It’s time I expressed some outrage

Aug 8, 2009, 3:49 pm by Paul Stiverson

That’s right, folks, it’s that time again. Those who know me best know that I am a full-on supporter of a single payer health-care system (something like every other industrialized country in the world employs), and I find it incredibly vulgar to profit off of somebody else’s health or lack thereof. Not only is it vulgar, it is morally bankrupt to disrupt a person’s access to health care after they have specifically and loyally paid for the guarantee of access to health care. Such practices are commonplace in the for-profit health insurance racket: allow somebody to pay ever increasing premiums until they actually need care, then pull the rug out and let them settle for substandard care. Never-mind what the patient and doctor have decided is the best course of action, it is too expensive so fuck you.

The truth of the matter is that insurance companies are not compelled to pay for expensive care because it hurts their profits, they are primarily responsible to the share-holders, not the policy-holders. The facts are pretty clear that this is the case, if you file a large claim then your odds of being covered are the same as throwing tails in a coin toss. It would be a different story if the company were to offer a refund of all the money that the policy-holder had ever paid to the insurance company in the case of a defaulted policy, but instead the policy as well as the money go straight into the corporate memory-hole. Imagine if a bank pulled the same stunt: you studiously deposit thousands of dollars per year into a savings account until you decide to retire, only to find your account emptied when you start to withdraw.

But what about socialism? Won’t Obamacare turn us into Soviet Russia? Why do you hate America? Why do you hate freedom? What are you, a terrorist? Shut the fuck up. If caring about my fellow citizens enough to prevent them from being defrauded in the name of the GDP is socialist then pass me that vodka, comrade. And oh by the way, we already have a system of socialized medicine in this country. It is called Medicaid, and it works pretty well if you are poor enough. In case you are unfamiliar, when you are on Medicaid you walk into a doctor’s office and you get treatment, the doctor doesn’t need to get pre-approved to offer care, the patient doesn’t need to be pre-approved for the visit. The patient walks in, the doctor treats them, the patient walks out, the doctor gets paid. If I could qualify for Medicaid I would apply today, because it is vastly better than the no-insurance I have now.

Also, let us not forget that the health care reform being discussed in congress could hardly be characterized as “Socialized”. It is not a government sanctioned monopoly like AT&T was back in the day, but instead an option that would allow people to opt out of private health insurance while still maintaining access to doctors. People enrolled in a public option would still be paying for their own health care, but they would be provided with some guarantee that their insurance would not be cancelled over a misspelled word on an application. The notion is that by ensuring that everybody has ready access to a doctor (insurance) many systemic problems can be alleviated: Improved focus on preventative care leads to less expense in catastrophic care, the free-rider problem which artificially inflates our health-care costs will be mitigated to a large degree. It will also push the doctor and staff focus back to caring for patients rather than ensuring that the patient can pay.

The thing that bothers me the most is the degree to which people are fighting against their own best interests. The system as it stands does not serve the individuals’ interests (unless they are stock-holders of any number of insurance companies), and by fighting to keep it they are permitting the potential for future dismissal of their own insurance policy. I do not wish to forcibly stop them from protesting, the First Amendment allows them to speak their mind, no matter how closed or ignorant it happens to be. I will say that the “Rabble Rabble” approach to protest does little to promote the effective operation of our Republic, but that is just one man’s opinion. Also, this.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this tactic, Limbaugh said from the get-go that he, “hopes Obama fails”. He doesn’t want conservative policies to succeed, he just wants liberal policies to fail. If he can’t enforce his sick and twisted viewpoint on America then he wants to burn it to the ground. It is sick (and unamerican), but it is telling. He and other conservative hucksters have no interest in the greater good, they are only on the lookout for themselves and those who wash their backs. What’s worse is they are more than happy to use fear to get ‘the unwashed masses’ to back their agenda. I just hope that people come to their senses before one of them hauls off and kills somebody.

At the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Ben Franklin was asked what form of government America would have, he replied “A Republic, if you can keep it.” I submit that this fear-baiting is absolutely not the way to keep it.

