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  1. #501  
    I'm not an economist, so it's all opinion (I'd rather provide FACTS about health care). But....Reagan seems to have been primarily responsible for unleashing and deregulating industries that promptly lost their moral center in the quest for more and more profits. I agree that we are now a capitalist society, not a democratic society, as decisions are no longer made by people, but are virtually controlled by business.
    I'll make it very simple: 57% of Americans favor a public option, yet it appears we may not get one. The primary determinant of that are people like Baucus, who just so happens to have gotten more money from insurance companies than anyone else in congress. The fact is that there is no moral center in capitalism. The Medicare drug bill is another great example. Sure, we'll be glad to provide a drug benefit, but only if we are restricted to buying drugs at list price. This is adding to the bankrupting of Medicare, using our tax money wantonly, and just provides an argument for the right that government funded programs don't work. The drive to protect huge profits for a few private companies could maintain the absurd costs of the health care system to individuals and employers. Is that democracy, or is it capitalism?

    To economists, there is one outcome of interest: money. That flies in the face of the fact that there are some very important things that cannot be easily measured: health, freedom, living conditions. All the rightwingers that favor local solutions instead of federal ones seem stuck when they try and respond to the concept of local organized workers controlling their own companies, making determinations about wage and health care coverage, etc. That is the expression of democracy in economics, but it is anathema to the right, because it removes the power for obscene profits for the few. Democracy is a great construct; it's too bad that it has been lost in the country that trumpets its values the most.

    There are ethical and moral approaches to making money that address the common good. Those are what we should be supporting. Reorganizing the health care system is one of those. That is the expression of democracy that matters to the people, not the preservation of massive wealth in the hands of few. And somehow the right has managed to convince people to disavow their own self-interest, and support executives at the expense of their neighbors. Interesting as a sociologic phenomenon, but destructive to society. We are stuck as a country; our unregulated freedom provided to industry has resulted in an economic failure of our country and we need to do something differently.

    And frankly, since I'm not an economist, my ideas are no more valid than those who trumpet their philosophy about health care while knowing nothing about how it works currently. People in these threads complaining about Medicare when they don't even know what it is. People discussing methodologic critiques of peer-reviewed articles in the medical literature when they have no knowledge of how that is done correctly. People who never have to make hard choices themselves pushing their philosophy on those who have no choices left. So feel free to ignore anything I write about economics, as I ignore what you write about health care. Having a loved one with a disease does not make you an expert in health policy. Having a nice job and employee-provided insurance does not allow you to understand the position of those that are driven to bankruptcy by simple medical illness. And you have never had to turn people away from life-saving health care because they couldn't afford it. So yes, please consider me arrogant with regard to health care and naive with regard to economics. I will be glad to admit to both of those labels in order to get done what needs to be done.
    Last edited by davidra; 10/20/2009 at 06:24 AM.
  2. #502  
    Quote Originally Posted by davidra View Post
    I agree that we are now a capitalist society, not a democratic society, as decisions are no longer made by people, but are virtually controlled by business.
    Those words do not mean what you think they mean.
    I'll make it very simple: 57% of Americans favor a public option, yet it appears we may not get one.
    Part of the problem is that you're oversimplifying. "Public option" is like "change". Many people are for it as a general concept, but support can start to wane when specifics get discussed.
    The fact is that there is no moral center in capitalism.
    This is very true. Capitalism is an economic system and not a political or ethical one, so there is no de facto moral center any more than there is in socialism or communism (or hybrids of any of the above).
    The drive to protect huge profits for a few private companies could maintain the absurd costs of the health care system to individuals and employers. Is that democracy, or is it capitalism?
    Neither. It's a plutarchy, which is the dirty little secret of both the faux right and faux left in government.
    To economists, there is one outcome of interest: money.
    That's not entirely true. It's certainly a major factor, but if there were only one outcome of interest, it would be more wealth than money. Again, that's oversimplifying, though.
    That flies in the face of the fact that there are some very important things that cannot be easily measured: health, freedom, living conditions.
    Doesn't this fly in the face of trying to rank countries based on certain factors?
    All the rightwingers that favor local solutions instead of federal ones seem stuck when they try and respond to the concept of local organized workers controlling their own companies, making determinations about wage and health care coverage, etc. That is the expression of democracy in economics,
    It may be an expression of democracy politically, but economically, it would be communism. That's the point that you and Michael Moore get wrong. You're conflating economic and political systems. It is completely possible to have a democratic capitalist or democratic communist system.
    but it is anathema to the right, because it removes the power for obscene profits for the few. Democracy is a great construct; it's too bad that it has been lost in the country that trumpets its values the most.
    Democracy is an OK construct, but it doesn't always scale well. That's why it wasn't chosen as the US system of government.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  3. #503  
    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Those words do not mean what you think they mean.

