September 23, 2005

And now, for a new entitlement.

A reader sends this link to an article (which Eugene Volokh linked to a few days ago):
Danish activists for the disabled are staunchly defending a government campaign that pays sex workers to provide sex once a month for disabled people.

Opposition parties call the program, officially known as ''Sex, irrespective of disability,'' immoral.

''We spend a large proportion of our taxes rescuing women from prostitution. But at the same time we officially encourage carers to help contact with prostitutes,'' said Social-Democrat spokesperson Kristen Brosboel.

Responded Stig Langvad of the country's Disabled Association: ''The disabled must have the same possibilities as other people. Politicians can debate whether prostitution should be allowed in general, instead of preventing only the disabled from having access to it.''
So, really, what was the first question that came into your mind? Wasn't it: How disabled do you have to be? (At the Roberts hearings Teddy Kennedy made a reference to 50 million as the number of Americans With Disabilities.)

I think it's creepy for the government to be deciding how often people ought to have sex and to be keeping official records about the persons participating in this program.

Opinions?

IN THE COMMENTS: A coinage. You've heard of the Nanny State. This is the Poonanny State.

84 comments:

olivia1 said...

I almost can't believe this is for real...note i said "almost". This is truly wacky and bizarre to make it a subsidized goverment program. What about the abled married guy who only gets it every other month. Oh, it's just too stupid.

Freeman Hunt said...

A government program for getting laid? What the hell? People actually think that they have a right to provided sex partners?

And I agree--the whole government involvement thing is very creepy.

Eddie said...

That was hilarious. Why would it surprise anyone that the continent of decadence, euthanasia, abortion on demand (oh wait, that's us) has such a thought process?

vbspurs said...

My mind is an utter blank.

The only thing that I can think of in response to this latest Big Brotherism is imagining the Muppet Show's Swedish Chef, and what he'd say about this Sex-for-the-Disabled programme:

BORK! BORK! BORK! BORK! BORK!

...thank God I emigrated from that continent before it was too late. Seriously.

Cheers,
Victoria

Pastor_Jeff said...

I can't believe that anyone aware of the drift of European nanny-state liberalism is surprised by this.

Next up: soma for everyone!

Scipio said...

I'm getting a diagnosis of neuropathy from the local quack and moving to Denmark, stat.

John said...

Olivia1:
"What about the abled married guy who only gets it every other month. "
- perhaps some enterprising attorney could make the case that this class of individual actually IS disabled?

I can only imagine the bedtime conversations taking place around the world with men armed with this new ammunition: "But honey, the Danish government says we have to!"

ziemer said...

you people know the law:

"any number has the right to have sex with any other number."

Eli Blake said...

My first thought was this: If this is extreme, it is worth noting that the Danish, with their 'nanny state' system, live longer, are healthier and have a higher standard of living than we do. So they must be doing something right.

My second thought was this: The article says, ''We spend a large proportion of our taxes rescuing women from prostitution. Emphasis on the word, 'women.' Not male prostitutes.

Now, aren't about half of the disabled in the country probably women in the first place, and if so do they make sure that there is an adequate supply of gigolos? And does the program extend to gay disabled people?

West Coast Independent said...

Instead of creating more paperwork for record keeping; I think participants should blog about it instead.

:)

leeontheroad said...

Surely, in the era of privitization, a better option would be private sex accounts. This would provide an important prophylatic for the sagging Danish banking industry. It would also eliminate paperwork when individuals changed providers.

One has to wonder at a political system that seeks government solutions, instead of encouraging more self-starters. The Danes have clearly forgotten their adolescence. They clearly expect everyone to do everything for them.

Freeman Hunt said...

it is worth noting that the Danish, with their 'nanny state' system, live longer, are healthier and have a higher standard of living than we do. So they must be doing something right.

Yes, because living a long time as coddled physcial specimens is the highest ideal we can strive for as a society. Freedom, self-determination, and all that carp is for cowboys and brutes.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Eli,

I'm not sure what stats you're looking at, or how you measure "standard of living." According to the CIA World Fact Book, though, the life expectancies in the two countries are equal.

Even if Danish standard of living is higher, it comes at the cost of higher taxes (meaning less freedom of individual choice, which is something the US has historically valued).

Eddie said...

There have been studies on the standard of living, and no, they clearly don't by any objective measure.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Let's be realistic: the real problem with this proposal will be getting EU agreement on a whole host of sex-benefit-related standards (with the French staunchly protecting their own sex workers against free markets and cheap foreign competition).

mcparsons said...

it is worth noting that the Danish, with their 'nanny state' system, live longer, are healthier and have a higher standard of living than we do. So they must be doing something right.

That is highly debatable. Read truckandbarter.com for similar arguments on Sweden.

"What about the abled married guy who only gets it every other month. "

They are lucky.

Pullo said...

My first thought was this: If this is extreme, it is worth noting that the Danish, with their 'nanny state' system, live longer, are healthier and have a higher standard of living than we do. So they must be doing something right.

Well eli, sorry to shatter your illusions, but all the stats I can find say that it's the poor benighted slobs in the U.S. who have the longer lifespan. They have a higher per capita income than the Danes as well. As for standard of living, that's probably highly subjective.

The conclusion I would draw is that even with their extreme nanny state and high taxes, they can't provide the same health benefits that our much-maligned system does!

Harkonnendog said...

"So, really, what was the first question that came into your mind? Wasn't it: How disabled do you have to be?"
That's classic! lol!

Jack said...

Yes, that was the first question that occured to me. But the second was "Is it possible that the Danes will succeed in making sex undesirable?" The only thing I can imagine that would be less pleasant than having to pay for sex is having the government pay for my having sex.

mcparsons said...

