Friday, October 16, 2009

Health Care and Woe

"Wonderful. The 13 Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee get one faintly rational Republican to join them in a meaningless stab at health care reform and it throws the media into a titillated frenzy about what it all means. It means very little."

Very little indeed. That was the first paragraph of an article that was posted on AlterNet this morning by Robert Scheer. This isn't reform. This is merely an early Christmas present to the insurance companies. Once again you and I have been sold down the river by our elected representatives. Are We the People going to take this lying down? The answer to that question is - sadly and most probably - yes.

Home of the brave? Please.

And incredibly the Democrats are still contently walking around under the delusion that they remain the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Their shameful and disgusting behavior this week is yet another reminder (as if another reminder was really needed) that that pathetic party needs to be completely overhauled - or destroyed. In homage to Matt Taibbi's book of four years ago, that donkey needs a good spanking - or maybe it needs to be shot. Let me think this over....

Were you aware of the fact that in countries like England, France and Canada, people over the age of sixty-five are advised not to vacation in the United States because if they get sick or injured over here it could cost them everything? That is the nasty little reality of the America of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Don't believe the Conservatives when they try to make you believe that they hate our guts Over There. Europe doesn't hate America. Actually they love the contributions the US has made to the rest of the world. Let's face facts here: how dreary would this poor old planet be without good old rock 'n' roll, James Dean and Billie Holiday? They really do love America and the American people - it's our government that they can't stand. In fact - and I'm going to go out on a limb here - they hate our government almost as much as the Conservatives do.

My younger brother Jeff is the shame of the Degan family. He not only lives in France, he actually likes it there. He has a French wife and two gorgeous little French daughters (Je vous, les enfants!) Honestly I think the guy is a closet communist. He wears a goatee that is similar to Lenin's - shameful. Back in August, in a letter to his fellow countrymen and women regarding the sorry state of the American health care system - or "Hell Care" as he referred it it (What a card!) - he summed it up by saying:

"In short, in the US, you pay more, get less, and die younger than we do in Europe. What part of that don't you understand?

Well, hey there! That's a danged good question! What part of that don't we understand? Why is it that so many of us have to be dragged, kicking and screaming like half-witted little preschoolers, into the brave new world of change? What the hell is the matter with us anyway? How can it be that such a huge number of Americans cheerfully join movements of mass stupidity and salivate on cue to the sound of Dr. Glenn "Pavlov" Beck's bell?

Once again our representatives in Washington have demonstrated to us that they are far more susceptible to the limitless resources of cash that are pouring in from the insurance and pharmaceutical companies than to the needs of the American people. They don't give a flying fuck about us. Again, to quote my France-loving, commie brother: "What part of that don't you understand?" You say you want a revolution? Well, you know....

As long as they are able to keep us distracted and divided - left against right, black against white, day against night - they'll only continue to do the will of their highest corporate bidders. You and I don't even have a goddamned dog in this fight any longer. For the first time in our history, we could have had the kind of national health insurance that has kept the good people of merrie old England healthy and happy for sixty-three years now! But the only contribution to the discussion from far-too-many Americans is to jump up and down and scream about Socialism. Does it surprise you that the rest of the Industrialized world can only look upon us with a combined sense of pity and amusement? It shouldn't, you know. It really shouldn't.

Bed Knobs and Death Panels

I was struck with a profound sense of optimism almost a year ago when the people sent to the White House an intelligent and qualified man who happened to be an African American. Lately, though, that hope has been dwindling. What needs to happen is this: we, the Haves, need to start educating the Have Nones (I am referring to intellect here). Sooner or later it has to dawn on these nutty people that their "leaders" only care about what benefits the obscenely wealthy. That is their constituency. They're just looking out for Number One.

"And Number One ain't you
You ain't even Number Two"

Frank Zappa

One of these days our ideologically challenged brothers and sisters will wake up from the right wing coma they've been snoozing under for the last thirty years and realize that they've been getting screwed. I think it's safe to say that Liberals and Conservatives both hate the government. The stark difference is this: Liberals want to fix it. Conservatives want to destroy it. Never forget the often quoted goal of Conservative strategist and guru, Grover Norquist: their aim is to shrink the government down to the size where they will be able to "drown it in a bathtub." At a time when our population has exceeded the quarter-of-a-billion mark, the very idea of doing away with government is beyond ill advised - it's nuts. In the good old days they were called "Anarchists'. Today they go by the name, "Republican".

Big government? It's a big country. Think about it.

I don't know what kind of health care reform will come out of this session, but I strongly suspect it won't be much. There is, however a silver lining behind this very dark cloud. I am reminded of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Don't be embarrassed if you've never heard of it, there really isn't a hell of a lot to remember about it; a mere pittance, really - a scrap of leftovers tossed out to "American Negros" (in the parlance of the age) in order to appease them. But it made the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - the one we remember - all-the-more easier seven years later.

We'll live to fight another day.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


My friend Veronique Marchal and some of her like-minded friends have started a new website. Veronique is French-born (Just what is it about those people?) The site's motto is: "We provide the WHEN, WHERE and HOW to address social and political issues. You provide the WHO and WHY". Here's a link:


The site, which is called And Action....Now! is in the developing stages at the moment but shows great promise. C'mon, folks! Be the first one on your block to sign up!

For more recent postings on this naughty, commie-loving, freedom-hating site, please go here:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Shameful, left wing propaganda. OH, THE HUMANITY!!!

But seriously, folks.


At 9:32 AM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

Ah, I was up at 6:21 this am when this was posted. I was sitting up with the dog who may or may not be sick. He whined and barked for about 3 hours straight - and has no reason to suffer separation anxiety at nearly 5 years old and seems healthy otherwise! Also, he's one of the lucky Americans - no health insurance. I worried how to afford any bills if he were indeed sick. A frightening feeling when it's your family member and best friend!

So, the insurance companies get a shot in the arm from congress. Just freakin' great. I'm so glad to hear it - working in a patient accounts office in a mental health facility.

Now if you or anyone else reading this is aware of a little bit of legislation introduced by Senators Kennedy and Kerry a few years back called "mental health parity," you may understand my wish for real reform. The bill did pass through the senate and congress and is one of the Senator Ted's great legacies. It allows for more benefits for mental health should a patient's mental health be serious enough that they "exhaust" their benefits. It works by borrowing from their regular health benefits and is guaranteed not to "exhaust" after that. I had a case just recently in which a young woman who was a patient at our facilty had serious mental health issues. Two of 'em, as a matter of fact, an eating disorder and bi-polar disorder. Two unrelated disorders, actually. So, she exhausted her mental health benefits being treated at a special facility for eating disorders then about a week later came to ours for treatment for her bi-polar disorder. A month or so later, I try to find out why "Big Ass Insurance Company" (I won't use the name here! But I'd love to!) is denying our claim. The people who determine if something is covered at our place was assured that it would be covered under the mental health parity regulation. Great! I call BAIC (short for you know who) and am told, "Oh, WE don't HONOR that regulation. So, since her benefits are exhausted, we won't be paying." Excuse me? DON'T HONOR? A Federal regulation?

Now I wonder that even if the insurance companies get a few bones thrown at them and they still overhaul most of health care as we know it. Will they be allowed to not "HONOR" the new rules? Will they be allowed to ignore it?

The young lady in question is just starting out life and unfortunately has encountered some difficulties. Ain't it a marvelous thing that along with everything else, she will now find her self quite broke and unable to get credit to buy even a beat-up used car!

Does this make any sense to anyone? Oh, and the powers that be at work just ignored the situation and won't fight the BAIC! Just go and do an application for Medical Assistance for the patient which will probably be turned down since she probably makes more then $200 a month. 15 year olds working in McDonalds part-time make more then $200 a month, okay?

If the REAL changes that need to take place, take place, I'll be fine - I am not to proud to find work in another field!

Yeah, there may be LESS people in my line of work if we go with a national health care but that may not be so bad.

The Europeans have the right idea. Oh, and TRUE care for the elderly wouldn't be so bad either. The kind they truly need that is.

I apologize for using your blog space for my own personal soapbox but that experience this past week made me see red. And, Mr. Degan, I am not now or never have been a communist! HA!

Think I'll go see how the poor uninsured pooch is doing. He may not have it so bad after all - even though they now sell health insurance for pets - which any pet over 10 years old isn't eligible for!! Now does that make sense either?

Okay - I'm done...really!

Here's to the BAICs - there's a few of 'em. It'd be nice if they were made to follow laws like any other business!


(Somewhere Mrs. A. Adams is proud of me right now!)

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Oh I understand alright......I've understood since I was eleven years old that the establishment is EVIL. Amerika is run by selfish, clueless, obscenely wealthy ASSHOLES who don't give a shit about the Amerikan people. They look for what they can take from us legally or illegally, it doesn't matter to them so long as they maintain control and a huge disparity of wealth. Health care reform is no different.....they just can't get past the idea of profit and monetary gain. It seems that wealth is a prerequisite to human rights. Amerika is for the privileged......everyone else is shit out of luck.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger charles moore said...

