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my two cents on health care reform
sanrafael
soopageek
I have a lot of opinions about the social fabric of our country and the politics which goes along with it. For the most part, I find fault and good with both of our two main parties and largely cast my votes for the individual rather than toeing some party line. In terms of the political spectrum, I would say that I'm a firm believer in capitalism and closest to being a Libertarian. I have a fundamental distrust of power and a belief that large government and its inherent bureaucracy is largely inept and inefficient but at the same time I can recognize many of the things which our large government has gotten right. The less that the government is involved in the private lives of its citizens the better, and what consenting adults choose to do with each other is no one else's business so long as it doesn't infringe on the liberties and property of others. But above all else, I'm a pragmatist. I also don't typically choose to use my journal as a platform for these opinions. I'm not a political analyst, specialist, or pundit. My opinions about politics carry no weight in so far as they give some insight to the way I see the world. That said, I'd like to offer my view on the issue of health care reform.

The Libertarian in me bristles immediately at the thought of it. I believe that most issues of public policy and commercial infrastructure are best left to the private sector. Also, when you consider the other government sponsored health institutions and programs (Veterans Affairs, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) and their chronic inefficiency and short-comings, the prospect of a sweeping general health care system doesn't exactly fill me with hope and promise. At the same time, there's something very wrong when the wealthiest nation in the world has a citizenry full of hard working people who have to make a choice between taking themselves and/or their children to the doctor or putting food on the table. Ultimately the pragmatist in me wins, because it's clear that something has to be done, and that for me is the bottom line. I don't know if President Obama's plan for reforming health care in this country is the right one. The way I see it, it doesn't matter if it is or not. What matters is that it's a start. Our government is a constantly evolving entity. The Civil War ended slavery, but it was just a start. We didn't even get close to getting equality for black Americans corrected for another 100 years, and we're still working on it.

And that is ultimately how I view health care reform. We might not get it right coming out of the gate, but that's okay. What's important is that we're taking these first steps.
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My favorite part of this reform is that the plan the GOP apparently has a huge problem with is basically the plan that Mitt Romney pushed through in Mass at the state level and that's worked so well...and that isn't criticized that often by GOP...and when put under pressure they usually go to "oh, well it's ok 'cause it was enacted by the state level." So, for the record, it is socialist for the federal government, but totally democratic and the neighborhood level. Just like police and fire departments.

Oh yeah...but somehow medicare isn't socialist at the federal level, because when surveyed the tea party folks do NOT want to give up their coverage or that of their loved ones.

The trick to ensuring good quality care is to make it single-tier, with it illegal for politicians to get any better care than their poorest constituent, no matter how much they're willing to pay. That's what we have in Canada, and it works pretty well at keeping health care facilities up-to-date and running smoothly. If a politician tries to sneak off to another country for treatment, they get shamed in the media and forced to upgrade their local health care services.

http://informedvote.ca/2010/02/20/premier-of-newfoundland-danny-williams%E2%80%99-heart-surgery-means-pr-emergency/

I don't know that I subscribe to that thought. But as mentioned above, I'm a staunch capitalist. I think that we have an obligation to make sure our citizens all have access to basic health care and services. But I don't see any problem with people who have attained a different level of wealth, whether through their own work or the work of their ancestors, to seek a more expensive and higher quality of care if they choose and have the means to do so.

If you have money, you can get a private hospital room with a bigger TV than everyone else. But "basic care" is whatever your doctor feels is medically necessary, regardless of cost.

No, as in a Harvard trained doctor who sets up a private practice and accepts patients who can afford the prices he chooses to charge for his services versus a state university doctor who is perfectly qualified to give quality, basic health care in some sort of government sponsored health care system.

If people with money get some sort of peace of mind from spending their money for some semblance of better quality of health care, and there's enough a market for it that a doctor can make a living doing that, by all means, I think it should be allowed and encouraged. The cornerstone of our country is the market place, whether it be creating a medical practice or selling bottled water in the street on a hot day. What I DON'T want to see is some system so involved that it tries to eliminate the medical market place all together. Competition is good. It's good in nature and it's good in society.

I think this reply is quite monstrous and hideous Lin. I'm sorry to say so but to me it just looks like:

Well, everyone has a right to 'basic' treatment and eventual attention but I think those who can afford it should be looked after first/given better medicine/preferential treatment.

Maybe it's the socialist Canuck in me coming out but I simply have to call horse shit on that, and I find it frightening that a lot of people seem to think along these same lines. I will admit in Canada I found comfort knowing that I was getting the same treatment, seeing the same doctors and along the same timeline as everyone else, not taking a back seat and waiting longer for a disorder to further debilitate me while some cock who happens to have the exact same disorder gets looked after first just because he has a bigger bank roll.

Again, I admit that maybe it's cultural differences but to me medical help and capitalism should be segregated as far from each other as possible.

the whole thing just confuses me. i think it confuses anyone from almost every other developed country in the world, really. not to go all america-bashing, but to me the healthcare issue wouldn't be an issue if the social infrastructure was developed at the same time as the country's economic infrastructure. roosevelt tried to do it, but his vision was fucked over by privatisation during the reagen era.

also, how is the issue of personal liberties vs. government control relevant here? it's not like obamas's going to force you to swallow subsidised medicine. the aim of the reform is to meet the needs of the most number of people, not to change the way individuals pick and choose their doctors. america needs a bit of a communalist kick up the backside.