Tie this in with unemployed women in Gemany being contacted by sex businesses for jobs whether they like it or not and you can imagine some very interesting scenarios.

aidan maconachy said...

It is creepy.
A red tick on the calendar and right on the dot ... a rap on the door ...

"Hello Ole, naughty time eees 'ere again darlink!"

When sex becomes like meals-on-wheels it kind of loses its allure.

But that's just me.

Eddie said...

The point here is kind of moot, isn't it? I mean, the first thing that is going to happen is the Danish sex workers will unionize, demand six weeks of paid vacation per year, work 35 hour work weeks, and then go on strike when their every last demand isn't met, and they will be able to do so as the government will provide them with welfare benefits into perpetuity.

So much for disabled rights!

Pastor_Jeff said...

Perhaps this will finally give truth to the old line:

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

Sean said...

Following up on a comment above, one interesting thing is that even in a purportedly progressive country, we still see, as a feminist would say, that "Male is the norm." Evidently, the government is paying for disabled males to receive sexual services, yet the Danes describe this as meeting the needs of disabled "people."

Sean E said...

My first question actually was "What about people who can't get laid for other reasons?" If I have a lot of back hair and live with my folks, can I still qualify?

Second question: Would I have any say regarding the specific, uh, provider of this particular government service? And would there be a mandatory retirement age?

Not a question exactly, but I presume if someone did not qualify under this program, they could just masturbate until they went blind and then re-apply.

amba said...

Ahhhhh . . . socialism.

They have the nanny state, we're getting the nunny state (it'll smack your hand with a ruler if you touch yourself.) Pace Scalia, government doesn't belong in their bedrooms OR ours.

leeontheroad said...

"If I have a lot of back hair and live with my folks, can I still qualify?"

No. Hairy-backed losers are just sad chimps-- uh chumps, not disabled.

As for the blindness theory, I believe that's been considered disproved for millenia, but mothers have been too polite to publish the results. But do experiment; it never ruins a couple for someone to stay home alone for the sake of science, instead of going out.

Eli Blake said...

OK. here is the link.

And you guys are right in the specific case of Denmark (life expectancy in US is 77.7 years and in Denmark 77.6 years), but in fact Denmark is at the low end of Europe. The following industrialized "first world" countries with socialized medicine all have longer lifespans (mostly by at least a full year) than the United States:

Austrailia 80.4 years
Austria 78.9 years
Canada 80.1 years
Finland 78.3 years
France 79.6 years
Germany 78.7 years
Greece 79.1 years
Israel 79.3 years
Italy 79.7 years
Japan 81.2 years
New Zealand 78.7 years
Norway 79.4 years
Spain 79.5 years
Sweden 80.4 years
Switzerland 80.4 years
United Kingdom 78.4

For some reason, this table did not include Belgium or the Netherlands.

So, you were only correct insofar as Denmark was on the bottom end of western Europe (actually shared with Ireland,) so they are 1/10 of a year behind us (and among western countries, Portugal is 2/10 behind us). But the overall average of the westernized countries is still much better than we are.

And as far as taxes are concerned, in 2003, the United States spent 15.3% of our GDP on healthcare while it accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The problem with those who are opposed to socialized medicine is this:

I would agree that right now we probably have a better healthcare system than most of these countries for those who can afford it. But for the rest of the people, they get the shaft. They have no other option THAN our 'Cadillac healthcare system,' which is great if you are wealthy, but not much of a choice if you have a 'Chevrolet budget.'

Eddie said...

Eli,

Such utter nonsense. Do you work in health care? If you did, you would already know that people who can't afford it already get a free ride, it's called Medicaid. For those older, it's called Medicare. If you don't qualify for Medicaid, it's because you have too many assets. if you have too many assets, you CAN AFFORD healthcare.

Anyway, why didn't you list the Country's that were lower? I have looked at similar lists and know they exist. Also, what you are pointing out is skewed. What we have in our Country is a slightly higher infant mortality rate. You see, if a Country has two people who live to be to 100, that average is 100 years. If a Country has two people and one dies at birth and the OTHER lives to be 100, that average is 50.

Sorry, already seen studies done on this that go deeper than your analysis.

Also, worldwide Country's further north have higher lfie expectancy rates and Country's further South don't.

Pastor_Jeff said...

And in Denmark, government spending is 75% of GDP, as opposed to 20% in the US. So what? The thread was about socialized sex, not socialized health care. Can we get back to nationalized sex service jokes now?

Sean E and Lee -- too funny! That gives new meaning to Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science"

vbspurs said...

For some reason, this table did not include Belgium or the Netherlands.

That's because there is no census-taking in The Netherlands and Belgium, anymore.

The Dutch eradicated census-taking as being too intrusive, some years ago.

As for the Belgians, don't worry about them.

It's illegal not to vote in Belgium (as it is in a slew of other countries, such as Brazil), and government punishment can include not renewing your passport if you don't vote.

It's not the Nanny State. It's the Numpty State.

P.S.: Where is Finn Christiansen?? One of Ann's most loyal readers, and a Dane by birth. I'd looooove to hear what he has to say about this.

Cheers,
Victoria

Art said...

Note to journalists who might be panelists in the 2008 debates:

Clip, save and watch two candidates wet their pants on national television!

Diane said...

I don't see this as any worse than most nationalized healthcare. I shouldn't have to pay for the disabled to have sex-lives. I shouldn't have to pay for their health-care.

Then again, I say this as a woman with a disability who pays her own way. *smiles*

Chris said...