Hi Tom,

Another good one and Ellis is absolutely right; our elected so called leaders are so out of touch that they can not even begin to relate to the people who elected them. Most of these wealthy, pampered individuals would be totally lost if they had to go into a grocery store and shop or pump a tank full of gas for their car. Life is wonderful when you make tons of money, have your head up your ass and have someone else to do everything for you.

They have wonderful health insurance by virtue of their elected office and courtesy of our tax dollars and can not conceive what it is like for the rest of the country. Ironically as this "debate" goes on and horror stories come forth from people who have been abused and denied coverage by the current system, they do not seem to be processing this information. Idiots like John Bonehead says that he has not met anyone who is in favor of a public option. Sarah Palin screams that we will have death panels and Michelle Bachman is obsessed wit teenage sex.

But the craziest thing is how people who have no coverage and are extremely vulnerable listen to these turkeys and yell that they are opposed to reform. The "young and healthy" are opposed to buying insurance because they don't need it. Well, it only takes one major illness or unfortunate accident to put you into financial disaster and they are too stupid to realize it.

We have truly come down to be the dumbest country in the world.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous David said...

I understand how you can feel the wa you do. I mean come on why should anyone in America have the right to choose anything? Come on it's not like our country was founded on the right to freedom. After all I don't mind working hard for my money and letting others have it. I do it anyway I mean I have 3 kids of my own don't I, what's a few million more? Better yet maybe I'll quit working and let someone provide for me. On second thought I wouldn't want to embarass my parents who taught me some sort of ethics and morals. But i'm still having trouble with this whole government knows best. Oh well i'm sure their in it strictly for the people, I mean let's face it 1037 pages I am sure there is no pork in that. Anyway I'm just ranting I need to remember government is good, government loves us and government has never led us down the wrong path. Now let's all chant this together Hommmmmm. Now Drink.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Sorry for the double posting, but just gotta share something from today's outstanding news source the Chicago Tribune (to those not in the know, that is sarcasm).

It appears that now that health care is finally out of the Senate Finance Committee, everyone, Republican and Democrat is stepping up to the plate to be heard. The question is NOT what is good for the American people, but what will you do for me in order to get my vote?

And our outstanding Illinois Senator, Roland Burris (another joke) rejected several times by the voters of Illinois and now ignored by his fellow senators has issued a press statement saying that he has emerged as a key player in the health care debate.

If it were not so damned serious, this would make a great comedy show.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Charles and Mary....

No need to apologize for double posting or taking up too much space. You both always add flavor (or as they say in England, "flavour" - what the hell is wrong with those people?) to the discussion.



At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everytime I read your posts I'm left thinking that you are my long lost father or something. Great post ad usual!

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

You are now on my soapbox. I have been ranting about this for so long my friends avoid me when I say the words 'health care'. Followers are avoiding my blog now with the words, "There she goes again." I have written so many posts on health care reform that I am getting weary out of sheer frustration. The stupidity of the general public is beyond belief.

I love this blog, Tom. Everything you said is true and all of this complicated mess they are now bragging about could have been eliminated if the single payer system had not been taken off the table in the beginning.

If they eliminate the public option the idiots in Congress will brag that they reformed health care with a few band aids. It will be a bonanza for the insurance industry because legislation will force everyone to carry insurance and -look how much the industry will make on all of those healthy young clients!! Anyone remember what the donut hole did for Big Pharma?

I will not live long enough to see my signature issue of a single payer health care system enacted.
It is disgusting, demoralizing, and depressing. As they say, "Follow the money."

I think I will go drink a martini. It may end up with tee many martoonis. Sigh!

At 3:12 PM, Blogger SJ said...

Kick ass post Tom. I want to print it out and nail it to the doors of the Senate.
What was it George Carlin said?
Something along the lines of there being a club in this world... a private club that sets the prices on things, it determines who lives and who dies, and you and I are not members.

The Healthcare debate, more than any other issue in recent memory is all about money and little else. Transparently and disgustingly so.
-If there weren't big profits involved we wouldn't even be talking about this nonsense at all. The healtcare system would've nationalized outright by now and anybody who blurted the term "Socialized Medicine" would be smacked across the mouth.
We've certainly lost our minds as a nation when we don't think twice about writing blank checks for wars that kill people, but won't approve of expanding spending for medical coverage which would save people's lives.
Why is it always easy to get a blank check for war, -but as soon as any program or reform is proposed that actually helps the America people first -everybody on the Right becomes an ardent fiscal hawk and legal wonk for which no answer, justification, budgetary breakdown is good enough?

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Blogger-In-Chief said...

Loved the post. I personally only follow politics because it is entertaining, which is why I supported Cynthia McKinney for President, Black and Woman so I get to hit all the right angles (or left angles whatever).

However, this is a fight worth fighting. Personally I don't have a problem with my health care or health insurance, but I know there are people that do. Should the government be involved? Maybe, but every time they regulate or subsidize something or someone, my premiums go up, same effect as happens with college tuition every time the gov't ups the grant levels.

So my take is this, if people want a nanny state they will get it, they have to, the government will gladly give it to them. Otherwise we have to decide for ourselves, en masse that there are things that we can do without, and will sacrifice a little bit of personal interest in order to make sure the government doesn't give me a handout (disguised in some form that I believe I might deserve) and then hope that everyone else is doing the same.

Therein lies the problem. Game Theory would suggest that you have to take what you can get because you can't trust the other guy. And why should you? We have 200 years of history of people building airports in their own districts and bridges to nowhere to prove that is is naive to have that kind of trust.

So I just sit back and provide snarky commentary and watch Rome burn. I just make sure that I have plenty of marshmallows on hand.


At 7:43 PM, Blogger Beth said...

What a fantastic post. It amazes me that so many people are so opposed to something that will actually help them. Are we in the Twilight Zone?

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

Ahh, thanks for the comment, Tom. It is so great to go "somewhere" and be treated with respect for your opinions. Great know it's actually read and "listened" to. Respect is something seriously lacking amongst Americans these days. I feel so discouraged hearing the talk around me anymore. "People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening."

Brig, I have a niece that plays cello but have no fiddle to bring to the "Burning of Rome"...the marshmallows sound like a great idea though, perhaps we can rustle up some chocolate and graham crackers and make S'mores while we're at it! We can also rely on Darlene to bring the Martini shaker!

Well, there's one thing to say about this blog and the little group it helps inspire...we're in America! We've got the right to say this - but I have this weird feeling I've been laced on a list somewhere by someone who knows I know someone. Ah, call it paranoia - can't help it. I'm a baby boomer...Nixon is the first president I can remember! If Lennon and Marx (Groucho and John, that is) ended up on HIS list. Well - I can just imagine!

John Adams was the "always the first in line to be hanged" as someone once said during the Revolution. His wife held her breath every time he got aboard a ship to anywhere because the British might capture the ship just knowing he was on board. He was fighting for a vision of his country that only he could see - or thought only he could see. Turns out, a whole lot of men and women saw it. Odds were against them...and they won the right to build on that vision. We're still fighting 200 and some years later.

There's courage in fighting for the "little guy" in or out of uniform, right? Our country was the little guy once...let's not forget that.

Healthcare, good quality healthcare that's fair for EVERYONE. That doesn't seem so difficult, does it? Our ancestors accomplished so much more with so much less. Can it be done? I wonder.


At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conservatives are Constitutionalists. After Bush, anyone can see that most Republicans are not Conservatives. Conservatives hate corrupt government, illegal, immoral and unnecessary wars and bailouts to rich folks. Those are a few reasons why the Democrats and the Republicans hate them or try to denigrate them as "extreme" or "fringe".

At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THOSE are the Tea Partiers.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Soloman said...

The single payer system is the government's way of taking over your entire life. Nothing less than that is acceptable to those who work in Washington and have a 'Progressive' agenda.

Remember - a government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.

Medicine was easy when the patient was in charge of payment and had a real relationship with the doctor he chose for himself and his family.

While we are no longer in an era in which that is as economically feasible as days past, what is realistic is the concept of an individual (or family) 'health care' account, created through employer funding. Through tax credits the government can pick up for the underemployed or those who need further assistance, without locking those individuals into 'needing' the government.

A system such as this would make the individual more responsible and in tune with what their medical services are all about. Rather than calling a doctor's office and asking "are you on my plan?" a patient could simply determine if a visit to a doctor's office is really needed, and potentially price shop, just as we do in the retail market for everyday items.

Medical insurance today is not used as it was intended. Originally it was intended for catastrophic events. Now it is used for every cough and sniffle. This is due to many factors escalating the costs of medicine.

