Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Healthcare Vote

So watching C-SPAN, I'm noticing a certain pattern among the callers who are opposed to the Bill.  First, there's a disconnect between their own personal situation and what the Bill actually accomplishes.  One caller complained about spreading Communism...because her husband is in the Army.  Sooooooo you're on government sponsored healthcare!!!  Great.  Second, a few callers complained about natural rights and what have you.  One caller was on his parents insurance.  I'm sure he will bitterly complain about having the "right" to stay on that coverage until the age of 26.  Another caller didn't have insurance at all.  The specific complaint was about the mandate.  Unfortunately, no one asked this 20-year old sage who will pick up the tab if he has an unfortunate accident requiring immediate medical attention.  Because I certainly want the freedom to operate a motor vehicle without a license and under the influence if we're not concerned about the burdens we impose on society.

I yield the balance of my time to the commenters.


1.  A senior citizen from Texas:  "We are not totalitarian."  Followed by complaints that some doctors will not see her because she has Medicare coverage.

2.  Caller confused why the House would amend the Senate bill using reconciliation.  "This is not how this country works.  I'm confused."  Well yes, this is not how this country works.  Normally, a majority would pass a bill and not be obstructed to this degree by the minority.  Please direct all confusion inquiries to Mitch McConnell.

3.  Still waiting for a caller to say, "Umm I have [Insurance Company X].  I love them to death.  No pun intended.  They jacked up my premiums and reduced my benefits, but hey, at least we have our natural rights and freedoms.  They also declined to cover my cancer treatment, but honestly I was just looking for a handout.  Viva Capitalism, and I oppose this Bill."

4.  "I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I feel that somewhere somehow this is against what America stands for." -- "Do you have health insurance?" -- "Yes" -- "Through?" -- "My husband."  



Anonymous Anonymous said...

And your point is what exactly? That you can find some conservatives who say stupid things? Are you implying that idiocy is something that affects only one side of the political spectrum?

Or are we just supposed to chuckle derisively at the ignorant masses, and stroke our own egos in the process? Surely none of us would ever be so stupid.

3/22/2010 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the second part, and I find it to be a noble goal.

3/22/2010 2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I expressed this view last time health care came up on N&B. Maybe someone else (aside from Patrick and Dan) has a viewpoint.

"Unfortunately, no one asked this 20-year old sage who will pick up the tab if he has an unfortunate accident requiring immediate medical attention."

How about hospitals just stop providing medical care to people who can't pay? Patrick brought up the scenario of a person in an accident who cannot identify whether or not they have insurance. I suppose the simple solution to this is creating some sort of network which insurance companies would participate in, and you could look up a person by name or some other identification (DL#, or something), and see if he/she has insurance. There are obviously still going to be times when a person does not have identification with them when brought into a hospital, but that still seems to be the hospital's choice as to whether they want to provide care to that person.

I have a read a fair number of people saying there is a "right" to health care. That's just plain wrong. What is so terrible about having insurance for those who want it/can pay, and those who do not/cannot pay not having insurance? Life is not always easy. Sometimes you get the shit end of the stick.

3/22/2010 8:29 AM  
Blogger McWho said...


I find that unrealistic. I am one of those people that does not think health care is a "right", either, but I also recognize the absolute impracticability of checking payment status before loading someone in the ambulance.

A more practical solution would be just heal them (we can kinda assume they would agree in this situation), bill them later, and allow wage garnishment in order to recoup the cost.

Of course, currently hospitals have little incentive to garnish wages---they just charge the paying people more to compensate, which is a nifty trick that works because everyone else pays with insurance. A way to incentivize hospitals to recoup more of the cost would be to bar them from raising costs to the other, paying, patients. What they do right now is just jack up the cost to insurance companies, who pass it on to consumers.

(I say these things as observations not grounded in a solid healthcare background. If anyone who has been "in the industry", including Patrick, wishes to say this is a stupid idea, I would love to hear it.)