Eddie is correct that infant mortality and other factors (violence, obesity, drug abuse, reckless behavior, etc) lead to the US having a skewed life expectancy, so it is not accurate to use that single statistic as a comparison without further data, at least if we are discussing the health care system.

The more accurate stat would be remaining life expectancy at x years, which can be drastically different.

In the US, say 80 year olds have a much longer average remaining lifespan than most other countries, because if you take care of yourself well enough to live to 80 the health care system in the US is second to none. It's just that too many people in the US do not take care of themselves well enough, which skews the life expectancy at birth stats.

vnjagvet said...

I wonder what the "quality of sex" is with this program. Is there a menu? Or, more likely, do you take what is delivered.

I wonder who might be bidding for the government contract to supply the services? Does the low bidder get the job?

The details of the program would be interesting to review.

ploopusgirl said...

Hey Eddie, do you work in health care? Because I certainly do. Medicare hardly covers a thing, Medicaid only kicks in when someone's poorer than poor, and the costs of health care so huge that you can have health insurance through your employer and still not be able to afford the associated costs. The United States health care system is a mess, and if you can't see that, then well.. you don't work in health care.

Freeman Hunt said...

Medicaid only kicks in when someone's poorer than poor, and the costs of health care so huge that you can have health insurance through your employer and still not be able to afford the associated costs.

Sorry but I'm going to have to call bullshit on that one. I work with
a guy who lives with his girlfriend and their three children. Our company offers health insurance benefits to all employees. He will not put his girlfriend and children on his policy. Why? Because right now they're on Medicaid which is totally free. If they were on regular health insurance, they'd have to fork out $20 co-payments, and they'd rather spend the money
on electronics and casino visits. And of course since Medicaid is free, the girlfriend and kids just head over to the emergency room when they get sick instead of making regular doctor's appointments. He says that it doesn't matter that it costs 10 times as much because he isn't paying for it. (The taxpayers also provided him with a brand new car. Your government dollars at work.)

ploopusgirl said...

Oh, and that's ky00t diane. I'm so sure your disability is so comparable to everyone elses. I'm sure the 45 year old man with down syndrome could get a good-paying job and support himself completely if he really wanted to. We should get rid of Medicare completely! Because really, what are they doing living so long if they can't even support themselves at an advanced age?? I hope all of you asshole conservatives end up in nursing homes having spent all of your life savings, lonely and sick one day. And I hope no one gives a shit because that's the way you talk about everyone and everything else in this world. Sickening.

ploopusgirl said...

Well obviously there are exceptions, Freeman. The woman obviously knows how to work the system. If she's not married to him, they don't have to list each other as providing income to each other. So she's technically dirt poor, but she lives off of him.

I'm not talking about that though. I'm talking about the family with children with chronic asthma that have to pay $2000 a month in inhalers and nebulizers, doctors visits, etc. Both parents work and make a decent income but see absolutely none of it because they spend it all on health care to doctors that care more about their bonuses than helping their patients get better. The system in place in the United States actually rewards doctors for providing less care in some situations. Yes the US health care system is a mess.

miklos rosza said...

I agree with ploopusgirl, and I've been on both sides.

SMGalbraith said...

This story reminds me of Isaiah Berlin's distinction between negative and positive liberty and how the former leads to a retreat of the state from the public sphere while the latter requires an expansion of the state's powers.

Well, not really. It reminds me of naked women.

But I was trying to raise the level of the debate.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ziemer said...

ploopusgirl,

you do get way too upset.

especially since you can move to any of these places where "social and economic justice" have been actualized -- cuba, north korea.

we capitalists are stuck here in the socialist states of america. there's no pro-market alternative country we can move to.

the democratic process is our only option in life. you could move if you wanted.

i think we're the ones who have a right to be upset, don't you think?

vbspurs said...

I've had great fun all day mentioning this blogpost to my friends.

Finally a Canadian friend (no stranger to wacky gomint programmes) came up with the best comment so far:

Me: "How are they going to pay for it?"
Him: "By instituting a 7% sex tax...or even better, the 1% /inch tax."

...can I get a what-what from the congregation?

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

One more --

An email comment from my cousin Alistair, a medical doctor in the UK:

"Capital idea! you're wrong about Nanny State, tho.

It's the Poonanny State."


All together now...an Instapundit "Indeed".

Cheers,
Victoria

ploopusgirl said...

Ziemer: You're aware that Britain is a democratic state, are you not? Are you also aware that they have a standardized health care system? And a better health care system than the United States? I haven't said a damn thing about socialism. Take a goddamn Public Health class and see the abomination that is the US Health Care system for yourself. I'm all for freedom and democracy, but health is health. If it doesn't work.. it should be standardized. You all take your defense of any and all things American way too far. It's part of our RIGHTS to criticize things inherently wrong in this country and to fix them..

Chris said...

The UK system ISN'T better than the system in America ploopus, unless you consider quotas, outdated equipment, waiting lists, and four times the mortality rate for major surgeries 'better'.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/09/07/nhs07.xml

I dunno, but would I choose being at 1/4th the risk of dying after a major surgery over 'free' healthcare any day of the week.

The US system IS the best system, except for a small number who can't afford insurance and are not poor enoguh to be covered by any of the programs and do not have access to free clinics for routine care. Might suck for them, but the way to fix the problem is not to socialize the whole thing, decrease the quality of care for everyone, and increase the power of government. It seems backwards to me to take the best healthcare system in the world (admittedly only for those who can afford it) and socialize it and remove all incentive for smart people to go into the medical business. The best way to solve the problems with healthcare in America is to get rid of needless governmental regulations and red tape, stop frivolous lawsuits, and all around lower costs. Then after all that, find some way to take care of the relatively small amount of people who genuinely cannot afford healthcare.

