Why You Should Be against This Health-care Reform

August 12, 2009

This entry is especially addressed to people who haven’t yet heard of any good reason not to be in favor of health-care reform—after all, who’s against reform?  Who’s not in favor of health?—but who are open-minded and who, if presented with credible information indicating that a particular proposal was a bad idea, might change their minds and oppose it.

A lot of people are talking about whether, under the current House bill, older Medicare patients will receive “mandatory” end-of-life counseling every five years.  Some declare that that’s completely untrue (“there’s really no gray area here”), but as is often the case, reality is more complicated than that.  (Weren’t big-government liberals supposed to be the experts on nuance?)  Consider the exposition of the matter given by a columnist in the Washington Post (no right-wing rag):

Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren’t quite “purely voluntary,” as Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) asserts. To me, “purely voluntary” means “not unless the patient requests one.” Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive — money — to do so. Indeed, that’s an incentive to insist.

Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they’re in the meeting, the bill does permit “formulation” of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) denies that Section 1233 would “place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign,” I don’t think he’s being realistic.

What’s more, Section 1233 dictates, at some length, the content of the consultation. The doctor “shall” discuss “advanced care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to”; “an explanation of . . . living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses” (even though these are legal, not medical, instruments); and “a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families.” The doctor “shall” explain that Medicare pays for hospice care (hint, hint).

…Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party — the government — recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations. You don’t have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach. 

Of course, this is only one small part of the proposed health-care bill, but that’s part of why some people are alarmed by provisions like the one (the one providing for end-of-life counseling).  Think about it this way:

The context in which that debate takes place is the broader debate the country is having right now about health care.  Some people think health care should be nationalized, replacing the semi-private markets we have now with a uniform single-payer system.  If that happens, it will no longer necessarily be an individual elderly person’s choice, or his family’s choice, what kind of care he gets; it will be the government’s.  Right now, an individual pays for his own health care, more or less; so it makes sense that he decides what care he buys, more or less.  If the government were picking up the tab, it would only make sense for the government to have some say (see note 1, below).  Logically, the government can’t just offer to pay for whatever health care everyone wants all the time; in theory, that could cost the government an infinite amount (2).  Instead, the government would necessarily have to engage in some kind of care rationing (3).  Since apparently more than a quarter of all Medicare expenditures is spent on the last year of patients’ lives, it only makes sense that some people are already talking about maximizing the efficient use of scarce government resources, so to speak, by cutting the old people off, so to speak.  Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, for example, the Head of the Department of Bioethics (!) at the National Institutes of Health, who is also currently “a special advisor for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget”, has already suggested that it might make sense to prioritize the young over the old in rationing, on the grounds that the young are likely to contribute more to society (and/or, implicitly, the government’s income stream?) if they survive.  In the United Kingdom, which already has nationalized health care, almost half of doctors polled believe that the National Health Service there discriminates against the elderly in providing medical care.  (In fact, 55% of doctors polled “were worried themselves about how the NHS would treat them in old age.”)  President Obama himself suggests that the government might know better than both doctors and patients what treatments are effective or worthwhile, and should sometimes tell doctors and elderly patients, “you know what? Maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

On the other hand, President Obama hastens to add, or at least imply, that decisions about care will always be left up to the doctor and the patient (“We’re not going to solve every single one of these very difficult decisions at end of life, and ultimately that’s going to be between physicians and patients. But we can make real progress on this front if we work a little bit harder”).  That’s the trick, isn’t it?  Maybe we can all agree that government shouldn’t be making all the decisions that are currently made (more or less) privately, by individual doctors and patients—we’ve all heard about the long wait times for medical care in countries with nationalized health care (4), worse cancer-survival rates (5), etc.—but this whole discussion may be moot if no one is proposing a single-payer system for America in the first place.

President Obama says he’s not.  He says—over and over again, these days—that “if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them”, or words to that effect.  But even the New York Times has to conclude that that’s probably not true, as it then explains:

The House bill sets detailed standards for “acceptable health care coverage,” which would define “essential benefits” and permissible co-payments. Employers that already offer insurance would have five years to bring their plans into compliance with the new federal standards.

