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The Case for Health Care

16 Jul

The recent delay of the employer mandate is a just another indication that the legislative behemoth that is Obamacare, is overly cumbersome, not well thought out, and simply the wrong approach to what ails our health care system. A recent Examiner editorial properly pointed out the archaic approach that Obamacare really is – a heavily bureaucratic system in a digital age that will be, and already is, slow on implementation and ineffective in delivery. Even Obama’s biggest supporters, the unions, are finding this out and they are not happy. Unions are worried that the law will push employers to reduce many workers hours to part time, which is happening, and simply drop coverage for others who will then be subsidized by the new exchanges. And speaking of exchanges, the announcement of the delay of the employer mandate will now potentially expand the enrollment of the exchanges, which will explode expected costs, and of course all of this will be done on the honor system, since no verification will be required, which is a potential for enormous fraud. Add to this, the possible immigration reform which will exempt the newly minted citizens from the mandate, and add millions of low skilled workers to an already over supplied market and you have a recipe for huge unemployment in a category of wage earners that are in desperate need of relief.

I think we can also agree that health care insurance is not actually health care. For that you need a doctor, and a recent report paints a grim picture on the future of that practice. Why on earth would we turn a very highly skilled practice into essentially a minimum wage job? Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates are low, and with the lack of any tort reform in the bill, malpractice insurance continues to put the squeeze on doctors resulting in many of them leaving, or planning on retiring early. And remember death panels? Well, we’ve already seen that, haven’t we? Amazingly, this little girl had to go to court to receive her transplant. Let’s add to this rising premiums – my premium rose by 20% in June and included in the letter informing me of this was the possibility of “future rate adjustments”. I guarantee you those adjustments wont be reductions. Obamacare is a train wreck, but the good news is, we can stop it before it kills all of us, and we should.

What’s the answer? In my opinion, a blend of private and public healthcare, with the public option being administered at the state level. Start by block granting Medicaid to the states and allowing them to administer care and payment disbursements, so the program is administered to a smaller number of people resulting in more effective and humane treatment, and doctors realize their pay in a shorter period of time. Secondly, set up a program for “pre existing” conditions and “catastrophic care” plans. People in these two categories represent a minority of patients, and with state programs funded by additional taxes to private plans and possibly other fee based programs, these programs can be funded. Additionally, we need to means test, reduce some benefits and raise the eligibility age. Higher income people (the evil rich) should either not be eligible, or receive limited benefits, and this goes for Social Security in my opinion as well, which will make more funds available for those who truly need it. On the private side, allow insurance companies to compete for everyone’s business in every state, and drop the coverage requirements. Why am I paying for psychiatric care when I don’t need it, or want it? (Of course some would argue that). Free enterprise and competition is an amazing mechanism and has an uncanny ability to find a need in the marketplace and fill it, which will happen and at lower costs.

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42 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Health Care

 

