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Health Care 2009

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#41 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 05:51 PM

"Why shouldn't it" is the best answer someone can give to the question of whether access to health care should depend on income?  

"Go file a socialist seeking lawsuit, you're a lawyer, I'm not getting into it" is the best answer someone can come up with to the questions of whether the tradition of fairness and equality on which this country purports to be based should apply to health care?

Am I the only one that thinks it's very sad that a country founded on alleged notions of fairness and freedom has these outlooks on the idea of being fair about access to health care.  I don't understand it.

Edited by Bad Wolf, 17 September 2009 - 05:52 PM.

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#42 scherzo

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 06:32 PM

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"Why shouldn't it" is the best answer someone can give to the question of whether access to health care should depend on income?
The question is of course a loaded one, but no individual should ever believe services which require the time and resources of others is obligated to him. It's entirely possible to have problems with the current administration's ultimate goal of incrementally socializing America's healthcare system(yes...I know we're supposed to not believe our own ears when we heard Obama let that one slip)but still recognize there are issues we need to address. We're never going to be able to do that intelligently though, if we proceed with the premise that the universe itself is unraveling.  

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Am I the only one that thinks it's very sad that a country founded on alleged notions of fairness and freedom has these outlooks on the idea of being fair about access to health care. I don't understand it.
Well people will die way faster without food and shelter than they will without health care. Does freedom and fairness dictate "someone else" is required to make sure I have those things too?
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#43 Vapor Trails

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 06:37 PM

The rule of the jungle is: only the strong survive. And "strong" in this society means having deep pockets. If you don't have them and drop dead because you can't insure yourself? Oh well. Too bad, so sad. Sick folks are hogging resources healthy folks need, and they should drop dead quickly and stop being a burden to the rest of us. :p

As to that last sentence-knowing people the way I do, that's EXACTLY what a lot of folks think. And a number of them are in the insurance industry. It's just they are too cowardly to express this all-too-common feeling. :angry:

Edited by Ghost Rider, 17 September 2009 - 06:38 PM.

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#44 Omega

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:19 PM

View PostSpectacles, on Sep 17 2009, 10:43 PM, said:

The cold, cruel world doesn't respond well to libertarians' child-like faith in the free market as some sort of fair and moral force. (And they will always argue, like Stossel, that it would be fair and moral if only government wouldn't try to regulate it.)

These kinds of philosophical discussions are interesting, but the facts remain that all of us, regardless of income, are on shaky ground with insurance as it is currently constructed. This has to change.

I concur.  As I've said before, I'm not a terribly good libertarian. :)

Obama's right about one thing, for certain: this IS a question of our national character.  Are we our neighbors' keeper, or not?  We are if we choose to be.

#45 Palisades

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:39 PM

Lil, I got a chuckle out of the clever way you twisted my words and the surrounding context so at least one good thing came out of this thread.

One additional wrinkle I noticed is that the WHO actually produced two rankings in 2000. I've been describing the first ranking system (overall attainment), which did a weighted blending of the five base factors. Under this methodology, the WHO ranked the U.S. 15th. The U.S. drops to 37th based on the output from this econometric model. Basically, it uses the data collected and statistical regression to compute minimum and maximum frontiers. For the (disability-adjusted) life expectancy component, it appears to use average years of schooling as the sole variable in the regression equation for estimating how long we would live if we didn't have a health care system. Then, it computes the maximum length of time we could live with a perfect health system via a regression equation that has two variables: average years of schooling and per capita expenditure on health care. Then, the ranking for the life-expectancy component is assigned based on how actual life expectancy compares to the minimum and maximum frontiers. In the CATO critique, Dr. Whitman notes this (although he said the WHO used 'literacy rate' instead of 'average years of schooling'). He goes on to note that a study published in Science Magazine tried expanding on this model by adding in 'geography.' The addition of geography wildly changed the resulting rankings produced. Additional variables such as diet and health habits of the population might well change the rankings even more.

Edited by Palisade, 17 September 2009 - 09:35 PM.

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#46 Rhea

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 08:33 PM

I find it interesting that people who are against universal health care are worried they'll end up paying for somebody else and most, if not all, claim to be Christians.

So I thought it would be appropriate to discuss what the Bible says:

From Isaiah 58

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Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
6
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke;
7
Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.
8
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
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Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
10
If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
11
Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.

From Matthew 25:

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“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, [6] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

There are many other passages. That seems to me to speak to the character of Christianity - charity and taking care of others is a fundamental belief, but we surely don't practice what we speak. I don't remember the Bible speaking anywhere of making sure those you help are worthy.
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#47 DWF

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 08:41 PM

I think Dickens actually had a better take on this topic.

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"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge", said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."
      "Are there no prisons?", asked Scrooge.
      "Plenty of prisons", said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
      "And the Union workhouses?", demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"
      "They are. Still", returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."
      "The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?", said Scrooge.
      "Both very busy, sir."
      "Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course", said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it."
      "Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude", returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when want is keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?"
      "Nothing!", Scrooge replied.
      "You wish to be anonymous?"
      "I wish to be left alone", said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."
      "Many can't go there; and many would rather die."
      "If they would rather die", said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides—excuse me—I don't know that."
      "But you might know it", observed the gentleman.
      "It's not my business", Scrooge returned. "It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!"