    Part of the problem is that you're oversimplifying. "Public option" is like "change". Many people are for it as a general concept, but support can start to wane when specifics get discussed.

    This is very true. Capitalism is an economic system and not a political or ethical one, so there is no de facto moral center any more than there is in socialism or communism (or hybrids of any of the above).

    Neither. It's a plutarchy, which is the dirty little secret of both the faux right and faux left in government.

    That's not entirely true. It's certainly a major factor, but if there were only one outcome of interest, it would be more wealth than money. Again, that's oversimplifying, though.

    Doesn't this fly in the face of trying to rank countries based on certain factors?

    It may be an expression of democracy politically, but economically, it would be communism. That's the point that you and Michael Moore get wrong. You're conflating economic and political systems. It is completely possible to have a democratic capitalist or democratic communist system.

    Democracy is an OK construct, but it doesn't always scale well. That's why it wasn't chosen as the US system of government.
    It's nice to know that the arbiter of what I mean, and precisely what governmental structure we have, someone with such a clear view of what things are and should be, such a wealth of intelligence, is a participant in a phone message board. And especially when his knowledge base is so vast and encompassing. I mean, this is an expert in governmental affairs, international policy, historical revisionism, health policy, and especially semantics. We are truly blessed to have such a scholar in our midst, especially one who is absolutely sure about his definitions. I'm considered arrogant and I only know a lot about one topic. I am really lmiited. And to think that we don't have a democracy in the US. Man, I've been wrong about that one for years.
  4. #504  
    Quote Originally Posted by davidra View Post
    It's nice to know that the arbiter of what I mean,
    I am not always sure what you mean, but I am pretty sure what certain words mean.
    and precisely what governmental structure we have,
    The US is a representative republic. Its member states have varying, but mostly similar, structures. This is not particularly advanced. Middle school civics maybe?
    someone with such a clear view of what things are and should be,
    I do have a pretty clear view of what things are. What they should be is certainly not determined by me.
    such a wealth of intelligence, is a participant in a phone message board.
    What's really sad is that instead of trying to have a conversation, you're going to choose to advance sarcasm and ad hominem. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. Seriously.
    And especially when his knowledge base is so vast and encompassing. I mean, this is an expert in governmental affairs, international policy, historical revisionism, health policy, and especially semantics.
    I don't recall claiming to be an expert at any of those. AAMOF, the most I'd say is that my knowledge is vast enough to realize how little I know out of all there is to know.
    We are truly blessed to have such a scholar in our midst, especially one who is absolutely sure about his definitions.
    You do realize that things like this are more why you're considered arrogant than anything else, right? Because I dared question or correct you on something, I'm suddenly the target of your ire.
    I'm considered arrogant and I only know a lot about one topic.
    I know a lot about a few topics, but I know at least a modicum about a great number. "A well-rounded geek should be able to geek about anything." I'm undoubtedly completely ignorant on a plethora as well. For example, I'd lose a Seinfeld quoting competition by a landslide.
    I am really lmiited. And to think that we don't have a democracy in the US. Man, I've been wrong about that one for years.
    You're not the only one.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  5. #505  
    Toby, you are the target of my ire not because you tried to correct me. As I mentioned when I wrote that response, I am not an economist and I claim no special knowledge of the field at all. I expect to be corrected. The fact is that much of what you write adds nothing to the discussion except for semantics. Frankly, I'm not interested in having discussions about middle school civics. It is unimportant to me. And by emphasizing semantics to the extent you do, you are the one detracting from the conversation. Please understand: I DON'T CARE about your definitions of governmental structure or plutarchy. It is, in fact, of no practical importance to the discussion at hand. Unfortunately I'm pushed to use a term I hate, which is: it is what it is. You may call it whatever your little heart desires. When you want to actually put forth some concrete proposals about health care instead of nitpicking, then maybe there can be a conversation. And while I don't want to hurt your feelings, try something more specific than Whole Foods vagueness.
    Last edited by davidra; 10/20/2009 at 12:08 PM.
  6. #506  
    Quote Originally Posted by davidra View Post
    Toby, you are the target of my ire not because you tried to correct me.
    The reason means little. The issue is that it's misplaced.
    As I mentioned when I wrote that response, I am not an economist and I claim no special knowledge of the field at all.
    I do claim some knowledge in that I have a degree in business.
    I expect to be corrected.
    Quite a strange response, then.