In other words, you could keep your current plan until your insurance company is regulated out of business, sometime in the next five years.  The New York Times goes on:

The legislation could have significant implications for individuals who have bought coverage on their own. Their policies might be exempted from the new standards, but the coverage might not be viable for long because insurers could not add benefits or enroll additional people in noncompliant policies.

In other words, you could keep your plan if you were on it when the law was passed, because you were “grandfathered” in, but your friends or family couldn’t join your plan on the strength of your recommendation—the law would act as a ratchet, allowing people to move from private coverage into the government plan, but not in the other direction.  Then you couldn’t keep your plan after all, because the fact that the insurance company could never get new customers would put it out of business.

The reason it’s ambiguous whether a single-payer system is being attempted is that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress don’t propose changing to one directly or immediately; instead, a central part of their reform proposals is a government health-insurance “option”, a sort of expanded Medicare, which would “compete” with private insurance—in theory, just another option among the many that consumers can choose from (6).  The problem with that is that private business can’t really “compete” with the government; among other things, in this case, the government option, like Medicare, would end up offering doctors significantly lower-than-market-price compensation for their services, while also being able to operate at a loss and being subsidized by tax revenue.  Researchers have studied the matter and tried to figure out how many of those already privately insured (the people President Obama promised can keep their current plan) will lose their coverage due to this unfair competition; their estimates range from half to all.

So it only makes sense that President Obama and congressional Democrats would see the government option as a way to ease the country gradually into a single-payer system, and they do.  President Obama and two congressional Democrats are on video saying as much, and someone on the Internet has put them together in a single video for our convenience.  Yet the Obama White House’s Web site now tells us, basically, that President Obama never said those things.  It says or intentionally implies either that the creator of that first video took fragments of sentences and strung them together to make it sound as if President Obama had said things he never said, or that the creator of that video took President Obama’s words out of some larger context.  If the former were the case, presumably the White House’s Web site wouldn’t have to do much more than to show the video itself to expose it as the ridiculous fraud that it was.  If the latter, it would make sense to provide the context by showing an uncut video, or offering an extended transcript of the president’s remarks on the occasions in question, or both.  The Obama White House does neither.  In fact, it doesn’t link to what it’s responding to and criticizing at all, an Internet convention formidable only to people who have something to hide.  Instead, quite unhelpfully, the response video includes clips of President Obama giving his familiar, more recent assurances that we can keep our doctor, etc., and the Web page then gives uncut versions of those videos, as if the White House had been the one accused of taking the president’s words out of context.

In case there’s any doubt, by the way, about what President Obama and Congressman Frank, for example, are saying in that composite video—that is, if you have any doubt after simply watching the video, which, far from deceitfully cutting together tiny fragments of President Obama’s orations, helpfully signals each edit with a white flash, and includes such whole quotations as “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal-health-care plan”—it’s not just Fox News who conclude that (in the words of the Fox story) “in 2003, he said a single-payer system was his ultimate goal”, but also pro-single-payer liberals (“In 2003, Barack Obama said he was for single payer”).  (In fact, in the case of Congressman Frank, it appears to be the pro-single-payer liberals who got his intentions on video in the first place.)

Depending on how poll questions are worded, more than 40% of Americans appear to oppose current Democratic health-care-reform proposals; a clear majority oppose reform if they understand that it will lead to a single-payer system (7).  Yet the Democratic National Committee has produced an ad implying that only a “mob”, organized by and taking orders from the Republican Party, could explain the opposition to national health care that members of Congress have been hearing from their constituents—as if it were extraordinary that a few hundred or even a few thousand people should express, to their elected representatives, opinions shared by over a hundred million Americans (8).

Meanwhile, why does the Obama White House’s Web page linked above ask citizens to inform on their neighbors?  In its own words, it helpfully explains, “There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there….  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.”

Why would a government ever need to “keep track” of “all” the e-mails and casual conversations its citizens have?  A senator has suggested that the Obama administration only wants to post some informative responses on Web sites, but even viewing the situation in the light most favorable to the government (if it were true, why wouldn’t the White House just say that in the first place?), that doesn’t explain the bit about the e-mails.

Of course, once the government starts trying to “help” tell us what’s true and what’s not, it’s only a couple of steps further down that path before the government starts defining its opponents’ “lies” downward—this is apparently already happening right now—because of course the government is not a disinterested pursuer of truth, but has interests to advance, like any other party.  That’s why we have the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech and are not particularly inclined to view any encroachments on it, even just at the very top of that slippery slope, in “the light most favorable to the government” (9).