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#48 Omega

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 08:56 PM

Arguably, it could be perceived as a vice to take from the rich under threat of force to help the poor.  Also, Christians might see little virtue in being forced into giving to the poor.

Not to say you don't have a point about Christians' attitudes in general.  But there are counterarguments to this specific case.

#49 Themis

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 09:29 PM

So the Golden Rule and the passage about being your brother's keeper aren't supposed to apply in the real world, is that what you and Palisade are saying?

Here's a Newsweek article, which speaks to the different social and moral aspects of a country's approach to health care: http://www.newsweek.com/id/215290
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#50 Palisades

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 09:31 PM

^ Actually, I'm examining how the WHO came up with its health care rankings.
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#51 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:00 PM

View Postscherzo, on Sep 17 2009, 04:32 PM, said:

Well people will die way faster without food and shelter than they will without health care. Does freedom and fairness dictate "someone else" is required to make sure I have those things too?


What DWF quoted.

And is making sure that these basic necessities are at least accessible to everyone bad?  Why is that eeeeeeevil socialism?

Omega, requiring people to pay according to their income to receive the same access is not robbing from the rich, let alone doing so by force.

Health care is not like a car or the ability to take cruises.  It's quite reasonable to think that a person who makes more money is going to be able to afford another car and that's okay.

But health care is a life necessity, not a luxury.
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#52 scherzo

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:09 PM

View PostBad Wolf, on Sep 17 2009, 11:00 PM, said:

View Postscherzo, on Sep 17 2009, 04:32 PM, said:

Well people will die way faster without food and shelter than they will without health care. Does freedom and fairness dictate "someone else" is required to make sure I have those things too?


What DWF quoted.

And is making sure that these basic necessities are at least accessible to everyone bad?  Why is that eeeeeeevil socialism?
The better question is why anyone who believes basic necessities are the responsibility of government, would have a problem with being called a socialist.
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#53 Bad Wolf

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 12:13 AM

View Postscherzo, on Sep 17 2009, 08:09 PM, said:

View PostBad Wolf, on Sep 17 2009, 11:00 PM, said:

View Postscherzo, on Sep 17 2009, 04:32 PM, said:

Well people will die way faster without food and shelter than they will without health care. Does freedom and fairness dictate "someone else" is required to make sure I have those things too?


What DWF quoted.

And is making sure that these basic necessities are at least accessible to everyone bad?  Why is that eeeeeeevil socialism?
The better question is why anyone who believes basic necessities are the responsibility of government, would have a problem with being called a socialist.

I wouldn't if it weren't synonymous in the eyes of people comparing Obama to Hitler to evil incarnate.  

There are certain things in which the feds have had to step in to make happen.  Title VII.  ADA.  ADEA.  Abortion.  Why?  Because left to its own devices the American public as a whole, who like to TALK a good game when it comes to fairness, when left to its own devices is a massive failure in that area.
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#54 Bad Wolf

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 12:20 AM

View PostPalisade, on Sep 17 2009, 05:39 PM, said:

Lil, I got a chuckle out of the clever way you twisted my words and the surrounding context so at least one good thing came out of this thread.

Hmmm.  Well as you were (purportedly) answering the questions I asked about uniformity of access (instead of addressing the WHO study), then...NO, I don't think my sentiments were remotely out of context.  But hey, if believing that helps you sleep better tonight then knock yourself out.   :cool:
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#55 Batrochides

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 01:25 AM

It is a cold and cruel world, one that requires everyone to make sufficient provision for their own maintenance or rely on whatever society deems to be the absolute minimum for existence.

If society requires "adequate" shelter, that may mean that one should expect only a cot at a public shelter or a squalid room in a  residential hotel. Likewise, the sustinence that a person who cannot or will not afford better is that solely required for adequate health, as might be expected by those in military service or confined in jail; and the degree of medical care that a person may be entitled to could that that strictly necessary for the preservation of life in an emergency situation (injuries from accidents, wounds from criminal assaults).

In a country that has traditionally placed great value on personal initiative and responsibility, there is a feeling of caution that naturally arises when the topic of determining what level of provision is the "moral right" of all members of society: a feeling enhanced in the minds of those who've witnessed the apparent abuses done by those who either believe that they are entitled to that which is enjoyed by those who've planned and labored for it, or who  cynically and criminally loot the public finances for their own ends.


The cost of health care in America is colossal, but it is one that should be expected in a system of personal demand for the best in medical treatment and egregious awards in an overly litigious society (a problem affecting virtually every facet of life but particularly acute with regard to health care) which in turn created the monsters of HMOs. For this reason I'm wary of connecting  the monetary lamprey of the current U.S. health system to what's left of the Federal Treasury, as I'm almost equally cautious of proposals that smack of capitation taxes.

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Edited by Batrochides, 18 September 2009 - 01:27 AM.