    The fact is that much of what you write adds nothing to the discussion except for semantics.
    Even assuming that were true, what exactly makes semantics unimportant in these sorts of discussions?
    Frankly, I'm not interested in having discussions about middle school civics. It is unimportant to me.
    That much is obvious.
    And by emphasizing semantics to the extent you do, you are the one detracting from the conversation.
    Am I? So I should just go away and let you and your ilk and the other side and its ilk continue to just go at each other rather than trying to understand what each side is really trying to say and maybe get some understanding happening elsewhere in the process.
    Please understand: I DON'T CARE about your definitions of governmental structure or plutarchy.
    Then why exactly should I care about whether you want to hear them?
    It is, in fact, of no practical importance to the discussion at hand.
    If 'my' definitions are of no practical importance, than it leads one to wonder what bringing the terms in the first place contributes to the actual discussion.
    Unfortunately I'm pushed to use a term I hate, which is: it is what it is. You may call it whatever your little heart desires. When you want to actually put forth some concrete proposals instead of nitpicking, then maybe there can be a conversation.
    I already brought up an idea quite a while back which involved practically eliminating the standing military and using the money we spend there on Keynesian infrastructure projects. Of course, I'm sure that you just considered it more prattling because it's not lock-step with your expert opinion on medical policy and what your little heart desires. Sure, it's probably a bit unrealistic, but I do realize that I'm on the off topic section of a phone forum and don't think that anything said here is going to be entertained by the 'powers that be' anyway.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  7. #507  
    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    I already brought up an idea quite a while back which involved practically eliminating the standing military and using the money we spend there on Keynesian infrastructure projects. Of course, I'm sure that you just considered it more prattling because it's not lock-step with your expert opinion on medical policy and what your little heart desires. Sure, it's probably a bit unrealistic, but I do realize that I'm on the off topic section of a phone forum and don't think that anything said here is going to be entertained by the 'powers that be' anyway.
    And I didn't see that, because it is not this topic. This is a health care thread. While I almost certainly would agree with your proposal, it's just not what we're talking about. Do you have proposals to solve the problems that affect our health care system today? One would think that would be the topic that is discussed in a thread entitled "Fixing Healthcare", and not the definition of plutarchy. That hardly adds to the "understanding" of the process. If you think it does, then please enlighten us as to why. Using a really old allegory, your fetish about semantics is used like the drunk using the streetlamp: for support, but not for illumination. Yes, you can correct people for using the wrong words....but please describe how that advances the discussion?
  8. #508  
    Quote Originally Posted by davidra View Post
    And I didn't see that, because it is not this topic. This is a health care thread. While I almost certainly would agree with your proposal, it's just not what we're talking about.
    If you didn't see it, how would you know how it relates to what we're talking about? Just file it away as purely semantic prattling. Nothing to see here.
    Do you have proposals to solve the problems that affect our health care system today?
    I'm not sure that some of the problems can be solved. There will likely always be grasshoppers around.
    One would think that would be the topic that is discussed in a thread entitled "Fixing Healthcare", and not the definition of plutarchy.
    Considering that I did not broach the original subject of plutarchy, I'm not sure why you would call me to task for it. Feel free to ignore me and get back to your argument with the duck.
    That hardly adds to the "understanding" of the process.
    Doesn't it? I'd say it at least gives me some additional perspective on your viewpoint.
    If you think it does, then please enlighten us as to why.
    It seems to me that if words like democracy, marxism, or capitalism are used in such a discussion that it would be helpful for the meaning to be clear.
    Using a really old allegory, your fetish about semantics is used like the drunk using the streetlamp: for support, but not for illumination. Yes, you can correct people for using the wrong words....but please describe how that advances the discussion?
    The 'wrong' words create confusion and conflict where they don't necessarily exist. If my being a semantical, pedantical **** leaves only one more person in the world than before with the correct concept of what word X means, that has advanced the level of discussion at least an order of magnitude higher than two people simply leveling typical 'conservative' vs. 'liberal' talking points or insults at each other, which is what's really more heat than light.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  9. #509  
    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    If you didn't see it, how would you know how it relates to what we're talking about? Just file it away as purely semantic prattling. Nothing to see here.