You also proved Ziemers point that there is no where else in the world the free market advocates can go, our only recourse is to protect the free market (or what is left of it in the US) through the democratic process.

vbspurs said...

You're aware that Britain is a democratic state, are you not? Are you also aware that they have a standardized health care system? And a better health care system than the United States?

I have three things to tell you, Ploopusgirl:

1- I'm British.

2- I come from 4 generations of medical doctors. I'm the fifth -- in 2 years.

3- Comparing the quality of medical coverage received in the UK to what I now receive in the US is ludicrous.

To get a simple antibiotic from your GP in the UK is often a struggle of pathetic proportions.

I'd like to see you wait in the queue for years to try to get even simple operations.

The A&Es, hospitals, and outpatient care are amazingly backwards comparatively -- and let's not even mention the equipment I have access to here in the US.

The red-tape encountered these days, now that we are supposed to present IDs is overwhelming.

Oh, of course in Scotland, they still have "walk-in" service without proof -- so you have people from all over the world landing at Prestwick, and checking themselves in to hospitals in Glasgow.

You want to spout about topics you have no first-hand knowledge of, go to Daily Kos.

Here, you deal with facts, and with me.

Cheers,
Victoria

tcd said...

Ploopusgirl,

Great Britain may be a democracy (actually it is a constutional monarchy with a representative democracy) but a "standardized health care system" is a socialist concept. Democracy = form of government. Standardized health care = item on socialist wish list.

And you need not worry about us asshole conservatives; most of us have the foresight to live within our means and are saving and investing for our retirements. We are not depending on Social Security or Medicare/ Medicaid. I'm surprise that you work in the health care industry; I thought that one needed compassion to work in that field. You certainly aren't showing any in this thread.

Chris said...

Also one more note.

It;s easy to call anyone who doesn't agree with your pet entitlement an 'asshole conservative' but the fact is there are always side effects to economic central planning, often much worse than the original problem.

Who is the asshole if your socialized medicine results in a decrease in quality of care for the vast majority of people who can afford healthcare under the current system? That would be you, I think.

It's easy to talk about 'rights' to healthcare and things, but the issue gets much more complicated when deciding who should provide for those rights and in what form and method. The problem with 'positive' rights is that they always conflict with other people's rights. Any right that always conflicts with another right is not a right.

Sorry about going into the heartless asshole libertarian mode there for a sec..

Anyway, it's easy to say lofty things about how everyone should have access to free healthcare, but it is much more difficult to implement without trampling over other people's rights or lowering the quality of care for everyone else and throwing the entire economy out of skew.

Remember that old adage about how a government powerful enough to give you everything you need is powerful enough to take everything you have. I never want to be dependent on the government for anything, just scares the hell out of me. But you are free to go to the UK and have a 4x higher chance of dying after a major surgery though.

XWL said...

I realize this thread has evolved into yet another shouting match about the relative merits of various national health scare schemes (no that's not a typo), but I'd like to try and bring this back to a snarky thread full of sexual innuendo


Shouldn't some enterprising disabled Dane, if they choose to forgo the help of professionals, demand government credits for taking matters into their own hands?

(I'm just saying...)

Eli Blake said...

ploopusgirl pretty much said what I would say about medicare and medicaid, but I would refer you to the line in my post where I said that people have no alternative to a 'Cadillac health care system' if they are on a Chevrolet budget. Mediaid is more for people on a 'shoe leather' budget. And yes, it pays for those really destitute people (although not usually enough to cover the cost to the hospital for the treatment they provide, but that is another issue).

But when I say 'Chevolet' budget, I am talking about the great majority of Americans who are not wealthy, and may or may not have some level of insurance, but frankly won't be able to afford it if something awful happens. To wit, I know of two people who this has happened to: 1) An older gentleman here who got terminal cancer and his entire estate went to pay medical bills, and his family was left with nothing (ironically that conservatives are so much more concerned with rolling back a tax on inheritance that mainly applies to millionaires, when people with less who die from cancer or other expensive diseases are left with nothing; yet the same conservatives claim to be 'horrified' at the idea of voluntary euthanasia, when with the current system financial reasons would probably be a chief motivator for it); and

2) A man here whose son was killed in an accident and his niece lost an arm in the same accident. He is self-employed and suddenly has an $80,000 hospital bill with no way to pay it.

These kinds of things don't happen in civilized countries.

As to the poster who claimed my list was skewed, I said 'westernized, industrial countries (the traditional 'first world') That is what the U.S. is considered, and should be considered. So you can say we live longer than people in 'third world countries' like Kenya, or former 'second world' countries like Poland, but those comparisons don't apply as much as comparisons to other 'free' countries. As to infant mortality, I would only answer that our higher rate of infant mortality is itself a symptom of the defectiveness of our system, since we price many people out of the market for prenatal care (which is universal in other countries). And I bet some of the same people who don't want to provide free prenatal care, claim to be 'pro-life' on the abortion issue. Oh, yeah and the 'north-south' thing is baloney. What, the balmy northern climate makes people live longer? Balderdash. And Spain, Italy, Israel and Greece are industrialized westernized countries which are not far north at all (to say nothing of Austrailia and New Zealand).

As to the post who suggested moving to Cuba or North Korea, I will ignore that as a nutty idea. Just because I support a European style healthcare system doesn't mean I want to live in a country where the government dispenses 'care' from the muzzle of a gun.

