August 16, 2009

Are we having a conversation yet?

"I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place."

Conversation?

Man, "conversation" has become one of those Orwellian words. There it is in Obama's NYT interview, where he's saying something that invites the relabeling that Sarah Palin so effectively slapped on it — "death panels."
It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It's not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that's part of what I suspect you'll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.
Conversations! Damn! As if the government does not have power! Oh, but it's "not determinative," you say. It's just "some guidance." He said that, see? Ugh! Spare me! We're right to be afraid now, while the man is burbling about conversation. You know damned well he's about to say and now the time for conversation is over, and we must pass legislation. Before, he was all quick, shut up, it's an emergency, pass the legislation. People freaked, so then he deemed the period of freakage part of the conversation, and there, it has occurred, and now: shut up, pass the legislation. Oh, yeah, here it is, in today's NYT, an op-ed by Barack Obama:
Our nation is now engaged in a great debate about the future of health care in America. And over the past few weeks, much of the media attention has been focused on the loudest voices. What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them....
It's "debate" now, not "conversation," because the wrong people are doing the talking. The real conversation is what those people who aren't talking would say.
The long and vigorous debate about health care that’s been taking place over the past few months is a good thing. It’s what America’s all about.

But let’s make sure that we talk with one another, and not over one another. We are bound to disagree, but let’s disagree over issues that are real, and not wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that anyone has actually proposed. This is a complicated and critical issue, and it deserves a serious debate.
Okay! Let's pick it all apart and examine everything. Have you read the great WSJ op-ed by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey? He had some serious ideas on some real issues, but wait, how dare he speak! How dare he get in the way of the Democrats' ramming legislation through Congress. The Democrats know what the millions upon millions of silent Americans really think, so he and those other loud voices need to quiet down, right? That's what I call conversation — when everyone shuts up and lets me give them what they'd say they want if only they weren't so silent.

Obama predictably insists that we do something now:
In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gain. But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing....
Why isn't doing the wrong thing a lot scarier than doing nothing? Don't we need to be careful and get it right? If I say that, am I a "cynic" or a "naysayer"? And don't cynics and naysayers belong in the conversation too? Obama's answer is, apparently, no, they are not the real Americans. The real Americans are silent, and I represent what they think.

Obama's final fillip:
In the end, this isn’t about politics.
Oh, come on! But this post is already too long, and it's about the rhetorical use of "conversation." "This isn’t about politics" is at least as common and at least as disingenuous, but we'll have to have our conversation about this isn’t about politics some other day.

***

And yet, I must keep this postscript, while we're talking about "conversation":

Remember Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign announcement?
I'm not just starting a campaign, though, I'm beginning a conversation -- with you, with America. Because we all need to be part of the discussion... And let's definitely talk about how every American can have quality affordable health care.... So let's talk. Let's chat. Let's start a dialogue about your ideas and mine.... So let the conversation begin. I have a feeling it's going to be very interesting....
Ha ha. Yeah, it was interesting. We sure enjoyed chatting with you. Now, what does your husband think? Oh, yes, he was all about conversation too:
Over the coming year I want to lead the American people in a great and unprecedented conversation about race... We have talked at each other and about each other for a long time. It's high time we all began talking with each other....
I'm sure you enjoyed that chat... which is still going on....

195 comments:

rhhardin said...

Obama's inspiring arguments have a single form.

[some lie] "and that's why" [some bad idea].

My father told me once how to spot a con man.

"They work in two steps.

1. They tell you a lie.

2. They take your money.

They're easiest to spot when they propose step 2."

AJ Lynch said...

The April NYT "conversation" leaves little doubt as to your thinking, Mr. President.

wv = jestrit= just sign the damn bill!

Paul Zrimsek said...

What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them....

That oldest of liberal chestnuts, A Voice for the Voiceless.

Handy to have around, those voiceless people. They never contradict you.

EDH said...

"I got blisters on my fingers!"

Will you/won't you be on my "Death Panel" ?

Well, the health care reform "conversation" does sound more and more like Helter Skelter (see also, my comment under the Paul McCartney post).

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the [polls]
Where I stop and I turn and then I go for a ride
'Til I get to the bottom and I see you again, yeh, yeh yeh

Do you, don't you want me to love you
I'm coming down fast, but I'm miles above you
Tell me, tell me tell me, c'mon tell me the answer
Well you may be a lover but you ain't no [doctor].

Now Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, yeah...

Will you, won't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast, but don't let me break you
Tell me, tell me, tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no [doctor].

Look out!
Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, oooh...
Look out, 'cause here she come ...

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop and I turn and then I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again, yeh, yeh yeh

Well do you, don't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast, but don't let me break you
Tell me, tell me, tell me your answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no [doctor].

Look out!
helter skelter, helter skelter, helter skelter

Look out! Helter Skelter ... she coming down fast
yes she is
yes she is
coming down fast
oh now helter skelter ... woo hooo

(yelled) I got blisters on my fingers!

AllenS said...

Having a conversation with an idiot, is a waste of time.

Paul Zrimsek said...

(yelled) I got blisters on my fingers!

Aha! Something else doctors can amputate for a big profit!

VW=alingent. Ask your doctor about Alingent. Side effects may include loss of tonsils or feet.

bearbee said...

"Let us reason together" LBJ

AJ Lynch said...

AllenS:

Agreed but so far only 52% can see the idiot behind the smooth talk.

Bissage said...

Same as most other politicians, celebrities and various assorted charismatic persons, President Obama learned a long time ago that everybody wants to be his friend.

You know that it still hurts me just to say it.

BJM said...

Anarchism vs fascism seems to be the prevailing conversational meme.

I'm beginning to feel as if I'm living an Alan Moore story.

Lem said...

How we are not supposed to talk with our mouths full ;)

WV - cesser = casserole that always has food in it.

SMGalbraith said...

In order to limit costs or because of limits imposed, the government (us, panels, experts, someone) will ration or limit or reduce -whatever word you want to use - the care.

And the government, as the payer, will have the final word.

Those are facts. Fullstop.

Sure, Palin et al. have demagogued the matter with the use of the "death panel" label.

But there's no free medical examine with that lunch.

Chip Ahoy said...

Conversation, is that where you do all the talking and we do all the listening?

At those dozen communication seminars the FRB ran us through but never actually practiced, they emphasize paraphrasing your interlocutor to their satisfaction, not calling them loons for expressing their perceptions. I know real communication when I see it.

Here's a thing I've noticed about typical American communication; ego seems to play heavily into it. I see myself put forth an exquisitely phrased position, this lodges in my mind because the exact vocabulary was something of a task to contrive to express it, and lose the present argument to a more forceful bullshitter. Then weeks later, sometimes months, I recognize my own vocabulary and word choice being express by the very person who didn't budge originally. This demonstrates to me the pathetic state of conversation where valid points I made are dismissed on the spot but eventually assimilated apart from having already been vocally dismissed.

Much like Palin's "death panel" remark. Everyone knows there'll be no such board actually titled Death Panel performing that function, but it's a phrase of her own contrivance and suitably graphic to convey the idea that everybody who is paying attention to what is actually being said, compares and contrasts, can see the verisimilitude of it coming.

For example, my own dear mother, bless 'er sainted soul, suffers Alzheimer's. Actually she doesn't suffer that much, it is everybody around her who must deal with her nonsense that does all the suffering. At any rate, the thought of her being presented with cost-saving government-sponsored end-of-life counseling in her tender and vulnerable state is intolerable whatever you call the agency doing the presenting. And it's not just intolerable to me, it's even more intolerable to my brothers and sisters who surprise me sometimes with their adamant positions.

Was it Nanook of the North with the scene in which the toothless aged mother no longer able to gnaw blubber, and so deemed herself useless, is set on an ice flow and poignantly waves back to the viewer while floating off to sea? Most likely false, but nonetheless dramatic, that's what this 'conversation' reminds me of.

Conversation. Ha ha ha. That's a good one. I suppose it is a conversation of sorts.

AJ Lynch said...

Around 1977, my heretofore healthy grandmother was 77 when she broke her hip. She lived alone and was on her kitchen floor for a day until a neighbor found her.

Her hip was replaced promptly (thanks Medicare) and she lived alone but healthy for another six months. She passed away suddenly just a week after her oldest daughter had died suddenly as well.

Today, I guess the White House would put my grandmother's medical chart in front of their experts who would decide her fate. That is a hideous idea IMO.

Marcia said...

I can't figure out why this post has the Gates tag.

Lem said...

If people are eating too much (Whole Foods CEO ought to know) why don't we remove food subsidies to help pay for health care?

Shift the money around.

wv - wilen - wily coyote half brother.

AJ Lynch said...

Marcia said:

"I can't figure out why this post has the Gates tag."

LOL, I was wondering that myself. Perhaps, Althouse is predicting a the next conversation will be called "Beer Summit II".

rcocean said...

Why isn't doing the wrong thing a lot scarier than doing nothing? Don't we need to be careful and get it right?

Great line. Agree 100 percent.

Issob Morocco said...

Doing nothing is doing something. No reaction is in fact a reaction.

Slam him good Squiress Althouse!

Cheers!

Freeman Hunt said...

Kind of like when you were a kid and your parents would say, "Sit down. We need to have a conversation."

Thank goodness that last time I checked, Obama wasn't my Dad.

m00se said...

Wow. Feel the hate.

I mean, taking time to get it right? Are you some sort of Nazi? We have to have it NOW, before anyone has a chance to think twice about it. There is a need - don't ask me about the specifics - and we need to address that need as broadly and and sloppily as possible! We'll worry abou the damage and waste it causes later. In a series of commitees. Maybe.

Don't let exepediency be the enemy of *now*. *Now* is more important than *right*

You Nazis...

BJM said...

SMGalbarith, did you notice that after Obama accused Palin of demagoguery he demagogued his grandmother's death at his next town hall stop?

Hubris much Mr. President?



wv: devisms = health care truths according to Obama

Edgehopper said...

My lefty friends are all for a conversation, on their terms. They'll be happy to discuss the details of the massive government takeover, as long as you're for a massive government takeover. But if you support individualized coverage like Mackey, then you're as nutty as a creationist or a birther and unworthy of polite discussion.

