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Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Fight For Health Care

I am going to start off easy. We are in an epic fight to secure basic health care rights for all Americans.

I will start off with President Obama's opening speech in Colorado:

President Obama is too nice. He wants to find some "middle ground" on health insurance reform, rather than seeking to guarantee health care for all Americans. I know why he is doing it. For some reason, a "Medicare for All" national healthcare system is apparently unachievable because the public won't accept it due to the threat of "socialism." I would want to abolish for-profit health insurance for all basic care and only allow it for supplemental care (care which provide benefits that are not provided by government funding for basic care). For instance, allowing private insurance to provide elective surgeries or "pampered" care that are not affordable by basic medicine, or for quicker treatment that may available under the public system. (One of the complaints about public care is that needed, but non-emergency care takes too long -- such as knee or hip replacement surgery.) But then, that's probably why I will never be president.

In the next video, Lawrence O'Donnell is too nice. In the process of interviewing Representative John Culberson (R-TX), O'Donnell kept interrupting by repeating his question trying to get Culberson to answer his question regarding his position on abolishing Medicare and Social Security. I would have shouted "ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION!" at the congressman. But, of course, that is probably why I could never be a good talkshow host.

While I understand Lawrence O'Donnell's point in conceding the argument that Social Security and Medicare are forms of "socialism," it technically is not correct. Socialism is actually defined as the "collective (government) ownership of the means of production and distribution." It is not socialism for governments to tax its citizens and use the revenue to alleviate social problems, injustices and inequality; that is called "welfare." However, most people don't have degrees in Political Science and therefore cannot distinguish between them.

However, the exchange still did a good job of showing the "cognitive dissonance" of the Republicans' argument regarding their opposition to expansion of Social Security and Medicare as "socialism" and their unwillingness to propose or vote to repeal the same.

Hardball With Rep. Culberson

By the way, I thought I should point out that many of the "newbie" political activists aren't new at all. Someone pointed out that the lady at the Arlen Specter town hall has a Facebook page which has information showing that she has been involved in politics for some time. What this proves is that a lot of what is passing for "public outrage" is actually nothing more than "astroturfing."

It is the increasing power of paid corporate shills (astroturfing) which is the real reason we are having difficulty passing real health care reform.


Debra said...

Okie, I call foul again. You stuck this post down just as Thai is leaving for vacation !!!!
Thai is the one who is the best equipped to answer any of your comments on health care in the U.S.
Personally, I know this is going to sound really snarky, but...
I couldn't care less about health care in the U.S.
Sometimes the mother country's tizzies are unfathomable to me after all these years...
But I will say as I have said over on SuddenDebt : the number one problem is what is induced by big big big : business, or government. Who cares whether the government or "big" business handles health care if in both cases it's still SINGLE payer, i.e. a monopoly involved ?
And...with all that paperwork involved EVERYWHERE to get everything done you think it is going to be any better for these people ? Any quicker ?
France, by the way, DID NOT technically have socialized medecine until very very recently. But it is not "socialized" medecine, or single payer which is the worst nightmare. It is the bureaucracy.
Things are bad over here WITH health care coverage. Because the bureaucracy has WON. It is KING of the planet.
As far as the astroturfers, no comment.

Dink said...

Glad to see you aboard, Okie! Any idea what the cure was for making blogger to finally allow you on? Also, your posting knowledge is advanced; I wasn't sure how to get to the comment section at first.

You Tube kept buffering so I only made it about 1/3 through Obama. I made it about 28 seconds into Spector, but the astroturfer was too sickening to continue.

Kudos to you to willing to be involved in a subject so obnoxiously complicated. Like Deb, I want to recoil and go nihilist. Since you made an effort to post, I'll try to make an effort comment.

So what is a government? A patch of land and some people. The people have to make rules on how they behave to each other and how they behave towards foreign people. These rules have to be enforced and taught to the young. So we have the logic behind the military, police, the judicial system, politics, and public education. All maintaining "The Commons" from destructive selfishness.

But the rest of society is worked out via capitalism. The hope is that selfishness of the individual benefits The Commons as a whole (ex. research that will make the technologist rich and The C function more efficiently). With the right watchdogs in place this might work (but I'm sure we're all aware its gotten out of control).