As to the poster who opined that the U.S. is the only country left without some kind of socialized medicine, well I would suggest that you think about that one yourself. If something doesn't work, others wouldn't be so eager to copy it.

tcd said...

Eli Blake,

I assume the old gentleman's family are abled body and therefore can earn a living and not depend on his estate. You complain about rolling back the estate tax yet you complain about taxpayers not footing the old gentleman's medical bills so that his estate may be left intact for his beneficiaries? Do you not see the contradiction in your argument?

LeRoy W,
Thanks for the laugh.

lindsey said...

Eli,

To wit, I know of two people who this has happened to: 1) An older gentleman here who got terminal cancer and his entire estate went to pay medical bills,"

Depending on how old this "older gentleman" is, shouldn't Medicare cover health care once you get to a certain age? Isn't that the point of Medicare?

2) A man here whose son was killed in an accident and his niece lost an arm in the same accident. He is self-employed and suddenly has an $80,000 hospital bill with no way to pay it.

If the son was killed, why is the bill so high? Did the poor boy make it to the hospital and then die? As well, why would he need to pay for the niece's bill?

These kinds of things don't happen in civilized countries.

Yes, because in civilized countries health care is free! There are no supplies that cost money, no saleries to be paid, etc. The nurses and doctors and surgeons magically appear out of the air because they're free! Freeeee!

It's not hard to imagine what happens in uncivilized countries. The poor man with cancer gets no health care period. Both people probably wouldn't have survived said crash either.

Chris said...

I'd rather be bankrupt than dead, but that's just me, so your anecdotes do not greatly move me, unless you prove that in some hypthetical system they would be better off, and this hypothetical system would not have the type of side effects that have been mentioned over and over.

People don't stay alive long enough to go bankrupt because of medical bills in civilized countries? Or is lowering the quality of care for everyone civilized to you? Creating shortages because it is not worthwhile for people to go into the medical business? Months of waiting lists and red tape for the simplest of procedures?

No thanks, I'll take bankruptcy or an $80,000 debt.

As for our infant mortality, it is due to a disproportional amount of low birthweight births, particularly among the african-american community. Low birth weight infants do have a much higher chance of survival in the US than pretty much anywhere else. In fact, in many other nations they don't even attempt to resuscitate extreme low birth weight infants, and they are just counted as a fetal death so they don't count towards the infant mortality stat.

Good info:

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/62xx/doc6219/doc05b.pdf

money quotes:

In
countries where physicians are more aggressive about attempting to resuscitate
very premature newborns--of which the United States is probably the leading
example—extremely small neonates are more likely to be classified as live
births than in countries with less aggressive resuscitation policies.5 Thus, for
example, if little attempt is made to resuscitate newborns weighing less than
500 grams (1 pound, 2 ounces), these births may be classified as fetal deaths
and not be included in either the live birth or the infant mortality statistics.
By contrast, when attempts are made to resuscitate the tiniest newborns, they
are more likely to be classified as live births, although most will subsequently
die and then be included in the infant mortality statistics...

...The available data suggest,
however, that some of the disparities in infant mortality rates between the
United States and other industrialized countries may be attributable to
different resuscitation policies for premature newborns, resulting in different
classifications of live births and fetal deaths. Classification differences may
also be contributing to the wide variations in infant mortality rates among the
states.


It is not because we have a crappy healthcare system that we have a relatively high infant mortality system, it is because our system is so good that we try to save infants that wouldn't even be attempted to save in many other nations.

As for your last point about why other countries are so eager to have socialized medicine if it doesn't work, I have no clue, probably because it's a typical feel good measure. It's easy to get votes for 'everyone gets healthcare'. But judging by the experiences of the UK and Canada and other nations it isn't better, at least is 'better' is considered 'improved quality of care for everyone'.

miklos rosza said...

I had a friend who was a professor at York University in Toronto, and his life was ruined by Canadian health care -- by a mistake some residents made -- and there was no one to sue.

Healthcare in Great Britain is terrible.


Supposedly the system works well in France. My wife is French and she and her relatives have insisted on this... to a point where my skepticism is much less than before. The secret seems to be that doctors in France simply don't earn the kind of money that physicians can earn in the US. French doctors still make housecalls. It's a very different atmosphere. And prescriptions for the same med are much, much cheaper over there.

The 15,000 old folks who died in the heatwave was inexcusable, a horror story, but a combination of factors were at work.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lindsey said...

"And prescriptions for the same med are much, much cheaper over there."

This is because American citizens pay exorbitant prices to finance research and development for said drugs. In many socialist countries, they don't allow said drugs to be sold at market price. If they did, our drugs would be cheaper. Or at least that's what I 've read on the topic. Does anyone know more?

Chris said...

Here is something about that issue:

http://www.usanext.org/full_story.cfm?article_id=16&category_id=3

It certainly is an issue, and plenty of countries refuse to pay market price for drugs, and the pharma companies don't challenge them because they know it would be bad PR and they can make up the R&D costs of the American consumer, and whaver pennies they make elsewhere is just gravy.

It would be interesting in a perverse sort of way to see how fast the drug R&D would wither if the US implemented our own socialized system with price controls. It would halt almost overnight. Which would of course give the .gov an excuse to nationalize a whole other industry of course.