And then they're shocked that the folks they consider too stupid/delusional to have a civil conversation with start shouting down congressmen who are equally tolerant of opposing viewpoints.

WV: fachi - statists who urge us to shut up and just support the common good.

JAL said...

Really annoying when there is a conflicting edit message. I lose the whole comment.

Humph.

My favorite line: But for all the scare tactics out there, what's truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing. B.H. Obama

It appears that I -- and it seems millions of other Americans -- have a different definition of "risky."

Sometimes doing "nothing" is exactly the right thing to do as some high pressure guy starts threatening great loss if one doesn't act IMMEDIATELY.

There are some truly naive people out there to think that the problem of some people being booted from insurance coverage or not being able to get it at a relatively reasonable price (a problem for some number -- don't believe the administration's numbers) is going to end with the federal health insurance "choice."

Given that they are troubled (depending on what minute you catch people) by the way Medicare is going bankrupt, the ONLY way the federal "choice" program can make it is by reducing certain treatments for certain conditions. Rationing.

Surprise -- that is what the insurance companies have been doing by dropping the needy folks.

Talkiong out of both sides of their mouths.

And this squishy language this man uses.

Remember campaign finance reform? (How did that work for the guy who played by the rules?)

Transparencey?

No lobbyists?

Ethics?

They make it up as they go along because they Won.

wv - rumsido
Something to do with drunk blogging?

JAL said...

Just to flesh this fellow out. Remember?

His stunning combination of analytical brilliance and personal charisma, openness and maturity, vision and pragmatism, was unmistakable from my very first encounter with the future president.

Laurence Tribe

Yes, "stunning" is a word which comes to my mind almost daily.

phypel -- I'm not sure I want to know

BJM said...

JAL, phypel = the government's new branding for Soylent Green?

MadisonMan said...

JAL, sometimes when I get the conflicting edit, a page refresh clears it up. Otherwise, very annoying, as you note.

A conversation is difficult to have in a room where everyone is shouting.

Ann Althouse said...

"I can't figure out why this post has the Gates tag."

Last line of the post. Click the link.

***

@JAL click the back button and it should still be there. Happens to me too when I'm commenting.

bearbee said...

Has ANYONE asked this toejam intellect why the US government should manage the total health-care system which is estimated by 2017 to become 20% of the US economy when the US government f**ked up Medicare/caid?!!

It is repellent to even think of faceless bureaucrats ruling on how ones final moments are to be spent.

At least with Nanook's aged mother it was not a bureaucrat consigning her to that ice flow.

wv: axedsind = end of life suicide option

traditionalguy said...

The great risk to Leader Obama of doing nothing on Single Payer is that when the American voters next speak it could happen before it has become too late for us to avoid the destruction of private associations and private business relationships that are not 100% under the thumb of a Facist State. Continuing to run a facist state for the benefit of Private business is unacceptible to Obama, Castro, Chavez, and Pelossi.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

Mr. President: lectures, monologues, and diatribes are not conversations.


VW cything: 'cutting you out of the bill'

NKVD said...

When someone says "it's not about" something, that's all it's about.

That, and power.

WV - proas - an amateur as that now gets paid.

Pogo said...

The problem with this 'debate' (for which there is no format, moderator, identified speakers for/against, or audience) or conversation, is that the change is massive and horribly rushed, and there is no time to think about it, like buying a house today after the first look-through because the realtor is pressuring you.

You just know the pressure is false and the you're the sucker in the deal. And this particular deal cannot be undone; this house cannot be flipped, because there is no greater fool to buy it: you're the chump left holding the bag.

Big Mike said...

Short answer to your question, Professor, is "no."

But! Like the jungle folk in Horton Hears a Who, some of us are yelling loud enough to make our voices heard.

bearbee said...

1984 online viewing.

wv - graftiv: medical injection for the exhausted politician.

OhioAnne said...

It's the use of specific words that send up flags to me.

One I hear a lot is "elective". If someone has to wait for a procedure in Canada or UK, by definition it must be "elective" according to what I hear from proponents of those systems.

The other word is "preventative". As Krauthammer said in his recent article, preventative medicine is the "right" thing to do, but it isn't a cost saving measure.

Triangle Man said...

Next time he should say " so I guess we should probably go ahead and have a little talk. Hmm?"

Skyler said...

I'm trying to think what is the right word to sum up my reaction to this.

Disappointing? Yeah, kind of.
Aggravating? Somewhat.

I'm not sure of the right word, or if there is a single word, but I have to point out again that there were many, many people warning of this before the election but you ignored them, Ann.

Ann, you are very insightful and have a great ability to cut through nonsense and call a spade a spade (are we still allowed to use that idiom?) That's why it's so much more wearisome, disappointing, aggravating, whatever is the right word, that you completely missed the agenda of our current president while he was still running for office.

I agree that McCain was hardly a good choice for any party, and I agree that the republicans did not deserve to win whatsoever, but to act so surprised at what has been wrought by electing a marxist to the Whitehouse is either disingenous or completely inconsistent with your otherwise clear thinking.

Marcia said...

"Last line of the post. Click the link."

Ah. Thanks.

Skyler said...

Am I the only one who doesn't know what this "wv" or "vw" is?

PatCA said...

Yes, the media are focusing on the loudest voices. Because the other voices, the quiet voices, are the whispered deals between Obama officials and lobbyists from big pharma and big hospital and big doctors in smoke-free conference rooms somewhere in the West Wing or on K Street.

We've been shut out of the real conversation, by the prince himself. Or did I miss the C-Span program he promised just a few short promises ago?

Smitty said...

Next, they'll demand that we all "cooperate".

madawaskan said...

Ya except now Nanook's Nana-

wouldn't even get a jury of her peers-

maybe if her ice flow-

made it to Gitmo.

Florida said...

This is the most important interview that Barack Obama has ever given.

Look at the context!

"I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here."

So, here you have Barack Obama bemoaning how much the chronically ill cost to take care of.

He wants to cut health care costs.

He sees the chronically ill eating up 80% of the money spent.

He proposes that we change that.

Is there any doubt about what he wants. He wants to not spend money on chronically ill people.

He wants to not spend 80% on them.

He wants them to die.

He questions whether his own grandmother should have been allowed to have her hip replaced to stop her constant pain.

His own grandmother.

What do you think he wants to do to your grandmother.

He wants to pull the plug and give her the blue pill.

Evil. It's just sick evil.

I can't wait until some fking Democrat tries to tell me my grandmother can't get her hip replaced.

Can't. Fking. Wait.

traditionalguy said...

The last closing challenge from every Confidence Man is always a version of the point that rejecting his poposed deal is a rejection of the Confidence man's love for you, and of the love you have for him too. After you are left holding the bag, it is hard even then to admit that the LOVE that at least you felt was never real. That LOVE SMILE of Barry Obama is a deadly weapon pointed at us and our families by a gang of evil conspirators that has stolen the identity of the once great Democratic Party. We all need to learn to suddenly develop a strong dislike for it, and Sarah Palin has showed everyone just how to do that by her simple posted facebook statement that the Obama Bill was an evil plan for death panels to cut off medical care to the aged and the infirm. IMO Obama will never recover from that shot to his con-man's Sting taken by the SarahCuda.

MadisonMan said...

skyler:

Verification word (or word verification); that word you have to type in now.

vw: skyancu, in this case. Heh.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with this 'debate' (for which there is no format, moderator, identified speakers for/against, or audience) or conversation, is that the change is massive and horribly rushed, and there is no time to think about it, like buying a house today after the first look-through because the realtor is pressuring you.

I agree here. And this is worse than the other big bills that have been before this Congress - not only will it likely be insanely expensive, but also, we won't be able to reverse it.

I was almost ambivalent about the almost trillion dollar "stimulus" bill enacted last winter in such a rush. Yes, it was flushing most of that trillion dollars down the drain, and, contrary to Krugman and the trolls here, pretty much guaranteed to do little, if anything, positive for our economy. But I figured that was the cost to this country of electing Barack Obama to the Presidency. And maybe next election, the voters will be a bit more serious about casting their votes.

But the health care/insurance reform will not just disappear after the last stimulus dollar is spent. Rather, it would permanently change 1/6, and maybe soon, 1/5 of our economy. Furthermore, through the implied rationing, our government would, for the first time, really decide who lives and who dies by what health care is paid for.

So, yes, my conservatism is showing here - I really do believe it is better to do nothing right now, instead of doing something, as long as something is being done, regardless of how bad and ill thought out that something is. This is just too important to rush out and do wrongly.

madawaskan said...

Supposedly they dropped the medical review part of this bill now they might drop the public option-

Listening to Obama yesterday he is still intent on passing this 1,007 page bill so that he can make-

physician's to wash their hands.

Here's an idea, they could take the money Big Pharma is using to advertise HR 3200 and instead do a public service announcement.-

Tell your doctors to WASH their hands!

Then I dunno they could set up an email account at the White House where you could report the Doctors that do not comply!

They could call it-

flag@whitehouse.gov !

Edmund Ironside said...

Aren't you the same Ann Althouse who asked us all to vote for this incompetent? This amateur nincompoop with his sophomoric marxist claptrap? Oh yeah, it was.

chuck said...

"Shut up," he conversed.

Bruce Hayden said...

You just know the pressure is false and the you're the sucker in the deal. And this particular deal cannot be undone; this house cannot be flipped, because there is no greater fool to buy it: you're the chump left holding the bag.

This is like crying "wolf". First, it was so urgent that the "stimulus" bill be passed without debate or reading, because the economy was tanking. Then, we find that most of the money was being flushed down the toilet to pay off Democratic constituents, and even if you believed in Keynesian stimulus (which most economists usually don't), most of the money was going to be spent years later, much counter-cyclically.

Than, the House had to pass the Tax and Bribe (aka Cap and Trade) global warming bill without giving anyone a chance to read it, and we find that it, too, is filled with pork and giveaways to preferred industries (which is why I include "bribe" in my name for it). And, there is reason to believe that there really isn't any man caused global warming going on, and even if there were, the planet might actually be better for it.

So, this is the third (or maybe fourth, if you count the budget with its 8,000+ earmarks) that this Congress and President have cried "wolf". The previous cries were bogus, so why shouldn't many of us question this one?

rhhardin said...

