Tuesday, October 27, 2009
CC said that it would be preferable for everyone to be in the system (a public option) because that way, healthy and sick, young and old, each would balance out the other thereby making the cost of the insurance more affordable to all. "[That's] what makes an insurance pool work." Exactly right, you need the one to off-set the other. However, the coersive nature of government (id est, government's power to force compliance) makes it dubious insurer. If I can force you to pay for my services, I've nullified the very foundation of a free-market. Where is my incentive to keep my prices low? How long before the public option becomes onerous and used only by those who are sick or cannot afford other options?
I think it's useful to understand the purpose and definition of insurance. I spent some time in the financial sector (I was licensed to sell both securities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and yes, health insurance.) In the definition of "insurance" is the phrase "the transfer of risk." In other words, you the Insured tranfer the risk of your death, auto accident, or medical problem to the Insurer. We can debate the purpose and function of government all day, but I do not think any of us would be particularly comfortable with the notion of tranferring the risk of an entire population's health onto the federal government. That's not a function of government. That's why we have Insurance Companies.
CC zeroes in on a major priority of any health insurance overhaul: cutting costs. I concur, advertising of pharmaceuticals is a problem. It artificially drives up costs. I will add to this with another commonly mentioned cost -- malpractice insurance. This must, must, must be reduced and drastically. There needs to be limits on the awards that plaintiffs receive in court in situations where criminal negligence is not involved. If a doctor misdiagnoses your condition, and has done due diligence, it's unfortunate, but it's reality. Americans need to accept that medicine is not a simple and exact science. The human body is far more complex than a PC, yet no one expects the Geek Squad to buy you a new house if they fail to retrieve your data from a crashed hard disk.
Another point I think needs to be made here in regards to this sense of "entitlement" that I see in Americans. There is a disdain for the fact that rich people can afford better care than can poor people. Americans look at this and immediately say, "That's not fair. Everyone has a right to equal healthcare.
They do? Says who? Where is this written? Under which philosophy of ethics is this implied? As an American, you and I have equal opportunity to be as rich or as healthy as our own individual talents and abilities allow. If you have more money than me, why shouldn't you be allowed to use your lawfully obtained resources to benefit the lives of you and your family? If I do not have the same resources, how is it justified that others be forced to pay for my care? I do not understand this thinking. It's un-American and it's unrealistic. It is that sense of entitlement that has driven our government and our society toward economic unsustainability.
AsterixChaos suggests that costs can be cut by simply cutting off care to those who are beyond helping. Well, I can see the reasoning behind this point, but I do not see it as a major change in our current system. I do not believe that there are masses of doomed people who are artificially being kept alive against their will. In this country, when you say, "That's enough," then that's when your care ends. The only time the state can intercede is when its determined that you're unable to make that choice yourself. And, despite what we may see anecdotally in the news, those cases do not make up much of the overall costs of healthcare.
CC makes a great counter argument, one I agree with, that if we allow our society to become sickly, then we put our country at risk and we become a burden upon ourselves. Well said, CC. In this sense, yes, I see the Federal Government as having a stake in this argument and an interest in promoting "the general welfare." (This, however, is not the case right now, but if it were, certainly the government should act.) Moreover, I believe strongly that the morals and ethics of our country do not allow this policy to be employed. What benefit is there to being a member of a society that denies care to those in need if they have the resources to obtain the care? Beyond this, I believe there should be some nominal "safety net" to care for those who lack these resources.
OK, so let me get to the heart of the matter: What should we do?
Again, the caveat holds true that I mentioned before. I don't claim to know for sure what to do. However, I think each of these points need to be a part of the solution to this pressing problem.
First, costs must come down. Malpractice insurance, advertising of pharmaceuticals, jury awards, outrageous and inequitable hospital charges against different types of patients (depending upon the insurance they carry) and other costs must be examined and addressed. And lowered.
Second, (for those who like Federal Government intervention) Americans need to be taught and "socially engineered" to understand that healthcare starts and ends with prevention. No, you don't get to have a heart transplant if you've spent your life at McDonalds and you weigh 400 pounds. No, you don't get a new liver, Mr. Mantle, if you've spent your life drinking like a fish. If the government wants to intercede in this situation, let's spend money on physical education and getting people healthy. THAT would be a legitimate govnerment interest. Paying for people's problems after the fact is a poor social program that has no end to it. Let's start with this and see how we do before we start re-defining our Constitution and throwing HUGE gobs of money at the problem. Also, let's stop perpetuating the myth that the government will bail you out when you've soiled yourself. God help this generation of Americans.