Because when governmental interference screws things up, the solution is always more governmental interference.

ziemer said...

wow,

i'd like to post a rebuttal to ploopusgirl's inane response to my post, but the rest of you cats more than did the job for me.

the only thing i can add is that our health insurance system isn't really a true insurance system that would exist in a real free market.

when i buy insurance, i don't actually "insure" -- pay a small amount every month in case an unexpected event occurs that i can't afford.

what i actually buy is a policy of subsidization.

if i lived in a country where there was freedom to contract, i would say to my insurer, "here is the paperwork saying, 'do not resuscitate,' here is my waiver saying you do not have to cover my medical bills if i get AIDS, etc.

and the insurance company would reduce my monthly premium accordingly.

but i can't do that.

the socialists who run this country would regard that as euthanasia of the poor, rather than a contract between a free citizen and an insurer advised by a competent actuary.

ziemer said...

now, to actually address something addressed early in this post, way back when people were addressing issues raised by the original post:

its very easy to be found disabled in denmark.

the unemployment rate in the u.s. is 4.something.

it is 10.0plus everywhere in western europe.

it is actually much higher.

classifying long-time unemployed, but perfectly able-bodied, people as disabled to artificially reduce the official unemployment rolls is standard operating procedure throughout western europe.

Diane said...

Ploopus Girl;

Must we resort to personal insults?

My mother was a nurse, and I volunteered at a hospital for five years (before my disability). I saw people in horrible, horrible states of affairs. I’ll admit freely that they needed help. And Medicare couldn’t cover them.

I also saw Medicare cover a huge amount of people who didn’t need it. Many of them my relatives. I am White Trash, and most of my family is white trash. I saw how horribly they took advantage of the system. They felt no guilt cheating it. They had disabilities much less severe than mine. And they lied their butts off to the medical professionals, and those poor people believed them, as they were overworked, and underpaid.

I give a good portion of my income to charity. I always have. Some people are just plain unlucky. But it is much easier to cheat a system run by an indifferent monolithic government than it is to cheat a system run by a group of people who are perceived to have altruistic motives. Guilt usually kicks in when you defraud a charity.

I truly think that charities (non-religious ones) can take up the slack and handle those who deserve it. It is a much better system than forcing people to pay, and I think that once we cancel the tax burden, people will feel more compelled to give.

BTW, I know a forty year old man with downs who supports himself, and lives by himself. He’s a nice guy. He works at burger king, and he lives in an apartment down the street from us.

My husband also has members of his family who take advantage of well-intentioned welfare programs. Most of the people we know who defend them don’t know anyone *personally* who takes advantage of it. When everyone you know on medicade is cheating it, and the honest people have a hard time using it you loose a lot of faith in it.

*smiles*

Finally, I lived in Germany with its wonderful system of nationalized healthcare. I lived in America unemployed and with no health insurance. I had an easier time getting healthcare in America unemployed and with no health insurance than I did in Germany, which has “One of the Best HealthCare Systems in the world.” I am afraid of what nationalizing healthcare would do to us here.

BTW: I am not a conservative.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that this discussion is a very good illustration of the difference between liberal and conservative thought.

PoopusGirl blames conservatives for being heartless. And the conservatives respond that liberals (such as she) are not pragmatic. (obligatory W. Churchill quote here).

The problem from a conservative point of view is not compassion, but that compassion without pragmatism almost invariably leads to many more problems than it solves. Throwing money at a problem, like health care here, is most often counter productive. As noted above, in the health care arena, socialized health care, no matter how desirable, ends up with all sorts of undesirable externalities, ranging from long lines (or queues in GB) to shoddy care, for whatever care you end up getting.

Andy decent economist would predict this. Whenever you eliminate price signals and allocation, you end up with misallocation, and if you don't charge for a good (or charge enough), then invariably, it will be overused.

I should add that a lot of our own problems with health care are (IMHO) a result of our quasi-socialist segments, notably Medicare and Medicaid. Not only are they being massively overused, because of a lack of valid price signals, but they are being partially funded by massive cross-subsidation from the less socialistic segments.

The problem is that we really don't know yet what works - we just know what doesn't.

ploopusgirl said...

Whatever, I mustn't be pragmatic enough, Bruce. I guess the professor of my goddamn United States Health Care class must be lying, along with the text. Along with the experience I have working directly inside of the healthcare system. I must know nothing, as a student in a doctorate program of United States Health Care. Medicare is wonderful and works forever, and covers everything; it's true. Medicaid is way over abused by everyone and also covers everything! All physicians must accept Medicaid, contrary to what I've been taught. You're all so genius! And those not on Medicare or Medicaid are obviously insured by private insurance, which clearly guarantees that everything will be covered and you'll maintain your life savings! People without insurance don't try hard enough! And I would so much rather be bankrupt than alive. So what if I can't move anymore, or if I'm stricken to a bed hooked up to IVs and building more and more debt for my children! I've spent all my own inheritance, so they won't have that to help them out! Hey who cares, we've got the best health care system in the world! For the 2,000 or so who can afford it...

And downtownlad was right, Victoria. You are the most amazing person on this board. You know absofuckinglutely everything! You know that I have no knowledge of the topic whatsoever. I must have much less knowledge regarding healthcare than all the lawyers (www.softpats.com!!! LOLOL) and professors and worthless unemployed morons who sit around reading this blog whining about politics. I aspire to have you as my physician; "Dr Victoria, I need an appointment with you" "Sorry, not today, I have to make fun of Ann Althouse from the internet about her TV watching habits! LOLOL!"

I also love the way you agreed with me yesterday, Miklos, but suddenly you contradict everything I've said, including what you've once agred with. Makes sense. Everyone else hates me, you might as well too, huh?

I give up.

Noumenon said...

You know, I think I would really fit in better in a country where prostitution was that accepted and where they tried to take care of such basic needs. Like Barbara Ehrenreich said, "We don't, in other words, have a soft, cuddly government of the kind that could be derided as a 'nanny state.' We have a huge and heavily armed cop." I don't like that so much.