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — As President Obama wages his public relations offensive to sell Americans on the need for overhauling health care, he is using a familiar tactic: trying to make the political personal by putting a human face on a complicated and sometimes abstract debate link.

Should be DONNER'S PASS, Calif.

madawaskan said...

Florida-

He questions whether his own grandmother should have been allowed to have her hip replaced to stop her constant pain.

His own grandmother.


Ya, what the hell is up with that?

I dunno at the time did Grandma have-

Hope.

And he would have liked to

Change-that?

Why could he Obama not convince his own health-care- hogging Grandma to

Just say No!

Or why didn't his Grandma give Obama, the attorney-the power to say no-for her?
_

NKVD said...

If the ice floe went with the flow, who knows where she might go.

WV - neshadst - ice fishing trophy fish.

Oxbay said...

Obama says "What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans...".

Nixon said "silent majority".

One of them was right.

Blue Collar Prof said...

And don't forget the national CONVERSATION on race! (Holder: "Can you hear me now?")

madawaskan said...

Dang it -floe....

I was trying to do something with Eskimo,floe and Gitmo....

NKVD said...

I saw you working...

WV - ropiq - floss for dinosaurs.

pfchangboy said...

Let me get this straight. The Democrat president is assembling an enemies list and speaks for the Silent Majority, and the Republicans are disruptive protestors?

Florida said...

@madawaskan

Barak Obama, in the first, pivotal NY Times interview (the one they're trying now to whitewash), questions whether society should have allowed his own grandmother to get a hip replacement:

"I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost. I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother. Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question."

You see, Barak Obama believes that society should be in on the decision to "give" his grandmother a hip replacement.

His entire thought process is without empathy. He thinks it might be OK for society to not give her a hip replacement.

I believe, and am more and more convinced every day, that America has elected its first psychopath.

I hope the country can survive him.

madawaskan said...

If Grandma wants to get called on at a town hall have her wear the hijab.

madawaskan said...

Florida-

I gotta go look at that. Tom Maguire has it linked over at Just One Minute I think.

What the hell...

How about Grandma earned her hip replacement.

What is with that-"give" language?

newscaper said...

You didn't know?

The libs' beloved 'precautionary principle' only applies to the environmental/tech policy.

IOW, where/when convenient.

Greybeard said...

Like Skyler and Edmond, I look forward to the post where our wonderful Professor tells us why she was bamboozled by the con man the rest of us identified from miles away.

SMGalbraith said...

The funny thing (kind'a) is that 2 years or 4 years or whenever Republicans regain power that they'll have to confront these unfunded obligations.

And when they try to scale back the programs (SS/Medicare et cetera), these same middle- and senior-aged citizens will be protesting.

Demography is destiny, as the saying goes.

BlogDog said...

RE Mrs. Clinton's "conversation:" No one seemed to understand that when she says "listening tour" what she means is "listening to her."

newscaper said...

I still roll my eyes when Ann manages to write one of these bullseye denunciations of Obama's garbage -- usually without any mention of how she voted for him.

While she claimed she was sold by his substance (a transparently looming bait and switch to anyone paying attention at the time), it now appears she was seduced by his *style*, turned off by the declasse pro-Palin crowd.

Bi-curious George said...

Ha ha, indeed. I especially enjoyed when your candyass son fell for Hillary.

Dan said...

The self-anointed Smartest Guy in The Room, like many SGITRs before him, made the classic mistake of fighting the last war all over again with healthcare.
When Clinton tried in the 90s, the plan came packaged from the White House as one single target. Opponents hung Hillarycare on the package, and took aim at specific provisions to defeat the plan in the court of public opinion.
Obama was not going to make that mistake again, so he let Congress take the lead, and float a couple of bills. That way he would not be the target, and he could play multiple bills against each other.
Fast forward six weeks, and the public is focused on the House bill, universally derided as Obamacare. Because the House tried to pack a thousand different ideas into the thing, it was easy to focus anger on one or two parts of a monster bill.
What was needed, in hindsight, was a single point of focus, whether it be spitting heath care insurance from employment, requiring everyone to carry insurance, or establishing a government entity to insure the lower classes. It needed to come from Obama, and he needed to take his case directly to the American people.
Instead, by failing to lead, he has lead the effort to failure. In six months, his agenda is in flames, and the chances of him getting anything done before Congress slides to the right are quite slim.

RJ said...

Remember this? "We are excited to see what appears to be a robust debate taking place in Iran." "Debate?" A massive popular uprising met with violence and deadly force is a "debate?" Orwellian language just flows naturally from this man's mouth. That's not a coincidence. It's how he thinks.

garage mahal said...

A "conversation" about health care with a right winger at a town hall includes a gun, a Nazi sign, and a question about the Koran. And screaming at the top of your lungs: "LIAR!!!!"

Pogo said...

The Dangling Health Care Conversation

And you read your Peter Singer,
And I Zeke Emanuel,
And we note age limits with bookmarkers
That measure what we've lost.
Like a bill that's poorly written
We are expenses not worth paying,
Rationed out of time,
Just cover us in lime

And The Dangling Conversation
And the superficial lies
Are the rulers of our lives.

dick said...

Garage,

Liar is the closest word to what he is and has been all along. I fail to see why you and your compatriots failed to see that a long time ago.

Florida said...

"The funny thing (kind'a) is that 2 years or 4 years or whenever Republicans regain power that they'll have to confront these unfunded obligations."

This is bullshit. Medicare is not an unfunded obligation. It's funded by a 1.5% payroll tax.

If that's not enough, then Barack Obama should propose to increase that tax.

Instead, he wants to tackle the problem from the cost side. His own grandmother had fallen and broken her hip. She was in excruciating pain. And he believes society should maybe have had the option to not replace her hip. He believes we should debate that option - to just drug her instead of fixing her hip.

That's psychopathic.

We shouldn't be discussing that because its evil.

AJ Lynch said...

Prez Obama thinks the world and its problems can be managed by the little cadre of Ivy League libs and radicals he has hung with for the last 30 years.

He has not changed his mind or formed a new opinion in the last 25years. He thinks exactly the same as any radical, disgruntled but privileged college nerd.

This is evidence of a mediocre intellect.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Supposedly they dropped the medical review part of this bill now they might drop the public option-


Actually, I think they only dropped the "end of life counseling".

There is still the medical review panel. The one that will sit down and decide who is deserving of medical care and how much. According to the eugenics types that Obama is using as his experts, only the people who are between 15 and 45 (I believe) are worthy of spending money upon.

Everyone who doesn't fall into that productive citizen group will receive rationed care. That means old, infirm, disabled (like Trig) and the chronically ill with diseases that have no cure. This "panel" will make the rules and basically decide who gets to live and die and who gets to live in pain or not.

Death Panels.....still.

garage mahal said...

It's only a matter of time before we Soylent Green ration wafers.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is bullshit. Medicare is not an unfunded obligation. It's funded by a 1.5% payroll tax.


I pay 2.9% as self employed. I get the privlege of paying my employee AND the employer side. Nice isn't it.

chefmojo2006 said...

@garage mahal: Where I live, I can show up at a town hall with a pistol strapped to my hip. Or even concealed. Carrying does not denote usage. Deal with it. Nazi signs? Whatever. The last 8 years of Bushitler never happened, right? When fascism is staring you in the face, why not recognize it for what it is? Questions about the Koran? What, does this bother you? Make you uncomfortable somehow? "LIAR!" Well, I guess is the congresscritter is lying, then why not call a spade a shovel? And they have been lying.

wv: renonict - Life clocks are a lie! Carousel is a lie! THERE IS NO RENEWAL!

ballyfager said...

Check a dictionary copyrighted in the first half of the twentieth century, or maybe the first quarter just to be sure, and I think you'll be very surprised to find what the secondary meaning of the word conversation was.

Jeremy said...

Princess Sarah...two weeks ago: Fretting that her parents and son Trig might be in danger from Obama “death panels” — that we should be very wary about trusting government with end-of-life decisions.

Princess Sarah...2008: Puts out a proclamation for Healthcare Decisions Day “to raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions, related to end of life care ... and to encourage the specific use of advance directives to communicate these important healthcare decisions.”

Looks like that memory course isn't taking hold for the Princess.

AJ Lynch said...

Medicare is a "defunded" obligation because it was looted [in exchange for senior votes] on a regular basis by the Senate and the House.

The Monster said...

Guys, you know when your wife/gf says to you "we need to talk", what she means is she's going to talk, you need to listen to her talk, say "yes, dear", and do what she tells you to do.

When a government official says "we need to have a conversation", it means he's going to talk, we need to listen, say "Jawohl, mein Führer!", and do what he tells us to do.

Yes, I just made a Nazi reference. I'm mostly of German extraction, so I have Absolute Moral Authority (like the black folks who get to call people "n****r" but no one else can do that).

Jeremy said...

Dust Bunny - So you want to get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran's Hospitals, Social Security, and other government run programs?

Why not just opt out of any use of the programs and make damn sure your wing nut relatives and friends follow suit.

AJ Lynch said...

Jeremy- did you read the NYT interview with Obama?

You know the one where Obama talked about his "independent panels" which would be responsible for the death panel verdicts?

Jeremy said...

It's nice to see the wing nuts are still out in full force.

Do you idiots EVER discuss ANYTHING without spending 99% of your time bitching and whining?

Based on the ridiculous notions presented here, NOBODY is taking advantage of or plans on taking advantage of Medicare, Medicaid or any other government run (socialist?) programs.

And WE ALL know that's bullshit...don't we.

Jeremy said...

AJ - You're a fucking moron if you actually think there are "death panels."

Oh, and do YOU know who introduced the section that's getting the "death panel" play with the wing nuts?

A REPUBLICAN...

...oh, and a similar "death panel" measure was also included in 2003 and voted for by many of the Republican hypocrites whining about it today.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Princess Sarah...2008: Puts out a proclamation for Healthcare Decisions Day “to raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions, related to end of life care ... and to encourage the specific use of advance directives to communicate these important healthcare decisions.”


Only an idiot would confuse the "voluntary" planning and education about medical needs and end of life planning to be conducted with family and other self selected professionals with a government plan forcing such thoughts, meetings and plannings that are only in the best needs of the government not the patient.

There is no comparison and you know it. One is voluntary....the other is mandated by government fiat.