Meanwhile, President Obama’s own Web site—i.e., barackobama.com—is trying to organize pro-national-health-care pressure on congressmen and senators, encouraging his followers to visit their representatives’ offices and offering to help them do so.  In other words, if some guy in one county in Connecticut puts some free advice on the Internet about expressing opposition to the health-care plan to our representatives, that’s a top-down, organized mob, but if the President of the United States explicitly asks all his followers to call on and speak with their representatives in support of the plan, and helps them do so, that’s just the normal functioning of democracy (10).

—Update (September 21st, 2009): The president did even more of this explicit asking than I knew: “Obama Calls on Bloggers to Keep Health Care Pressure on Congress”.  (Again, this is from a reliably liberal source.)

This is Orwellian in more ways than one.  Don’t even get me started on the government’s vilifying the insurance companies, which are apparently another new enemy of the state (11).  Let’s just focus on what we’ve already covered:  President Obama and his party are trying to change the past, denying that they’re doing what they’re doing, and trying to delegitimize and demonize the opposition.  They’re asking people to inform on their neighbors—ostensibly only for lying or misleading people, not just for all opposition to the ruling party, but the categories of lying and misleading turn out to have surprisingly elastic boundaries.  We don’t know what the government will do if it gets information on our neighbors.

Not to put too fine a point on it, when you see the beginning signs of totalitarianism, you have to cut it off at the root as soon as possible; by the time it’s full grown and actually looks like the Communist dystopia in 1984, it’s too late to do anything about it, because, after all, that’s what totalitarian control means in the first place.

 

Notes:

1—It’s like with the bank bail-outs and the car-company bail-outs:  On the one hand, it doesn’t seem appropriate for the President of the United States to be able to fire a car-company executive, for Congress to set a limit on financial executives’ salaries, etc.—in fact, such actions seem much more appropriate to backward socialist states than to the United States—but on the other hand, after the government has bought a large part of the company or paid off its debts (whether we think that’s a good idea in the first place or not), in a way, it seems only fair that the government should get to call some of the shots.

2—In the United Kingdom, for example, the BBC (again, no mouthpiece of the right), speaking of that country’s National Health Service, or NHS, states flatly, “The NHS cannot, and never has been able to, offer every treatment to everyone who needs it.”

3—In the United Kingdom, for example, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, or NICE, “help[s] make the hard choices”—in other words, determines who will get what treatments under what circumstances—in other words, sometimes, determines who lives and dies.  This Orwellian name is particularly interesting if you have read the third novel in C. S. Lewis’s space trilogy, That Hideous Strength, but presumably just a coincidence.

4—For example, in 2001, only 5% of American patients who had needed non-emergency surgery in the last two years had had to wait four months or more for it, while 23% of Australian patients, 27% in Canada, and 38% in the U. K. did (page 16 of this study).

5—For example, if I’m reading this right, after a man is diagnosed with cancer (all cancers averaged), in Europe there’s a 53% chance it will kill him within five years, but in America only a 34% chance.  For a woman, from the time she’s diagnosed with cancer, in Europe there’s a 44% chance it will kill her in five years, but in America only a 37% chance.  Even more strikingly, after a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, in Europe there’s a 22% chance it will kill him in five years, but in America only about 1%.  After a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, in Europe 21% odds that it kills her in five, but in America only 10%.  (They cite their sources, especially in the HTML versionSee also generally.)

6—E.g., “‘If the private insurance companies have to compete with a public option, it will keep them honest and it will help keep their prices down,’ Obama said.”  Note that usually the unaided free market produces plenty of incentive to “keep prices down”.  See also “The Public Option Two-Step”.

7—According to Rasmussen, August 10th, 2009, Americans oppose a single-payer system 57% to 32%.  According to Zogby, July 27th, 2009, Americans reject single-payer 52% to 44%, while they are split 48% to 49% over the possibility which Zogby says “most closely resembles the current reform proposals”.  According to an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll (pages 12 and 22), end of July 2009, Americans reject “Barack Obama’s health care plan” 42% to 36%, while a bare majority favor “Using government funds to expand health insurance coverage, and raising taxes on wealthier Americans to pay for it”, 50% to 44%; the country is split on the question of a government option that would “compete directly with private health insurance companies”, 46% in favor and 44% against.