42 responses to “The Case for Health Care

  1. mitchethekid

    July 16, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    I’ll tell you what makes me upset, it’s the knee jerk reaction the right has had to this. The blind ideology that defines them excludes any consideration of cooperation. Instead of establishing a positive track record of actual governing that the right could run on, and increase their chances of reelection, they have voted 37 times to repeal the law. All the while led by Cross-Eyed Mary soon to fade away Michele Bachman. What a disgusting shrill excuse for a congressperson. She’d be better off and more at home at a tent revival circa 1929.
    It’s not Obamacare. It’s Universal Healthcare for all. An idea that goes back decades. Is it fair or right that for every dollar in premiums that 10 cents goes to benefits and 90 cents goes to the CEO’s pay plan? Is it fair or right to include being female as a preexisting condition? Is it fair or right that the first order of business is to deny claims or to drop someone if they make one? These insurance companies are profit centers, not benefit providers and their focus is on profit. I do agree however, with your assessment of a viable solution. So there!! I have a 24 yr son. He is the paragon of health. He works out daily and lifts weights. He eats right and doesn’t smoke. Hell, he’s 24! His body would pose a challenge to Arnold Schwarzenegger in his Mr. Universe days.
    A yr ago I tried to enroll him in Blue Cross. Guess what. He was denied because of a dislocated shoulder. Not only isn’t this fair or right, it’s insane. To take this argument to it’s most absurd conclusion, they shouldn’t insure anyone at all. We’re all going to die so what’s the point?
    Our country is one of the few “progressive” nations that doesn’t provide basic health care to it’s citizens. A healthy population is in the nations best interest and Universal Healthcare isn’t an example of tyranny, or an unfair financial burden or Marxism. It’s a positive development, one yrs in the making but for the right, it’s an outrageous theft. I don’t know what the answer is. I do know that I pay $1500.00 a yr to my physician just so I can be a patient but in return I get concierge service and an in depth physical that goes far beyond the normal check up. I understand that I am in a small group that can afford this service, but the point I am trying to make is why shouldn’t similar services be provided to those who can’t afford it? Minimum wage workers, single mom’s etc should have access to basic health and dental care. There are allot of positives to the philosophy of capitalism, but in this case it’s not productive for it excludes those without the means to participate. It takes more money to care for the sick and unhealthy than it does to prevent those conditions in the first place. I think that this argument can be reduced to a basic human attribute and that is of greed. I work. Why should my efforts support the non efforts of others? Well, as the Buddhists say, we are all connected and we can only move as fast as we all can move. Envision a school of fish or a flock of birds as they shift direction and morph into smaller and then larger shapes and move in different directions. There is a universal mind and we are just grains of sand on a very large beach. Each and every one screaming for attention.

     
    • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

      July 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      The bottom line is medicine should not be “for profit” it should be “for prevention”.

       
      • mitchethekid

        July 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        Yes.Isn’t that why utilities are regulated?

         
      • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

        July 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm

        precisely.

         
      • Cluster

        July 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm

        Well let me ask you this. How do we attract the best and brightest minds to a non profit industry? Keep in mind the amount of rigorous schooling and the amount of time required in internship to become a practicing physician. The people that do commit to that deserve to be financially rewarded and I want them to be rewarded. If I need open heart surgery, I want the best person available to do the job.

         
      • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

        July 18, 2013 at 2:09 am

        That is a very good question and one that was widely asked when the British developed the NHS. It was argued that there would a brain drain from England to of all place the United States if the salaries of physicians were capped. The NHS is by no means perfect but it is a good model for an analysis of payscales and the sort of people that are attracted to the medical field even if they will not become millionaires inside of a decade. The average salary for a partner in a GP practice is around $150,000 per year new doctors in their first three years of internship are making around $50,000 per year and over the next ten years of their service their pay can rise based upon merit to as much as $125,000. I t would want the heart surgeon who has the best skill and his heart in it not the guy who is thinking about his third beach house and what he’s getting his mistress for her birthday.

         
  2. meursault1942

    July 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I agree that the answer is a blend of public and private healthcare. I come at it from a slightly different angle, though (shocker, I know): I believe that there is a role for the federal government to play, and that role is to essentially set a minimum standard of coverage that all citizens should have. If states want to provide better coverage (and I would hope that they do), they should be free to do so. And I’m quite sure the private sector would step up as well, as there would be tremendous opportunity to sell better coverage than the federal baseline.

    States can certainly better tailor their coverage to the needs of their citizens, and I don’t think they should be prevented from doing so at all. I just worry about leaving it entirely up to the states for a couple of reasons:

    1) Letting insurance companies sell across state lines sets up a race to the bottom, I think, where the state with the most relaxed regulations becomes the de facto standard. I thought this piece from 2011 discussing Mitt Romney’s plan stated it pretty well:

    In the federal example, everyone has to abide by a single national standard. That may not be ideal, but at least every state has a say in the regulations. In the across-state-lines plan, everyone has to abide by whichever state has the lowest standards. And California doesn’t have a say in Mississippi’s regulations.

    That’s where I think the federal government’s role lies: heading off that race to the bottom. I don’t think the federal government should be the only one providing health coverage, nor do I think it should (or could) be providing the best coverage, but it should at least ensure adequate coverage and leave that big opportunity to improve on that coverage to the states and the private sector.