Nevermind. You ARE an idiot

The Monster said...

@Jeremy

Context is everything. When Gov. Palin raised awareness of the need for advance healthcare directives, etc., it was simply giving information to people. Her actual track record in how the government under her command treated health care is completely separate from that informational initiative.

When she complained about death panels, it was because legislation is seriously being considered to give the US Government the authority to decide what treatments will and won't be covered by health insurance policies, which necessarily means that some government-empowered entity (whether it's called a "panel" or not) will be able to make life or death decisions for people (whether they use the word "death" or not).

That you can't see the difference between giving people information and controlling medical care by force either indicates a lack of understanding, or a deliberate attempt to mislead people. I'll be charitable and call it the former for now.

chefmojo said...

Sigh.

Jeremy, as ever, is playing the stale liberal card of the last couple of weeks.

Really? do you really not understand the difference between a federal law that mandates EOL counseling, and a proclamation encouraging educating people on EOL options? Are you really that dense of an idiot?

Well, yes. Of course you are.

I'm loving how Palin made Obama her bitch.

wv: bersu - Gesundheit!

AST said...

The part that worries me more is that he gives conversations "guided by doctors, scientists [and] ethicists" priority over democratic ones. The faith that progressives give to "the best and the brightest" should have been shaken badly by now, but it seems to no longer even require discussion. And they always get to choose the doctors, scientists and ethicists who lead the discussions, while any who disagree are dismissed as fascists (how's that for projection?), radicals or demagogues.

Their main war cry seems to be "The debate is over!"

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Dust Bunny - So you want to get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran's Hospitals, Social Security, and other government run programs?


And you determined this HOW? Are you now the Great Carnak? You can read my mind? Oooooh......

Why not just opt out of any use of the programs and make damn sure your wing nut relatives and friends follow suit.

Why would I opt out? We have paid in close to 100K.

I want my fucking money BACK.

THEN I'll opt out.

The Monster said...

@jeremy

Oh, and do YOU know who introduced the section that's getting the "death panel" play with the wing nuts?

Straw man alert!

There is no one section in the bill getting that play. The very notion of the public option, and the "exchange" that empowers Kathleen Sebelius to decide what insurance plans are "good enough", etc. inherently provide for "death panels". Just because some people have pointed to the "end of life" measures as contributing to the problem does not make them the entire source of the problem.

garage mahal said...

There is no comparison and you know it. One is voluntary....the other is mandated by government fiat.

Nothing being proposed is fucking mandatory! The head hurts.

Martin Gale said...

Obama, "I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here."

You mean to tell me that old, sick people consume more medical resources than young, healthy ones. Get out.

Jeremy said...

AST said..."The part that worries me more is that he gives conversations "guided by doctors, scientists [and] ethicists" priority over democratic ones."

All conversations are purely "voluntary."

No one is forced to have any discussions with their doctors.

And what is it about discussing such situations that makes you sooooo concerned? I'll bet more than half of the idiots here don't have a living will...or have had discussions with elderly family members regarding what they should or should not do in case they become so ill or mentally incapacitated (if being more so than being Republican is possible).

This is nothing more than the standard we-hate-anything-Obama wing nut witch hunt.

AJ Lynch said...

DBQ said :

"I want my [medicare] money back".

Bingo! Tell that big moron Jeremy.

AJ Lynch said...

Martin Gale:

Yes sick people take most of the health care system's resources. Shocking isn't it?

I bet Obama would be surprised to learn most of the fire insurance claim money goes to people whose homes burned down!

Jeremy said...

The Monster said..."There is no one section in the bill getting that play."

The section being demonized was introduced by a Republican.

There is nothing resembling the alleged "death panel" in the health care reform plan. The section promoting advance care planning that appears on page 425 of the House Democrats' bill includes living wills and durable powers of attorney that allow individuals to make clear their wishes for end-of-life care, whatever they may be.

And it was introduced by: Republican -- U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

He successfully offered an amendment in committee that allows funds for a government-funded program that provides in-home services to people with disabilities to be used for advance care planning, according to the national Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. (Isakson has been promoting advance care planning for years. In 2007, for example, he co-sponsored two bills to encourage such planning -- the Medicare End-of-Life Care Planning Act and the Advance Planning and Compassionate Care Act.)

Oh...and Isakson is a pro-life politician who opposes abortion as well as stem cell research entailing the destruction of human embryos.

BJM said...

The Czar of Muscovy reads and comments on HR 3200 in 100 page increments.




wv: bushlimp = the state of the left's anti-war boner.

Jeremy said...

AJ Lynch said..."DBQ said : "I want my [medicare] money back".

Sure...right up until the point in which you actually NEED it.

Like I said: OPT OUT...TODAY. Make sure the government knows YOU DO NOT WANT ANYTHING PROVIDED VIA MEDICARE OR MEDICAID.

And get your relatives and friends to join you.

knox said...

Obama has said in a hundred different ways that there will be rationing. He calls it "difficult choices," or in this case, "difficult conversations." And he hems and haws about his grandma, or the woman who should just be given a pain pill. Then he tries to insist that there won't be rationing.

He thinks we're all idiots. And he's made it very clear that he wants us to just shut up, already.

I would guess that these are traits of an authoritarian-type personality. Let's hope his better instincts prevail. And, of course, let's hope that this horror of a bill doesn't pass. Hey, there is a lot of Hope with Obama in charge!!

I'm not wild about Palin's facebooking, but count me amongst those who do not consider her "Death Panel" language to be alarmist.

AJ Lynch said...

Jeremy:

Why are you so dense? If they let me and I took my money back, it would amount to $100K or more and I'd use it to buy insurance when I turn 65.

Why is the idea of this straightforward financial transaction so mystifying to you?

Got it!

AJ Lynch said...

Knox:

Maybe we have to come up with some snappy slogan like the NOW folks did. "Hands off my medical chart" or "Keep Your Hands Off My Plug" or "Let's Wait To See How You Do With Government Motors"

Michael said...

Don't you people understand The One at all, he's a closet fan of Karl M. Given his childhood and educational background, he can't be anything but. Anyway, here's my contribution to reducing The One to a mere fraction.

Dear people, wherever you may be,

I've just finished rereading Atlas Shrugged for the third time. The first two times (a long time ago) I applied its lessons to the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. Now Ayn Rand's work seems more pertinent than ever due the events unfolding in my homeland.

The reason I say my homeland is because I'm an expatriate American English teacher living in South Korea. I've been living and working in the ROK for twelve years, but I still send in my absentee ballot for presidential elections every four years.

What I've been seeing taking place in the USA since January 20 is making me more upset by the day. The mounting deficits, the growing and dangerous dependence on China (many South Koreans are very jittery about China) to finance those deficits, the talk of instituting new (VAT and a big one at that) taxes to help cover those very same deficits, the bailouts of GM, and particularly Chrysler, the attempt to remove choice and private enterprise from the U.S. health care system, the stimulus that went mostly to government drones rather things that would really stimulate, and above all, the despicable behavior of the mainstream media in covering up Obama's real Chicago background. I had to go and find the red star at the top of William Ayers website all by myself!

All these things have made me very alarmed concerning the future of my country. So I've reached one overriding conclusion: it's time for Americans to revolt against royal authority for the second time in 234 years.

I say this because I don't believe the traditional legislative process can stop my country's slide towards the comfortable euthanasia of West European-style socialism. With the idiocy of Bush to guide them, the Republicans have done a very creditable job of taking Dirty Harry's 357. and pointing it at least at their feet, if not their heads.

So it's time to revolt. This will be a difficult idea for many Americans to grasp. After all, we are the product of a culture that has been based on the rule of law from its very beginnings back in medieval England.

What I'm talking about is starving the Government Beast. Come next April 15, 2010 don't send in your tax forms. Refuse to pay! If you're a small businessman don't pay your state (If you live in California, New York, or New Jersey, this applies especially to you) or federal business taxes. Don't pay your licensing fees! When the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011, don't file! Simply don't feed the Beast!

If you're worried about prosecution, there's safety in numbers. If ten million Americans refuse to pay, the looters can't possibly oppress more than a very small number of people. If ten million small business people refuse to knuckle under to the New Jealously Class, then the Beast will be truly crippled and will be forced to beg for mercy. View your refusal to pay blackmail to the looters as a civil rights issue along the lines of what inspired Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and the early 1960s. IT IS NOT YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY TO PAY HIGHER TAXES! In fact, it can be considered a form of treason to file on April 15, 2010.

Anyway, this has happened before. What most Americans don't remember or never learned is that in the run-up to the American Revolution the British backed down twice over the issue of taxes. Parliament repealed both the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts in the face of fierce colonial protests. Remember, the looters don't have the mighty Royal Navy behind them, or ranks of hard fighting British Grenadiers, all they have in their favor is the willingness to submit of a people who have been comfortable for far too long.

Michael G. Gallagher, Ph.D.
Seoul, Korea

The Monster said...

@Jeremy:
"The section being demonized "

There is no single ("the") section of any of the various bills being floated around that is "being demonized" There are many sections to which various different people object, for various reasons.

You've picked on one that you say was put in by a pro-life Republican. I don't care if you have videotape of Zombie Reagan writing it; it's just one part of a massive bill, which few people have actually read. And by the time they do, it's probably been amended -- the "end of life consulations" have already been taken out of the version in one Senate committee.

Even with that section gone, it is inherent in any government-controlled health care plan that the government will control life-or-death decisions. It's downright tautological. We're not talking about Sarah Palin concocting out of whole cloth the idea of "death panels"; we've seen them at work in the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, and in state programs such as Oregon.

I don't know any other way to state it than this:

If the government is going to control health care decisions, they will be choosing who lives and who dies.

Bruce Hayden said...

There is nothing resembling the alleged "death panel" in the health care reform plan. The section promoting advance care planning that appears on page 425 of the House Democrats' bill includes living wills and durable powers of attorney that allow individuals to make clear their wishes for end-of-life care, whatever they may be.

What will, I think, be interesting, is that Gov. Palin almost accidentally got a pretty good meme going here. It is only in the last two paragraphs or so of her blog entry defending her comment about "death panels" that she really hit pay dirt.

Yes, there originally was a question about death counseling, but most now (excluding, I suspect Jeremy here) now acknowledge that the more pertinent discussion is about health care rationing, which IS in all the Democratic proposals that include a public option, in the form of best practices, etc. panels.