THE most important reform needed, and the reform least discussed by our representatives is tort reform. While patients certainly need the security of knowing they can file suit in the case of real malpractice, what has sadly happened is the ambulance chaser attitude has permeated our society. Everyone is looking for the big lucky payday today, and this has caused medical practitioners to pay outrageous rates for malpractice suits. However, since most DC pols are tied closely to lawyers (especially the Democrats) they are avoiding discussion of this much needed reform like the plague.

Doctors will tell you that the government, through Medicare and Medicaid, protect themselves and doctors better from malpractice suits than does the free market. However, in this discussion about 'reform' this topic is not brought up??

We do not need a reform that revamps an entire system, when the system is not truly broken. We also do not need quick-fixes. We need well planned, logically executed ideas that work not for the government, but for the patient. Additionally, adding government to anything has proven time and time again to add nothing but bureaucracy and red tape, so let's keep the government out of our doctor's office, or it just might make all of us sick.

For more logical thoughts on health care reform, read

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Gee, Solomon, I guess the government has taken over the entire life of veterans with the 'socialized medicine' they have and most of us would like to enjoy. The single payer system there is the most efficient and least costly of all of the U. S. medical systems. I wish I had it.

As for tort reform: 30 states already have caps on the amount paid and three states have tort reform. A study after two years found that the cost in medicine was not a whit less after tort reform was passed. It's a red herring.

I have posted a paragraph from an article by Tom Baker, below. (Gee, those Toms are so smart.)

“It’s really just a distraction,” said Tom Baker, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and author of “The Medical Malpractice Myth.” “If you were to eliminate medical malpractice liability, even forgetting the negative consequences that would have for safety, accountability, and responsiveness, maybe we’d be talking about 1.5 percent of health care costs. So we’re not talking about real money. It’s small relative to the out-of-control cost of health care.”

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Rue St. Michel said...

The New Left, steeped in radicals and counterrevolutionaries, tries to divide us on race, gender and ideology. They're doing a very good job since the MSM is riddled with such types. Useful Idiots abound and are legion (note this blog).

The New Left, taking a cue from such stalwart examples of socialist utopians as Stalin, Mussolini, and Mao - begin by demonizing the engines of capitalism: companies, insurance providers, oil refineries, "greedy" speculators et cetera.

They're called "big oil" and "big pharma"

When will the Left decry "big government"?

Because the simple fact is that throughout history, the only entity with the power to take life, liberty and private property is big government.

Conservatism is on the ascendancy and is the only system that supports the constitution and declaration. We dare to argue for limited government and lower taxes. We dare to keep government out of the healthcare industry, and out of our bedrooms.

Tom: Shame on you for being the standard-bearer for the fools who would transform this country into a socialist 'utopia' at the expense of our liberty, freedom and future generations. The president's own CBO just released budget info and we're at 1.4 trillion deficit. You think that's a good thing? We're spending our way back to 1950's GDP. Our currency is being devalued, we're subsidizing poverty, crime and indigence.

Here's a good article that clarifies where the financial woes are unacceptable.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree almost 100% with what you had to say, but I am afraid that a lot of disagreements (I am talking about serious not "death panel/ Obama commie" discussions) arises from interpretation of fundamental principles.
I think it makes sense to answer the following question before diving deep into medical reform discussion:
- Is health care a "unalienable right" or it is a commodity that should be sold and purchased the same way as one sells/buys cars?
- If the answer is yes, would we need a mechanism to encourage people to improve their health (sport, good diet, giving up bad habits) and/or punish for bad habits. Do we have a practical means to enforce it?
- If the answer is no, what should be done when a medical treatment is required for a person who doesn't have an insurance? 2 separate cases: 1) could nor afford; 2) decided not to

If the answer is yes, the government interference is including single payer system is quite natural. We pay significant income, local and property taxes to support causes that we either oppose or don't benefit from. Such as military expenses, police (if you live in a good neighborhood); roads; schools (if you have no kids or they already grown).

I also heard (not sure whether it is completely true) that it was an attempt to privatize city fire departments. After several cases when houses have been burned down while a payment was negotiated brought this experiment to a natural end.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Soloman said...

Part 1


Most veterans I know only use the VA because it is free. They certainly do not use it for its efficiency or quality of service.

One Vet I work with has a medication that has been prescribed, and he is supposed to receive a refill by mail every 90 days. Instead, he received one every two weeks for three cycles, and it would have continued had he not corrected the situation. Can you imagine Oxycontin getting in the wrong hands at that rate? Granted, people can work the system we have in place now, but that's just one person's story.

And if you think the VA is not costly, think about the horror stories we heard about Walter Reed Hospital. That's one that should be taken care of as well as any, yet what did we learn was going on there?

Regarding tort reform - I don't know where you get your numbers, but when a doctor is interviewed and says that she pays $30K per year for malpractice insurance, and that's the industry standard, something is wrong somewhere. Therefore, the amounts of "pain and suffering damages" are way out of line, and/or the insurance company providing that insurance is price gouging. I'd bet the former, since there would be revolt amongst doctors if it were the latter... they're pretty darned smart.

Look at Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont if you want to know about how costly "single payer" can be. All are having issues with a "universal" system. What's worse is that the two dolts from Maine, Snowe and Collins, are likely to vote for the national system, in order to get their state off the hook.

Additionally, now that Cuba is opening up to a free market, there are reports that they are investigating privatizing their system. Germany much the same, and Great Britain has nothing but problems with the system they put in place after WWII, but they're going to have a heck of a time privatizing their system. Meanwhile, they have ambulances lined up outside of emergency rooms because they have limits on the number of patients allowed inside the facility at once. Is that what we want?

It is indeed true that health care should be more affordable, but not at the expense of individual liberties. You should not be FORCED by the government to pay into a system that takes care of my irresponsible lifestyle, and vice versa. This is not like auto insurance, where the mandatory coverage is to assure damage coverage for the other person involved. This is a choice that responsible individuals should be able to make at their own discretion.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Soloman said...

Part 2 -

In response to something iizc said - I do not believe that health insurance, or medical care for that matter, is an "unalienable right" - those are only things that absolutely can not (in a just society) be taken away from you by the government. Life, for as long as it lasts naturally, is an unalienable right. Freedom, the right to defend ones self, and the ability to speak freely without fear of retribution are rights as well.

Ask yourself this one simple question: On a deserted island, all the things I just mentioned are available to you. Would you have the right to health insurance on that island? If not, then it is not an unalienable right.

Your items you (iizc) present in an effort to validate medical insurance on a single payer level are not logical, in the sense that those items are all things that society on a whole may benefit from. Even the closest - paying taxes for schools if you don't have children attending - is a reach, as we all recognize that we are a better society if we educate our children. And do you really want to equate medical insurance with the absolute need for a national defense (military) or protective service such as police and fire? You're reaching, my friend...

Universal - or single payer - is an emotional plight for the liberal class of America. Logically, it is not something that will ever work, which is most of why there is such resistance from the right.

Additionally, we on the right recognize how such a system can be used to infringe on personal liberties, and as much as you on the left may say we're out of touch, we absolutely understand what the founders meant in the way of a free society and we intend to maintain such freedoms for future generations.

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you have the right to health insurance on that island? If not, then it is not an unalienable right.
Probably unalienable right is not the right qualification, let's say simply a right? On deserted island you will not have an army or fire department either. As we talk about 'civilized and prosperous' society I expect a little bit more then 'deserted island' analogy. I perfectly understand but not share your position.

paying taxes for schools if you don't have children attending - is a reach, as we all recognize that we are a better society
I think we are better society when people when they are seek or even better yet before they become seriously ill, would get an adequate treatment. Putting aside military, what's wrong about a private fire or policy department? BTW, you would have neither on your imaginary 'deserted island'.

Universal - or single payer - is an emotional plight for the liberal class of America. Logically, it is not something that will ever work, which is most of why there is such resistance from the right.
May be and I am not sure how well it would work, but the experience of other countries demonstrates that it could. What I know that the current system doesn't work, it expensive and create enormous holes. As for personal liberties, answer the question that I asked for those who think that there is no right for medical treatment: what you would do with an uninsured when they become seriously ill?

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Soloman said...

iicz -

I figured that you'd take issue with my island analogy, but it is very important. No matter how civilized or populous a society we become, we are always individuals within a society. E Pluribus Unum - from many, one - meaning that as individuals we come together to be a society. Contrarily, Socialism - or really Communism - would have you believe that from the society come the provisions for the individual. That is not who we are.

Regardless of your belief in evolution or Creationism - nothing more than the simple life form that has only the most basic, yet fundamentally important rights. Everything else is a privilege. If you can be isolated, or in a crowd of millions, those rights should be constant.