Third, rather than pumping this mess up to the Federal Government, let's push it down to the communities where we can have some control and some accountability over it. Lets fund and staff local clinics in our towns to intercept the small problems rather than overwhelm our hospital emergency rooms with people who need naught more than an aspirin and a Kleenex. When I smashed my pinky finger with a 4lb hammer as a 17 year old, I went to the local town clinic. A doctor gave me a prescription for a pain killer and stitched up the wounds. I didn't need an ambulance ride and an emergency room visit at the hospital that would have cost ten times as much and would have taken ten times longer to see a doctor. Our baby Benjamin had trouble breathing recently in the middle of the night and we took him to the hospital at 2am. SIX HOURS LATER they finally had a doctor see him. What the hell is that?! If I have to pay another tax, I'd rather it stayed in my town and bought me a local clinic that can care for the needy and provide routine medical procedures (flu shots, bandaging, burns, cuts, etc.) Having trouble paying for it? How about a "Peace Corps" like program that enlists new doctors to serve in such clinics in return for some loan forgiveness?
Fourth, let's listen to our Insurance Companies. Let's see what they can tell us about why costs are so high. They're the ones paying the bills, perhaps they might have something to add to this conversation? (Ya think?) Before I'm going to listen to Sen. Frank Lee Blowhard, the junior senator from Idaho, I'd like to hear what the professionals have to say.
In short, there are a lot more and better ways to fix this mess than for the Federal Government to usurp and entire industry with socialism. Why don't we try a few before we start re-defining the U.S. Constitution?
Saturday, October 24, 2009
In these statements it's clearly demonstrated that the Constitution is viewed as an obstacle to the goals of many liberals, and not as a revered document of life and law that should be revered.
This comes from the Patriot Post newsletter, dated October 23rd, 2009.
CNSNews.com: Where, in your opinion, does the Constitution give specific authority for Congress to give an individual mandate for health insurance?
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D - VT): We have plenty of authority. Are you saying there is no authority?
CNSNews.com: I'm asking-
Leahy: Why would you say there is no authority? I mean, there's no question there's authority, nobody questions that.
The interviewer persisted, however, and again asked the question. Leahy dodged, saying, "Where do we have the authority to set speed limits on an interstate highway? The federal government does that on federal highways." He then walked away.
So to get this straight, Leahy defended Congress' unconstitutional attempt to take over one sixth of the U.S. economy by citing another unconstitutional law that was justly repealed 14 years ago.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) answered the question by saying, "Well, in promoting the general welfare the Constitution obviously gives broad authority to Congress to effect [a mandate that individuals must buy health insurance]. The end that we're trying to effect is to make health care affordable, so I think clearly this is within our constitutional responsibility."
On the contrary, in 1994, the Congressional Budget Office reported that a mandate forcing Americans to buy insurance would be an "unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States."
According to Hoyer and his accomplices, however, the General Welfare Clause in the Constitution empowers Congress not only to "promote the general Welfare," but to provide it, demand it and enforce it.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the worst offender. "Madam Speaker," CNSNews.com asked, "where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" Her brief reply spoke volumes about the Left's contempt for the Constitution and the Rule of Law: "Are you serious? Are you serious?" She then ignored the question and moved on to the next one. Her spokesman later added, "You can put this on the record: That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question."
Once again, we find the unbridled, inexcusable arrogance of the Leftinitza. What's next? A proclamation that "resistance is futile; you will be assimilated"?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Clinging tightly to sweaty skin
This subconsious tensile veil
Tugging upon my tumbling body
As I struggle to tear its transparent pale.
Images undulate with obfuscated forms
Over and under in the obscure
And twilight world
Within which I am wound.
Ocean waves, falling, and faces - such fears
Desire, conspire, to hold me secure.
I gasp and stretch to escape the grasp
Of the morbid forms that hold me fast
In the unconscious solitude of sleep.
I tossle and turn trying to pierce the shroud
Under which I lie soaked in sweats of the past.
My mournful cry is muffled and muted.
Silence, the sole sound of screaming
Can it be? Is this far-off call is seeking me?