The elderly are upset here because they rightly believe that the goal here is to throw them in with everyone else, then when health care decisions are made for the benefit of all (since we would all be in the same programs), they would bear the brunt of the rationing.

Yes, something has to be done about health care utilization as the Baby Boomers retire. But hiding the ball, like the Democrats are trying to do here, in order to implement rationing, by Palin's Death Panels, with the elderly combined with everyone else, is rightly causing them heart burn (which is, luckily for them, still covered).

SH said...

This conversation thing seems related to the progressive / Orwellian understanding of 'Unity'. Goldberg wrote about that before the election.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe we have to come up with some snappy slogan like the NOW folks did. "Hands off my medical chart" or "Keep Your Hands Off My Plug" or "Let's Wait To See How You Do With Government Motors"

I do think that the much detested Gov. Palin has made a good start with her "death panels" meme.

"ogloos" - where Eskimos who can't spell live.

Jim Treacher said...

The last time Obama extolled the virtues of robust debate, it involved Iranians getting beaten in the street with clubs.

L. E. Lee said...

An Althouse Hillbilly wrote

" I especially enjoyed when your candyass son fell for Hillary."

Wow, Ann you have created a website where some peckerwood can ridicule your gay son. You must be so proud.

L. E. Lee said...

Talk about throwing family under the bus!

Pogo said...

Yer gonna take my health care biil and yer gonna like it. And yer gonna pay, pay tru da nose for it.
Plus, yer gonna kwitcherbitchin' now; how it runs an' what you get ain't none a' yer godamn bizness.
We got experts fer that shit, so shut yer pie hole.

Ya got it?
I'm glad we could have this conversation.

Mortimer Brezny said...

“Conversation kills.”
– Stone Temple Pilots

1. Deliberative democracy works only when both sides play fair. Rational communication involves a conception of rationality incorporating good faith argument. Lies, slander, and distortions, e.g., “death panels,” are not a proper object of this political programme.


2. The government is entitled to its own opinion, including the opinion that you ought to be quiet.


3. Members of Congress know whether an idea or an argument is helpful to the resolution of an issue. Let’s say that all members of Congress want to move forward on a plan, but they are working out the details. They know whether certain views are disruptive and irrelevant. Let’s further say that they are hearing from their constituents on the matter and a diverse array of lobbyists. They know what various special interests and what their constituents, in the main, think.


4. Perhaps your opinion is of little to no value.



If you have a worthless or low-value opinion voiced in bad faith that is disrupting the process of reaching an accord that both political parties and the majority of their constituents want to reach through rational, deliberative means, then a public official who represents the Government might tell you to shut up. Perhaps he is right.

Jeremy said...

The Monster said..."There is no single ("the") section of any of the various bills being floated around that is "being demonized"

You're either just plain dense of being a prick.

The section that is getting most of the attention via Princess Sarah, Newt, most of the far right Republicans and the insane freaks disrupting the town halls is the part they perceive as being some kind of introduction of a "death panel."

As for anybody complaining about a President trying to pass legislation to make health care more affordable and accessible, they're either fully covered by their employer or are just poorly informed.

Maybe you should read more and talk less.

Jeremy said...

AJ Lynch said..."If they let me and I took my money back, it would amount to $100K or more and I'd use it to buy insurance when I turn 65."

Right.

And if you saved every penny yo contribute to SS or any other long term coverage or benefit, generally matched by employers, etc., you'd be a millionaire.

Unfortunately, most people do not take every dime they would otherwise "contribute" and stuff it away in an interest bearing account for 40-60 years without ever touching it.

You're even dumber than you sound...and takes some doing.

Bruce Hayden said...

As for anybody complaining about a President trying to pass legislation to make health care more affordable and accessible, they're either fully covered by their employer or are just poorly informed.

I could probably reverse that, with anyone backing the current proposals either being uninsured right now or just poorly informed.

But you never really explain how you can increase quantity of health care while reducing its overall price. Seems highly suspect, but I am willing to let you try - so go for it. Take your best shot at convincing us that health care can be made more affordable and accessible without rationing (i.e. Palin's Death Panels).

jayne_cobb said...

Wow Lee, you really are desperate to get that whole "hillbilly" thing going aren't you?

It's like watching George Costanza try to give himself a nickname.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Edmund Ironside said...

Aren't you the same Ann Althouse who asked us all to vote for this incompetent?

Link please. I don't recall her ever asking anyone else to vote for Obama. I don't think that's her style. If I'm wrong, I'd love to see a link.

rcocean said...

Great post.

The "Moderate Voice" needs a name change.

Jeremy said...

Bruce - Is your point that the insurance industry if doing a fantastic job of providing coverage, at very reasonable rates...and that there is NO problem relating to millions being uninsured because they can't afford paying for it?

Are you denying the fact that 60% of personal bancruptcies are not the result of medial bills that cannot be paid?

My wife and I pay $400 a month for insurance, even though we're covered via employers, and neither of us have any pre-existing conditions or problems. I have friends who pay $1,500 a month and are in good healthy. $18,000 a year for health insurance??

For two people in good health?

And exactly where do YOU suppose YOU would get insurance if YOU had a pre-existing condition??

I'll tell you: NOWHERE.

What the fuck are you proposing?

Jeremy said...

Bruce: "Take your best shot at convincing us that health care can be made more affordable and accessible without rationing..."

Every industrialized country in the world has national health care (that is NOT rationed)...except the U.S. of A.

Read more...talk less.

Shanna said...

Why isn't doing the wrong thing a lot scarier than doing nothing?

I cannot understand why so many people refuse to acknowledge this. I had the exact same conversation with my boss before the election (in my careful political voice of course, since he's a dem.) Losing your job is change, unemployment at 10 percent is change, the dow at 7k is change...is any of that good? God. That change thing drives me up the freaking wall.

"obbile" Oh, so much bile coming up.

Skyler said...

Jeremy cryptically complained:

My wife and I pay $400 a month for insurance, even though we're covered via employers, and neither of us have any pre-existing conditions or problems. I have friends who pay $1,500 a month and are in good healthy. $18,000 a year for health insurance??

So, your solution is to have the rest of us pay this cost?

Big Mike said...

As soon as I saw that Instapundit linked to this post I knew that Jeremy would show up. He's kind of a comment whore, the way that Medea Benjamin is a media whore. (Get it? Medea, media?)

NKVD said...

Poor Jermy never heard of tort reform.

Edgehopper said...

@Jeremy -

My wife and I pay $400 a month for insurance, even though we're covered via employers, and neither of us have any pre-existing conditions or problems. I have friends who pay $1,500 a month and are in good healthy. $18,000 a year for health insurance??

For two people in good health?


I believe this is the sort of situation that's perfect for the HSA + high deductible insurance system, and would not change under Obamacare. A large part of the reason for such high rates for the healthy are the requirements that health insurance cover so many different things that the average young person never uses. I would be shocked if a young couple uses anywhere near $18,000 a year in medical expenses absent some sort of catastrophe.

But under Obamacare, where all plans must meet the coverage requirements of the central bureaucracy, such a tailored solution could never exist.

WV: nogyn - The sad effect of Edwards-ian malpractice plaintiffs lawyers.

SH said...

Jeremy said...

"Looks like that memory course isn't taking hold for the Princess."

Was the government involved in her proclimation? As in paying for it while also having the conflict of interest of paying the medical bills?

Mortimer Brezny said...

how you can increase quantity of health care while reducing its overall price

Ann links to Obama's op-ed. Obama seems to think that insurance companies are making "excessive profits" -- better phrased as "profits derived from depriving sick people of care they already paid for or refusing to provide care to (or overcharging) low-risk persons who are already sick." If you cut those profits down, you can plow those monies into providing care that is presently withheld.

Jerry said...

Did you have a point, Ann? Sorry, I missed it.

David said...

"Why isn't doing the wrong thing a lot scarier than doing nothing?"

This is the essence of the issue. Obama has pushed us pell-mell helter-skelter to have a conversation about something even the authors of the proposals do not understand. If they understood it, they would be able to explain it and perhaps justify it. Beginning at the top with the President himself, the proponents do not understand their own proposal.

Everyone should take a deep breath, and then vote no!

SH said...

garage mahal said...

"Nothing being proposed is fucking mandatory! The head hurts."

It goes both ways GM as we are not just talking about EOL counseling (that’s all your strawman)... everyone here is also talking about the panel of experts debating quality of life vs. costs in the general... also, we can look over the pond and see what the NHS did for things like organ transplants (actual death panels that judged individual's worth...)... and/or the structural necessity of these things happening (Obama’s advocacy of them aside…) if we are going to expand coverage… without it costing more…

former law student said...

First, if the public option is eliminated, what's left?

Second, I would be very happy if Dr. Peter Singer were left out of this particular conversation. As far as I can tell from reading interviews with him in the NYT, he is an inhuman monster.

My other observation is that no one can tell if the money is being spent in the last six months of life until that person dies.

DemocracysWake said...

I remember having blisters on my fingers. I was learning to play the guitar. I decided to learn on a steel-stringed instrument instead of nylon strings. The first song I used to play to death was "Sin City", I would sing while I strummed the chords, haltingly,

"The scientists say, it will all wash away/But we don't believe anymore/'Cos we got our recruits & our green mohair suits/So please check your ID at the door."

For some odd reason, thirty years later, those words have a surreal resonance.

Moneyrunner said...

"Help me Oh-be-Won Obama, you're my only hope."

And those EEEEVILLLL corporations that are filling our minds with their lies and bussing us out to town hall meetings. It appears that they are on the side of none other than Oh-be-Won Obama who has them all collected in the “Death (to granny) Star.” While the MSM were pointing fingers at presumed Right Wing conspirators, they neglected to notice that Big Pharma, Big Medicine (AMA), Big PR Firms (Obama aide Axlerod), Big Old People (AARP), Big Business, Big Hospitals, and Big Labor were contributing about $125 million in political payoffs and protection money to Team Obama. To what end? To run a gigantic sales campaign against the average Americans who are communicating via the Internet and volunteering to show up at town hall meetings for the privilege of being smeared by the media as unruly mobs and Nazis, to being beaten to a pulp by union goons, and by the Democrats in Congress as un-American as they register their protest to this power grab by Big Government and the Left.