I take no issue with a private fire department. Police, I might see differently, because in that instance there is a need for the social benefit of all to be considered first. The police protect and serve the public, and if they were a private entity they might go around picking and choosing who to protect and who not to serve, and they would (in theory) have that 'right' as a private entity. Having said that - we do have private protection services that work in tandem with public officials - home and business security systems come to mind, and of course we have private security companies that are contracted, and therefore obligated, to serve specific entities.

And there would be no need on the island... and to answer your hypothetical, if someone else landed on your island and tried to attack you, you certainly have the RIGHT to defend yourself to the best of your ability.

There is no nation the size (population) of America that has a properly functioning 'single payer' insurance system. Every example you can offer that is in decent working order is monumentally smaller. Furthermore, while our system is not perfect, our system does provide great incentive for experimental medicine, and since we have some of thew best paid medical professionals in the world, we indeed have some of the best medical professionals in the world.

Would you tear down your entire house just because you wanted new cabinets in the kitchen and the toilet upstairs needed new plumbing? Why tear apart a reasonable system, on the chance that you may or may not fix it better... and with the track record government has in business ventures.. I'd say work within the framework we have, fixing one problem at a time, examining the results, and moving forward from there.

Right now Barack Obama is a car salesman in the eyes of many, pushing the potential buyer to hurry up and sign a contract. If you've ever been across the desk from such a salesman, you know what I mean, and many of us are not buying.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

I would love to debate the merits of health care reform with Solomon, but time does not permit. Let me just state that John Adams said, "Facts are stubborn things." I use that as my basis for my arguments. Solomon is using ideology for his.

Any side of this debate can find individual cases to prove or disprove their argument. My son is a Vet and is extremely happy with his care. No co-pay, no paper work, no approval for procedures, no fear of cancellation, et al.

Solomon wantes to know where I get my figures. On one of my posts I cited a study done of the three states (Texas being one of them) that had tort reform. I used that example for my premise in the previous post. I do not have time to find it but if Solomon would like to go through my many posts (Hardy har har) on health care reform he can find it. I think it was done by either Harvard or Kaiser. The finding was that the cost of insurance was not reduced.

I will post my last comment by copying from an article titled : CMAG Study Disproves Tort Reform Myths by Ray Miellman.

Harvard researchers examined files from 1452 malpractice claims (NEJM 2006;354[19]:2024-33). Almost three-quarters had outcomes consistent with their merit. Only 10% of patients received payouts in the absence of error, while 16% received no payout despite the presence of error. "Portraits of a malpractice system that is stricken with frivolous litigation are overblown," the researchers concluded. The system performs "reasonably well" in dismissing such lawsuits and in compensating the injured.

In addition, there is evidence that jury awards are simply keeping up with the costs of medical care, rather than being out of line. In 2005, Dartmouth College economists studied payments made to patients between 1991 and 2003. Actual payments, not jury awards, grew an average of 4% annually — slowing to 1.6% a year since 2000 — or 52% since 1991, roughly equivalent to increases in health care costs (Health Aff January-June 2005; suppl Web exclusives:W5-240-W5-249). A 2004 RAND study examining 40 years of jury verdicts concluded that average payouts grew by less than real income, with more costly medical care responsible for more than half the growth in jury awards.

In 2007, Americans for Insurance Reform used the insurance industry's own data to show that higher insurance premiums between 2001 and 2004 were not the result of sudden increases in claims and payouts. Instead, payouts per doctor were stable, or fell, with premium increases unconnected to actual payouts. Malpractice insurers "vastly" and "unnecessarily" increased reserves for future claims, the study found, (

Even if caps and other limits on torts are imposed, they do not decrease malpractice premiums, according to the Center for Democracy and Justice. In 2002, it compared malpractice premiums to the amount of state-level tort "reform." Premiums did not decrease as tort law was restricted. Some states that resisted enacting changes to malpractice lawsuits had low premium increases; some states that made major changes had high increases. "Laws that restrict the rights of injured consumers to go to court do not produce lower insurance costs or rates," the report concluded. "And insurance companies that claim they do are severely misleading this country's lawmakers," (

Solomon, you can blame the Insurance industry for the $30K your doctor pays for malpractice insurance; not the lawyers. By the way, some individuals are having to pay nearly that much each year for health insurance premiums. Something is indeed wrong somewhere.

At 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contrarily, Socialism - or really Communism - would have you believe that from the society come the provisions for the individual. That is not who we are.
I agree with your sentiment having first hand experience with socialism and knowing too well how dangerous is to believe that the state is the right entity to provide. Many who support reform including myself are very far from that.

Interestingly that you previously declared that we all recognize that we are a better society if we educate our children. Society - not individual. And do all recognize? I am not so sure. Our difference is that I regard healthcare in the same category (better society) and you don't.

There is no nation the size (population) of America that has a properly functioning 'single payer' insurance system.
This is not a very convincing argument as most of the European nations (over 82 million in Germany is not large enough?) with system rated much better then ours have some form of government run heathcare. Besides I don't advocate a single universal system; France rated first in the world has a public health insurance system available to ALL citizen and even visitors along with Complementary Insurance that is available to everyone interested in improving the quality of care. To my knowledge many countries have similar systems.

I don't read current proposal as to tear down your entire house . In the current form I am afraid it would only paint the exterior.

And I am still interested in hearing the answer to my question: if you consider medical treatment as privilege, what you would do with sick who are not privileged.

Regardless of disagreements thank you for an interesting, definitely thoughtful and engaging conversation. I wish that this level of civility and reasoning was present in the current health care reform debates.

At 5:46 AM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...

Sorry for coming to this party late.

Soloman, you clearly have never experienced a single-payer system. I lived for 41 years in Canada, and can provide you with reams of firsthand information about the way it works should you care to ask. And yes, it does work.

To couch the issue in terms more familiar, if not better understood:

- Health care in Canada is provided by provinces to guidelines set out by the federal government;

- Provinces are provided some federal funds, and then make up the balance from their own operating budgets (shared-cost model);

- Many doctors operate their own clinics and practices. They bill the provincial health department for each service provided. Out of these billings they pay for staff, operate the building, buy supplies, equipment and consumables. And yes, they keep the profit;

- Every resident has the freedom to visit any hospital or primary care clinic they need to within their province of residence. When traveling in other provinces, one single form is all that is needed to have billings transferred;

- I personally have never been turned away, denied care, or required to show anything more than a driver's license to receive care. Each resident has a specific health care account number, but it is not required to be shown at the time service is provided;

- Monthly premiums charged to residents by the province ranged from zero to $88 per month for a family. I believe now there is only one province still charging a premium, but I can't say for certain as I am no longer resident.

- Most mid- to large-employers will offer group plan coverage for full-time employees that cover the premiums (if any), or prescription drug costs, or possibly dental.

I could go on, but it's time to get to question period for our friend Soloman.

So if I can go to any hospital I want, never be denied coverage, and switch employers at will because losing their 'plan' might cost me a maximum of $88 a month...

Who has more freedom?

But what about taxes? you say.
The top tax bracket will reach to around 37%, but only the very silly (or those with the very worst tax accountants) will pay anywhere near that. There are a multitude of tax credits, rebates, allowances and so on.

You might have a slightly lower nominal tax rate, but honestly, if your health insurance was truly optional, would you willingly give it up? If not, then I'd call that a tax.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

I think this would have read nicer if the first line said, "The 13 Democrats on the senate Fiance Committee finally fainted" I am not awake yet and that is what I read and it just did not fit the rest of the post until the Frank Zappa quote. LOL. Needless to say... I have re-read now.

We need some sort of Health Care reform and I am not sure what the answer is. I think that everyone getting government assistance and aid should have to be at least drug tested and if they pop positive... they loose their benefits. End of story. If they have the money for drugs then they can pay for their own health care.

I think good faring American Citizens (like myself) should be allowed to have health care... we can take the positions opened up by the ones that get kicked off from abusing drugs! LOL.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Soloman said...

Part 1 of 2

All -

We all know that there is a reform needed. Nowhere have I ever said that is not true. I simply see reform as the concept of fixing the parts that are not quite working correctly, as opposed to the complete teardown and reconstruction of our medical and heal insurance system.

I am nearly the lone voice here against the government takeover of our health care system, and while I am passionate about my beliefs I can not take the time to debate each of you individually. Suffice it to say for every point you can present in favor of single payer, I will find a point to counter you, and therefore at that level the discussion will become a stalemate.

Darlene, the basis of my argument is the fact (and it is a fact) that America was founded on the concept of the individual being the foundation of society. E Pluribus Unum is not just a catchy phrase; it is so very much more than "Yes We Can." If you consider my basis one of ideology, then I would ask you to learn more about how our great nation was created, and get back to me. I mean no offense in this statement, but you attempted to derail my points with an ad hominem attack of sorts, and I must defend myself. My points are based in the foundation of The United States of America.