    2) I worry that block grants will create a situation where healthcare providers will race to grab up as much of that grant as possible as quickly as possible. If the grant is X dollars, then each provider is going to want to hurry up and grab as much of X as possible before the competition does. I’m reminded of a recent scandal at Towson Hospital where cardiologists were putting stents in when they weren’t needed (stents are generally not called for until an artery is around 60 percent blocked; these doctors were putting them in arteries that were only 20 or 30 percent blocked). On the business side, these doctors were lauded–look at how much money they were making the hospital! But on the medical side, they were being extremely unethical, to put it mildly. So I fear that block grants would encourage this behavior in their own way: “There’s only this much in Medicaid block grants this year, so do what you can to get as much of that money as you can.”

    As far as the doctor shortage goes, that is indeed troubling, and I think there are a lot of factors involved. For starters, the cost of college and then med school is insanely high. That right there eliminates a lot of potential doctors. This ties into the problem of the skyrocketing cost of advanced education in this country, which is a whole topic unto itself.

    Beyond that, we aren’t fully leveraging the resources we already have available. For example, what about all the people who trained in the military to be field medics? I’m sure there are plenty of discharged vets who are ready, willing, and able to take those doctor jobs. We should help them get whatever certifications they might need and help get them job placements–everybody would benefit from that.

    (Actually, this dovetails with a pet issue of mine that I’ve been mulling for many months now: How shabby our services are for returning vets.When I have a bit more free time in the next few days, I might put up a lengthy comment about that. I feel like this would be a great place to discuss it.)

    OK, so I started off with a general agreement that the solution is some sort of public/private mixture, and now I’m going to end with a more specific agreement. I think this is a really good idea: “Set up a program for “pre existing” conditions and “catastrophic care” plans. People in these two categories represent a minority of patients, and with state programs funded by additional taxes to private plans and possibly other fee based programs, these programs can be funded.”

     
    • mitchethekid

      July 16, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      You are an intelligent, aware and insightful person. Thanks for your comment.

       
  3. daruttan

    July 17, 2013 at 2:44 am

    meursault1942 your response bring forth many insightful ideas which brought me to a few thoughts in regards to your ideas and suggestions.

    In states with good public healthcare programs they would find themselves with an influx of people who cannot get the same treatment in their own state, flocking to the state with better care to take advantage of their advanced medical care. Since we live in a free society they would be welcome to make such a move and once they register a local address they would qualify for the local programs (assuming other requirements are met) straining an already troubled budget and adding to the poverty levels in that jurisdiction. With what you suggest, which I agree seems fair on the surface, a government minimum standard of coverage with states being encouraged to “top off the benefits” as seen fit by it’s legislatures would create a disparity of services which I believe would steer the nations disadvantaged in need of medical treatment to find their way to the States with the best benefits. That migration would place an undue burden on the citizens of these jurisdictions. The local budgets would suffer as well as the local citizens who would have to compete for services with a larger pool of patients. While your suggestion has many merits it concerns me that in time the borders between the states could become as contentious as the one between the US and Mexico since the desire to find a better situation for their life is what drives humans to make such adventurous life changes, much the same as the pioneers who placed their families and all their worldly possessions in those covered wagons headed into dangerous territory based on the hope for a better life. A serious medical need would ceriainly be enough to drive this basic human instinct.

    Your point about us not using available resources is a great point. I think that taking someone whom we have already invested in and converting their knowledge into an applicable skill set only makes good common sense. Your suggestion also brought to mind a couple of other thoughts, we need to reform our secondary education system. The financial burden placed on young adults who are trying to become productive citizens is obscene. As a society that places a higher value on uneducated athletes and reality tv stars than we do our talented youth and educated productive citizens, I am not sure how we get there from here.

     
    • Cluster

      July 17, 2013 at 3:04 am

      I think your assumption overlooks one obvious thing. If a state does realize flight of its citizenry due to inferior health care, then that state is going to improves its services. States are just as competitive as private enterprises and if improving health care services means a larger tax base, than you can be assured that that would happen.