Food production, water management, energy, natural resources, shelter options, and of course medicine are all handled by capitalism with some supposed government watchdogs. They are all out of control and threatening The C. So an option out of this fix might be to have the gov handle it to bring it back into control.

But looking at the functions that the gov handles now show that they are out of control as well. Military waste is epic. Lost opportunities in public education are epic.

I'll stop now as it all seems to be concluding that human nature is inherently self-destructive.

So, did everyone see District 9 this weekend? It really was an interesting movie.

SS said...

@ Dink

I wouldn't call the military the same government as your local government, the state as the Federal, the Federal as the military and even within the federal government their are vast differences between the USDA, Parks Service, Dept. of Justice etc. One word does not necessarily help here. The issue is who or what will show up under health care reform.


Debra said...

Dink, your ideological slip is showing.
You don't see that what you THINK is FACT is basically... HYPOTHESIS on human behavior that has been handed down to you by the 18th and 19th century.
Everything is supposed to balance out because the individual is inherently selfish, and eveybody working in his/her own individual interest makes the machine work correctly ? (Pseudo Adam Smith, the father of capitalism)
Ideology that denies our altruistic tendencies, Dink. Ideology that also denies just how interested we are in what our neightbor does and how he does it...
If you deny our altruistic tendencies, then you cannot find appropriate outlets for them... and THEN they go amok.
Too much of a good thing can become... terribly BAD.
Pessimism again, Dink.
That will NOT save us. And we need saving. Desperately.

SS said...

Issues for health care

welcome okie and thanks for the post. We have already gone much farther here on this issue though. Almost 100% of site visitors, except Debbie and Thai are in favor of universal health care and reform. Its an issue of the fractal manifolds aligning with Aquarius in the southern sky, obviously.
But as for the details its another zero-sum game problem and rather than leave it to the mathematicians we are discussing solutions to some of the problems that emerge:

is wearing the viel a health problem for which one can get counseling?
is it a health problem if one has lice?
Are topless beaches a health problem?
For whom?
Will mental illness be covered?
Is wearing the viel while topless a sign of mental illness?
Does the person looking also become mentally ill?
can homosexual couples get viel counseling if one's partner is insisting that he/she wear the viel?
Is virginity a health problem?
If it is should counseling be Lacanian or Freudian?

If virginity counseling takes 7 years(Lacanian) to have any effect can accommodation be made for someone nearing menopause?

In cases where virginity is widespread and prostitution forbidden will male counseling be available?
For societies where sexual frustration leads to war, what limbs are eligible for amputation and which for replacemnt therapy?
Is obeisty a health problem or is it due to overeating?

Obama has his work cut out for him - is he healthy enough?
Can a smoker engineer health reform or does smoke get in his eyes?

Welcome to the site. LOL


Dink said...

* Okie has been granted admin priviliges since I have no idea why he can't comment anymore; hopefully he will be able to fix the problem. If the site looks or acts different, we'll work it out. I can give you others admin access to after Okie works out the issue. It could result in chaos, but what's life without a little adventure.

*Deb, have you heard anything from AWOL Cotton?

*Okie, a note on site culture: SS is never so happy as when he is provoking the rest of us about our pet obsessions (i.e. Deb & Lacan, Thai & fractals).

* "Pessimism again, Dink.
That will NOT save us. And we need saving. Desperately."

Well, just become the predicted outcome is bad it doesn't mean that the analysis was incorrectly calculated. Suppose humans do have an intrinsically exploitive tendency towards nature and each other. Ten thousand years ago this tendency wasn't a problem since there weren't that many of us and we had limited technology. Unlike today when there are nearly 7B of us and our technology is literally changing the planet. Sigh. But you are correct in that just because the problem seems impossible doesn't mean we don't have an obligation to try to fix it.

* "Issues for health care"

Though your comment was teasing, you do bring up valid concerns.

Some people have problems that we're not so good at fixing (addiction, mental health). Some people don't follow their doctor's order (diabetics, hypertensives). Some people engage in high-risk behavior (driving fast, extreme sports). What if being my brother's keeper destroys me? Morality is foggy.