"it's not like Obama's going to force you to swallow subsidized medicine."- he may not be forcing medicine down out throats but he is forcing health insurance down our throats by threatening fines of up to $600 for people who don't have it by 2014. that's what pisses me off. what they should've done is forced insurance company's to lower their rates so that more people could afford it. or so people could choose whether they want to get it through their employer(if applicable) or on their own. group rates such as those you would get through an employer are lower then individual rate which is not fair for those who work somewhere that doesn't offer health coverage or is self employed. on the plus side i am glad that they forced the insurance companies to stop turning people away for "pre-existing" conditions...that was just fucked up.

See, forcing everybody to get insurance should lower rates (if the insurance companies are setting their rates in good faith (hahahahaha)), because the risk pool is larger, and many people who willingly don't get insurance are the sort of person (on the young side & generally healthy) who isn't really likely to use it all that much. That's kind of why they did it that way.

Re: cue angry replies.

and trick down economics SHOULD have worked. However, if the insurance companies had not so ruthlessly pursued a few more points to their profit margins, we may have been okay. The Libertarian in me also bucks a little at the new system, but the cynic in me also laughs at the concept of big business looking out for the little man.

Re: cue angry replies.

With concern to personal liberties there's no relevance at all... I was only trying to give some insight into my general views in the first paragraph.

But it is an issue of government control. There's little doubt that the U.S. being at the forefront of most medical technology and research is due in large part to the competitive nature of its health care system. It may seem cynical, but it's also true; the brightest minds in research tend to get into bed with those with the deepest pockets. You can be the smartest chemist/biologist in the world and it doesn't do you a damn bit of good if you aren't funded. The reason it has become cliche in this country to have so many doctors and scientists from other nations is because it is a place where the best and brightest can not only be well compensated for their work, but have their work well funded.

My fear is that if the government gets too involved in health care and drives all of the competition out of it that it will be a set-back for this country's medical research and the high quality of health care which is currently available here. My hope is that what ever is done now and in the future will strike some sort of balance between retaining competition, while providing health care and coverage to everyone.

see, here's the thing. as inefficient and occasionally bungling as the federal government might be, it is still infinitely more qualified to be handling healthcare than our current setup. (and frankly, it would be pretty hard to be more inefficient, slow, or difficult to work with than your average private American health-insurance provider.)

when it comes to healthcare, private industry will always have an inherent conflict of interest with the service it's supposed to provide. the incentive for any business is profit. you cannot put a price on life, on good health, for any human being.

so as nice as it might be to keep insisting capitalism is awesome and working for America and yadda yadda, this is one particular segment of industry that just need to be razed flat out and completely replaced with another solution.

and we are the last first-world country to acknowledge this reality, and even with the consequences, a lot of us are STILL so fucking stupid, ignorant and self-sabotaging that we STILL refuse to acknowledge it. once again, we are making ourselves the laughing stock of the world. everyone just kind of looks at the Tea Partiers protesting their own best interests, and wonders what the fuck we must be putting in the water to drive everyone batshit crazy.

i think most rational folks acknowledge that the current plan isn't bold enough. i'm worried that it will ultimately just set things farther back in the long run if it doesn't work some minor miracles in the short run. but of course, we couldn't possibly get all of this right the first time, so hopefully it will make just enough of a positive difference that even the Fox-loving rubes can see the benefits of moving forward.

I agree with most of what you said. I, too, think that a health care system driven purely by the bottom-line is a gross injustice to the people of our country. The past 60-70 years has proven beyond any possible doubt that proper health care greatly increases the life of human beings, and to deny access to it in the name of a free market borders moral bankruptcy. This is why I acknowledge that something HAS to be done.

I don't think whatever we do will set things back. In this respect I think President Obama is exhibiting great foresight. Sweeping, instant change never happens in government without bloodshed. It's a slow and constant process when you bar revolution. By getting something started, no matter how tame, it will set the precedent and it will take hold.

At some point, there will be lawsuits; challenges to the constitutional integrity of the new policy. In all likelihood, it will hold-up under Supreme Court scrutiny and then there will be legal precedent. Once that happens, we'll slowly lurch forward as the minds of Americans begins to accept that the government has a rightful place in American health care.

Until I can get this guy & his peers as my doctor, I refuse to trust "medicine."

It is hilarious what the "acceptable" level of socialism is to some politicians. Trey Grayson is running attack ads against Rand Paul because Rand isn't a fan of Social Security or Medicare. Trey wanted to make sure people knew that he was all for those programs (in other words, Trey realizes he'd lose the senior vote if he opposed those things).

So essentially Trey Grayson's argument in that commercial is to vote for him because he's more socialist.

Meanwhile, if he gets elected, he'll probably be working with other Republican senators to try and take down healthcare reform.

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