effective perspective?

    Because if you’re not worried about health care then you can do whatever it is you need to do to become a productive member of society.

    Actually, if I’m hungry I’m not going to be all that worried about whether my sniffles are a big deal or not.  Yet, you aren’t offering me bread and milk.  You have specifically excluded the base of the needs pyramid in what you will and won’t provide with the lines that you draw.

    Somehow you have linked health care to productivity on some intuitive level.  Yet, if we look at country by country productivity rates, the country that has no socialized medicine stands pretty tall in that respect.  So, I don’t know how you make the linkage or what the basis for the linkage that you are making is.  What is the basis for the linkage?

    Simply because you can go to the doctor doesn’t mean you can afford to kick back for the rest of your life.

    I didn’t ever say that it did.

    And even if I move to another state and land a job with decent insurance, how much of a choice do I really have in what’s offered to me?

    That is really your decision.  I know people that have chosen a particular job over others on the basis of the health care that was provided.  So, I would say to you, you have as much choice as you decide to have based on the scope of any future search.

    And you’re absolutely certain that said rationing is the only possible outcome of universal health care?

    It is the only outcome I am aware of with respect to socialized medicine.  If you are aware of a different framework, please let me know.

    ou’re OK with a company deciding it’s too expensive to treat you, but have a problem with the possibility that the government may not have the money to do it?

    Not exactly.  This is the distinction that I wanted to draw earlier and I may not have done it well.

    GM can say its all the same.  Someone in a back room is going to make some decisions about where to draw the line.  There is a huge difference though between that someone being the government.  When it is the government, that is you and me.  So, when it comes to where to draw the lines for health care coverage in a socialized medicine setting, it is you and me making those decisions, albeit through proxies. 

    There is no ability to choose a different contract.  It is suddenly one size fits all and you and I are responsible for that size. That is dramatically different in theory, though I admit only marginally so in practice.  Nevertheless, the distinction is important to me.

    So no free health care for gang bangers? OK, I can see a lot of folks getting behind that one. As long as we’re going to start tossing morality behind it then I suppose we’ll have to deny…

    Huh?  I readily admit that I have missed the point you were making.  My point was that GM’s version of “social justice” has results that would seem unjust to nearly everyone.  I was digging at the implicit social justice argument.  I don’t see how you got off onto VD treatment from that point.

    As an aside, all of our laws are based on morality at some level.

  47. Consi writes….

    It is not a number, but a different population than what it consists of now.  Les, if you further examine the numbers of who the uninsured are, you fill find that the biggest single bloc are young healthy adults, 18-34 years old, and account for about 40% of uninsured adults.  I’m not extremely troubled by the fact that the largest segment of the uninsured is also the healthiest segment of the population.

    The point of insuring healthy adults is help them continue to be healthy — that whole preventative versus reactive thing — because once they aren’t healthy it’s a lot more expensive to deal with them.

    But allow me to rephrase the question for you then: How million of unhealthy people does there need to be for you to consider it a crisis?

    I’m in favor of decreasing the number of uninsured in this group though.  We simply mandate that all colleges and universities require that their student populations have health care coverage.  It becomes a part of their tuition.  Fewer uninsured and the responsibility for paying for the insurance rests with the recipient of the benefit.

    You have to be fucking kidding me. Tuition costs have climbed 40% since 2001 and it’s estimated that 200,000 students are priced out of college

    Your solution does nothing to cover folks who don’t go to college and don’t have access to decent health care in their current jobs and the one thing it does accomplish is to ensure that even fewer people can afford to go to school as it is. How does that help?

    What?  How does that answer the question Les? 

    It was answered in the part you chose not to quote.

    The question was not about a war or even a reallocation of resources to different spending priorities, which may or may not be where you are going with that.  The question is one about individual responsibility:  Why is it that others should be burdened by your decision to live in Michigan?  You didn’t answer the question that goes to the heart of the matter Les.

    For the same reason that I’m burdened with paying for an illegitimate war: For the greater good. That’s the part you apparently didn’t bother to read.

    You are not offering to keep me as healthy as possible.  You are only offering to pay my medical bills.  If your interest is truly in keeping me as healthy as possible, I see no reason that you wouldn’t also be willing to provide me with a full supply of meat, bread, cheese, vegetables and fruits, along with shelter from the cold and heat. Oh, and a gym membership.  And some mental health counseling to resolve my ongoing crisis of compassion.  You know, so I can be all that I can be by being as healthy as possible.

    And here I thought you were big on personal responsibility. So it’s an all or nothing proposition with you then? Either we treat you like an infant or you don’t want any help at all? It’s all black or white with you it seems.

    Actually, if I’m hungry I’m not going to be all that worried about whether my sniffles are a big deal or not.

    At least until you’re so sick you can’t get out of bed any longer… If you had the coverage then you wouldn’t need to worry about the sniffles at all.

    Somehow you have linked health care to productivity on some intuitive level.  Yet, if we look at country by country productivity rates, the country that has no socialized medicine stands pretty tall in that respect.

    I’d really love to see something that backs up that claim.

    Regardless I never said having health care makes you productive, I said it allows you to concentrate on being a productive part of society.

    That is really your decision.  I know people that have chosen a particular job over others on the basis of the health care that was provided.  So, I would say to you, you have as much choice as you decide to have based on the scope of any future search.

    You seem to mistakenly think I have a number of job offers to choose from or that I would if I were to move to another state. For a lot of people there isn’t a lot of choice regardless of what job the end up with.

    GM can say its all the same.  Someone in a back room is going to make some decisions about where to draw the line.  There is a huge difference though between that someone being the government.  When it is the government, that is you and me.  So, when it comes to where to draw the lines for health care coverage in a socialized medicine setting, it is you and me making those decisions, albeit through proxies.

    The decisions are being made just the same so once again I’ll ask a simple question: Would you rather the people making the decision are driven by the bottom line or what’s in the best interest of the general good? That’s the only real distinction to be made here.

    There is no ability to choose a different contract.  It is suddenly one size fits all and you and I are responsible for that size. That is dramatically different in theory, though I admit only marginally so in practice.  Nevertheless, the distinction is important to me.

    Who says it has to be one size fits all? Who says that the private insurers have to go out of business? Last I checked the folks at FedEx and UPS are doing a pretty good business despite competition from the likes of the U.S. Postal Service.

    Why can’t the private insurers continue on by offering, I don’t know, something better than what the government offers? If you can afford it then great, but if you can’t then there’s at least some base level of coverage you can count on. Beats nothing at all.

    Huh?  I readily admit that I have missed the point you were making.  My point was that GM’s version of “social justice” has results that would seem unjust to nearly everyone.  I was digging at the implicit social justice argument.  I don’t see how you got off onto VD treatment from that point.

    Your implication seemed to be that one of the problems you had with universal health care was the fact that “bad people” would be able to use it too. Bad people send their kids to publicly funded schools and drive on publicly funded roads and sometimes commit crimes in public funded parks, I suppose we should drop all of those as well for fear that bad people would benefit from them?

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