      Secondly, since when has health care insurance been a primary motivating factor for where one resides? All states already have some level of state funded health care, and I don’t recall anyone ever considering that when moving.

      I do kind of like a “minimum” coverage requirement though.

       
  4. kmg

    July 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Cluster,

    I told you we were going to disagree when you put up your post on health care. Conservatives like to point to a single aspect of Obamacare and say, “See? This means the whole thing is a pile of crap and must be destroyed!” Large employers, wanting to privatize profits and socialize costs, look for any way to avoid providing any sort of benefits for their workers. You have some large companies that are pushing more of their workers to part time to avoid the mandate, but they are doing based on ideology and pure speculation rather than an objective analysis of the costs and benefits of providing health care.

    Contrary to the Examiner’s claim, Republican opposition has had an impact on implementation. As of this week, there will have been 38 votes in the House to repeal the ACA. By the way, whatever happened to “Repeal and Replace?” Not one of those votes contained any replacement for the ACA. Demonization of Obamacare has led people to reflexively oppose it when asked by pollsters, but when asked if they support the individual pieces, every part gets majority support except the individual mandate. You bring up the case of the girl’s lung transplant as an example of the death panels that the batshit crazies like Bachmann and Palin were screaming about. The national transplant guidelines existed before the ACA and they will still exist whether the ACA survives. They were not created by Obamacare. Politicians demanding that individuals like this girl get waivers aren’t doing it because they believe the policy guidelines are wrong; they think they see a chance to score some political points against the ACA and Obama. Now you have the Koch brothers funding a national PR campaign to do nothing more than spread more disinformation about the ACA.

    You said your premiums are being increased 20% based on pure speculation by your insurance company. Without the ACA, your rates would have gone up anyway. Would it have been more or less than 20%? Who knows, but the there is a difference with the ACA. If the insurance company does not pay enough in actually providing health care, you’ll get a refund. That would not have happened before the ACA. So far, California’s experience with the implementation of Obamacare has been successful at controlling rate increases.

    I don’t agree that your approach is the answer to your perceived problems with Obamacare. Block granting funds to the states for Medicaid does nothing to solve the problem. The states will do everything they can to restrict access to Medicaid and divert money to other things it wants to spend on. If you turn health care over to the states and you believe in states’ rights, how do you force them to create hi-risk pools to cover catastrophic costs and the uninsurable? They just won’t do it, leaving a problem that will have to be fixed at the federal level. The ACA already fixes it with the individual mandate, eliminating lifetime caps, and prohibiting denial for pre-existing conditions.

    As mersualt said, allowing insurance companies to compete across state borders without coverage requirements will be a race to the bottom. It also violates a state’s right to determine the minimum coverage requirements for its citizen’s. This is the reason concealed carry permits are not automatically portable across state lines. States that have more stringent requirements for CCW permits do not want people coming in from a state that only requires a pulse to have one issued.

    If I had the power to fix our health care problem, I would go straight to single payer. As those of you who knew from the B4B and B4V days know, I am retired Army and I use TriCare. I pay about $45 a month for a family of four, $12-$24 dollars co-pay for a doctor visit outside of the military system, free prescriptions, and $25 a day for hospitalization. That socialist program is the best deal going and I would like to see it expanded to include everyone. It would effectively eliminate private insurance except for supplemental coverage policies like Medicare Advantage. I believe insurance companies are the biggest contributors to exploding health care costs and eliminating them would go a long way toward solving the problem.

    Just my socialist 2 cents.

     
    • Cluster

      July 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Allow me to add just another cent or two. First of all, thank you for your service, and you are entitled to your excellent health care coverage, but there is no possible way that could be extended to everyone. The country would go broke within a day. Eventually, someone needs to pay for the system, and the fees you are being charged don’t even come close to doing that. We ultimately need people who will, and do pay more.