Bruce Hayden said...

Every industrialized country in the world has national health care (that is NOT rationed)...except the U.S. of A.

That is demonstrably untrue for both the UK and Canada, and likewise others. Keep trying. In the case of the UK, try looking NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence).

former law student said...

also, we can look over the pond and see what the NHS did for things like organ transplants (actual death panels that judged individual's worth...)

When my father needed a transplant, here, in America, his age and family status were very much factors in his eligibility to receive one.

Moneyrunner said...

This is bullshit on stilts. Until the people began to protest and protest loudly, there was no “national conversation” on health care. There was just the bald assertion – by the Left and its media megaphones - that the present health care system was broken and what was needed was a government take-over. The only discussing was about the details and those discussions were held well away from the great unwashed, the people who were going to be the guinea pigs in this latest adventure of Big Government.

And Oh-be-Won Obama wanted this to be the crowning achievement of his first six months in office so he gave the marching orders to congress to create the legislation while he made speeches telling the American people that if the Government did not take over health care, and do it now, America faced a financial catastrophe. It all began to sound the same:

If we did not pass the stimulus bill NOW America faced financial catastrophe, and unemployment would exceed 8% …

If we did not take over GM and Chrysler now and turn them over to the UAW America faced financial catastrophe …

If the government did not take over AIG and run the banks America faced financial catastrophe ….

Quayle said...

The core problem that Obama and the left have run smack into is that they are trying to solve two separate root problems with one health care legislation solution?

The first problem Obama and the left point to is that Medicare and Medicaid is going to soon bankrupt us when the boomers get a bit older. In other words, the government has commitment to insure too much and must find a way to insure less (i.e. fewer people, or fewer ailments and procedures.)

The second problem Obama and the left point to the is that a lot of people not quite poor enough for Medicaid have to pay a perceived high price for private insurance. Whether this is a problem or not is debatable. While many are on the cusp of not being able to afford private insurance, many chose not to do it. But whatever the outcome of that debate, in order for the government to do anything to directly help these people, the government must commit to insure more.

And here is the problematic dichotomy: one root problem is that the government is presently insuring too many people and the other is that the government is insuring too few.

And what is killing Obama and the left's message on this issue is that they are trying to solve both problem with ONE solution.

They claim that they will lower costs yet insure more people.

Everyone can innately feel that it is an impossibility - that something is fundamentally wrong with what the (brilliant?) Obama is saying.

Pogo said...

My Dinner With Barry

WALLY: [Pause.] Yeah, but I mean, are you saying that it's impossible, I mean...I mean, isn't it a little upsetting to come to the conclusion that there's no way to wake people up any more? Except to involve them in some kind of a strange socialist movement, or some kind of a unread health care bill copying Canada? I mean, because you know, the awful thing is that if you're really saying that it's necessary to take everybody to Canada, it's really tough! Because everybody can't be taken to Canada!

I mean, there must have been periods in history when it would have been possible to "save the patient" through less drastic measures. I mean, there must have been periods when in order to give people strong or meaningful health insurance you wouldn't actually have to take them to Canada!

BARRY: But you do, now! In some way or other you do, now!

Moneyrunner said...

The local newspaper, the Virginian Pilot, has been beating the drums for ObamaCare. Seeing the train run off the rails, they are now calling for a “conversation.” They even go so far as to label the current house bill a legislative disaster.

Let’s talk about a bigger point. This bill, which the editors at the Virginian Pilot call a complicated legislative disaster, would have been signed into law by Barack Obama to the acclaim of the media in the largest signing ceremony in recorded history… if it had passed in its present form. Is there any doubt about that? Does anyone anywhere dispute that? The Pilots’ editors were demanding a bill, any bill and telling opponents to shut up and sit down. Barack Obama wanted a bill, any bill; so that he could claim he reformed health care. The fact that the bill would have been a disaster for the American people is simply not important. The success of Oh-be-Won Obama is the issue. It’s all about HIM.

tarheel said...

Estimates of the total excess costs to the medical system of tort activities are $100 billion to $200 billion annually.

Costs of fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid systems exceed $60 million annually. 13% of all Medicare expenditures are fraudulent. This is 12 times more than the rate of private insurance fraud.

Any bill that does not address tort costs while justly compensating those damaged by errors/malpractice is simply not serious. Any bill that does not address fraud in current government healthcare programs is not serious. Yet, the House bill and the Senate committee bill are all silent on both tort reform and Medicare/Medicaid fraud.

Every product and service we purchase is rationed, either by the free market or the government. I trust the market 1000 times more than I trust the government.

As a senior myself (on Medicare), there is no problem with "end of life counseling". Every person should have a living will and healthcare power of attorney by the time he/she is 40. I do have a problem with people like Dr. Zeke Emanuel making decisions about who qualifies for what healthcare. Nevertheless, if there is to be government rationing and the choice is between me at age 66 getting the care or my children (age 35, 37, and 39)or my 6 grandchildren (ages 1 - 10) getting the care, the decision MUST be to give it to them rather than me.

BTW Ann, are you sorry yet you voted for Obama? In any case, thank you for the current post as well as for the one about Palin and the "death" boards.

If we can sufficiently slow down the process of passing a healthcare bill, maybe a real conversation can occur.

Pogo said...

fls makes a wonderful point.

The "last six months" are rarely known for certain except in retrospect.

Doctors are pretty damn bad at predicting when someone will really die, save for a few diseases.

So trying to save that money can only be done by denying its use after a certain age across the board, not on a case by case basis.

Or else we have to cut you off once you start spending a lot, because that may be the first sign you're spending too much on your way out the door.

But on comparing age limits in transplants, fls makes this error: it is very different when the government is the only option, which woiuld take place under single payer, which Obama has publically proclaimed is his goal.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann links to Obama's op-ed. Obama seems to think that insurance companies are making "excessive profits" -- better phrased as "profits derived from depriving sick people of care they already paid for or refusing to provide care to (or overcharging) low-risk persons who are already sick." If you cut those profits down, you can plow those monies into providing care that is presently withheld.

Which is fairly persuasive evidence that Mr. Obama doesn't have a clue as to how our economy works.

If there were, indeed, excess profits being made, others would enter the market. Instead, we see long term players leaving that market.

The next step usually is to point at overhead costs of Medicare. However, what those who do invariably ignore is that much of Medicare's overhead is hidden in other parts of the government AND part of its overhead advantage is due to its almost total failure to police fraud. And, yes, the higher Medicare fraud is very likely higher than the difference in overhead (and, keep in mind that much of that overhead is being siphoned off as taxes anyway).

The Monster said...

You're either just plain dense of [sic] being a prick.

On the contrary, your density or prickness is at issue here.

The section that is getting most of the attention

This is called "moving the goalposts". Yes, it's true that the "end of life" provision has gotten a great deal of attention, but nowhere did Palin say that, either in her original statement:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

or in her follow-up:

Of course, it’s not just this one provision that presents a problem. My original comments concerned statements made by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy advisor to President Obama and the brother of the President’s chief of staff. Dr. Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens....

The "end of life" provisions were, as I have said all along, just one of many things that can contribute to the "death panels". But no one of them is necessary for them to exist. They must exist, because no scheme for government control of health care can exist without them in some form.

JAL said...

3. Members of Congress know whether an idea or an argument is helpful to the resolution of an issue.

A joke, right?

Every industrialized country in the world has national health care (that is NOT rationed)...except the U.S. of A.

Bruce H responded: "That is demonstrably untrue for both the UK and Canada, and likewise others."

Not to mention Oregon. (It's a foreign country, right?)

Edgehopper wrote: "...this is the sort of situation that's perfect for the HSA + high deductible insurance system, and would not change under Obamacare."

I do not believe that HSAs (and the Advantage plans for Medicare) were going survive the cut.

Thanks for the Count link, BJM.

WV obyriver
Slang for the renaming of the Mississippi for Obi Won Kenobe

Bruce Hayden said...

When my father needed a transplant, here, in America, his age and family status were very much factors in his eligibility to receive one.

Welcome to rationed health care. But keep in mind that this was most likely due to the fact that there are typically many more people needing organ transplants than there are organs available to transplant. So, this isn't a case of just paying more money, but rather, there just aren't any more organs available.

Of course, part of the problem there is that a market for organs to transplant is illegal in this country. So, you have the usual problem of excess demand resulting from artificially low prices.

SH said...

former law student said...

"When my father needed a transplant, here, in America, his age and family status were very much factors in his eligibility to receive one."

Eye roll... they do judge your survivability odds in the US... and it is done by a private group with a website where you can read how they score it.. Costs and value to society are not involved.. been on a transplant list myself so I'm pretty familar with it...

The UK out and out judged your worth to society… nothing like that is done here…

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

Eye roll... they do judge your survivability odds in the US... and it is done by a private group with a website where you can read how they score it..

But to Obama and the left, if a free person or organization in the market place does something, then it must be the same thing to have the government do it.

They don't ever admit or understand that a single consumer can fire a company in the market, but a single citizen can never fire the government.

SH said...

former law student said...

"First, if the public option is eliminated, what's left?"

Could still help out the middle class people who loose coverage because they're too ill to work and/or people who make too much for Medicaid but have preexisting conditions. I'd like that done with a under 100 page bill...

But BO got hung up with the far left goal of forced equality and or his perverse idea of fairness (which like his tax comment; means even if the healthcare system degrades as a result, it is best to force everyone into equal, probably mostly public, healthcare). After five years anyone left with private insurance will have it so regulated as to be the same as public….

SH said...

Quayle said...

"They don't ever admit or understand that a single consumer can fire a company in the market, but a single citizen can never fire the government."

You can't really fire the organ transplant listing organization either (to be fair). They get the final say on the rules… But it is my opinion that since it is private it is less political than if it were government run. There are no race, class, gender targets for their transplants... for instance. For now at least, they use the classical liberal idea of fairness. Ie, to not be say ‘classist’ they just won’t consider your class status… et cetera. Having been on the list I studied it to see if I needed to shore up anything to help my chances.. found I didn't need to / no games needed to be played / the system was basically fair...

Alex said...

newscaper said...
I still roll my eyes when Ann manages to write one of these bullseye denunciations of Obama's garbage -- usually without any mention of how she voted for him.

