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tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

August 19, 2009

I’d like some health care. At the grocery store the checker always asks,”Do you want help out with that?” I say no thanks. I’m not greedy. I try to take care of myself. The grocery store understands not all of us can. It would be nice to know the same government that funds NASA also cares about it’s citizens enough to provide some health services.
Why are people freaking out about socialized medicine? Aren’t they glad the government is giving them money for their old cars? What if they bought up any old people laying around your houses that were guzzling up medical costs? Or at least gave you some money? Oh wait, we already have socialized medicine for the elderly. It’s the working taxpayer who doesn’t trust the government – unless they are saying Iraq attacked the World Trade Center – who doesn’t want the governments help. When did people start loving their insurance companies more than their country?

17 Comments

  1. Word.

    Comment by jb — August 20, 2009 @ 7:09 am

  2. Appreciate the passion Jon but unfortunately posts like this only serve to show your emotion on the subject and not your clear thinking.

    Comment by Lyle_s — August 20, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  3. Go in their and straighten me out. Tell me why they are worried about socialized medicine. Why the government they trust to lead them into war is one that wants to kill their parents. Explain to me why a country with socialized police, library, and fire departments can’t be trusted to run a socialized insurance company like the one it has in place called medicaid.

    Comment by Rolston — August 20, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  4. In truth, it’s not even socialized healthcare – this is just the label that opponents of the bill have put on it. In socialized healthcare, the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are its employees – this is not what Obama is proposing (and in any case, the only reason people are against socialized healthcare is because you can’t get rich off of it – as capitalists, Americans care more about making money than they care about taking care of their people).

    If you don’t want healthcare reform, then you’ve probably never been without insurance when you’ve needed it. 46 million Americans currently don’t have health insurance, and many of those who are the working poor who barely make ends meet but still make too much to qualify for medicaid. Whether or not you agree with the proposed bill, I think we can all agree that reform of some kind is needed.

    Comment by Melissa B. — August 21, 2009 @ 8:42 am

  5. I’ll get in there Jon but, to be honest, it’s hard to just jump in. I’m trying to plow through the house draft bill but it’s long and a tough read. I can respond this much:

    1. No, I’m not glad the government is giving away tax payer money to spur on new car purchases. Wave 1 of the program was used up in July. Year over year auto sales went up 1.6% in July. So basically, we spent a billion dollars to get people to buy cars now instead of later and all we got was a small bump in sales compared to where we were last year, when the car companies started asking for bailout money? Gee, thanks. Anyone who thinks that program did anything to help auto workers keep their jobs is delusional. I’m sure the dealers are enjoying the government hand out, though.

    2. The government that provides police, firemen and libraries is not the same one proposing to run universal health care. The services you cited are the core of local government. Local government works because it is local/small. To lump these together as services of the ‘country’ is disingenuous. Apples and oranges.

    3. I’m not sure this is a trust issue. For me, it’s more of a faith issue. I generally trust the government to act in our best interests as a country. Do I believe that they can implement a public option that can meet their stated goals of increasing access and reducing costs? No, for reasons that go back to item #2. This hasn’t succeeded on a smaller scale. Massachusetts is the frontier state of universal healthcare. Their plan is broke and they still have several hundred thousand citizens without health care. Personally, I’d like to see more experimentation with these programs at the state level before we decide to go boil the ocean.

    4. I would definitely like back the billions and billions of dollars we poured into the Iraq war. I can’t get too mad about it because I honestly don’t know what the world would be like if we didn’t go and do that. It’s a sunk cost and it probably sucks. That doesn’t make it justification for repeating the mistake of accepting presidential promises at face value, especially when the congressional budget office comes out with reports that show the proposed house bill will not reduce cost in the health care industry. When I read the blogs on whitehouse.gov I can’t find a single reference to the actual proposed legislature. Their answer to every question is ‘the President has said that…”. Am I supposed to just take this guy at his word? He’s not exactly blowing my doors off with what he’s accomplished so far (see item #1). While we’re (or we were) on the subject of war, how come no one complains that we’re ramping up our efforts in Afghanistan under Obama?

    5. Insurance companies aren’t all money-hungry capitalists. There’s plenty of not for profit organizations out there that offer health plans. Regardless, the biggest failing of the insurance industry is that it allows doctors to go over the top with medical procedures and diagnostics to cover their asses because the patient isn’t getting immediately soaked in the process. Insurance is good but it also dilutes the financial effect of the larger health care problem involving inefficient care. Hospitals have to make money, too, and this is one way they do it. I don’t hear anyone hating on them. If insurance companies could offer cheaper plans, they would because if they didn’t someone else would. That’s where capitalism works in our favor. There’s no collusion going on in the insurance industry to soak the American worker.

    6. Melissa is right that we can all agree on the need for some kind of reform. You’ll find few detractors to that point. I see some things in what I’ve read of the bill already that I like, personally. I see some stuff I don’t like. I support a public option but not any old public option. I don’t think the answer has to be a fast one and I don’t like the tactics being employed by house and senate leaders to try and push through their legislation. One thing our government is not designed to do is respond quickly and effectively to new domestic challenges (see 2008). So let’s slow down a little and take this on in more bite-size chunks. Because, we do want to take care of our people.