    I'm not sure that some of the problems can be solved. There will likely always be grasshoppers around.

    It seems to me that if words like democracy, marxism, or capitalism are used in such a discussion that it would be helpful for the meaning to be clear.

    The 'wrong' words create confusion and conflict where they don't necessarily exist. If my being a semantical, pedantical **** leaves only one more person in the world than before with the correct concept of what word X means, that has advanced the level of discussion at least an order of magnitude higher than two people simply leveling typical 'conservative' vs. 'liberal' talking points or insults at each other, which is what's really more heat than light.
    My big mistake was even responding to a post about economics, because that has resulted in an ongoing off-topic discussion. I will gladly yield to your encyclopedic knowledge of civics. In turn, you can take my word for the fact that the health care problems can be solved.
  10. #510  
    Quote Originally Posted by davidra View Post
    Oh, it's OK. They lack the facts so we're limited to being dazzled with bull****.
    I don't pretend to have an extensive knowledge of healthcare, hence I generally keep my mouth shut on it unless it touches upon a subject where I actually do have some knowledge. An impartial reader should tend to notice that. So, if someone says that socialism means redistributing the wealth, I clarify that socialism doesn't mean that. If you say that democracy and capitalism are two opposing systems, I clarify that they are not. This is not circular logic or simply semantical bull****. You say you expected to be corrected and then you and backbeat try and denigrate me for politely doing so. Your attacks are misplaced. It is especially ironic that backbeat should criticize anyone since he rarely actually contributes to a discussion and simply prefers to snidely ridicule those he views as his opposition. And which of us are simply here for grins and giggles? It is completely without irony that I can say to you both, Physician, heal thyself.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  11. #511  
    LOL....it's as if I hadn't been gone at all....the same discussions going on in here and no one getting anywhere with anyone. Just a bunch of people who seem to enjoy or just enjoy seeing their words. It took me awhile to figure out that what someone wrote in here wasn't going to change my opinion on healthcare reform and so doubtful I would in turn change anyone's opinion.

    So, y'all keep if you get a kick out of that....different strokes for different folks! LOL
    PalmPilot, PalmIIIc, Treo 650, Pre, Pre 3, Nokia 1020, Lumia 950

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  12. groovy's Avatar
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    #512  
    Since this particular "US ranked 37th in health care" statistic has been bandied about in this thread, I thought I'd share a recent article about it.