Read our Declaration of Independence. It does not discuss the freedom of a mass of people, it discusses the right of the individual to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Of course, we all can recognize that therefore, each free individual will be part of a free collective, but that is not the point. The point is that it all starts at the individual level.

And please do not attempt to equate the statement "Provide for the common Defence and general walfare" as written in The Constitution to mean that just because Jane or John Doe falls ill, the government needs to be there to pick them up. That is not the same as a massive outbreak of a disease, or the damages caused by flooding or tornados. If Jane or John Doe falls ill, they should be able to help themselves first, before anyone else gets involved. If for some reason they are not able to help themselves, they should look to family and friends. Next they might look to the local community, which would include those much detested gathering places known as churches. Should they find nobody within those relams, then there may be some larger-scale charitable organization that can help them. Finally, if all else has failed, then and only then should the government step in at the federal level to help.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Soloman said...

Part 2 of 2 -

Again, this is the way America was designed, and our nation has been at its best as long as we have maintained this basic structure, regardless of the point of discussion. There are reasons the federal government is constrained by The Constitution, and I believe that we are looking at one of those reasons in the debate over health care.

I realize we are not living in the late 18th century, but the principles laid out by our Founding Fathers in the documents we have lived by for over 233 years were put forth with a specific intent: to preserve a model for a nation that was created from the study of all previous societies. All these other societies had strengths and shortcomings. Our Founders debated over years in order to assure themselves and each other that they had created a nation comprised of the strengths of previous nations that would encourage the spirit of the individual, while safeguarding against that which had led to the demise of previous societies.

Much of their concern was the tendency of the people to fall into the trappings of government largesse, which is exaclty what we are debating today. On the left, the predominate theory is that government should provide insurance to all, therfore essentially making medical insurance an unalienable right as defined by our government.

However, it is not the place of our government to determine what is or is not an unalienable right. Those rights are natural; intrinsic if you will. This takes me back to my island theory I presented in my previous comment. An individual standing alone will have certain things of which he is guaranteed, and only those things are intrinsic, even in the context of the same individual being placed into a society.

I invited myself into this discussion, and am grateful to all of you for your courtesy, as courtesy is unfortunately not something I find much of from many left-leaning individuals I debate with these days.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Solomon - You are obviously a very intelligent man and, in a way, I do understand where you are coming from. I did not mean it as an attack when I said you base your arguments on ideology. I think your reply proves that I was correct in my analysis.

I do understand the conservative 'strict constructionist' view on our Constitution. I just think the Founding Fathers built more flexibility into that wonderful document.

In addition, they could not foresee a country of 50 states with 307 million people any more than they could foresee the automobile or nuclear power.

That aside, let me examine the Preamble to The Constitution. It starts out "WE the people (not I the person) and goes on to say "are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and among these are the right to LIFE, liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness." You maintain that 'general welfare' does not give Jane or John Doe the right to health care. Where, then, does the fact that up to 45,000 people (Harvard Study)are dying for lack of health care in this country not mean LIFE? Is this not the life that the Founding Fathers said was a right?

As a bit of a jibe I would ask, "Where in the constitution does it give the right for insurance companies to make obscene profits on a necessity?"

A caveat: the 45,000 figure is the high end obtained by different studies. Whether it is accurate or not, if just one life is denied it would still be the intent of the Founders to insure that right, as I view it.

And this is why I say you base your arguments on ideology. I am 84 years old and I admit my memory is faulty now, but I do believe that the courts rule by interpreting the meaning of the statutes and not everyone agrees that the Constitution is cast in stone. You undoubtedly read a literal meaning into every word.

I have not only read about the founding of our country, but about the founders. It is illuminating to see the different way each individual thought.

Your understanding of the intent of the Founding Fathers and mine are different. Therefore, it does become an ideology. I rest my case.

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Tom, you are right about pitting the insured against uninsured and using fear to keep the status quo. There is absolutely no reason to have health insurance tied to employment - it makes no sense at all.

We need reform from top to bottom, from how care is delivered, standards of care, payment, wellness - the whole thing!

As someone who spends a large amount of $$ on healthcare (husband with late stage MS, me with asthma), a good job, and good insurance, I still can't buy all the medication all the time. My credit cards are up because medical equipment coverage is iffy. Yup, we don't get much bang for our buck in this arena.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...

Soloman, it is time to disengage from the rhetorical flourishes that accompany debate over the Founding Fathers' intent.

If you, as a right-leaning presumably conservative citizen, agree that health care reform is needed, then explain your position please! What parts of system need to be overhauled? I am not asking because I'm an asshole, but because I truly want to know. It is so rare to hear from a conservative who can string an intelligent sentence together, please please please tell us what would constitute reasonable reform and we might just find some common ground!

Every reputable study in the past two decades shows that the US slips further behind other OECD countries in health care outcomes. Even the CIA World Factbook lists the US as 43rd in the world for infant mortality, just ahead of the Faroe Islands and Croatia! Portugal is 30th! 6.26 deaths per 1000 live births certainly isn't because of a lack of expertise or equipment. And that's the overall rate across the nation, across all socioeconomic groups and geographic locales; do you suppose there might be a differential between upper Manhattan and Ramah, New Mexico?

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...

Health care insurance companies exist to make a profit. Every large health care insurance company is known to employ large numbers of people whose sole function is to find a reason to deny care. Not because the patient is undeserving (a qualitative assessment), or because they aren't covered for that particular problem (a quantitative assessment), or because they haven't paid (a legal assessment), but because it saves the company money. CEOs and upper executives of these companies are paid tens , nay, hundreds of millions each year - money that could have been spent helping the people who have been paying the dues with the reasonable expectation of being covered when something happens. At the very best, it is FRAUD to take money against a promise to deliver, then not delivering because of a 'technicality.' At worst, it is MURDER. Let's err on the side of caution and say that maybe 40,000 people die yearly being uninsured or underinsured, or denied claims. That's still 40,000 per year. That's one entire middle-size town of men, women, children, teachers, police officers and Little League baseball players EVERY YEAR.

Maybe I'm way out of line here. Maybe the compromise is cutting insurance company profits back to 20,000 dead per year. That's good, eh? Split the difference?

If you want to fiddle-fuck around arguing how many Constitutions can dance on the head of a pin, go ahead. In the past 24 hours since I first posted here, 110 people have died because they had no insurance, had inadequate insurance, or had their claim denied because they took acne medication for six months back in the early 90's.

At 7:20 PM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...

And on a personal note, just yesterday, my 95-year-old grandmother fell getting out of a car. She was taken to the nearest hospital where they did x-rays and discovered the head of her femur was crushed against the pelvic acetablum. They had her in surgery six hours later, with a new steel femur head. She will be in hospital for five more days and then she will be discharged, with regular homecare visits and physiotherapy regimen. Total cost to her: $0 I still pay taxes back in Canada, and this is why. No insurance company can say that my gran cannot have a new hip because she's too old or won't likely have a successful surgery. She will be back up and at her bridge club by Christmas.

Tom, sorry for taking over your blog, but this shit gets me going.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

Sense I commented on this post I ran to the doctor for a cold like symptom that has been nagging me for a few weeks. I have no health insurance so I avoided the doctor to begin with. I have no job and my sole income is child support and I make too much in child support for us to qualify for state aid. So. After the doctor visit and filling the prescriptions I am out close to $200 bucks. To find out that my cold turned into a sinus infection turned into impacted sinuses. SIGH, yea, I wish there was aid for ppl like me. That is basically my gas money for the month to go to school. So, what do I do? Drop out of school because I had to go to the doctor?

At 1:01 AM, Blogger Soloman said...

Ex Glacies -

I'm sorry you don't wish to be involved in a "rhetorical debate over the Founding Fathers' intent" but in the big sceme of things, it all starts there and therefore it is very important.

I am very sorry to hear about your grandmother's accident, and if you truly see the results you project, that's wonderful. However, the statement that it cost your grandmother $0 is a lie, and you know it. If not her, it cost you, since you have been paying taxes there. It costs every working Canadian to participate in the system, and unless I'm mistaken the taxpayers are paying for those who do not pay taxes. That's how that system operates. If in some way I am mistaken about the Canadian system I'm sure you will correct me.

We can debate all day the point you make about the Canadian government providing a hip that you think and insurance company will decline. If we force insurance companies to fight harder for our dollars by increasing competition, they'll be much more inclined to give us whatever we want. Also, on ABC's Barack Obama infomercial a few months back, Obama himself lead the entire nation to believe that under a system he might prefer, we might be put on a program of pain pills rather than having such a surgery.

Trying to concoct an equation that presents a number of people who die due to lack of health care (or other variation therein) is preposterous. People die. Some have medical insurance, some do not. Some who die had insurance and maybe should not have died, but they either didn't know what was going on in their body, it happened too fast. Pick your poison (no pun intended) but any way you slice it, you can not quantify "death due to lack health care" just that easily.

