Saturday, March 20, 2010

Health Insurance Reform

I wish one of the "No!" votes on today's scheduled insurance reform could explain why this sort of begging, seen in a Key West window is okay?

I am child-free and glad to stay that way but I do not understand why it is okay to live in a country where parents cannot afford treatment for their children. We have, the Republicans tell us, a health care system that foreign kings and presidents choose to use, it is that good. Which leaves one wondering what the rest of us are supposed to do.

As glad as I am that some sort of reform appears to be coming at last, I remain committed to the notion that Medicare for all is the best, most efficient way to go, and let the foreign potentates and banksters buy private insurance so that even in illness they can be apart from the rest of us plebs.


Anonymous said...

Does this healthcare "reform" plan you're hoping for, require the confiscation of any one else's property or freedom of choice?

Thought so.

Conchscooter said...

How much property would you give up to save a five year old's life?

Thought so.

Anonymous said...

Now that we've determined the use of force by the central gov't to confiscate private property is "desireable" - then the amount taken is simply a matter of how big of a gun / how much force is applied... and how much you can grab before it flees to safety. I'm glad you have more faith in the "elected gov't" holding that force than I do.

Would a structure that rewards voluntary altruism be desireable?... or a system that gives control over your body and private property to the "public servants" in D.C. be better.

Thought so.

Danette said...

Conchscooter never stated any kind of approval of the government confiscating private property. You're putting words into his mouth to justify your own selfishness and idiocy.

But "Anonymous" speaks the true language of the bible thumper/ right wing nutter waiting for Armageddon or the second coming (depending on whether they are a pre-trib, mid-trib pre-millennialist or post.) He or she may not even be fully aware of the names I am using, but the attitude is reflective of the fire and brimstone pastors of our not-forgotten-but-I-wish-we-could-forget past. They believe that the government is an evil human institution and we're only steps away from appointing the Antichrist. They believe the end is coming and they're going to drag us all down right to the end of the world whether we like it or not. Unfortunately they will find that they don't wind up Rapturing away from the rest of us (more's the pity)- they will be in hell with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Someone who asks for individual liberty, freedom of choice, and the protection of personal property is.. let me re-read here...

1) Selfish
2) An idiot
3) A bible thumper
4) Right wing nutter
5) A millenialist
6) Going to hell...

Which is a sad commentary on the level of intelligent discussion today.

The last post sums up my abject fear of putting our fate in the hands of such "civil minded" individuals better than I ever could.

Do their words sound more like those of James Madison - or Carl Marx?

Conchscooter said...

Health care for your neighbors is not a bad thing. It's not bad public policy, it's good even for the budget as our current system is absurdly costly.
To equate health insurance for all with a government take over of private property is not thoughtful.
There is much to be concerned about- the Patriot Act for one enacted by President Bush and supported by President Obama.
President Obama is the object of vicious personal attacks with a racist component that deserves the strong condemnation levelled here at health insurance reform.
Theproblem for us on the left is that the religious right has hijacked thoughtful commentary from the Republican Party and it's impossible to have intelligent debate with someone who thinks they are the inspired word of God.
So, if President Obama's reforms are not the correct reforms, which are? Because reform there must be. The five year old kid deserves cancer treatments whether or not her parents were able or willing to give her coverage.
If we are to limit insurance companies ability to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions we have to expand the pool of covered persons to give the corporations a profit margin.
Therefore one comes with the other.
If you want intelligent debate you'll get it. Just avoid an opening gambit such as the one presented here in the first comment. That anonymous person got as good as they gave and sounded like 1 thru 6 to me (and Danette apparently).

Anonymous said...

In reading this dialogue, where does "anonymous" say that health care for a 5 year old is a bad thing? I don't see it.

Where do they even mention religion? ...or resort to personal attacks? Only the respondents dip into such vitriol.

If this is the reply to a simple request of freedom, we're doomed.

Danette said...

To be fair, I did give anonymous the choice of either being a Bible thumper OR a rightwing nutter. That makes the count five.

And I am an atheist. I don't believe in hell. But our planet will most definitely be a living hell if we keep on the way we are. And we'll all be in it together. So that may take the "attack" down to four.

Finally, Anonymous doesn't seem to deny that she put words into the mouth of Conchscooter in the first place- leaping across the canyon of giving healthcare to a five-year-old to "we've determined the use of force by the central gov't to confiscate private property is "desireable"" in other words- "you sir, are a communist!" which is what the right does when they want to control the argument.