While she claimed she was sold by his substance (a transparently looming bait and switch to anyone paying attention at the time), it now appears she was seduced by his *style*, turned off by the declasse pro-Palin crowd.


Oh come on, McCain was even worse. Imagine that the GOP would be facing permanent destruction if McCain was elected. Thank god Althouse voted for Obama and now repents.

Alex said...

This is to all our "liberal" posters. The rest of the country does not want some "reform bill" shoved down our throats at lightening speed. We want a rel debate. YOU guys do not want a real debate. Get it now? You have to SELL us. You aren't closing the deal. Coffee is only for closers. You get no coffee.

Alex said...

The left can get through the "healthcare reform" bill they want by either 2 ways:

1) shove it down our throats with a naked power display

or

2) sell the American people on the merits.

They choose #1 and wonder why they are failing horribly.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Which is fairly persuasive evidence that Mr. Obama doesn't have a clue as to how our economy works. If there were, indeed, excess profits being made, others would enter the market. Instead, we see long term players leaving that market.

Or that you fail to understand the workings of the health insurance market. Instead of profit derived from sales of goods and services, health insurers profit from denying coverage. Because the desire to pay for health insurance is inelastic and people simply go without if care is too expensive, sellers might leave the market because further denial of coverage is unprofitable. There is also the possibility of collusion in a horizontal scheme to fix prices -- something often alleged about the insurance industry.

Synova said...

"...this is the sort of situation that's perfect for the HSA + high deductible insurance system, and would not change under Obamacare."

I figured that must be a finger macro misfire because everything I've heard is that Obamacare requires ALL private health insurance to cover what Obamacare covers but to do so without the tax subsidy.

Thus... NO high deductible insurance that did not cover all the little things, office visits and routine care that high deductible insurance does not cover.

Synova said...

"Oh come on, McCain was even worse. Imagine that the GOP would be facing permanent destruction if McCain was elected. Thank god Althouse voted for Obama and now repents."

Yeah, McCain pretty much sucked.

And while I'm not one to pass over any opportunity to say "I told you so" (and I certainly did!) the remarks made every now and then that try to rub Althouse's nose in her vote last November are rather hateful. I can't imagine where that sort of thing comes from, what sort of personality refuses to let people adjust to new information and new events and who is utterly incapable of seeing the difference between not knowing the future and 20-20 hindsight.

We never get to find out how the decisions unmade would have played out. We never get to reboot the simulation and put in different beginning parameters.

Anyone too sure about those things should never be trusted.

Synova said...

"But to Obama and the left, if a free person or organization in the market place does something, then it must be the same thing to have the government do it.

They don't ever admit or understand that a single consumer can fire a company in the market, but a single citizen can never fire the government.
"

Nicely said.

Paul said...

Let's compare some stats with great Britain, shall we?

1. U.K.’s heart-attack fatality rate is almost 20% higher than America’s

2. Angioplasties in Britain are only 21.3% as common as they are here

3. NICE ruled against the use of two drugs, Lapatinib and Sutent, that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer

4. Breast cancer in America has a 25% mortality rate; in Britain it’s almost double at 46%

5. Prostate cancer kills 19% of American and 57% of Brits

6. in 2006, a U.K-based board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took three years to get that outrageous decree reversed.

7. NICE will cut annual steroid injections for severe back pain from 60,000 to 3,000. Result? “It will mean more people on opiates, which are addictive and kill 2,000 a year. It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky and has a 50% failure rate.”

8. Nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment

9. U.S. = 34 CT scanners per million; Britain = 8

10. U.S. = 27 MRI machines per million; Britain = 6

11. Brits wait twice as long to see a specialist than Americans

12. In U.S., recommended age for colon-cancer screening for men begins at 50. NHS starts at age 75.

13. Avastin, a drug for advanced colon cancer, is prescribed more often in the U.S. than in the U.K., by some estimates as much as 10 times more.

14. In U.K., 20% of potentially curable lung-cancer patients became incurable on the waiting list.

James said...

@Jeremy

A U.S. Senator introducing a "section" into a bill produced by the House of Representatives?

I think you need to revisit your grade school civics class.

In any event, Johnny Isakson denies any involvement in any part of a House bill:http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0809/Isakson_rejects_Obama_shout_out_from_town_hall.html

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), didn't appreciate President Obama's shout-out at the New Hampshire town hall meeting this afternoon.

Obama said that the voluntary end-of-life counseling in one version of the bill had a Republican sponsor — and he mentioned Isakson by name.

And that set off the senator from Georgia.

"Isakson vehemently opposes the House and Senate health care bills, and he played no role in drafting language added to the House bill by House Democrats calling for the government to incentivize doctors by offering them money to conduct end-of-life counseling," Isakson's office said in a statement.

But Isakson did sponsor a Senate health committee amendment in July, which would allow anyone who participates in a long-term health benefit to receive living will and power of attorney counseling. Isakson offices says the difference with his amendment is that it allows patients to ask for help on these issues instead of incentivizing doctors who take Medicare to provide this counseling.

Big Mike said...

@Synova, some of us grew up near Chicago and understood that candidate Barack Obama might say one thing but Chicago politician would not be post-partisan. Some of us recognized that his experience was onionskin paper thin. And then there was my wife telling me about Nancy Pelosi on Charley Rose (a show I can't stand and don't watch) where she practically stood on her chair to say that during an Obama administration it would be government by legislative branch.

But I also own up to having gotten over my "told you so" a bit ago. Besides, even I didn't think it would be this bad

tarheel said...

"Instead of profit derived from sales of goods and services, health insurers profit from denying coverage."

I have never had any association other than client with any insurance company. Your statements are pure BS. Neither I nor any member of my family has ever been denied coverage. I had coverage through my employer from age 22 until I went on Medicare at age 65 last year. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, I chose an out of network medical practice to treat me because of their record of success. One quick call to United Healthcare resulted in them approving the treatment with my copay being at in network rates.

Every case of denied coverage of which I am aware was for treatments classified by government as experimental. One such case was a coworker whose 20 year old daughter had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The cost of the treatment was $100k. In that case, our HR department challenged the decision, and the insurance company reversed its decision and paid for the experimental treatment. There was no delay in the treatment.

Insurance companies, like any other business, listen to their customers. Government bureaucrats are the real heartless bastards.

Jim said...

Did Bammy say that he rued the fact that they "replaced" his Grandmother's hip weeks before her death from cancer?

I think so. I wonder if he meant that a procedure was done to fix a fracture in her hip (femoral head or neck). If so, that's an entirely different operation from that undertaken to "replace" a hip.]

I don't think he understands the difference between a repair of a fracture and a joint replacement.

I don't think he understands much of anything about health care.

But that's understandable. He's a lawyer. But he's arrogated a status to make medical decisions for everyone.

And that's too bad.

Bruce Hayden said...

Or that you fail to understand the workings of the health insurance market. Instead of profit derived from sales of goods and services, health insurers profit from denying coverage. Because the desire to pay for health insurance is inelastic and people simply go without if care is too expensive, sellers might leave the market because further denial of coverage is unprofitable. There is also the possibility of collusion in a horizontal scheme to fix prices -- something often alleged about the insurance industry.

Huh? Pot? Kettle?

Ever wonder why there haven't been any antitrust convictions for the "often alleged" price fixing?

Let me suggest that the answer is that insurance companies are absolutely paranoid about communicating prices among each other. They were back when I was selling health insurance, and according to people I know in the industry, it has gotten much worse. There are plenty of grandstanding state AGs who would love to get this sort of conviction. They don't, for a very good reason. The insurance companies don't collude.

I would be interested to see the economic model that you are using for insurance companies to be making money by denying coverage. And, one thing that you don't seem to be taking into account at all is that you can often get punitive damages out of insurance companies if they really do deny coverage when they shouldn't.

So, and this will be hard for you to understand, what you have is that insurance companies take in a certain amount of money, and pay out most of it in claims. Because the industry is competitive, the ROR is much worse than many industries. If the insurance companies are making too much money, other companies will enter the market, and if they aren't making enough, they will leave. I know of several long term players in the market that are leaving.

It always comes down to that. Oh, and it is close to impossible to charge monopoly prices in an industry with so many players.

Synova said...

"But I also own up to having gotten over my "told you so" a bit ago. Besides, even I didn't think it would be this bad"

Yeah, Big Mike, I was thinking of Newscaper at 6:24 which seemed a purely personal attack to me as well as the comment that follows it.

Every so often we'll get a comment or two like that here and generally, usually, from someone I don't recognize (granted, I seldom pay attention) and it's all about how either Althouse (and by extension, anyone one else too) has to live in some sort of state of constant self-flagellation and I don't know... are these people who dislike Obama stopping over to vent or are they Obama partisans who are angry about Althouse's apparent defection?

It's not the same thing as "I told you so". Because yeah, we did. But hoping he'd turn out to be more like Bill and less like... well, Hugo Chavez... wasn't an outrageous thing to hope for, even if it has turned out to be misplaced hope. I can't really *blame* someone for a future that can only be speculation in any case. I'll save my blame for those who are unwilling to see that what is happening for what it is.

There are things that should bother *everyone*.

The rush to push bills through that haven't been read. That's not a partisan thing, it's an assault on freedom and reason.

flag@whitehouse.gov *that* ought to have anyone of any political stripe concerned if not alarmed.

There is more that anyone who is not *actually* socialist should find outright disturbing. I'll save my blame for those who were having hissy fits about the Patriot Act but who see nothing at all to worry about now.

Maybe they should be reminded, that whatever Obama and the Dem Congress gets pushed through that increases government involvement in our lives, records information on our lives, or otherwise catalogs us... it will still be there when a politician they *don't* trust enters office.

Thinking Obama is a nice guy and would never misuse the processes and powers added to federal government is irrelevant.

Imagine your worst nightmare of a right wing kook getting elected and THEN decide how you feel about the precedence of flag@whitehouse.gov!

Michael Hasenstab said...

Nice trial balloon floated today by the Obama administration.

Sibeleus says that the single-payor option is off the table, the lefties go nutso, and late this evening an Obama spokesperson says that it was never off the table.

Some conversation.

Edgehopper said...