#56 Omega

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 07:41 AM

View PostBad Wolf, on Sep 18 2009, 03:00 AM, said:

Omega, requiring people to pay according to their income to receive the same access is not robbing from the rich, let alone doing so by force.

I purposefully did not use the word "robbing".  But to argue that taxation is not the removal of a person's assets under threat of force is... rather absurd.  What do you think happens to people who don't pay their taxes?  I'm not saying this is something that should not be done, I'm just saying that it does have a moral dimension which arguably makes it different from voluntary charity.

Let me put this another way.  Scripture makes it clear that Christians should give to the poor.  But would Christ forcibly take money from non-Christians to feed the poor, even under the authority of government which can in theory do such things without it qualifying as "robbery"?  That's far less clear; scripture never goes anywhere near there.

For me, trying to enforce giving to the poor for religious reasons would be a violation of the separation of church and state.  I'm going to need a different reason. :)

Edited by Omega, 18 September 2009 - 07:41 AM.


#57 Themis

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 08:08 AM

View PostOmega, on Sep 18 2009, 12:41 PM, said:

For me, trying to enforce giving to the poor for religious reasons would be a violation of the separation of church and state.  I'm going to need a different reason. :)

I'll give you that one.  But a lot of our religions channel the collective wisdom of society.  It's just the right thing to do.  It's part of what makes us a society instead of a collection of individuals inhabiting the same area.  

There are people who abuse everything.  There are people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions who should.  That doesn't negate the overall idea that society is best served by a population that has access to health care. To me, a healthy population is a more productive population.
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#58 Omega

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 08:20 AM

View PostThemis, on Sep 18 2009, 01:08 PM, said:

There are people who abuse everything.  There are people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions who should.  That doesn't negate the overall idea that society is best served by a population that has access to health care. To me, a healthy population is a more productive population.

I won't argue with that.  However, I still maintain that there are vastly more efficient ways to go about it than implementing universal health care today, without any reforms at all to lower costs.  Giving everyone health care is a fine goal, but there's no need to do it stupidly.

#59 Balderdash

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 08:41 AM

View PostOmega, on Sep 18 2009, 05:41 AM, said:

View PostBad Wolf, on Sep 18 2009, 03:00 AM, said:

Omega, requiring people to pay according to their income to receive the same access is not robbing from the rich, let alone doing so by force.

I purposefully did not use the word "robbing". But to argue that taxation is not the removal of a person's assets under threat of force is... rather absurd. What do you think happens to people who don't pay their taxes? I'm not saying this is something that should not be done, I'm just saying that it does have a moral dimension which arguably makes it different from voluntary charity.

Let me put this another way. Scripture makes it clear that Christians should give to the poor. But would Christ forcibly take money from non-Christians to feed the poor, even under the authority of government which can in theory do such things without it qualifying as "robbery"? That's far less clear; scripture never goes anywhere near there.

For me, trying to enforce giving to the poor for religious reasons would be a violation of the separation of church and state. I'm going to need a different reason. :)


If we're going to bring religion into this mess there are sooooo many ways to manipulate people into doing the right thing.  Jesus said and I'm going to paraphrase, whatever you do to the least of mine you have done to me.  I've always taken that bit as the good and the bad.  The bible asks early on, "Am I my brothers keeper" through Cain.  And my take away from that was, uh, yeah, you are.

I am not religious but I am spiritual and right now religion is probably the worse place to store your spirituality and the Republican party may be religious but it surely isn't spiritual.

It's the right thing to do, we are our brothers keepers even if a person is an atheist we're still all humans.  But we're being given a false way to look at things.  I don't understand the greed that says only people with money should have health care, that just blows my mind and makes me wish for Karma to show some of these greedy, thoughtless people what it must be like to not have.  I know it screws up my own Karma but damn, there is nothing that makes me angrier than some snobbish boor running on about what they have and how they don't want to help out their fellow humans.

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#60 Themis

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 09:27 AM

View PostOmega, on Sep 18 2009, 01:20 PM, said:

View PostThemis, on Sep 18 2009, 01:08 PM, said:

There are people who abuse everything.  There are people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions who should.  That doesn't negate the overall idea that society is best served by a population that has access to health care. To me, a healthy population is a more productive population.

I won't argue with that.  However, I still maintain that there are vastly more efficient ways to go about it than implementing universal health care today, without any reforms at all to lower costs.  Giving everyone health care is a fine goal, but there's no need to do it stupidly.


I can agree with that statement, especially if you're saying that universal health care is the ultimate goal but it has to be accomplished in stages.  I think a public option should be part of the current stage but some kind of co-op might be a start; I'd still rather also have a public option...

Does anyone know what happened at the start of Medicare?  For social security, you're drawing on funds both you and your employers have contributed, and your ss payments are based on what you've earned, so someone who turned 65 the year after ss began would have had nothing to draw on.  But what about Medicare?  Was everyone 65 and over covered from the start?  If so, how was that funded?  I've been paying into it most of my working life, but what about the beginning?
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