I don't like the economics of giving out sex in kind, though. Just give them money and let them decide whether the sex is worth it.

vbspurs said...

I also love the way you agreed with me yesterday, Miklos, but suddenly you contradict everything I've said, including what you've once agred with. Makes sense. Everyone else hates me, you might as well too, huh?

I give up.


I'm not sure what your purpose is to be here, then, Ploopusgirl.

In almost every post, you attack, villify, and degrade people for their viewpoints.

You are an one-woman protest blogger.

But since you come to a board whose members are likely to have certain opinions, specifically, viewpoints who tilt right-wards, the only conclusion seems to be you want to be here -- to make sure they don't unchallenged.

But when challenged, you put up a very desultory fight.

In 3 months on Althouse, I've seen you hurl personal insults, have whiney-why-are-you-attacking-mes, and a show complete lack of debating skills in ALMOST EVERY POST.

God only knows what your motivation is to be here, but the least you could do, is hold up your end of the debate bargain.

DEFEND YOUR POSITIONS.

If you're a good-faith poster, that's what you should do.

If, however, your intent is merely to troll, don't go crying back to mummy if people call you out on it.

I know I will.

Cheers,
Victoria

ploopusgirl said...

I'm pretty sure I offered up and defended my point in my first four goddamn posts, Victoria. They were shot down because conservatives find that anything that is structured and standardized must be socialist and evil. Why don't you whine at them for not offering a better fight than "you're a delusional socialist"?

Don't tell me I have no knowledge of the subject matter, though. I have plenty of goddamn knowledge and plenty of goddamn experience. So, bugger off, would you?

Cheers..

Pastor_Jeff said...

Ploop,

Actually, all you've offered are assertions unfounded by facts, mixed with a healthy dose of angry cursing.

You claim that health care in the UK is somehow "better" than in the US but have yet to address the actual experiences of people who've lived under that system or the problems of inadequate resources, intolerably long waits to see a doctor and higher mortality rates from surgery.

No doubt the US healthcare system could be improved, but you've yet to offer any real evidence to demonstrate that things will be better by going to a UK-style government-controlled system which necessarily produces scarcity and inefficiencies of its own. Instead, as Victoria pointed out, you've simply made ridiculous ad hominem attacks and retreated into self-pity.

I've reread the posts and I don't see how anyone has attacked you personally in spite of your incredible rudeness. I think people here would be willing to listen to factual arguments and logical respones, if you have any.

lindsey said...

"I'm pretty sure I offered up and defended my point in my first four goddamn posts, Victoria. They were shot down because conservatives find that anything that is structured and standardized must be socialist and evil."

They were shot down because the reality of the situation contradicts the world you've created in your head.

And no, you never defended your posts. In fact, almost everyone who's posted on here has made a mockery of your posts. You've never bothered to answer their criticisms. You just spew invective.

XWL said...

Ploopy, Ploopy, Ploopy, do you remember David Lynch's (yes THAT David Lynch) comic strip from 1983-1992?

http://www.davidlynch.de/angry.html


Well every strip had the same visuals and started with the same boxed text,

"The dog who is so angry he cannot move. He cannot eat. he cannot sleep. He can just barely growl. ....Bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor mortis."

Does this remind you of anyone ploopusgirl?

bos0x said...

Lindsey darling, are you trying to give some sort of lesson on debate here? Aren't you the one who wrote "why would he need to pay for the niece's bill?" in response to a story about a man who must pay a $80,000 hospital bill after his son was killed and his niece injured in an accident? Because that was absolutely cuttingly effective - honestly the most bitingly truthful argument I've ever read in my life. Definitely the bill goes away if there are closer relatives around to pay it. You should write a textbook or something.

Anyway, I don't see how this "invective" that ploopusgirl "spews" is any more offensive than some of the other comments that people have made. Like, I don't know, Diane, who whines about paying for other people's heathcare because she doesn't have any problems paying for her own! Because a few instances of "goddamn" is so much worse than nauseating, self-congratulating greed and indifference. Of course, she apparently clarifies her stance later, so...

Diane: "I shouldn't have to pay for the disabled to have health care" and "Since so many people take advantage of Medicare, I think that charities, which I often give to anyway, should help with healthcare instead" are two entirely different things. But really, how dare Ploopusgirl personally attack you when you're so sweet and adorable? She's really a cunt huh? She's a troll, she doesn't know anything about debate and now she can't even read minds. Someone so useless should just be killed. Luckily, I will not stand for this on the holy blog of Althouse! If she wants to spew such obscene vituperation, she will have to deal with me first! With my new katana in hand (which I saved up for all by myself *smiles*), thricely blessed with the powers of Logic by a Canadian Friend, a UK Medical Doctor, and a Swedish Chef I shall smite her with at the first sign of bile and trollishness! This is my promise to you all, God help me!

*smiles*! Cheers!

vbspurs said...

Don't tell me I have no knowledge of the subject matter, though. I have plenty of goddamn knowledge and plenty of goddamn experience. So, bugger off, would you?

Frustrated. Coarse. Ineffectual.

Pff.

You offer nothing, and take away our time.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Luckily, I will not stand for this on the holy blog of Althouse! If she wants to spew such obscene vituperation, she will have to deal with me first! With my new katana in hand (which I saved up for all by myself *smiles*), thricely blessed with the powers of Logic by a Canadian Friend, a UK Medical Doctor, and a Swedish Chef I shall smite her with at the first sign of bile and trollishness! This is my promise to you all, God help me!

