August 17, 2009


Okay, I cracked - My .02 on Healthcare



“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

Dr. Adrian Rogers

This quote, now being bandied about virally through the right-wing haunts of Blogovia, represents what I see as typically disingenuous conservative talking points. Full disclosure – I am, as some 12-steppers might characterize, a “recovering” conservative. I have shifted (or more accurately come full circle) to a belief that government is a tool that, when wielded properly, is very effective for tasks that cannot and should not be done for profit. Am I naive in thinking that healthcare should not be done for profit? It turns out a huge chunk, if not a majority, of healthcare professionals agree with this.

Taxpayers already pay for the healthcare of people who are uninsured. If someone without insurance goes to the ER and cannot afford to pay for treatment, then the hospital gets tax money to offset the costs. We partially pay for most hospitals in this country through public funds. If we didn’t do so these hospitals would go bankrupt, and then the next time you or a loved one needs emergency treatment, it had better not require experts, extensive facilities or after-hours care.

We also pay for a number of things for the common good already. Our property taxes help pay for schools, but do we all have kids? I’m sure you get that an illiterate, poorly-socialized mob of kids who can’t get jobs is bad for you specifically, as well as the country at large, not to mention horrible for the kids. We help pay for police and fire service, but few of us ever need to be rescued by a firefighter. Your actual chances of having life or property saved by these services are pretty dang slim, yet conservatives don’t object to this form of socialism (we can all bitch about the taxes). Military, too - we haven’t had a bona fide military attack on our soil since the War of 1812, so the common good is well served through the provision of the common defense (exponentially - we spend more on our military than the rest of the planet combined. I wonder where we could reallocate some of those billions?). Oh, and the above mentioned things have been done successfully for quite some time in a nonprofit capacity.

With our current healthcare system we also pay in ways that are harder to calculate - lost productivity, inefficiency, etc. It is no good for the common good to have a large pool of unhealthy people who only seek medical care when it’s an emergency, work when they are sick with god-knows-what, get no follow-up care, etc. This creates a standing reservoir of disease. How would you like to see TB come back (it’s making a valiant effort)? It also creates an easy vector for some god-awful strain of the flu, or any other pandemic bug, to rip through this country. A healthy society will always benefit society at large. The minority groups who may not derive benefit from this are small and often have ulterior motives that are counter to the common good (*cough* folks sponsoring anti-healthcare reform rallies).

And characterizing the people who can’t afford health care as ‘lazy’ is the worst kind of derogatory nonsense. Millions of people in this country work jobs that provide no benefits, and unfortunately these jobs rarely pay enough for the employee to afford the exorbitant health insurance premiums of an individual policy. Millions of middle class families with both parents working cannot afford $1,600 per month in premiums, not to mention costs for visits, referrals, tests, prescriptions and procedures not covered. Laziness has nothing to do with it for the overwhelming majority of un- or underinsured people in this country. I believe conservatives either know this and have contempt for people who do necessary jobs that simply don’t pay enough, or they are truly ignorant of this state of affairs. In either case I urge them to read widely, challenge their assumptions, go outside their comfort zone, meet people outside their socio-economic niche, travel, etc. Good news - most of these things can be done easily (and cheaply) on the Internet.

It is easier for me to trust people than entities whose sole aim is to gain as much short-term profit for themselves as possible, and which view all else as obstacles, sometimes including the law. If I had to sum up the progressive ideal, I would say this: Progressives seek to do the greatest good for the greatest number while doing the least harm to the least number of people, using any tools that do not contradict the first part and do not abridge individual rights. Yes, the common good is always tricky, always a dynamically-maintained balance that will change over time. There will always be disagreements, abuses and people who are harmed by measures taken to implement it. The trick is to, again, do the most good for the most people. These town hall decriers of healthcare reform being a “systematic dismantling of the American way of life” are just blowing bogus talking points based on fear.

By the way, the late Dr. Adrian Rogers was a Baptist minister from Memphis, TN and is also attributed with this quote:

"I feel slavery is a much maligned institution. If we had slavery today we would not have such a welfare problem."
I can't say that his statement isn't 100 percent true.

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Excellent piece, Tim. Thanks for having the guts to stand up against the nonsense and fear, and speak the simple truth.
Love it Tim. Love it.

It isn't that I think that health professionals should be common folks like the rest of us receiving an average salary. I believe that the hard work and dedication that is involved in becoming a doctor/nurse/etc should be rewarded at greater salaries; however the only medical care I believe should be for profit is cosmetic. I'm with you here my buddy.
What a load of crap. How about elective surgery that isn't a life saving measure but not "cosmetic." Obviously, you never had to spend 7+ years in med school and incur large sums of debt to be a doctor.

Another one who thinks they're entitled.
I see you're still an assicle...
No, I'm not a doctor (is it so obvious just because I advocate reform ?) but I did spend seven-plus years in debt due to the policy of an insurance company to enact new coverage for eligible employees only at the first of each month. That's just one in a huge quiver of bogus tactics that insurors use to maximize profits.

Still, silly old appendix not waiting another week to burst notwithstanding, and not feeling particularly entitled to anything other than having my life saved, I paid the bills (surgeon, anesthesiologist and hospital) in full. It might also be important to announce that I now have medical insurance coverage with which I am mostly satisfied.
Hey O'tim, I think Anon. is none other than Dry Drunk Mark. I just got a post (which I deleted) saying "I see you are still posting f@*&ing drivel on this blog" or some such thing. I think it's just killin' him that we all stayed friendly and he's not included. HA HA HA. Maybe he'll get so upset he'll accidently chop off another finger.
"Maybe he'll get so upset he'll accidently chop off another finger."

Hahahaha. Oh...shit...dude that was soooooo funny.....damn.

That lefty tolerance advocating people hurting themselves. Aaah, your love of the common man is so apparent.

Maybe you'll get so upset you accidentally cut off a testicle. Assuming you have any. Dickhead.

Any of these guys with testicles? Funniest thing I've heard all year.

Does it count if they're in wifie's purse?
Against my better judgement I tried being polite, but should have known it could do nothing but devolve (and that from the lame and
assicle-like act of following someone to a blog at the exact same time and leaving a piddly, anonymous, gnat shit comment).

My interest in fueling the fire of this co-dependent troll duo is now exhausted, so if you'll excuse me, I have some paint drying in the other room...
Come on, don't be such a killjoy. Is that any way to treat new people at your blog? Just because we're not all embracing your retarded president's New World Order doesn't mean you have to get all sore-assed about it.

'scuse me while I go watch some cars rust.
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