8—Note that the one thing cited by the ad (a document shown on the screen and highlighted) in association with the voice-over sentence “This mob activity is straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives”, is in fact advice from the lowest possible level—some people who protested in a single county in Connecticut, against a single congressman—hosted on a blog that you’ve never heard of and neither have I.  As far as I’ve heard, in the ad or out of it, there’s even less evidence (i.e., none) that Rush Limbaugh or any of the other famous conservatives pictured and quoted in the ad have done any secret “organizing”.  Furthermore, as the National Review has pointed out,

The ad is deeply dishonest, even by the standards of Washington discourse: The beginning and ending images, and many of those in between, are not those of people protesting Obama’s health-care proposals, but rather of the wacko fringe “birthers” (about whom much has been written here and elsewhere), who have nothing to do with either the town-hall meetings in question or with the Republican party as such. This is pure chicanery: The people protesting Obamacare have not gone out and comported themselves like a gang of buffoons, so Obama’s partisans simply took video of different people comporting themselves like a gang of buffoons and substituted it. That’s a low, shoddy, and intellectually dishonest way to operate.

9—In fact, that’s also why the Obama White House’s inform-on-your-neighbor plan may already be illegal:  Apparently America has a law on the books prohibiting the White House from collecting and storing information on people who disagree with it, presumably to prevent just such creeping totalitarianism and to preclude the obvious opportunities for the government to abuse such information.

10—Or of a republic.  Just off the top of my head, I would say that President Obama’s meddling probably crosses a line and violates at least the spirit of the separation of powers.  I don’t remember previous presidents, who represent the executive branch, ever asking the people to petition a different branch of the government to take a certain side or a certain action; do you?  A National Review writer doesn’t remember things being like this before in other ways, either.

11—Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking person in the House of Representatives, has helpfully advanced the debate by literally declaring health-insurance companies “the villains” and “immoral”.

12 Responses to “Why You Should Be against This Health-care Reform”

  1. johnrj08 Says:

    This is truly a sickening blog. I’ve read through this page several times, searching for a single milligram of truth, and can’t find one anywhere. FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com expose your true agenda. The people who are shouting down the speakers and other citizens at these town hall meetings are tools of the insurance industry and political operatives who would rather see the administration fail than do what’s right for the country. Thankfully, a growing majority of the country is fully aware of this, despite the level of noise that your zombies have produced. And the notion that people who support health care reform shouldn’t develop tactics to deal with the people who are disrupting these town hall meetings is preposterous. Put it this way– if the screamers had their way, nobody would be able to learn anything about the reforms bills currently being considered by Congress. On the other hand, if the screamers are silenced, everybody, including the screamers, would be able to get some information. But you don’t want answers because you think you have them already. And you don’t want to “debate” the issue, either. The truth is that you are afraid of information. You want to obstruct and attack and shout down anybody who wants to know the facts. Not a single rational idea has come out of the people who oppose health care reform. You think the United States, which is ranked 37th in quality of care, is doing just fine. Who cares about the uninsured and the millions who go bankrupt every year because of spiraling medical costs? Certainly, not the likes of you people. Looking out for #1 while acting like you want what’s smart for the country.

    http://johnrj08.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/michelle-malkin-she-lies-about-health-care-reform/

  2. Politisite Says:

    I see you have been attacked! Basically this is what you call SPAM as the poster has done this to many blogs.

    Good luck with your blog. I will continue to read you.

    Albert N. Milliron

  3. Politisite Says:

    Because the guy is a SPAMMER I will remove his link from my blog

  4. johnrj08 Says:

    Let’s be honest and add up all the lies that have been perpetrated by the insurance industry and ultra-conservatives who want to see the administration fail, even if it means hurting their own family.

    1. Death Panels: This is so absurd, it barely even warrants a response. The ‘end of life’ counseling item was added to the House bill by a Republican (Grassley) and it is something which has already existed in previous health care legislation. It simply means that any meetings between a family and a doctor concerning important decisions, such as hospice care, would be covered. The only “death panels” we have now are the ones owned and operated by the private, for-profit insurance companies, which decide who will be covered and how much it will cost.