If you come to me again and tell me you can't find a Conservative that can string an intelligent sentence together and then expect me to give you any of my valuable time, rest assured this will be the last time I do so. I took into consideration that the majority of your post was not rude or pompous, and therefore at least answered you at some level.

As you make a statement like that, you insult the intelligence of my family, my friends, and other good people. If I want to hear crap like that I'll watch Keith Olbermann, or watch as Rachel Maddow allows a Congressman call Americans
Feet dragging, knuckle dragging neanderthals
" without stopping him or taking issue with his contemptuous rhetoric.

I laid out my basic concept for reform - not nearly as detailed as you'd probably like, but it's a general concept - and posted it
on my blog
. Help yourself.

At 1:09 AM, Blogger Soloman said...

Darlene - If you read the entire Preamble, you will see that "We, the people" as it is written was about "We the people" as they were gathered at that moment, as they engaged in the formation and protection of the future of The United States. Also, not to be too critical, but the "life, liberty, and pursuit" you speak of are in the Declaration of Independence.

The "strict constructionist" view says that as the Constitution was written or amended most recently is how it is to be interpreted. What "living breathing document" people (such as most liberals) wish is that they could find their own meaning within the words based on current conditions. This is not the case.

However, the beauty of The Constitution is that if current conditions bring to light a situation where the document as it reads can no longer be seen as appropriate, the document can be amended, but only if agreed upon by the appropriate percentage of the states currently in The Union. Always adding, not rewriting, so that we can learn from our history.

I agree with you about the insurance company profits, and I do think there is some gouging going on in the industry. If you didn't take the time, go back to my first comment (or the one I just posted to Ex Glacies) and find the link that takes you to a short and consise post on my blog, where I detail my very simplified concept for reform.

I don't think it is right to say that "lives are being denied" over this issue. If someone is in need, we all know they will receive treatment. The issue is that people wish to use health insurance as a body maintenence system, and that is overloading the system.

There used to be a time when if you got a cold, mom had a remedy and it fixed you. If you got a cut or a scrape, you put peroxide and some iodine on it, covered it with a bandaid, and went back out and hurt yourself again. Now every little thing is a trip to the doctor, a co-pay, a prescription, a follow-up visit, and tons of paperwork. Tons of single moms on medicaid taking up emergency room staff when they need to be dealing with real emergencies. System overload. Certainly some of these are more serious issues, and certainly there are many people who struggle with those issues, but there are also many systems in place to catch those who need help and can help themselves over time. Hospitals will bill people... I know that's not the answer to every situation, but for some it is a help.

I have to run for now.. I've been busy watching my Denver Broncos win tonight, and now I need to get some opinion and real news from Fox News Channel, which absolutely is a real news network that also offers opinion, no matter what Barack and his friends at state-run MSNBC think. The day the rest of the media gets off its knees and stops the slobbering, and actually asks a serious question, is the day anyone can legitimately criticize Fox.

That, however, is a discussion for another time.

At 4:20 AM, Blogger TS/WS said...

Insurance, in it's original concept, was for dire circumstances. Not for the average Dr. visits! Gamers of the system have put us in this awful, game playing Political BUY VOTES for the Incumbents!
Dr. Visits were $20. Still are around $30. Why should we pay for everyones sniffles, stubbed toes and easy taken care of, probably with a reassuring hug and a kiss from Mom and a band aide. The Game Players TOOK us as we slept. THIS HAS TO STOP!
In the original concept Insurance would be affordable for every one (the poor will never be turn away from an Emergency Room)! We already pay Hospital Taxes for the poor!
This is an attempt for the government to control the populace-probably have to turn OUR Health Care over to the United Nations! Pres. Clinton had to surrender National Parks and Rivers to the United Nations.
Soon as the Government takes Health Care away from us the United Nations will take it from our Government!

At 7:21 AM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...


Please accept my apologies for any slight against you or members of your family; none was intended, I assure you.

I took up your invitation and read over your reform postulates. Again, well written. But again, I have some questions.

1) We should not require all Americans to purchase insurance
Don't you have that system already? But what about car insurance? Are you not legally obligated to purchase that? If so, does that not constitute an 'infringement upon individual liberties'?

And then there's the fire and police services. And the army. You are paying for those via your taxes. Non-negotiable. Are you saying people should also be able to opt out of fire and police protection?

2) We should all be more than willing to come together as a nation and reform health insurance
You got me there. We resolutely agree on that one.

3) There would, of course, need to be stringent eligibility requirements placed on such a [voucher] program
Hmm. Why, exactly? To prevent people from abusing the system? That's already happening collaterally when people can't afford regular checkups, and then turn up at emergency in deep trouble because their regular GP would have spotted that mole or lump. Or they are afraid to go and get something checked because if they have to change insurance carriers in a year, they will be flagged with a pre-existing condition.

There are a multitude of studies which conclude that when there are low barriers to primary care access, overall health outcomes are markedly better.

4) government involvement... ONLY after the government proves that it can fiscally manage the health insurance it already offers; Medicare and Medicaid, and The Veterans Administration
You are free to define 'manage,' but I will take it to mean 'administrative overhead.'

To wit: Administrative overhead costs attendant to delivery of health services in Canada, 2003: 1.3%

Administrative overhead costs attendant to delivery of Medicare (US), 2003: 1.8 - 2.1%

Administrative overhead costs attendant to delivery of Medicare (US), 2003: 11.7%

2001 Ratio of employees:enrolees Saskatchewan provincial health administration: 1.4:10,000

2001 Ratio of employees:enrolees United Healthcare: 35.1:10,000

These are nontrivial differences.

5) We should institute solid tort reform, including the ability for judges to impose court and legal fees on nuisance cases
Hey, look, we agree twice!

6) Finally, we should absolutely break down the insurance companies' current stance on preexisting conditions
Three times now we agree. Sing the praises!

The biggest problem I have with your approach to reform is that it presupposes that more 'competition' in that marketplace will equate to better delivery and lower costs. Respectfully, the past thirty years have been a nearly uninterrupted cycle of gradual dismantling of safeguards designed to prevent just the sort of aggregation of power that we now see in this 'marketplace.' Deregulation and non-enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act are just two of the ways this has happened.

At the root of this problem that we both recognise, is that your elected legislators are beholden not to the people, but the moneyed interests who put them there. Health care reform cannot and will not meaningfully occur until real election campaign reform occurs.

How can a legislator who takes a million dollars from the pharma or insurance industries write legislation that puts a dent in those corporate profits? They can't and won't.

At 7:24 AM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...

Sorry, cut-and-paste fail.

Should read:
Average administrative overhead across private insurance companies (US), 2003: 11.7%

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Ex Galcias, don't confuse Soloman with facts. His mind's made up.

Soloman blew his credibility with me when he said Fox new is the real news network.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Soloman said...

"Soloman blew his credibility with me when he said Fox new is the real news network."

Hook, line, and sinker. Y'all are so predictable.

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Tom, thanks for your comments on my blog. I am going to add you to my blogroll. It's nice seeing that there are other people out there who recognize that both of the parties are off their rocker. One day the people of this great country will wisen up and realize that we hold the power to change things...not government, elected officials, corporations, or self interested aristocrats who want to control all of the above. God bless mon amis. Give me a shout if you are ever down here in the great country of Louisiana, til then keep on pressin'.

Soigne Toi,
Joshua W. Delano
Bayou Perspective

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, before trial lawyers made defense against frivolous lawsuits the most expensive thing for doctors, and once upon a time before idiot politicians on both sides of the isle stuck their legislative noses into the healthcare business, you could actually go into a doctor’s office, get a full range of treatment, and afford to pay for it out of pocket. But just like they ruined the banking industry by forcing banks to make loans to people that they knew couldn’t repay them, they are going to make healthcare more affordable by making it more expensive. None of their math adds up. They swear that their healthcare reform will be “budget and deficit neutral.” That simply is not possible. They promise increased coverage and service at lower prices. Again, with government involvement and reduced competition that isn’t possible either. Their current attempt at healthcare known as Medicare is the perfect example of runaway government inefficiency. A program that started as a $4 billion program has ballooned into a $400 plus billion program. With no set spending limit on any government instituted entitlement program, anyone who meets the entrance requirements is admitted, and the costs skyrocket as loopholes and abuses are found. The biggest warning flag about any of the healthcare reform bills out there now is that the legislators SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED THEMSELVES FROM HAVING TO PARTICIPATE IN IT. Shouldn’t that tell you something?