    An Ill-Conceived Health-Care Ranking - WSJ.com

    Philip Musgrove, the editor-in-chief of the WHO report that accompanied the rankings, calls the figures that resulted from this step "so many made-up numbers," and the result a "nonsense ranking." Dr. Musgrove, an economist who is now deputy editor of the journal Health Affairs, says he was hired to edit the report's text but didn't fully understand the methodology until after the report was released. After he left the WHO, he wrote an article in 2003 for the medical journal Lancet criticizing the rankings as "meaningless."
    Before I'm accused of pro-American chest-thumping and ignoring the deficits in American health care, let me just say my purpose in posting this is not to prove America's health care is the best. It's to prove that the number people are touting to show exactly how horrible America's health care system is compared to other countries is flat out "meaningless".
  13. Micael's Avatar
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    #513  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    Since this particular "US ranked 37th in health care" statistic has been bandied about in this thread, I thought I'd share a recent article about it.

    An Ill-Conceived Health-Care Ranking - WSJ.com



    Before I'm accused of pro-American chest-thumping and ignoring the deficits in American health care, let me just say my purpose in posting this is not to prove America's health care is the best. It's to prove that the number people are touting to show exactly how horrible America's health care system is compared to other countries is flat out "meaningless".
    Careful. That's been one of their biggest hammers.
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  14. #514  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    Since this particular "US ranked 37th in health care" statistic has been bandied about in this thread, I thought I'd share a recent article about it.

    An Ill-Conceived Health-Care Ranking - WSJ.com



    Before I'm accused of pro-American chest-thumping and ignoring the deficits in American health care, let me just say my purpose in posting this is not to prove America's health care is the best. It's to prove that the number people are touting to show exactly how horrible America's health care system is compared to other countries is flat out "meaningless".
    Multiple people, including me,have posted multiple other references rating the health care system other than the WHO. That's what is known as consistency....when many different sources say the same thing....we have a poor health care system compared to the rest of the western world.
  15. #515  
    Miscellanea Archive We’re (not) Number One

    Some of these are silly like Mobile Phones, but there's a lot he can work on to get better!
    Last edited by palandri; 10/22/2009 at 07:53 AM.
    My Phone & My Wife's Phone Two Unlocked GSM Treo Pro's

  16. KAM1138
    KAM1138's Avatar
    #516  
    Hello Everyone,

    Below is a link to an article that analyzes the public's view on the "public option." It goes into some detail in regards to the supposed support it has as well as the questions in the polling that yields those results and why.

    RealClearPolitics - HorseRaceBlog - Does the Public Want a Public Option?

    Take that for what its worth.

    KAM
  17. KAM1138
    KAM1138's Avatar
    #517  
    Hello Everyone,

    "Deficit neutral" has been mentioned. The CBO's analysis of the Baucus bill predicted a 81 Billion dollar reduction in the deficit I believe. This was the CBO's honest analysis of that bill--I believe them. However, there are various tricks that they (Baucus, not the CBO) pulled in order to show that, and anyone interested can look that up themselves. However, in short--I can show a savings in my expenses too if I count 10 years of earnings and only 8 of expenses.

    However, the point I wanted to make is about Budget Neutrality. Everyone should keep in mind what that entails. There are two sides--expenditures and intake. You have a neutral if both are high or both are low. In this case, the cost is high--somewhere around 900 Billion (likely to end up significantly higher by the time it is passed, and very likely to overrun that cost, like most other government programs).

    So, that 900 Billion has to be covered somewhere. Some savings are supposedly going to come from Medicare Fraud--that would be great. At the most optimistic I think that is said to be 500 billion, so the rest...well, someone is going to pay for that in fees, taxes, etc, and there is ZERO doubt who will end up paying for that--the American Taxpayer. There is really no other choice--we pay for everything ultimately. the Baucus bill is filled with all sorts of ways to pay for this--all of which will impact the Taxpayer in one way or another.