This was never an "intelligent discussion" - it was an anonymous attack.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous here. I never said let's deny health care to a five year old. Quote me please...

...and who was attacked? Reread this thread objectively.

Maybe the folks in D.C. HAVE discovered the perpetual benefit machine - saves money and provides unlimited rewards. Maybe defecits don't matter. Maybe the Great Society (Johnson) and the War on Drugs (Nixon) are successes.

My original, and only statement is this: Help me understand how your plan of "health insurance for all" will NOT require "a government take over of private property."


Put down your poison pen and offer an intellectual outline of how this would work. Please. I seriously want to know.

Of course, you would never engage in personal attacks on someone you know nothing about - their politics, faith, sex, etc. - that's the exclusive providence of "the right when they want to control the argument."

Conchscooter said...

In civilized nations where citizens have a right to health care one doesn't see begging posters like the one photogrpahed on a Key West street. There is no need.
The means of delivering health care is not limited to single payer. Some countires (France, Switzerland and Germany) rely mostly ona netowrk of closely regulated insurance companies. Japan keeps costs extremely low and has easy access with modest insurance costs. Britain and Italy and Canada use single payer, though they do allow the purchase of private insurance for those that can afford it and choose to do so.
The problem in the US is that insurance is not regulated and consumers get screwed unilaterally. If you have a chronic condition insurance can simply refuse to cover you or price you out of coverage. This is not a level playing field.
When the issue of changing a systenm that is discriminatory and cruel the response is a churlish ;ament that providing coverage is a theft from the haves in our society.
How about we cancel our foreign wars? If we want to end al quaeda threats against the US all we have to do is cease to provide one sided support to israel. There, that saves us billions.
We increase taxes by a)closing loopholes and b) increasing taxes on coproations and unearned income. As proposed.
The money is always there to kill people. Perhaps it's time we had money available to sustain our people.
I find it ironic that 80 percent of people in this country claim to be religious and the vast majority are Christians and yet they are extrmeley attached to their wealth. Not their brothers keepers, and it seems to me as unlikely to gain the kingdom of heaven as that thread is likely to pass the eye of a needle.
So, if notthis reform, then what?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous again;
Setting aside the ongoing personal attacks (now being churlish, a "have" and a Christian - none of these being supported in my posts):

1) Your claim that in "civilized nations where citizens have a right to health care one doesn't see begging posters like the one photogrpahed on a Key West street. There is no need" a cursory search in Google reveals the contrary.

In Britain, homelessness estimated at 400K (source:
In France 200K (Source: FEANTSA)
In Germany 590K (Source: share Int'l)
...and so on. If pictures are what's needed, there are plenty. There is no need? Please. I won't "jump the canyon" and throw the compassion card here....

2)To your summary of national funding networks to support the programs, I would love to know how they work in reality. I'm willing to learn - but it's almost impossible to cut through the partisan talking points and get to an objective comparison.

The core (and only) point I am making is concern over giving additional personal property and civil liberties to a central government. Period.

I would rather see the focus on how to make the system more responsive and efficient (is that the track record of our central gov't?) instead of how to "eat the rich" to pay for another gov't program.

Discuss the successes of Social Security, Medicare and various welfare programs in your reply. Don't just ingnore these inconvenient topics and hurl epithets.

3)To your point that cutting spending on the military would finance this new entitlement program, I'll agree this would be a viable source of funding if we act fast. The Defense budget represents 24% of total gov't expenditures (source: This percentage is has steadily dropped over time and the social safety net we're apparently sorely deficient on in this country represents 56% of gov't expeditures and is historically the fastest growing portion of the budget.

4) How do you specfically propose we provide jobs and grow opportunity for future generations if we increase penalties for companies to grow and provide jobs? I'm all in favor of a fairer tax code - one that eliminates the "social engineering" programs buried in the current mess we've got... but populists will have none of it (e.g. a flat tax, nat'l sales tax, etc.) as it's not "progressive" enough despite the fact that currently 1% of the population pays 40% of the taxes in this country.

How do you prevent companies from escaping the pain of the new U.S. economic system and going to friendlier climes? Taking jobs and capital with them. How?

Include in your reply the fact that the vast majority of jobs in this country are with small private companies, not large "poster child" corporations - and how are they to survive and add jobs with these "increas(ed) taxes on coproations and unearned income."

Do we really think "tax freedom" day comes too early in this country?