3/22/2010 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is probably a better solution, though I don't know that I'm on board with the government telling hospitals how much they can charge insurance companies. As much as I dislike my rates going up, I dislike the government promulgating more regulations even less.

3/22/2010 8:51 AM  
Blogger McWho said...

I agree in theory. However, since laws already require hospitals to provide ER care even if people cannot pay, it seems we must play with the regulatory mess we are dealt.

3/22/2010 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did any of you get another of those emails from Leslie Brodie? I just got one.

3/22/2010 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

post it?

3/22/2010 12:24 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Another Brodie e-mail??? Oh boy, it's just like Christmas morning! Can you pleaaaaase post it? If you get anything else from the Madison Hamburg, I might die of joy.

3/22/2010 1:18 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Also, 8:29 aka "Bowtie Bob," your idea is no less absurd than the last time you posted it.

3/22/2010 1:19 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

8:29, your proposal asks us to treat civilian American citizens worse than we treat wounded enemies in wartime. Think about that.

This isn't a states' right issue (notwithstanding what the Governors of Virginia, Idaho, and South Carolina say) and it's not a "right to healthcare" issue as you suggest above. It's a basic human decency issue -- we are affluent enough afford to provide a minimal level of care to everyone, with minimal cost to everyone, and so we ought to be doing so.

That makes a whole lot more sense, politically and economically, than a hodgepodge of workaround solutions like the national database you propose. (Who would run that, anyway? The Federal Government? All I can picture is Joe Biden and Ben Bernanke. Or maybe the insurance industry would run it? That's abso-fucking-lutely crazy -- have you ever had an insurance dispute?)

Of course people don't have a "right" to healthcare, but in an country as affluent as ours, there is no reason not to.

3/22/2010 1:33 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

My favorite part about the opposition to health care is that it comes from the republicans who, at the moment, have been almost totally co-opted by the christian right. How they do not feel a sort of cognitive dissonance when they say we should not extend health care to all and yet worship someone who healed the sick for free boggles my mind.

Being a heathen myself, I am free to consistently hold the you-wan-it-you-pay-for-it position.

3/22/2010 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, this is the email I recieved from Leslie Brodie.

Well, would not let me post the entire email.

So there is a link

3/22/2010 2:45 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

OMG! And you found a blog too?!?! This is really the best day ever.

@Sean, could you really be McWho's brother?

As for 8:29, aka Bowtie Bob, I will say here what I told him via gchat this morning: We live in a democracy, which means that people will only allow a certain amount of cruelty from their government, regardless of what specific "rights" we have. There is a popular limit on cruelty, and a plan that would lead to doctors allowing people who can't afford insurance to just die on the operating table is roughly eight to ten leagues past that limit.

3/22/2010 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked Leslie's blog.

That Tricia Weaver is HOT.

3/22/2010 4:55 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

Patrick's comment reminds me of a quote from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization."

The same can be said for universal health coverage. A society can be judged based on how it treats its sick and needy. By that measure, the United States has gotten much more civilized.

3/22/2010 4:58 PM  
Blogger Beetle Aurora Drake said...

Sean, as silly as it is for an atheist like myself to speak for religious folk, there's no real dissonance between worshiping someone who healed the sick for free and opposing the use of government force to accomplish the same end, any more than there's a dissonance between saying "don't be a dick" but not forming roaming teams of anti-dick vigilantes to deliver swift justice to those who refuse to obey.

3/22/2010 5:05 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Plus, as the Gnostic Gospels discovered at Nag Hammadi have revealed, Jesus later sent a letter to Lazarus denying him coverage for the resurrection procedure in light of a preexisting condition, namely death.

3/22/2010 5:11 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

ANTI-DICK VIGILANTE TEAMS!!!!!!!! Where do I sign up?

3/22/2010 5:13 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

This all reminds me of the gospel of Supply Side Jesus:

3/22/2010 5:18 PM  

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