Government can’t do ANYTHING efficiently. By definition, they can’t create wealth, they can only take it from those who do and give it to those who don’t, and even that is inefficient. Any jobs they create are paid for with taxpayer dollars. Some of these jobs are worthwhile and necessary, but most of the federal government is just bureaucracy that is wasting money. How about the Energy Department created in the ‘70’s with the stated purpose of “reducing our dependence on foreign oil?” Now it’s a bureaucracy many times its original size that has done none of what it was created for, and it adds far less value to our nation that what it costs to run. This same inefficiency combined with a corresponding loss of choice and freedom is what we have to look forward to with a government takeover of our healthcare system. If they REALLY want to cut the cost and increase the availability, accessibility, and innovation in healthcare without requiring taxpayers to mortgage the future of our nation, they would force tort reform, implement liability caps, and generally get out of the healthcare business.

At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"no matter what Barack and his friends at state-run MSNBC think" and "oncoming socialistic monstrosity known as "health care reform."

I thought we had a rational conversation and your arguments were quite compelling and now here is a reference to your own post with the level of rhetoric that makes the very debate impossible. When Ex Glacies says it is so rare to hear from a conservative who can string an intelligent sentence together he clearly meant that rare to hear not because all conservatives are dumb, it is just happened that mostly dumb arguments have been produced. And now it turns that you are playing a very similar hand and it is quite disappointing.

I found is amusing that you wrote pages of highly generic interpretation of The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and found no time to answer a simple question: "Why do you think that paying taxes for education doesn't violate freedoms the same way as healthcare does?" And if you are so convinced that government should not be involved in medical issues, why if all else has failed, then and only then should the government step in at the federal level to help, granted that you are not dead at this point, I would add.

The Constitutions is a living document. When it was written The Founders didn't live in metropolis with 10,000,000 people, they didn't have weapons that could instantly kill hundreds and thousands; they could not predict that corporations would be able to poison lakes and rivers that could sicken thousands. It doesn't mean that principles became obsolete, but their application should be re-evaluated for the common good.

At 12:56 AM, Blogger TS/WS said...

"Soloman blew his credibility with me when he said Fox news is the real news network."

No One can say Fox News Has!!!!
And the other day, All of the Main Stream Media, were at a news conference with the Chamber of Commerce Rep.
OOPS, the Real REP showed up. The Main Stream Media told him to shut up they had a dead line to catch. He stood his ground-said this So Called Rep. IS A Fraud, If They had any questions They had better direct their questions to him. Caught AGAIN Trying to lie to US!!!!
Only Fox Showed US the Real Video!!!

At 2:29 AM, Blogger Soloman said...

iizc -

If you would like to nitpick my interpretation of MSNBC, which is a division of NBC Universal, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric, whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt happens to sit on an
economic advisory board
for the president, please feel free to nit-pick.

Also, if you wish to criticize words I posted on my own personal blog, especially if you wish to dispute the fact that Obama's desired single payer is socialism, again - feel free. And yes, he wants single payer, despite what he says on the never-ending campaign trail. He's on record saying so a number of times.

Also, with regards to Ex Glacies' statement about Conservatives, do not attempt to speak for Ex Glacies, please. We have made our peace, thank you. But if you believe I'm using rhetoric or "dumb arguments", I'll one up you infinitely, with a never ending flurry of Janine Garofalo, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann and so many other "Progressive Liberals" who call Conservatives "racist teabagging rednecks" at every turn.

Socialism isn't a dirty word or an insult, it's a fact. Redneck is usually used as an insult. Racists are terrible people. Yet again, some of the most prominent "Progressives" use those terms to describe Conservatives as freely as they say hello to their friends - almost without thought, and incredibly thoughtlessly.

I believe I did answer the question discussion the differences between government providing education and government taking over health care. If not, I see it this simply: educating the children provides for the betterment of all of society. Providing health care to each individual does not create the same benefit.

Additionally, when we educate our youth, we are providing the innocent a chance to gain information so they may provide for themselves and become contributors to society. When we provide health care to everyone, there is the possibility that we give non-contributors the same benefit as a substantial contributor.

If you think that makes me uncompassionate, so be it. I find it unfair that if I'm a waste of a life for whatever reason and you are a sound contributor to society, you might have to take care of me. I should get my act together and provide for myself. Again - those truly in need who are trying are not in the same class, and we will find a way to help them, as I described in an earlier post.

And you are incorrect if you believe what you say about our Constitution, and I highly recommend you do some serious reading. I do not mean to insult your intelligence as I make this statement, I challenge you to seek the truth. There is a finite structure as the Constitution is written, and as I described previously, if we need to re-evaluate "for the common good" we allow the entire nation to decide if an Amendment is needed.

That is the only way the document "lives" or "breathes," and while your poison lakes and rivers and killing machines are true today, you are simply tugging heart strings, not presenting valid arguments for your concept of the Constitution.

At 3:06 AM, Blogger Soloman said...

Part 1 of 2 -


I thought I'd come back to this, because this debate is so much fun. I'm going to parse words with you here and ask you to re-read my statement. I said that Fox is A real news network, not THE real news network. There's a big difference.

I'm confident enough in my ability to determine opinion from reporting that I can watch any network any gather information. I also use the internet a great deal, and I listen to talk radio all day while I work. That does not mean I have tunnel vision, as Obama or Huffington Post would have you believe.

I see so many people on HuffPo say they love Rachel Maddow because she's so straightforward in her reporting that my skin crawls. She's not even close.

I despise the fact that Keith Olbermann calls his opinion show a 'news hour,' while Beck and Hannity always remind their viewers that they are opinion people, not journalists, and are constantly scorned for their opinion. Agree with them or not, they are doing their job and being up front about it. Olbermann should try the same.

Shepard Smith is news on Fox. The majority of Brett Baier’s show is news. He also has the ‘panel’ segment, in which opinions are offered.

NBC’s daytime ‘news’ anchors reported on “hateful White racists” carrying semi-automatic weapons at an Obama event in Arizona, and showed a man from the chest down with an AR-15 over his shoulder. Turned out that man was Black, but it took Fox and the bloggers on the right to expose the truth!

CNN and MSNBC made fun of my friends and me, calling us ‘teabaggers’ which is a crude sexual term, simply because we gathered and spoke up about our concerns regarding the direction of our nation. They called us racists – I guarantee you there were plenty of people from all walks of life out there singing ‘God Bless America’ on April 15, and I absolutely guarantee you that there were nearly
2 million people in DC on September 12 this year.

At 3:06 AM, Blogger Soloman said...

Part 2 of 2 -

I am smart enough to know that Hannity is a demagogue and Beck is a little over the top sometimes. I also know that they offer their opinion based on the news. Olbermann, Maddow, and Matthews do the same. Both sides have made mistakes, and while I usually disagree with the MSNBC hosts, I do believe that all of these people love America.

All of the other media (besides Fox News) covered the Rush Limbaugh NFL story and reported him as having made statements that he never made. It was all a lie, yet every other news agency told it as truth.

Meanwhile, we have a guy (Kevin Jennings) acting as "safe school czar" who advocated a relationship between a 15 year old boy and an adult, as well as praised the man who began a group called the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and George Stephanopoulos thinks that's a non-issue – and that’s an Obama appointment!?!? I hope your 84 years have given you the common sense to help you see a problem there.

I am embarrassed for our nation right now. We have an executive branch that is waging war on a domestic news agency for doing their job – holding government accountable – while the rest of the media is so in the tank for Obama it is disgusting. Our economy is hanging on by a thread – we are not out of the woods by any stretch. We have $$ trillions in unfunded liabilities in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We have near 10% unemployment on the books (probably 17% actual) and no sign of a turnaround despite the promises of grandeur as the $ trillion stimulus was passed out to all the friends of Pelosi, Reid, and Obama but not to real small businesses.

And you can cry all day long “but, Bush” but that’s not the issue right now. It is now Obama’s job to fix it, plus keep us safe and manage two foreign conflicts (again, "but Bush" doesn’t matter right now) and he’s crying about a cable television channel keeping him honest and vetting his appointees.

As Jim Morrison once said – Strange Days have found us.

At 3:36 AM, Blogger Soloman said...

Ex Glacies -

Automobile insurance is mandatory because if an offender has an accident, they are required to cover damages to the victim. Therefore, the individual liberties of the victim of the accident are being protected by the offender carrying insurance, and there is no infringement of the rights of either party.

Medical insurance is for the purchasing individual only, not for someone else. My having medical insurance does not protect you if I get sick, and it is my responsibility, not yours, to protect me.

The services you describe - Military, fire, police - those fall within the General Welfare concept within the Constitution. I understand that a fire department might end up putting out a fire at a meth house where nobody is paying taxes, and some might wish to equate that to a non-contributor receiving healthcare, but the former is by chance and the latter can be pre-determined. Therefore, we all accept the fact that police and fire person provide for all of us.

With regards to your third question and the eligibility requirements, what I meant is that you must be at a point of great need in order for the government to step in and help. Under a system the way I see it, the preexisting condition issue would be gone, so there would be no concern of someone "working the system" as you described, and through the other reforms I described like better competition, tort reform, and fair regulations, I would hope prices would reduce to the point that it would be that much more accessible to all. Therin lie your "low barriers" also - lower prices are lower barriers, true?