5) The religious intonations of the replies to my posts are disgusting and irrelevant. The insinuation of personal greediness and callousness speak better than I can on the shallowness of thinking on the posters part.

Appologies for being redundant, but my point is not opposition to helping the needy, it's doing it via a "command economy" I'm afraid of. If the "civilized" nations of Canada, Switzerland, Germany, etc. have such a wonderful system, why aren't Americans expatriating en masse to those locations? Why not?

Danette said...

It's interesting that you continue to perseverate on personal attacks. You have been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck if you think your original post and follow-up were simply questions and a request for honest debate. And while I think it honorable of Conchscooter to try and answer you, you come to this debate with an agenda and he and I both know that there will be no honest discussion when you expect him to prove something that is a lie in the first place- (i.e. that there will be confiscation of property in order to pay for healthcare)

Healthcare should be paid for by the wealthiest 5% of Americans and the corporations that are giving their CEOs bonuses that put them among the richest in the world. They wouldn't even feel the pinch. They are making so much money they don't even know what to do with it all. But if it is not, it will be because Republicans want to make sure the middle class feels the squeeze-- they want you and I to resent (even more!) having to pay for healthcare for our neighbors. (I am presuming here that you are among the middle class- not Rush Limbaugh in anonymity.) Democrats are not doing right by any of us really with the bill that is being offered, but they aren't really willing to fight the fight they need to fight. All of our politicians are too busy protecting corporate America. They aren't protecting you or I at all.

The leadership on the right has lied in order to scare people into believing that their very ability to care for themselves is hanging in the balance. It is not. But I am not going to even begin to try and convince you of that. The truth of what this healthcare bill does and does not do is out there- but you are going to have to look for it yourself.

BTW: Karl Marx is spelled with a "K"
You still will not admit that you put words in Conchschooter's mouth.

Conchscooter said...

It is easy for me to make the points when Danette is tag teaming! However the points raised aren't invalid but let's take it a step further- how about anonymous suggests ways to reform healthcare.
I will try to work up an essay on the points raised to continue the debate (I would like a debate) but currently I've spent three days tgrying to figure out how write an essay I've titled Taxes Aren't Theft and I wonder how that one will be received if I ever manage to finish it!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous here:
I do not believe I "put words in Conchschooter's mouth" (and you have the place to lecture me on a typo?) - please cite where this occured and I will appologize.

To your assertion that "there will be no honest discussion when you expect him to prove something that is a lie in the first place- (i.e. that there will be confiscation of property in order to pay for healthcare)" - but you immediately go on to say - "Healthcare should be paid for by the wealthiest 5% of Americans and the corporations that are giving their CEOs bonuses that put them among the richest in the world."

I'll admit I'm confused here.

Isn't that the confiscation of additional property? (note: earnings, capital, houses, cars, etc. are all defined as property under the law)

And then you go on to assert: "They wouldn't even feel the pinch. They are making so much money they don't even know what to do with it all."

So what do these robber barons do with these ill-gotten gains? Pile currency in the basements of their buildings? ...or maybe they put it in banks and other investments that make up the capital used to make loans and run other businesses? Once we confiscate this pile of cash, we'll have to find another as the U.S. capital markets will begin to dry up and interest rates begin to rise quickly!

On to executive salaries! The Institute for Policy Studies in a 2/09 report (note citations?) stated: "U.S. taxpayers subsidize excessive executive compensation — by more than $20 billion per year — via a variety of tax and accounting loopholes." If we get all of this, it's a small drop in the bucket to pay for the $1T (trillion) cost of Obamacare (check OMB - Not Carville). What's next?

Run the printing presses? Our current representatives have done the prior administration 3x in defecit spending (note: defecits = running printing presses) This will unleash the most insideous, hurtful tax yet on the poor and economically challenged - inflation - lowering the standard of living for everyone, but especially the least able to escape it.(

The Chinese are already pressing for a new world reserve currency to replace the dollar due to our fiscal irresponsibility. China's economy is forecast to be world's largest in 2015 - regaining position it lost in 1890

I'll admit I missed your reply on how effective the Social Security system, Medicare, VA medical programs are, along with other examples of well-run central gov't programs. Please re-post it.

Is it possible all the central gov't needs is additional economy of scale to operate efficiently? Then taking over another 1/6th of the private sector should help a lot.

Danette said...

I had thought Conchscooter's blog on "Taxes aren't theft" (which I await anxiously personally!) would speak to much of what you are railing about so I hadn't planned on answering again, but you have asked some questions directly of me...