Hey -- does anyone remember the Ingmar Bergman film, Persona?

I suddenly got a flashback to that scene where Bibi Andersson's face melds with Liv Ullman's, resulting in a merging of both personalities into one.

I love it!

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Okay, guys. We're all waiting here.

Can get we back to the sex, please?

Cheers,
Victoria

lindsey said...

"Lindsey darling, are you trying to give some sort of lesson on debate here? Aren't you the one who wrote "why would he need to pay for the niece's bill?" in response to a story about a man who must pay a $80,000 hospital bill after his son was killed and his niece injured in an accident?"

The story wasn't logical. I was questioning its veracity. I felt that was obvious. Next time I shall write very short sentences so that I can aspire to be as condescending and rude as you and your little friend.

bos0x said...

God sorry, that makes all kinds of sense now. The American healthcare system is absolutely perfectly flawless because there is no possible way a man would ever have to pay for his niece's hospital bills ever. Anyone who says so is clearly lying. Plus, who would ever ride in a car with their cousin? It makes no sense. The story might not be true, but somehow I don't think that discovering whether it is or not has anything to do with the man's relationship to the people in the car.

ploopusgirl said...

"To wit, I know of two people who this has happened to: 1) An older gentleman here who got terminal cancer and his entire estate went to pay medical bills,"

Depending on how old this "older gentleman" is, shouldn't Medicare cover health care once you get to a certain age? Isn't that the point of Medicare?


Lindsey, darling, you offered up any of credibility with this beautiful line right here. Do you know anything about Medicare? Have you ever done any research on it? Medicare covers nothing. Medicare covers skilled care in a hospital, and the elderly still have to pay a large chunk of their costs out of pocket with the Medicare coverage. Long term nursing home care? Medicare doesn't touch it unless it's hospice care or there are nurses involved. In your ordinary nursing home, where they just shove the elderly to rot away, most of the residents waste away their life savings paying for it themselves, and then once their poor enough, Medicaid will kick in for them and pay for their wonderful lives in the home the rest of the way. Yeah, Eddie, much rather be bankrupt lying in a nursing home where no one gives a shit about me than be dead. Prescription drugs? Ha! Medicare is implementing a new prescription drug plan (well, it's already been implemented partly, but it's kicking in for real in January). Want to know how great the plan is? They start with a $250 deductible that they pay out of pocket. Then they get 25% of their drugs covered until theyve spent $2250. So if they have a $2000 drug on a monthly basis, they still pay $1500 a month on their own (Great plan!). After theyve reached $2250, they have to pay everything in full out of pocket until theyve spent $5500. After this point they finally have good coverage (95% of drug costs) kick in, but before they get there they have to spend at least $4000 out of pocket. On drugs alone. And they will.

Yeah, this health care system's wonderful. As long as you're not 80 years old.

Eddie said...

For the record I do work in health care. I work for a nursing home chain on the financial side and people take advantage of the system all the time. If you are not poorer than poor, why should you qualify for free healthcare? it's not my role to pay for your sickness.

Diane said...

bos0x;

There is a difference between being forced to pay for the healthcare of others and doing it willingly. I will willingly pay for the healthcare of those in need. I shouldn’t be forced to pay for the healthcare of others when I doubt the veracity of their need. It is just as wrong to force a person to give as it is not to give in the first place.

The fact is that I *could* get government help with my disability if I were a bit more dishonest. That is wrong. I know those in need who can’t get government help. My solution: Take the government out of it. As long as it is run by an indifferent institution, problems like this will arise.

But I’m just an evil person who has no compassion for those in need. Or I'm a self-congratulatory monster who is on a constant ego trip? Am I greedy and indifferent, or nauseatingly self congratulatory monster pretending to be likable? I'm confused.


*smiles*

Did I call ploopusgirl a bad person? No. I asked her not to attack me personally because I wanted to consider the merits of her argument. Personal attacks tend to escalate the debate to anger when we are doing our best to solve this problem rationally. Once a person starts calling others names, it gets much harder to see the other side objectively. If she has a point, I have to wade through paragraphs of venom to find it, and I am lazy and loathe to do that. I'd much rather have her make her point up front and try to figure out if she knows something I don't.

I am *not* a nice person. But I hate wasting energy.

Love Diane

Eddie said...

For the record, nursing homes typically have 80-90% of their residents on Medicaid or Medicare.

Very few are actually "honest" and pay for their care until they are out of assets. Most divest their assets, give them to their spoiled brats for children, and then qualify for Medicaid before they ever go into a home and rob the taxpayers instead.

ploopusgirl said...

Ohhhh. I see, Eddie. Those elderly, dying, miserable people in nursing homes are robbing us blind. I'm so infuriated, like I've never been before. How do you work in a nursing home, see how these people "live" and maintain that arrogant fucking attitude and question them? Who in their right goddamn mind would throw their shit away to live in a nursing home? If anyone is taking advantage of the system, it's the spoiled brat children, not the dying elderly. And I love the way you speak of spoiled brat children as if you're not the epitome of that. I'm sure your parents aren't rotting away in a nursing home right now at all! Your beautiful picture would convince me that you're nothing but honest, caring and personable!

.. or an arrogant right wing prick..

vbspurs said...

.. or an arrogant right wing prick..

I have yet to see one comment about the topic at hand from our scatalogical, aggressive resident troll.

Trolls like to debase the conversation, thus ruining all threads by levelling vitriol at people, which it's difficult to control oneself from responding to.

Don't let trolls ruin this blog.

Stand up, and say, not me. I won't feed them with anything but nonsense replies.

Cheers,
Victoria

Rob said...
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Rob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.