By "manage," I mean that we are trillions deep in unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Our post office operates in a constant state of deficit and debt. American government does not manage businesses well. The closest one to working is the Military, and that is largely because the idiots on the Hill aren't nearly as involved in the budget as is the Pentagon, plus the DC pols know if the screw up the military they've screwed themselves.

Past that, it sounds like we see things similarly, and I hope I make some sense as I explain to you the points you asked me to clarify. We do see things differently regarding how competition will affect the marketplace, but I believe starting with tort reform is the key, and right now we can look to Texas as an example of how I am correct in that respect.

Lawyers are running from that state right now because the state has acted on behalf of the people in a way that should be a model for the nation. Here's an article that describes this in detail.

At 5:13 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


Perfectly put!

I would love to add to what you have said but I could not improve on your words id I tried.


Tom Degan

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspired by "Dearest Friend, comment #1"

Maybe the reason conservatives don't see the need for health care reform is that they don't use the health care system even though they desperately need to. Case in point, Glenn Beck is walking around without medication when he should be taking advantage of everything the best mental health professionals have to offer. Perhaps the medical community would help to bring some balance so these somewhat unstable and extremely insecure right wing personalities. Rush Limbaugh another case in point. Take these same people and put them on the streets of NYC with no money and they would be institutionalized without a doubt.
We love you guys and only want you to get well. . .
Carolyn K.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Carolyn K....

Your prose has such a familiar ring to it. Have we met?


Tom Degan

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...


An interesting article on Texas tort reform. And an example of government needing to step in and correct the excesses of the 'free market.'

So now we come back to the ideological part of the program.

The US has been run under a conservative ideological framework since 1981. Clinton continued the Reagan/Bush41 deregulation program, Carter was a liberal, and Nixon would be considered a liberal by today's standards. In the period from 1981 to now, almost every major measurement of social well-being has declined.

Health outcomes. Income disparity. Child poverty. Mental illness. Personal and household debt as a percentage of income. Net household savings. Et cetera.

Reagan began in the 80s to reduce the tax rates for the wealthy and ultra-wealthy, and those reduced tax rates persist to this day. And I won't even mention Bush43 reducing those top marginal tax rates further. Oh, sorry, my bad.

If your income consists solely of dividends paid out because you own equities (shares of stock), your top marginal tax rate will be 15%, irrespective of income! And that's worst case scenario, such as if your accountant is a platypus.

If you are working 40+ a week, how much are you paying?

Why are governments being forced to cut back on services previously provided (I'm talking things like infrastructure, not health care)? It's because the wealthy and ultra-wealthy are not contributing back as much as they used to. By virtue of the lifestyle that typically accompanies the wealthy and ultra-wealthy, they use more of the commons that supports all life on this planet. It is a moral imperative that they pay at least as much as the plebes.

Oh, and Reagan began raiding Social Security and Medicare to offset the drop in tax revenues and to fund little ventures like Panama, Grenada, Haiti and so on. Just mentioning.

The figure I used yesterday of 40,000 dying annually came from a Harvard study. It actually pitched 45,000, but I lowballed it to 40,000 to keep the math easy. Oops, there go another 110 since yesterday.

You have conveniently ignored the sourced statistics I provided to demonstrate the outrageous difference in administrative costs between a single-payer system and the private insurance system. I picked Saskatchewan not because it was the best example, but because it was the worst one listed in the study. Even so, it takes 25 times more employees per enrolee to run just United Healthcare as opposed to run the entire Saskatchewan health care insurance program.

So if the portion of my overall tax bill that pays my share of the collective healthcare in my country is likely less than the 'optional' premiums you pay, and I will not be denied care for anything, and my health outcomes will overall be better than yours, remind me again why we are having this discussion?

How many people under the Canadian (or Danish, or Dutch, or New Zealand, or...) systems will be forced into bankruptcy because of medical bills? Zero. In the US, the proportion of bankruptcies declared citing medical bills is in the 60% range this year, with up to 75% of those being people who had health insurance!

Soloman, you write exceptionally well. A tribute to your single-payer socialist education system, no doubt. However, you do not seem willing to engage on any level other than the esoteric, possibly excepting the invocation of vouchers and tort reform.

And by invoking vouchers, you are implicitly assigning a relativistic 'worth' on individuals, saying some are worth saving, and others are not. Who is going to make that determination? You? The insurance company that makes more money if they don't pay out? The big-bad-government that theoretically makes more tax revenue if citizens are working and producing, instead of laying about sick like some lazy bastard?

This discussion is over, as far as I am concerned.

At 7:09 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

*Soloman, you thought the debate was fun. I didn't, but I think that's why you rant on Tom's blog. I won't debate you again because you ignore the facts presented to you and come back with right wing opinions that you claim are factual. That dog won't hunt.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger Soloman said...

Ex Glacies -

I've never said I had a problem with government involvement to a reasonable level when needed, as well as government regulations where appropriate. I am not an anarchist.

Your statement that "almost every major measurement of social well-being has declined" is purely ideological. People from the left complain that the right "destroys the middle class," but what is interesting to note is that while there is a larger gap between the rich and the poor, more Americans have prosperity now than ever before. This is due to Conservative principles. I prefer this over abundant mediocrity. Color me silly, I guess.

When the top 1% of tax returns paid 40.4% of all federal individual income taxes and earned 22.8 percent of adjusted gross income. in 2007, I have trouble taking issue with how much they pay. I will not ever take issue with people working hard and earning good money, and I don't think the majority of those top earners should have more of their earnings taken from them so that the government can fund more pet projects. You wish to state that infrastructure type services are lacking because the rich horde their wealth, but John Murtha has an entire airport that has received millions over years from ALL American taxpayers that just received $800K from the stimulus, and it only has 8 flights a day!

I am not ignoring your sourced statistics, but your stats represent a system that is different that what is being proposed here, plus we are discussing a different government and extremely different population levels. According to your own government, your entire national population is estimated to be 33,818,660. The United States is a nation nearly ten times that population. We all know that with larger populations come more complications, and again - dealing in simple fact - the United States government does not operate any business efficiently. Never has, probably never will.

You all are complaining about my "ideological presentation" yet you wish to pick out events that took place 25 years ago and complain about them, simply because they have to do with military conflict and perhaps also the fact that Ronald Reagan was involved.

Let us not discuss that Ronald Reagan was a man truly deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize, were it actually based on the accomplishments of the recipient. The man who led the world in bringing down the Soviet Union and freeing Eastern Europe should have that honor long before a man who has never held a real job in his life until now, is allowing American soldiers to die in a battlefield as their Generals plead for reinforcements, and has told hostile nations he will sit and negotiate with them while scorning his fellow Americans with hostile rhetoric and a news media "enemies list" in the vein of Nixon.

Government is out of control in America in both parties. We need to fix government, and while they can help us do some repair work, generally speaking they need to leave our health care system to us.

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Ex Glacies said...

"a man who has never held a real job in his life until now, is allowing American soldiers to die in a battlefield as their Generals plead for reinforcements, and has told hostile nations he will sit and negotiate with them while scorning his fellow Americans with hostile rhetoric and a news media "enemies list" in the vein of Nixon."

And I thought you didn't want people to bring up Bush...

At 11:12 AM, Blogger buffalobill said...

Ironically...when I hit your blog this morning there is an ad against Health Care Reform on your page! Ya gotta love advertising...

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

I've missed a lot of blogs lately due to a change in jobs. Thank GOD in Canada that doesn't mean I have to wait 3 to 6 months for a new insurance carrier to pick-up my insurance and determine what I am going to be covered for and what I can die from due to it being "outside their mandate."

I and tens of thousands of Americans are "Medical Exiles." We cannot come home because our "pre-existing" conditions (we breathe) would pre-clude us from getting the care we currently receive.

Canada, thank God for Kiefer Sutherland's Grandfather, Tommy Douglas!

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

Oh, by the way, if these clowns that think health care is a commie plot, then why is the USA dealing with an entire world full of "commies?"

The USA has entered EVERY SINGLE war years after it's start (ask anyone when WWII started) and since it is so against all the "communist" countries that make-up the G-20, shouldn't the entire country return to its isolationist roots?

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

Carolyn, you made some great points. I'm flattered that I inspired you, too!

One thing about Rush...wasn't he on all sorts of pain medications and whatever happened to that big scandal with that anyway??

Why is it a terrible thing that Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry gets bo-tox which she can no doubt afford but it's okay if Rush has taken mass quanities of prescription medications obtained in mysterious ways. (I think it was through a housekeeper or something?)

And speaking of medicine...there ain't a medicine in the world that can make the former president any less dim. I always wondered why Barbara Bush went white when she was so young. I think she KNEW what she was raising...and was shocked by it.



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