      It’s pure speculation to think that my insurance rates would have increased without Obamacare. It’s also somewhat odd to think that a state government would be irresponsible with health care funds while a federal government would not. State governments can be held more accountable by the electorate, and state governments have a vested interest in keeping, attracting and expanding the tax base of the state. A federal government is much more unattached from the electorate, and doesn’t need to worry about retaining a tax base. Also, a simple truth is that the larger the bureaucracy is, the greater the potential is for incompetence, fraud and waste. In regards to the death panel, you may be right on the existing restriction, but the fact remains that Sebellius was reluctant, if not resistant to approving the transplant. That needs to change with or without Obamacare. If we are a nation that is ok watching a ten year old girl die because she doesn’t meet all the check boxes on some form, then we should be ashamed of ourselves.

      Finally, I will just say that it is not the GOP’s responsibility to fix a law that was crammed down their throats, and a law of which none of them voted for. And their continued opposition is not the reason for the troubles that exist with the program. The democrats should have been more careful in crafting the law, and should be more proactive in its implementation. A single payer system is an archaic response to a complex industry that really requires, and even demands a more innovative approach. As a country as diverse as we are, and as innovative as we are, we can surely devise a system that rewards doctors for the skill and expertise they bring to the industry, takes care of those patients who are indigent and in need, finds the funds available to insure pre existing conditions and offer catastrophic care without bankrupting families, and yet offer sensible and affordable private insurance plans that cover those who are lucky enough to be healthy and not need the level of care that some others do. I know it can be done.

       
      • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

        July 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm

        “but there is no possible way that could be extended to everyone.”

        Not entirely true. A one cent gasoline tax per gallon would rake in over a billion dollars a year. A twenty cent tax per pack on cigarettes would reap seven billion. throw in small taxes on the most unhealthy foods, firearms and ammunition and you’d have the revenue you need to pay the doctors what they deserve for their skill and education as well as make the system available to all.

         
      • Cluster

        July 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm

        Conjecture and speculation. Since when have designated taxes actually been accurately targeted towards the issue they were designed to resolve? Remember when state and federal lotteries were going to fund schools and resolve that issue? And tobacco taxes have already been raised to fund medical needs, yet it never is enough. Is it?

         
      • kmg

        July 17, 2013 at 11:43 pm

        Cluster,

        You’re right that TriCare may not work for all, but, like you, I agree with means testing. Charge higher premiums based on income. What I think works is the structure. Its hard to find someone who uses TriCare that is critical other than minor annoyances.

        I did speculate that your rates would have gone up anyway, but when did they last go down? Insurance rights have been constantly increasing. I will not be surprised if you get a refund from your insurance company for their recent rate increase. What we have seen with states that have been proactive in implementing the ACA (California, Oregon, and mentioned elsewhere, New York) is that rates have actually been going down, especially for the self-insured. Those are the small business owners and the self-employed that conservatives always say they are fighting for.

        Transferring health care to the states doesn’t get you more accountability to the electorate. It just shifts accountability to the special interests that drive that state’s politics. You also have states with differing systems where a Governor or Legislature is able to more easily push through items that are in the best interests of their investors rather than their citizens. At the national level, the ACA was based on a conservative proposal and the GOP was practically begged to help form the law. The GOP decided to appose the entire thing, including provisions they had supported in the past. Nothing was rammed down the GOP’s throats.

        As to the last item about it not being the GOP’s responsibility to fix the ACA. It was the GOP, including your last President and VP candidates, that have said over and over again that the ACA needs to be replaced. Where is the replacement? BTW, we are up to 39 pointless repeal votes now.

         
    • mitchethekid

      July 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Brilliant analysis. Thanks.

       
  5. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

    July 17, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Cluster the girl that was waiting for an adult lung transplant is neither a “death panel” nor does it have anything to do with Obamacare. here’s one of the great problems with Conservative politics; it no longer serves to solve problems it serves with even false information to compound the problem in the name of appearing to be the purest of the pure. The rules on children being generally prohibited from getting adult lungs date back to the early 1980s. actually.

     
    • Cluster

      July 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      I am not disagreeing with that. The fact remains though that the Obama administration, through Kathleen Sebellius, was resistant to solve the problem and stated that the girl did not meet the criteria to receive the transplant, and I believe Sebellius’s comment was that some people will die. That has nothing to do with conservative politics. .