    Comment by Lyle_s — August 21, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

  6. Full disclosure: I work for a major manufacturer of medical devices and software. We’re part of the problem, too.

    Hey poops, now that you trashed your blog you should see about a part time gig on MRIP

    Comment by Lyle_S — August 21, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  7. I was in bed last night when I realized,”why do I trust my government to provide health care when it lied about so much else?”. I guess I shouldn’t believe there will be anything of value done for the working poor. There’s no money in it.
    Thanks Lyle for pointing out the difference between local and federal government and how they can be effective. Hadn’t thought about that. I want the Federal goverent to be a watchdog because I don’t trust capitalists to care for the unlucky. I guess other people think capitalism will provide for all.

    Comment by Rolston — August 21, 2009 @ 11:49 pm

  8. I agree, Jon. There’s good capitalists and there’s bad capitalists, for sure. Bill Gates: good capitalist; pours about half of his income into charitable foundations. Sam Walton and family: probably the worst kind of capitalist; breaks the backs of their suppliers, their workers and their competitors and gives almost nothing back. Fucking scum. Government should help to keep capitalism honest. Unfortunately, where the Waltons do put a lot of their money is into political contributions. They’re in everybody’s pocket, no lie. Even rinky-dink state senators get greased by these motherfuckers. What can we do? I go to Target.

    Comment by Lyle_S — August 22, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  9. I’m with you Jon. If there was any kind of political support for privatizing medical coverage in countries like Britain and Canada that have public healthcare I would probably more inclined to take the opposition in this country more seriously, but for the majority of the population in first world countries public healthcare is at the very least satisfactory, bogey-man anecdotes to the contrary. If it wasn’t, there would be at least a credible political party in one of those countries running on a platform to end it. Near as I can tell, there is none.

    Comment by Anonymous — August 23, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

  10. I didnt mean for that to be anonymous.

    Comment by Nate — August 23, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  11. I don’t see how the argument that other countries aren’t moving away from established public health offerings means that we should switch over to public health care. It’s a completely different situation when public health care is the status quo to say let’s throw it out the window and let the marketplace come in and fill the void. I wonder if it’s even possible to tear down a public system. I think that speaks to the gravity of what we’re talking about here. Is there any turning back once we start down the road?

    No one I know from the UK or Canada has ever told me their health care system is great. In fact, both countries have medical professionals calling for reform. The UK let the private sector back in a while ago, Canada is calling for just the same now:

    http://www.canada.com/health/Doctors+debate+opens+door+private+delivery+health+care/1905076/story.html

    Comment by Lyle_S — August 23, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

  12. Canada is hardly calling for privatization now. In fact , from the article-“B.C doctor Victor Dirnfeld told delegates they shouldn’t confuse the idea of competition for public health dollars with the introduction of private care.” and “Thunder Bay doctor Claudette Chase added that patients are becoming suspicious of doctors and the CMA for considering private care as an option.” The idea that in a democratic country any public system that worked as poorly as opponents of public healthcare like to claim the Canadian and British system do would be impossible to remove is a real stretch. “I know a guy..” anecdotes aside, if dissatisfaction by Canadian patients were the rule, where are the Canadian or British politicians running on campaigns of privatizing healthcare? We certainly had a strong showing of politicians in this country running on a platform of public healthcare. The only thing that makes a public policy impossible to tear down is a public who’s satisfied with it. Since Americans are culturally and anatomically similar to Canadians and British it’s not much of a leap to believe that Americans would also ultimately be satisfied with public coverage that won’t be denied or dropped if they lose their job.

    Comment by Nate — August 24, 2009 @ 9:01 am

  13. Join Healthy SF, for me it costs $20 a month, but I’m poor.
    You’re obviously much richer,
    I know this cause you’ve got spare time to write poems
    and you have a blog.

    Comment by erik — August 24, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  14. I’m probably just drawing a blank Nate but can you recall any political party that successfully ran on a platform that called for the termination of a specific major government program or policy? I can’t think of any. Even conservatives who trumpet small government aren’t willing to tell you where they’ll trim the fat. Regardless of the merit of a program or policy, I think it would be tough to win over the public by saying you’re going to take something away.

    I’m not saying a public option is a bad thing, in theory. I think I already stated support for it here. Canada, with public funding and private delivery, might be a good fit for the USA. I don’t really know. I just wouldn’t sign off on the currently proposed approach to implement universal healthcare just because there’s no visible political movement in another country to toss it out.

    Comment by Lyle_S — August 24, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

  15. “it” being their current public service, which may or may not correlate to what’s being proposed in the current House legislation.

    Comment by Lyle_S — August 24, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

  16. I’m glad some people are taking the time to care, one way or another. I’m spending my time organizing my desk drawers. Thanks Lyle and Nate. You make this place sound intelligent!

    Comment by Rolston — August 26, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

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