    […—comment abbreviated by the editor, Chillingworth—see next comment]

    7. I am a “spammer”. Maybe so. Putting a label on someone is a convenient and lazy way to discount their point of view. Personally, I think that every one should be spamming about this issue, because there are so many liars out there who know nothing about the actual bills and are driven by anger that we have a black man sitting in the White House. As many commentators are saying now, this debate isn’t about health care reform. It’s about President Obama. That’s why we have morons carrying assault weapons to presidential events.

    • chillingworth Says:

      I hesitate to edit anyone’s words, but as Geoff points out, Mr. John R. J. isn’t so much engaging in the interactive give-and-take of discussion for which this Comment feature was intended as he is posting a whole entry from his own blog onto mine. You can still read what I cut out (as well as some of Geoff’s excellent rebuttals) by simply going to his original blog entry.

      Incidentally, in that entry, Mr. J. both explicitly mentions the importance of citing sources and fails to do so, even though linking to sources and other information is the very foundation of blogging, and indeed of the whole World-wide Web.

      So, for anyone who’s still reading at this point, here’s an entry by an excellent blogger who does link to sources, to whose blog Mr. J. has also posted comments, and who has actually managed to engage him in interactive debate:

      http://nicedeb.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/more-dems-being-taken-out-of-context-on-public-option-ploy/

      Also, this just in: I’m scum! In comments to that blog entry, Mr. J. says, voluntarily and in his own words, “I’ve resorted to spamming, visiting every site I can that supports or worships Malkin, and providing a much needed opposing view of her so-called facts and motives. We’re talking about real scum here.” I never mentioned Michelle Malkin in my post; in fact, none of my information about this health-care debate came from her. Nonetheless, as you can see by the URL (written out above), Mr. J.’s first comment to my entry linked to an entry on his blog entitled “Michelle Malkin: She Lies About Health Care Reform”; so you know I’m the scum he’s talking about.

      • johnrj08 Says:

        The internet was made for discrediting this kind of irresponsible and divisive blogging. Geoff’s so-called “excellent rebuttals” didn’t disprove a word that I wrote. Not one word. NiceDeb, the blogger you mention here, has one thing in common with you and Michelle Malkin. She has admitted that she hates the President, so the entire focus of her blogs is to attack and misrepresent whatever she can. There is no point in having a civil “given and take” discussion with people who are so cavalier with the facts because of a personal and rather disgusting personal agenda. No amount of logic or citing of sources is going to alter your thinking, and you know it. I’ve already had bloggers like you tell me that they think PolitiFact and FactCheck are biased. The question is, who are YOUR sources, other than like-minded people repeating the same things over and over again, as if that would make any of them true?

      • chillingworth Says:

        Sir, I can’t tell at this point whether you’re seriously asking for an answer or just being rhetorical, but because you’ve asked a direct question and aren’t being beyond-the-pale rude, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and answer your question (the question being “who are your sources”).

        In my original entry (“Why You Should Be against This Health-care Reform”, the one we keep posting comments to), I linked to more than thirty sources. Contrary to your implication (“like-minded people repeating the same things over and over again”), as much as possible, I was careful to cite sources that everyone, right or left, can agree are reliable. My first block quote was from a columnist in the Washington Post, which, as I noted, is “no right-wing rag”; in fact, it’s relatively liberal, and I linked to the Washington Post‘s own official spokeswoman admitting, “the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don’t even want to be quoted by name in a memo.” That doesn’t guarantee the truth of anything that appears in the pages of the Post—if you like, no source is guaranteed to give you 100% the truth, 100% of the time—but it does make it relatively less likely that what appears in those pages will be baselessly biased in the conservative direction. (If anything, one would expect the Post to err in the other direction, which in this case would mean erring in the House bill’s favor, not against it.)

        My second block quote was from not even an opinion piece but, as far as I can tell, a news story, from the pages of The New York Times. If the Times isn’t safe from the uncritical right-wing bias you’re hinting at, no one is.

        But more importantly, whether you trust my sources or not, I carefully cited every one—again, I linked to more than thirty outside Web pages. You may not have noticed this; so I’ll try to explain. Scroll up to the top of my original entry. Do you see how some of the words appear in a different color from the rest of the text? On my computer, they show up as a medium to dark gray, while the rest of the text is light gray. The words “exposition of the matter” near the end of my second paragraph are one example of this. Every time you see some of my words set off in a different color like that, those words are “hyperlinked”, which means that by clicking on them, you can go instantly to another Web page. Try it: Click on the words “exposition of the matter”; click anywhere on any of those words. Your browser should immediately go to Charles Lane’s column in the Washinton Post, from which I took the block quote that comes after that hyperlink. This is what I call citing a source.