       
      • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

        July 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm

        But Cluster some people in this case children who need lung transplants, for quite a long time. Everybody dies. What needs to be done is something to assure that Americans can live the healthiest lives possible. This also has nothing to do with politics at all.

         
      • Cluster

        July 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        It’s one thing to deny an 85 year old a hip replacement, or a transplant, and quite another to deny a 10 year old girl. We should never, ever, deny a child an opportunity at life because of some inane bureaucratic regulation, when we are able to provide the treatment needed. Never.

         
      • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

        July 18, 2013 at 2:13 am

        It wasn’t simply a regulation it was based on data that showed adult lungs didn’t fit well in the tiny chest cavities of young children. Medical science has come up with some solutions to the how to make it fit problem but often there are still complications and the surgery is risky.

         
  6. mitchethekid

    July 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Food fight!

     
    • Cluster

      July 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      That reminds me. Almost time to watch Animal House again.

       
      • mitchethekid

        July 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

        Did you ever see the documentary about the making of Animal House? I’ll tell you what’s better, Caddy Shack. “Hey Wang! Don’t tell ’em your Jewish”. “You buy a hat like that, they give you a bowl of soup. But it looks good on you though”. “How’d you like to earn $14.00? The hard way.” “You must have been something before electricity”. “Sent allot of young men to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it but felt I owed it to them”.

         
      • Cluster

        July 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

        Rodney Dangerfield was a classic. As was Ted Knight.

         
  7. meursault1942

    July 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    A little more grist for the mill: New York’s individual insurance rates to drop in 2014:

    Many New York state residents who buy health insurance next year will most likely see their premiums cut by half as President Barack Obama’s healthcare law creates subsidies that may increase the number of people in this market by the hundreds of thousands.

    Information on the state’s rates, which will figure in a national debate over whether “Obamacare” will make health insurance more affordable, was released on Wednesday by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The figures represent some of the biggest discounts seen among a handful of states that have disclosed price information for the plans, which will begin to be offered to consumers on Oct. 1.

     
  8. mitchethekid

    July 18, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Cluster said……”Well let me ask you this. How do we attract the best and brightest minds to a non profit industry? Keep in mind the amount of rigorous schooling and the amount of time required in internship to become a practicing physician. The people that do commit to that deserve to be financially rewarded and I want them to be rewarded. If I need open heart surgery, I want the best person available to do the job.”

    I agree 100% but I was referring to insurance companies, not the providers themselves. From my experience, my providers are very sensitive to costs that their patients incur. It’s in their best interest to have a large group of patients so if costs are lower but there are more patients then everybody benefits. Except Nurse Jackie…..

     
  9. Cluster

    July 18, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I happen to support repeal of Obamacare, but I think the best way to achieve repeal would be to require photo ID for eligibility. That would automatically be deemed racist by the Democrats and the whole system would be thrown out. LOL.

    (I actually can’t take credit for that. That was just said by Dennis Miller; brilliant and hilarious)

     
    • kmg

      July 18, 2013 at 2:03 am

      I don’t know, I think Miller’s best days were before he turned political. Bill Maher was a lot funnier before he turned political too.

       
      • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

        July 18, 2013 at 2:15 am

        Both of them have snorted enough cocaine to earn Peruvian citizenship.

         
      • Cluster

        July 18, 2013 at 2:24 am

        Bill Maher is vile. Jon Stewart on the other hand is funny, as is Miller. One requirement for this blog however is a sense of humor. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves, individually and collectively.

         
      • kmg

        July 18, 2013 at 3:05 am

        I’m a big fan of political humor. I just think Maher and Miller went from being comedians to blowhards and lost the humor.

         
      • kmg

        July 18, 2013 at 3:12 am

        George Carlin did political humor right.