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sam Says:

Aug 9, 2009

did u kno BO was a commie and a nazi cuz thats wat his socialism helath care wud B

lew Says:

Aug 10, 2009

damn good and damn right paul. i worry that obama has let the debate slip away and it is going to be nearly impossible to pass anything worthwhile.

faith Says:

Aug 10, 2009

hell. yes. i'm going to hug you for this when you get back to town.

Kevin Says:

Oct 14, 2009

I will leave my personal opinions of Rush Limbaugh out of this... but I think you are perhaps mis-applying his "I hope Obama fails" reference. I seriously doubt that he is actually implying that he wants America to burn to the ground (as you say), afterall, thats whats allowing him his fame and fortune. I think its obvious his statements are over-the-top to emphasize his point, and then you are then using them against him. There are plenty of awful Rush quotes...I think you could do better. Regarding health care- I am torn. I agree that all people should receive some level of healthcare. I have a friend who was doing mission work in Australia when he found out he had a rare blood disease. When he came back to the USA, he couldnt get treatment cause no insurance company would cover him. Thats pretty awful. (He ended up getting insurance, dont worry) But at the same time, someone has to pay the doctors and nurses and pharmaceutical companies. In a universal healthcare system, the question arises: Who is paying for the care, and how much are they paying? Should a 23yr old male athlete who doesnt drink or smoke pay the same rate as a 35yr old woman who smokes 2 packs a day and works in the porn industry. How do you measure the "risk" (for lack of a better word) of a person? Who decides? That being said, I think that our system needs an overhaul...

Paul Stiverson Says:

Oct 15, 2009

Kevin, you are welcome to explore the thoughts and deeds of Rush Limbaugh all you want, the only insight into his character I have are his words. Sure, his words are sensational by their very definition, but they are his legacy, and they are what history will judge him by.

“I hope Obama fails”, how else are we to interpret those words? A complete Obama failure would probably result in a complete economic and social collapse, and probably mark the end of the American experiment. A mildly failing Obama would probably be no worse for the country than Bush, which most Americans survived. Either way, wishing and hoping that the other team fails rather than trying to succeed yourself isn’t a policy that any reasonable person should hold (even in a situation where lives weren’t on the line). Limbaugh’s stance is one that any reasonable conservative should regard with disdain, but I haven’t heard any conservative stand up to him in any meaningful way.

The solution to the “who pays” problem is simple. Everybody pays, they pay in the same way they pay for roads, police, firemen, soldiers, and teachers. We would pay with our taxes. Sure, it might not be fair that some people are putting their health in more risk than others, but the prize you win for caring about your health is LIVING LONGER, not paying less in health care. Your question is tantamount to “Why do people without kids still pay for schools?” The answer being: For the greater good.

America has ceased to be “The land of the free, home of the brave”, and has become “The land of the selfish, home of the callus”.

Kevin Says:

Oct 16, 2009

Again, for the sake of argument, I will play the role of devil's advocate, so these statements may or may not reflect my opinions at all. I'll put my personal thoughts towards the bottom. ----------------- I think you have to take a step back and look at what you are really asking. Your claim is that everyone deserves health care. I agree. Everyone deserves the chance to live a long and healthy life (Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness). The problem I have is not whether this is a "morally good" idea, rather its whether the proposed system is the best method. You make it sound like the solution is simple. I am not convinced. So, here begins my line of thought: who currently doesn't have health care (meaning, who will be the beneficiaries of a universal health care system)? In general, these are people who are elderly, in very poor health, and those who are unemployed and/or have low incomes. Other "average" citizens currently have health insurance of some sort, such that while the mechanisms of coverage may change under a universal system, they will not see necessarily see much change to the health care they receive. So, for a universal system, you suggest that everyone pays. Okay, how? Through a percentage of their income? This obviously is a problem, seeing how those who contributing the majority of the funds are the same people who do not currently need health care; while at the same time, those who desperately need health care are those who are not putting any money back into the system. Basically you are just asking the rich to be generous to care for the poor. Its the same arguments you see in federal taxes. Sure it may be nice...but its not easy to get hard working people to give up their money, even if they have an abundace already. At least in this case, you could have much better luck by approaching this task from the standpoint of benevolence and generosity. Then the rich would feel good about themselves for "contributing." Also, you argue that the prize is "LIVING LONGER." Again, the beneficiaries may live longer, but the average citizen who currently has access to care will likely not change. What about having everyone pay a base rate? Then the lower-income citizens will suffer having to survive and pay for a new system. Maybe you pull the money out of the current national budget without raising taxes? Where are you pulling the money from? Which programs will suffer? In any system, there will be short comings. I.e. the alcoholic who drinks his way through 2 new livers, but can't pay for it cause he spends all his money on booze. Are there any ways to help avoid these circumstances? I know that there are current programs for people who can't pay hospital bills, including but not limited to medicaid. Why is a new system necessary? Lastly, why does "Land of the free, home of the brave" have anything to do with a middle/upper class citizen paying for someone else to get care. That is definitely not 'freedom.' Freedom would be the choice to help, not the lawful requirement. -------------------------------------- Okay, now that my banter is over...let me put in some personal thoughts. I actually like the idea of universal health care. But I think the only valid argument in the discussion so far is the "greater good." Similar to libraries, schools, police, etc. But I think it needs to be approached on that level. Not on the level that it will benefit everyone, or that it NEEDS to happen for everyone to be better, cause the majority of the population will feel differently. Sadly, as has been the case, I think too many people are basing judgement on the ridiculous democrat/republican bickering, and not the real issues. Too many people love Obama without much cause, and too many people hate him with even less cause. Unfortunately, I think there are still many issues to work out. I am unaware of an actual system which all of the supports are really getting behind. Many supporters think it sounds like a good idea, but have no real idea of how a system like that will be run. What problems and abuses there may be. What its effect on the medical industry will be. Luckily, there are lots of example systems throughout the world. Supporters really need to develop a good system tailored to the USA, with as few problems as possible, and start a united front.

Kevin Says:

Oct 16, 2009

That was super long, sorry

Paul Stiverson Says:

Oct 16, 2009

When I say the greater good I mean that universal health care will yield better results for everybody. Maybe not right away, I imagine the system will be pretty shocked when a bunch of people who were without regular care suddenly can see a doctor, but eventually as things level out we will see an overall improvement in life expectancy. You are welcome to disagree, but most every country with universal coverage beats us in that key metric.

I think that two key things can be done to pay for universal coverage (which I feel should come in the form of a single payer system). 1) End all foreign occupations, they are largely unnecessary, ineffective, and inordinately expensive. 2) Raise taxes on the rich. I think Warren Buffett said it best

“[The rich in America] have this idea that it’s ‘their money’ and they deserve to keep every penny of it. What they don’t factor in is all the public investment that lets us live the way we do. Take me as an example. I happen to have a talent for allocating capital. But my ability to use that talent is completely dependent on the society I was born into. If I’d been born into a tribe of hunters, this talent of mine would be pretty worthless. I can’t run very fast. I’m not particularly strong. I’d probably end up as some wild animal’s dinner.”

“But I was lucky enough to be born in a time and place where society values my talent, and gave me a good education to develop that talent, and set up the laws and the financial system to let me do what I love doing—and make a lot of money doing it. The least I can do is help pay for all that.”

Sure, the rich aren’t going to like a tax hike, but they have it pretty good either way, and us poor people make up a majority. In my opinion anybody earning more than a million dollars a year doesn’t have the right to play the victim about paying taxes, and they certainly shouldn’t have middle class defenders. I’m sure at some point they’ve all consumed some of America’s public niceties, who knows maybe they were a product of America’s robust system of public universities. Also, if they are making that much then it is pretty likely they are earning (at least some) money by exploiting the poor (maybe by not paying their janitors a living wage). So, maybe they should ante up, because damn it, freedom isn’t free. Besides, the rich always have the option of emigrating if they feel they aren’t getting a fair shake (an option the poor usually don’t have).

Paul Stiverson Says:

Oct 18, 2009

Regarding it not being fair to tax the rich: Have a look at the figures outlined regarding prosperity when the rich were taxed versus the post Reagan years.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Oct 23, 2009

Rich people in Germany want to pay more in taxes, they recognize the lack of utility in intensely concentrated wealth.

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