        Not only did I cite my sources, but I carefully, thoughtfully related them to each other and constructed my larger argument, which formed the main body of the entry. In response, you criticized me thus: “you don’t want to ‘debate'”, “you are afraid of information”, “Not a single rational idea has come out of the people who oppose health care reform,” etc. Yet you failed to engage me in debate by responding to any of my specific arguments or providing virtually any contrary information; in fact, your response was so generic that you had posted an almost identical one to at least one other blog.

        Look, man, I’m not telling you how to live in the blogging world, far from it. I’m just saying that it seems to me that if you’re going to bother attaching comments to someone’s arguments, you may as well actually respond to at least a few of his specific arguments.

        [Note: I can’t figure out how to move these comments around in the vertical order, but as the time stamps indicate, Mr. J.’s comment above (“You do provide a lot of links…”) responds to this comment from me, not the other way around. —the editor, Chillingworth]

  5. johnrj08 Says:

    You do provide a lot of links, but you also invariably misrepresent what is said on those links. For instance, one of your paragraphs states:

    “President Obama himself suggests that the government might know better than both doctors and patients what treatments are effective or worthwhile, and should sometimes tell doctors and elderly patients, “you know what? Maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

    The interview you link to in this quote is an extensive interview where Obama makes it very clear that he is NOT looking to make end-of-life decisions for individuals or their families, nor is he saying that a bureaucrat should get between the doctor and patient. Yet your quote suggests that President Obama wants exactly that. Later on, you sort of deal with this, but the implication has already been made. The bottom line is that, regardless of what the Washington Post may have reported, a doctor cannot force a family to discuss hospice care or make a patient sign a Living Will. And, even if they could, it is still the patient who determines their own plan. And no government actuarial is going to over-rule a doctor.

    Later on in your article you say, “Meanwhile, why does the Obama White House’s Web page linked above ask citizens to inform on their neighbors?” This is not even close to what is suggested on the link you provide. That link shows that the White House wants to be informed of any disinformation that is being sent out so that it can keep track of what is being said. Only in that way can it address the disinformation. This is not about informing on anybody and you know it. Before you can debunk a rumor or disprove a lie, you have to know it exists.

    Your use of these links looks honest on its surface, but you are misrepresenting, exaggerating or contradicting much of what is said on those links. If this is how you build an argument, then you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

    Opponents of health care reform have also misrepresented the Canadian system in order to scare people about government-run health care. Anybody who wants to know who is on the right side of that issue should view this video.

    Meanwhile, why does the Obama White House’s Web page linked above ask citizens to inform on their neighbors?

    http://johnrj08.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/this-is-a-must-see-for-every-american-who-is-interested-in-health-care-reform/

    • chillingworth Says:

      I don’t think I misrepresent, much less invariably represent, but let me be brief (and “let me be clear”, as the president would say) and give you just a few of the responses that come to mind:

      President Obama and other Democrats keep talking about how wasteful and costly our health-care system supposedly is—doctors are taking out tonsils for no good reason, insurance companies are amassing villainous quantities of profit, people are spending money to treat elderly parents who aren’t worth the care (see, e.g., Congressman Keith “Guilt Trap” Ellison), etc. It’s fine to call attention to problems and room for improvement in the system—I sure wouldn’t claim that our country has achieved perfection in this world—but the liberal reflex seems to be that whenever there’s a problem, it follows that government should (and can, for that matter) fix it. (President Obama would add, And government should fix it yesterday.)

      Do you think the president made that big, publicized television appearance—as you say, an extensive interview—because he wanted to encourage private citizens, as individuals making free choices, to try to be a little less wasteful? If he and other liberals were willing to see these things as matters of individual choice, then it wouldn’t make sense to aggregate them and see “the nation’s” expenditures on health care, in the abstract, as unacceptably wasteful. The person who posed the question, in effect, asked the President of the United States whether his mother should be allowed to live, as if the president had anything to say about it—and President Obama seriously answered the question. That’s because President Obama does substantially have the power to choose whether that questioner’s mother lives or dies—not directly, not her individually, but as the single most powerful man involved in crafting and advocating this health-care reform. Do you think all his talk about waste and inefficiency in the system is just academic or making conversation? Don’t you think he’s saying that government needs to step in and put a stop to it?