         
  10. daruttan

    July 18, 2013 at 2:19 am

    As long as healthcare decisions are being made by the Bureaucracy instead of the individual and her/his doctor there will be stories like the 10 year old girl that you mention. Who gets to be the decider as to when the “value of life switch” is flipped as in your willingness to accept a denial of treatment for an 85 year old vs that of a child. What if it is a 50 year old father, should his treatment be denied and his children left orphans? This is the tip of the iceberg when healthcare decisions are taken from the examining room to the boardroom and the bottom line instead of the welfare of the patient are the basis for those decisions. I must say I am surprised to read that you don’t place the same value on an 85 yo human life that you do an 85 minute old fetus…just sayin’. Willingness to take those medical decisions away from the individual and their doctor to a legislative or business decision will always leave room for personal beliefs and biases to override the opinion of trained medical expertise. Healthcare is a personal thing, from abortion to physician assisted suicide, from lung transplants to the latest non-FDA approved treatment, from hip replacements in 85 year olds to incubating premature babies the government and CEO’s need to stay out of the examining room and give patients the right to follow or deny their physicians advice based on their own desires and personal belief system.

     
    • Cluster

      July 18, 2013 at 2:31 am

      I must say I am surprised to read that you don’t place the same value on an 85 yo human life that you do an 85 minute old fetus…just sayin

      It’s just a personal thing. If I were 85, I would defer any treatment that could be used on an 85 minute old fetus in a heartbeat. At 85, I would consider myself blessed to have lived such a long life and would want to give that same opportunity to the fetus, rather than care for myself.

      I liked what Dr. Benjamin Carson said about personal health savings accounts – tax deferred, tax exempt, started at birth, and inheritable. Meaning you could pass on your account to your children. Thus if I was 85 and needed open heart surgery, I would elect to forgo the operation and pass on my savings account so my kids could use it more productively.

       
      • kmg

        July 18, 2013 at 3:11 am

        I think what daruttan was referencing was the pro-life position of completely outlawing abortion. An 85 minute old fetus hasn’t been born yet. But, if I remember correctly, Cluster, you are personally pro-life, but not interested in imposing your personal beliefs on a woman’s personal decision, at least in the first trimester. Is that right?

         
      • Cluster

        July 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

        KMG, you are essentially correct and I plan to write an article on abortion to address all that. I will also write on immigration, gay marriage, gun control, foreign policy, etc.. My hope here is to dispel the false notion of what so may progressives have of conservatives like myself and what we actually stand for.

        It’s important we have a debate grounded in reality, not misperception.

         
  11. Majordomo Pain

    July 18, 2013 at 2:28 am

    We, Ourselves, of The Collective find the topic of medical ethics fascinating. Cluster has made a point that a child should never be denied an “opportunity at life” and We, Ourselves agree fully. We would extrapolate this point to all those living children who have not enough food to eat, safe water to drink, shelter from the elements, clothing to wear, medical care and safe and fulfilling education all of which should be guaranteed as civil rights.

     
    • Cluster

      July 18, 2013 at 2:39 am

      I don’t disagree, but your fight is not with conservatives like me, or Americans. Your battle here is with third world countries run by despots and theocrats. Here in America, the standard of living even amongst the poorest of us, is far above that of most any other country, as is the level of community outreach and the availability of federal welfare, so if a child is lacking in basic needs you will need to look towards the parents of that child.

      Good luck with all of it.

       
  12. mitchethekid

    July 18, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Cluster, I love Bill Maher! I know he upsets a lot of people and is a bit crude, but he gets the point across. He’s one of the best social satirists around. Not as surgically cutting or intellectual as Stewart but vile? Only if your prudish, and I know you are not. Did you ever watch Politically Incorrect? This blog has the same theme.

     
  13. mitchethekid

    July 18, 2013 at 8:24 am

    And speaking of comedy, has anyone seen these? http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/
    I never watched Seinfeld but I love Curb Your Enthusiasm. Jerry said that the greatest standups were Pryor, Carlin and Cosby. Kmg prompted this response so enjoy!

     
  14. daruttan

    July 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Having the experience this past April of my soon to be 85 yo mother having a total hip replacement which has ended up not so well I will make one final comment. The pain which led to her surgery was intolerable, if she lives to me the age of her father she should get 10-15 years out of that hip. Beats the hell out of 10-15 years of excruciating intolerable pain. Even though it has landed her in a wheel chair. Sounds noble to pass on the care but you may want to wait until your faced with that decision, you may surprise yourself.

     
 
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