I guess we can assume that like the rest of the right wing, you think it's okay to give tax breaks to the wealthy and that corporate wealthfare is just peachy-. However any wealth redistributed to the poor is simply outrageous. I personally think the rich do just fine for themselves- they can buy the healthcare they need and they can hire the lawyers they need when the healthcare they need is not adequate (and that applies to pretty much anything else they need). They can also buy the security they need against any uprisings that might eventually occur (but that is another story).

Unfortunately they can also game the system. And that is where we are. The rich are not victims. They are using the rest of us to get rich. They do not work or labor- they gather the fruits of other people's labor, sell it and then watch as the rest of us are buried in debt from the system they put in place. You said (and I quote) they "they put it in banks and other investments that make up the capital used to make loans and run other businesses?" That is a laugh. I guess you haven't heard that small business loans are down-- ordinary, main street America is having a hard time getting loans for their businesses or for new businesses. That money isn't trickling down! They are buying out smaller businesses so that they can become bigger and make more money and they are buying up their own stocks.(see:

But the long and the short of it is: I don't care that the government might redistribute the wealth of the wealthiest-- I don't care one wit. I think it is the right thing to do. We have a responsibility to each other as human beings. And aiding and abetting the ongoing redistribution of wealth to the upper 1% of Americans is wrong. While helping the lower (and higher!) percentage of Americans who cannot help themselves, even if the government has to force it, is right. And it is something I am prepared to fight for (and pay for if necessary- I have a city job where I get pretty good health insurance). As for waiting for "voluntary altruism"-- well, there has been time for all that altruism to reveal itself and yet... Waiting for the wealthy to decide they want to help the children on the posters that are nailed onto the corner light posts is obviously a failed policy.

Our government should be (and I say "should be" because that is NOT what they are doing today) offering more to the sick and dying in this country.

As for medicaid and medicare- I have two different case studies which I have direct access to- well more accurately personal experience with. In both cases I say, "Thank the Government that he/she has/had medicaid/ medicare or I don't know what I would have done." So yes, they are successes, by my standards. I am not old enough or young enough to be able to access either- so I will continue to pay the rather ridiculous rates that my insurance rates require me to pay for the medication I need in order to work every day, even as a city employee. (I am not really willing to tell either personal story on someone else's blog- even on Conchscooter's.)

Anonymous said...

The Anonymous here..
Classy to start right off again with a personal attack on someone you know nothing about...(note: the word "assume" is your clue)...

If you actually read what's been posted, you'd note that I never said anything of the kind that "any wealth redistributed to the poor is simply outrageous" - what I have consistently railed against is the use of a bloated, inefficient, non-representative central gov't with the power of the death penalty to do it.

A limited central gov't should provide goods / services which cannot be provided for individually - e.g. a common defense, vital infrastructure (sewer, water, etc.) and so on.

It is consistently assumed that these evil capitalists that are so critical to fund the ongoing benefits party - will continue to get up in the morning and run companies (note most corportations in America have less than 6 employees)... but it wouldn't suprise me to see a "Forced Labor" provision in the 2500 page Obamacare bill. What if they said (as Microsoft recently evaluated doing) "fine, we're out of here. These folks are out of work, you get 40+% tax rate on ZERO earnings"

Just look at Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, etc. if you think it can't happen.

Maybe then we'd get a look at all that currency stacked up in their basements - as they're not putting it in banks, paying wages, taxes, etc. according to you.

These evil folks that offer jobs and provide products / services... are you forced to buy / use them? Unlike the central gov't, if you disagree with them on whatever grounds... Fine!.. don't patronize them. No one's going to arrest you (unlike the forced participation in Obamacare). If your POV prevails amongst enough people, you'll efficiently kill off an evil capitalist. That's called "freedom to choose" - it works!

We will agree that from the perspective of an individual Medicaid can seem wonderful. My point is in aggregate, it's a remarkably inefficient way to allocate societies scarce resources (resources = currency, labor, property, etc.).... as evidenced by the fact that it (along with other "Great Society", "New Deal", "War on Poverty" programs that have been so successful) is a fiscal black hole that will bring this country to bankruptcy. What incentive does the central gov't have to be efficient?

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness! I don't have to save or sacrifice for my own needs anymore - your kids will pay my health bills! Off to get that flat screen!

Anonymous said...

Where are the cost controls in all this? Didn't we just plug in on "Skynet?"