@Synova & JAL

I wasn't quite clear (and I agree with you)--that's the sort of situation that would be best covered by an HSA + high deductible health insurance, which is currently very difficult to set up because of state regulations (like New Jersey's ridiculous set of coverage requirements), and would also be outlawed under Obamacare. That is, the fact that it's hard to do that sort of plan right now would not change under Obamacare--and in more free states, would be made much worse (because the status quo is better).

former law student said...

I had coverage through my employer

Those were some good times. They started during WWII, for corporations to attract and keep workers in the face of wage controls. As with so many benefits (e.g. defined benefit pension plans) they're too costly to be sustainable. Plus in the future we are all free agents -- except for civil servants of course. Price some individual policies today.

The concept of health insurance is an odd one, anyways. Imagine buying car insurance where the body shop got paid whether they fixed your car or not, as long as they put it on the lift and ran the welder long enough.

Revenant said...

As with so many benefits (e.g. defined benefit pension plans) they're too costly to be sustainable.

That's is quite wrong.

The problem with defined-benefit pension plans isn't that they are unsustainable, but that they are unreliable. Pension plans are deferred compensation -- specifically, compensation delayed until decades in the future, when the employee is retired and no long providing any benefit for the company. The only way to know if this is an economically sound idea is to know what the next fifty years have in store for your company. Nobody can know that, which means pension plans are a huge gamble.

The same problem doesn't apply to employer-paid health insurance. Health insurance is paid, now, on employees that are working now. If the cost of an employee exceeds the value created by that employee, you can get rid of the employee; problem solved.

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

A "conversation" about health care with a right winger at a town hall includes a gun, a Nazi sign, and a question about the Koran. And screaming at the top of your lungs: "LIAR!!!!


What is funny about your little half-witted quip is that you actually would try to define what a conversation is with someone you think is a right winger. Let's say for the sake of argument that he is and I will say that I don't doubt that he is. Since he doesn't have a national platform like Mr. BarelyCare does, then besides demonization from troglodytes like you, where was this man wrong? He's exercised every his Constitutional rights. Is that now something you don't like? Oh yeah it is. Just like having a 'conversation' about a new entitlement program called BarelyCare that all of a sudden you feel so compelled to support your little black jesus with by getting on your kneepads, unzipping his pants and showing him your devotional support for it when A) you don't need it, B) support foisting it on those who don't want or need it, C) using the excuse of 47 million allegedly uninsured as a framework to foist it onto 300 million people.

Yeah genius, that right winger simply brought it down to your level. Vagi need a wipey?

Dan said...

Looking back to Jeremy's straw man:

I'm surprised no one called him on his obvious errors. The "death panels" were never intended to refer to the end of live provisions. It refers to boards deciding which treatments will be covered in which situations. Here is where the Sutent case comes into the conversation. In Britain, it is not allowed because the cost (approx 50K dollars) outweighs the median expected life extension value (the median added life expectancy is 6 months; keep in mind this means half the patients live longer than half a year).
To those who object the HR 3200 boards are only designed to determine which benefits are covered, I respond that not covering a benefit effectively ends the chances of receiving the treatment for most people.
Now, all insurers have provisions for which treatments they consider experimental, and which drugs they will refuse to cover. But the pressures of the market force them to expand their coverage constantly, which is part of the driver for higher annual costs beyond the effect of inflation. The government panels will have no such pressure, however. Most folks on Obamacare will have no way to shift insurers if they do not like the list of coverages.

Pogo said...

"Looking back to Jeremy's straw man:
I'm surprised no one called him on his obvious errors
".

Jeremy's a troll. It's pointless.

Interestingly, his intransigence in the face of argument is in lockstep with the Democratic party and the current Administration, from which one must draw an ugly conclusion.

mrs whatsit said...

Obama explains what he means by a "conversation":

"I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."

WV: lendoan -- what we will need to cover all the borrowoan we'll have to do to afford this administration.

Pogo said...

Ha ha ha. From Instapundit this morning, a single payer plan isn't the answer:

"The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

"We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"We know that there must be change," she said. "We're all running flat out, we're all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands."

...Ouellet has been saying since his return that "a health-care revolution has passed us by," that it's possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and "that competition should be welcomed, not feared."

In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system
".

jayne_cobb said...

I'm just wondering how we can have a conversation when the other side keeps misspeaking.

Apparently Sebelius misstated the WH's position.

The Crack Emcee said...

Yea, I'm a "cynic" and a "naysayer".

Roger J. said...

When this idiot president signs up his family, and when the honorable members sign up their families to a government run program, then I will take them a bit more seriously (although probably not).

Quayle said...

Uh, oh, Ann. Better watch out.

KJL at NRO is onto your intellectual honesty.

By being quoted, you've now joined the fringe, and you might not have even known it.

wv bumyoi - an asian dipping sauce for rump roast.

knox said...

"Keep Your Hands Off My Plug"

LOL

knox said...

They started during WWII, for corporations to attract and keep workers in the face of wage controls.

Yes. I wish people would bring this up more often. The very reason we are in this predicament is *not* because of failings of the free market, but because of government controls.

Health insurance should never have been linked to your employer. Now, as we all know, it's a giant cluster.

Roger J. said...

Pogo and Jayne: Sebelius didnt gt the memo and the damn canadian is obviously in the pocket of the republican party--I mean we keep hearing what a blessing their system is.

Re Sibelius: trial balloon to see how the progressives would react. Of course, I am sure she likes being hung out to dry like that--float a talking point, and then get cut of at the knees by some anonymous asshole in the white house. How is the job working out for you?

JAL said...

I am wondering how long before some of the more (or is it few?) sane people in this administration decide they need to spend more time with their familes.

I mean, how many times does one get to step in poop someone else has slipped in front of you for their benfit before deciding to take another path?

WV peare
How Washington spells "peer" so they can keep up the illusion they are different than their peares.

Richard Dolan said...

When you bear in mind the lefty conceit that rationality and calm discussion is their unique attribute (always to be contrasted with the raucous, anti-intellecutal ravings that uniquely characterize the contributions of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy), the "conversation" trope makes sense. Ann is quite right that "conversation" has taken on an aspect of NewSpeakd, and become a weapon in the ongoing ideological wars to define the opposition.

Because this string is so long, I haven't checked to see whether someone else made this point. If so, apologies all around.

BJM said...

stuff it away in an interest bearing account for 40-60 years without ever touching it.


Shirley you jest.

wv: coniesso = A specialized fuel mixture for the VW Rabbit.

Paddyspig said...

Anyone is welcome to the conversation, but only One is permitted to have the last word.

And that One is...

Methadras said...

Pogo said...

In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system".


That is unpossible since the Canadian government has effectively regulated out, or in effect outlawed private insurance or private practices. To expect the 'conversation' in Canada to all of a sudden include private healthcare would raise the ire of the public sector providers and their respective unions. They have a stranglehold on their market and to drop this little bomb into their tent would create a series of problems they will not be prepared to deal with.

Not to mention that for the sake of argument, let's say they decide that a private solution is not only needed but necessary. How long do you think it will take for doctors to start leaving the public sector to start up private practices that will cost them a fortune to do? How about private insurance companies? You think they would want to delve into this quagmire? Just for the sake of poignancy. here is an article by Walter Williams that is on that point.

Walter Williams article

former law student said...

How long do you think it will take for doctors to start leaving the public sector to start up private practices that will cost them a fortune to do?

Huh? Most Canadian doctors are in private practice. However, unlike in the US, they do not have to request payment from a plethora of insurance companies as well as from their patients. They are paid for services by one governmental agency (per province) -- that's why it's called a single-payer system.

I think a multi-tier system would work in the US whereas in more egalitarian Canada it wouldn't. Paying a surcharge here for faster service would not be seen as being rude.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Your statements are pure BS. Neither I nor any member of my family has ever been denied coverage.

Your personal anecdote is just one data point.

Ever wonder why there haven't been any antitrust convictions for the "often alleged" price fixing? ... If the insurance companies are making too much money, other companies will enter the market, and if they aren't making enough, they will leave. I know of several long term players in the market that are leaving. ... [W]hat you have is that insurance companies take in a certain amount of money, and pay out most of it in claims. Because the industry is competitive, the ROR is much worse than many industries.

As someone who has worked on antitrust litigation, I can tell you that failing to nail colluding companies is virtually meaningless. All companies or cartels sizable enough to fix prices claim that more regulation would cause "ruinous competition" and market collapse, and all cite competitors exiting the market. They all also claim that barriers to entry are necessary to keep the current quality of services and economies of scale operative. They also all haul in economic experts to rig the "relevant market" analysis so that "cross-elastic substitutes" include competitors and products that should properly be excluded and then set the level of analysis (rule of reason, etc.) so that the burden is on their competitor. For that reason, most antitrust suits do not head to trial. Not to mention the DOJ's permissive attitude toward mergers has allowed market participants for years to avoid antitrust violations by buying out smaller firms and amassing market share. Being bought out is not "leaving the market": it is consolidating market power.

As for your claim that the ROR is low: The film industry claims that it is always losing money, too. It is a billion dollar industry.

There are plenty of grandstanding state AGs who would love to get this sort of conviction. They don't, for a very good reason. The insurance companies don't collude.

The Sherman Act is a federal law under the exclusive jurisdiction of federal agencies like the FTC and DOJ.

And, one thing that you don't seem to be taking into account at all is that you can often get punitive damages out of insurance companies if they really do deny coverage when they shouldn't.

Those are state tort law claims, not federal antitrust claims.

[I]t is close to impossible to charge monopoly prices in an industry with so many players.

In a horizontal agreement to fix prices, the price is supra-competitive. It need not be a monopoly price, only above the price that would obtain in free market competition.

Methadras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Methadras said...

Methadras said...

Until someone can explain to me the absolute compelling need for BarelyCare and why government has the need to be it's administrator, I don't see a need for it.

WV = cryolad = DTL weeping about how everyone is so hateful towards his ghey...

Largo said...

I was trying to do something with Eskimo,floe and Gitmo....

... yellow snow, ...

wv: rabless -- the quality of being without rabs.

mavzoley said...

мультфильм
электронная почта без регистрации

ballpointbanana said...

Man, we need some therapy as a nation to get over this need for the government to take care of everything. We are adults, not babies. The government doesn't owe us everything.