      I said I would keep this brief; so I’ll just leave you with one more thought:

      About the informing-on-your-neighbors business, no, of course one wouldn’t expect creeping totalitarianism to announce itself—Hello, Big Brother coming through! Be alarmed, I’m consolidating power! Inform on your neighbors, they’re not being good Germans! I will start by harvesting my critics’ names and e-mail addresses and subjecting them to perilous IRS audits—and one should be especially wary of President Obama, who (as I carefully demonstrated in the rest of the entry) has lied. I don’t use the word lightly, but he once said in no uncertain terms that he was a proponent of a single-payer system, and now not only says that’s not his agenda but even baldly denies ever having said such a thing. Moreover, as I pointed out in the original entry, he may already be violating a law presumably intended to prevent just such creeping totalitarianism (a law “that prohibits the White House from collecting data and storing it on people who disagree with it”). Don’t tell me he didn’t know about the law—I’ll grant you that America has seen a proliferation of increasingly complex, incomprehensible statutes, but one of the few items on President Obama’s résumé, as his supporters made sure we knew during the campaign, is that he was not only a practicing lawyer himself, but supposedly also an excellent law professor—and in any case, as president, he has an army of top attorneys working for him. As the law books say, he “knew or should have known”.

  6. johnrj08 Says:

    Why you should be FOR health care reform:

    1. It will make it against the law for private insurers to deny coverage to an applicant based on their age or any pre-condition.

    2. It will make it against the law for a private insurer to cancel a policy because an insured got sick or injured.

    3. It will expand and preserve both Medicare and Medicaid.

    4. It will prevent private insurance companies from arbitrarily raising rates in order to exclude selected groups from coverage.

    5. It will expand coverage to include optional meetings with a physician to discuss ‘end-of-life’ issues, such as hospice care alternatives and the purposes of creating a Living Will.

    6. It will mandate that all adults carry medical insurance in order to enlarge the pool of insureds and make sure that young adults are able to seek necessary medical treatments without going heavily into debt.

    7. It will create a ‘public option’ which will ensure that those who cannot afford insurance through a private insurer will have the coverage they need, thereby reducing their dependence on emergency rooms for routine medical care and getting early treatment of illnesses before they become costly medical emergencies which the tax-payers end up paying for.

    8. It will create a system which offers everybody a meaningful choice, rather than just the grotesquely inflated premiums of private insurers, 1/3 of which go to their “administrative” costs.

    9. It will drive down insurance costs by creating a more competitive marketplace, thereby preserving the ability of small and mid-sized businesses to offer group medical coverage at a price that will not put them out of business.

    10. It will encourage preventive medicine and wellness-programs that will help people avoid many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

    11. It will mandate the coverage of essential screening, such as colonoscopies and mammograms, in order to catch serious illnesses before they become life-threatening and exponentially more expensive to treat.

    12. It will protect the economy and reduce the projected deficit of the federal government that is currently being driven by sky-rocketing insurance costs that will double over the next 7 years.

    The reasons to be against health care reform:

    1. It’s a socialist plot by President Obama.

    2. It’s a communist plot by President Obama.

    3. It will create ‘death panels’.

    4. It will give too many poor people cheap health care.

    5. It a plot to annex the United States to Kenya.

    6. It won’t guarantee everything, so what good is it?

    7. it will give this black president a political victory. Can’t have that.

    8. It won’t force doctors and nurses to throw sick or injured children and elderly people out of emergency rooms unless they can prove that they’re U. S. citizens.

    9. It won’t fix the problem of illegal immigration.

    10. It’s not free.

    • chillingworth Says:

      At this point, I’m going to rest my case, and let the readers decide for themselves who “[doesn’t] want to ‘debate’ the issue” (or, for that matter, who is engaged in “irresponsible and divisive blogging”).

      God bless,
      Chillingworth


  7. […] Don’t forget that this house bill also includes the “public option”, which, as we’ve seen, will very probably soon metastasize into full single-payer socialized […]


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