    So, be very careful to look at what's behind the claims of "deficit neutrality" because it does not mean it won't cost you anymore, and in fact, it is basically impossible to achieve this without costing the taxpayer more. I'm sure you will hear that it will only tax the rich or business, but that's pandering to ignorance.

    KAM
    Last edited by KAM1138; 10/22/2009 at 03:12 PM. Reason: clarification
  18. #518  
    Hey All!

    I heard this story on NPR on the commute home and found it very interesting.

    It summarizes the major events which lead to the current employer based health insurance system we currently have in the US.

    Listen to the story (recommended).

    Read the website summary.

    Enjoy and broaden your perspective at the same time!
  19. KAM1138
    KAM1138's Avatar
    #519  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas View Post
    Hey All!

    I heard this story on NPR on the commute home and found it very interesting.

    It summarizes the major events which lead to the current employer based health insurance system we currently have in the US.

    Listen to the story (recommended).

    Read the website summary.

    Enjoy and broaden your perspective at the same time!
    Interesting Article.

    Thus employer-based insurance, which started with Blue Cross selling coverage to Texas teachers and spread because of government price controls and tax breaks, became our system. By the mid-1960s, Thomasson says, Americans started to see that system in which people with good jobs get health care through work and almost everyone else looks to government as if it were the natural order of things.

    Right--The Natural Order of things is NOT to have Government and businesses be responsible for providing healthcare to individuals. Rather, individuals should do that on their own. The reason we can't today is because of the indirect payer system that both insurance companies and government foists on us. Eliminating that problem is the key to fixing things.

    So, what does this tell us. Government and insurance company meddling pushed us to where we are today. I'm not guessing this was what you were intending to emphasize, but it is the truth. So, what's the way to correct this? Delve farther into one side of it (government healthcare) or to reverse both--and make healthcare be something handled by the individual. Easier said than done of course.

    The underlying point here is that government interaction is what led us to the Broken system we have today, and that tells me that government delving further into this is the wrong solution. Rather, I think that government incrementally stepping back is the best path.

    The false notion that there is a choice between insurance companies and government is misleading. I want both of them to have a reduced role, instead of choosing the lesser of two evils.

    Very interesting.

    KAM
  20. #520  
    Nice Kam,
    I assume you have a health care insurer?! A nice paying job?! You own your own home?! Have, based on your above posts, an higher then average education?!
    Good on you. I would, however humbly, suggest that not everyone has the above. I would also suggest, that by default, lowering the participation by either of your two evils would automaticly increase the others participation.

    The big bad govt. and insurance companies are things that are needed in this world. Did I say world, yes I did. No longer can America and Americans sit back and believe that everything revolves around them and the country. If your average American can not get what they want/need they will go else where. Perhaps another country to get the services they need.

    Every single economy on this little blue earth, ultimately uses both those things that you wish to see reduced. Some more, some less. The "Broken system" was broken by you, you ultimately are the govt of your nation. To blame anyone other then yourselves is patently idiotic.

    Whether you voted for Obama, Bush, Clinton or the ones that lost, is not the point. This is your govt, you chose it. By the very definition of your type of system, that makes YOU the govt. With no one but yourselves to blame for what has or is about to transpire.

    one person one vote.

    I am sure that you believe that what is happening is not what you voted for, I am sure it isn't, none the less, your elected politicians enacted laws that are good for all, not just a select few. Well ok, I will conceed that yes, many of your laws are enacted to the greater good of a very few.
    You want a better system, run for govt, make changes, do that which you want your present politicians to do. Just remember, when that lobbist comes knocking on your door, offering you the world, badgering you, to the point where you either take what they are offering, or cave in.

    you want to clean up your govt, fix what is broken, then step up, fix it.

    just my two cents worth.

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