What is real? Is not this veil?
And now a hand! --
"My Love, you were only dreaming."
Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This was just plain awesomesauce and I'm feeling like giddy dad. I'm not sure when a baby is expected to begin building towers with blocks -- heaven knows Benjamin has been knocking towers down since he was old enough to laugh at me -- but this afternoon, Janet was able to catch him on film for the first time building something.
I've seen him put two blocks on top of one another, but this goes much further than that. According to eyewitness accounts (his mom), Ben spent close to six minutes meticulously trying to build a tower out of seven wooden blocks. I'm biased, I know, but that strikes me as a long time and a good number of blocks for a 14 month old. He started over near the fire place placing them one on top of the other, only to see them spill over. He moved to where they landed and started again, repeating this process of trying and failing again and again until he had moved halfway across the parlor. Then, at long last, under the bay window, he finally succeeded in getting all seven blocks to stack. This success culminates, as you can see in the video, with him then attempting to pick up the entire tower, assumedly to move it back to where he began his efforts.
'Jammin, you are just too cute, and Da-Da loves you very much!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Life is that thing that keeps happening until it stops.
I'm hoping that after I die, someone will find that quote and I'll be considered some sort of metaphysical genius. Books will be written about me, philosophers will argue about my impact upon Western thinking, and high school Lit Crit students will have to write research papers on my life and blogs. It could happen. It's about as likely as someone being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Platitudes and Good Intentions, but it could happen.
This afternoon has been shrithing* by in aloof silence, taking little note of anything that might impede its progress toward evening. Between bursts of real work, I've been alternatively pondering something to blog about and wasting said subjects in posts and IMs to various people. If I had written here everything I've written today in other Internet locales, my blog would be quite full and you'd be reading something other than me writing about writing.
One subject that came up earlier was my response to Recessionista Genie's recent blog about a seeming paradox between Christianity and Political Conservatism. An interesting topic, for certain, but a debate that, I feel, ignores important foundational assumptions. This is an important step in analyzing any opinion or topic of logic: Check your assumptions. When something doesn't make sense or doesn't seem to come to a logical conclusion, check your assumptions. Sometimes I am amazed by just how much I take for granted in a debate. Take a look at Genie's "Magic Nutshell"** and the recent conversation taking place. I love Genie's writing and her opinions. Sometimes we even agree.
From the Wishful Thinking Department
Janet and I were were out and about on Columbus Day with Benjamin. We went pumpkin picking with him and had a great little family time. We had lunch with Janet's father and afterwards, we visited her mom's grave. On the way home, we chanced upon a rather nice house for sale and stopped to write down the realtor information. It's a very large five bedroom house on just over a half an acre with a pool and a barn that just screams "Mead Hall". The house is a two family that is currently being used as a single family; however, our intention would be to have Janet's father join us, were we to find ourselves as the new owners.
We shall see. I'm still very much in love with being the Lord of Upham Manor and it will take quite a lot to unseat me from our current estate.
That's about it for now. I hope to be more diligent in my blogging in the next few days. I'd like to put together another piece of fiction at some point too. I'm sure you're all anxious too read about the next biohazardous disaster that might befall me here in the lab. If you missed out the last outbreak we had here of zombieism, you might want to go back into the archives and read about it. One never knows when such much strike again, particularly with Halloween around the corner.
* Good word. Use it. http://www.etymonline.com/columns/oldenglish.htm
Monday, October 5, 2009
I do not envy her the trip down as she arrived by bus. I've taken my share of overland bus trips and I can think of a good number of preferable ways to travel. Yet, she braved the hassles and highways and was safely delivered to me in Boston-town early Friday morning. I met her at the station and our tour of the Center of the Universe began.
Boston is one of those wonderful places where you are best served if you travel by foot. Thus we began our path in the financial district and made our way through Downtown Crossing and on up to Boston Commons. There I pointed out the Freedom Trail, that red-bricked line that runs through the streets of Boston, passing the most historic sites and points of interest.
Our first stop, one that began to feel as if it would last all day, was the cemetery called the Old Granary Burial Ground. There, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams, the parents of Benjamin Franklin, and Mary "Mother Goose" Vertigoose are all buried. It's a lovely old burial ground that boasts stones that are both old and interesting. Our slow walk through the grounds set the stage for the wonderful and relaxing day ahead.