* For years my health insurer was Group Health Cooperative. They're getting some national press for being a potential model for other private insurers. It was seriously convenient (pharmacy, lab, exam rooms all in the same building). At least for a relatively healthy person.

* Underground, secret, black market health care. Medical tourism. Networks between health insurers preventing some people some purchasing alcohol or alfredo sauce at restaurants. Interesting times ahead.

SS said...

@ Dink

You captured the right tone to get through these knotty problems (veil, knot, no pun intended).


OkieLawyer said...

OK, now that I have admin powers, I fixed the problem with my not being able to comment. I have set it to "full page," but I can change it to "pop up" if you prefer.

OkieLawyer said...

OK, Debra:

Here is a French "Health Care Horror Story: Socialist Version just for you.

Debra said...

Oh goody, Okie, I don't have time to read it today because we're taking off for two days (nothing exciting you guys, no Bormes les Mimosas or anything, no topless beaches, my mother in law would have a hissy fit...)
I'll read it when I come back.
SS that was an AWESOMELY wonderful comment you just pulled out of your keyboard. Wonderful. (But I'm NOT a fan of Lacan...)
Cheers you guys.
On my site with my loony friends we have a picture of a red carpet being rolled out to welcome new people...
You'll just have to IMAGINE it, Okie. Sorry.

Dink said...

"no topless beaches, my mother in law would have a hissy fit"

She only wants you to visit topless beaches? Perhaps she is an orthodox pagan :)

"Health Care Horror Story"

I read it last night and was confused. I remain so. How can this "Secu" provide all that? Is it really sustainable or is it about to crumble? If it is sustainable, how does it work? Is there something in our national character that would prevent it from working here?

If the situation boils down to the US having more available workers than work that needs to be done, how should these people use their time? Ten hours continuing education/ten hours organic farming/ten hours health maintenance/10 hours "job"; wouldn't it be cool if every Earthling could live weeks like that?

Debra said...

Well, Okie, I just kept reading that "horror story" and kept wondering where/when the "horror" part was going to come in...
I must say that at this point, Jerome is a VERY VERY PRIVILEGED person, and his son is very very lucky.
Or... maybe he has a politico friend somewhere... or maybe he knows somebody in banking that helps him somewhere...
Let me describe my husband's aunt's last bout with the health care system, in comparison. Germaine is 85, lives in the middle of France's beautiful countryside (miles and miles away from the country's so cosmopolitan and centralized CAPITAL) , and underwent an operation for glaucoma recently. France's deteriorating health care system, in addition to the big big promotion of big hospital multiplexes (hubs they're called, it's ridiculous...) ensures that Germaine had to travel mucho miles away from her home in order to be operated on, she was discharged the next morning, in order to attend a consultation by her surgeon doctor in private practice, mucho mucho miles away from the hospital.
Jerome is VERY VERY LUCKY to live in Paris, because if he had a handicapped child, say, for example, in Montelimar, he would have to SEND said child to a structure MUCHO miles away, because there are very few of said structures in France, despite what Jerome leads you to believe...
Finally, I am wondering just WHO exactly will deliver my now 19 year old daughter, IF/WHEN she decides to have a baby, because the French system has, in penny pinching fashion, stuck so many caps on the number of doctors coming out of the system yearly that SHE MAY NOT HAVE a doctor to deliver her... will she have SOMEONE competent who is not a doctor ? Maybe, maybe not. Toss a coin...
Jerome's picture is a little rosy, you guys.
And.. it's NOT single payer. Employer AND employee pay, but hey, it's really UNFAIR to the employer, as Social Security hits the employer right between the teeth, and hard, while the employee dishes out a couple of nickels and dimes.
The system is rapidly going bankrupt, as it is EXCLUSIVELY financed by the people who work, and you know what our unemployment looks like ?
The right holds its nose and rolls its eyes whenever mention is made of making the financial district pay.

Debra said...

Hey, just so as NOT to give you any ideas, the LEFT (WHAT left ???... the ship sank after the last presidential elections...) also holds its nose and rolls its eyes the same way. (See above)

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits