Friday, March 12, 2010

HCR comment discussion

I got involved in a discussion last week with an HCR opponent in the comment section on this news story.

Even though my interlocutor had the last word in this particular thread, because of my time constraints, I thought it was interesting enough to post. The dialogue follows:

uponfurtherreview:
fredschumacher wrote:
To accept health care reform is to accept we are mediocre.
*** Right -- we're so mediocre that rich politicians from Canada fly across the border to get heart operations rather than wait in line for government health care.
The "our health care is mediocre" claim is one of the standard talking points for progressives who want the federal government to have even more power over the average American.
But nobody's buying that ruse. Come off it -- if you were diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, do you seriously expect us to believe that you'd want to get treated anywhere except right here in the United States?
("Hmmm ... the Mayo Clinic vs. a Castro government clinic in the middle of Havana ... gee, which to choose, which to choose?")

sfHeath:
...there are 50 million Americans who can't get regular care. Go read this article about a free health clinic in Illinois and then tell me we have the best health system in the world.

uponfurtherreview:
First, tell me which country you'd prefer to get treated in if you were suddenly diagnosed with cancer.
Because ours is still the best health care system in the world, regardless of whether every bit of it is perfect or not.
It's a false choice to say that either we embrace the Senate version of ObamaCare ... or we don't get health care reform. Start again, this time from scratch, this time without the pork and the bribes, this time without spending trillions of dollars, and this time without trying to create dozens of new bureaucratic agencies.
One of the things that makes the Senate bill repulsive to the majority of Americans is that it puts every American under the thumb of the benevolent federal government. Congress can create a government program for people who want and need health insurance without making 300 million Americans subservient to the benevolent federal government.

later, uponfurtherreview:
You still haven't laid a glove on my point -- if government health care is so wonderful, how come rich Canadians who can afford it choose to get treated in America? Obviously, because they consider American medical care the world's best ... and they don't want to wait weeks and months for the treatment, which is what happens with socialized medicine.
Also, if health care is so unavailable for some people, why can illegal immigrants walk into emergency rooms in the United States and get treated, regardless of their ability to pay?
As for being diagnosed with cancer and not being able to afford it, you have no idea what you're talking about. My mother was in that exact same situation and was able to enroll in a hospital program that offered her treatment for a reduced charge.
So don't even try to tell me that it's either ObamaCare or dead patients in the street -- I've lived the reality, and I know the progressive talking points when I see them.

then, a very reasonable W. Doc Stodden:
The idea that rich Canadians come to the US to the standard clinic which is in most of our reach is ridiculous. They come to be treated at the best facilities in the world, which would be the best in the world if they were in Minnesota or Bombay. The notion that there is something special about American medicine that the rest of the world doesn't have is ludicrous. And yet, most of us can't access the best that they have in this country. After all, those rich Canadians don't fly to LA and try to get into the emergency room in the public hospital there. Why not? because they are rich enough to afford WAY better.
I find that interesting. If our health care is so great that Canadians can access it, why should the average person also have access to that sort of health care? Cost is one good reason. Get rid of insurance, and make it all free, and then we can all got to Mayo Clinic like the rich of foreign countries can.
Without reform, we're going be stuck sitting in emergency rooms for hours and hours while we bleed out. Because that's the sort of care most of us have access to. People who can afford to use the best of the best use it, and the rest of us can't and we get something significantly less than the best.

uponfurtherreview replies:
Let me address a few of your most "interesting" points:
1. "(Canadians) come to be treated at the best facilities in the world, which would be the best in the world if they were in Minnesota or Bombay."
Ummm ... yeah, but the best facilities in the world AREN'T in Bombay, or Cuba, or Canada, or the U.K., are they? They're right here in the non-socialized United States! And you seem to think that's somehow a coincidence.
2. "And yet, most of us can't access the best that they have in this country."
Gee, Doc, most of us can't drive the best car, live in the best house, wear the best clothing or eat the best food in this country either -- what's your point? If you seriously believe that every person in America should be entitled to the same things that every other American gets, your idea of utopia sounds more like something Karl Marx would have dreamed up.
America is about equality of opportunity -- not equality of outcome.
3. "If our health care is so great that Canadians can access it, why should the average person also have access to that sort of health care? Cost is one good reason. Get rid of insurance, and make it all free, and then we can all got to Mayo Clinic like the rich of foreign countries can."
Ri-i-i-ight, Doc ... and while we're at it, let's just pass a law that says every American is entitled to free caviar and a free bottle of Dom Perignon every night, too. Because gosh, if you get rid of those evil capitalistic alcoholic-beverage distributors and put our noble government in charge of it, there'll be an endless supply of the best of everything for one and all!
But seriously -- the more likely result of your plan is that every American will have access to lower-quality health care with longer waits for treatment ... but hey, on the positive side (in your mind, at least), we'll all finally be equal!
4. "Without reform, we're going be stuck sitting in emergency rooms for hours and hours while we bleed out. Because that's the sort of care most of us have access to."
That's simply hilarious. Where in America do people sit in emergency rooms for hours and "bleed out"? Sheesh, even illegal immigrants can walk into E.R.'s and get treated for free.
The scenario you describe is the stuff of science fiction and progressive talking points (if you'll pardon the redundancy).

Then I jump back into the fray:
Here we finally get to the basis of uponfutherreview ideology. To him, life-and-death health care is a luxury only the rich get to have ("caviar and .. Dom Perignon"). In his preferred system, the currently-existing death panels of insurance beauracracies get in between doctors and patients and deny potentially life-saving surgeries. Google "Nataline Sarkisyan" for an example.
uponfurtherreview: can you imagine a situation in which a disaster occurs and you, personally, lose all money and current health coverage? Have any pre-existing conditions? How about some unreported acne in high school? Guess what, you're out of luck in your cancer treatments next year. What, are you complaining? But you had the same opportunity as everyone else. Guess you're just dead. But thank goodness, we avoided any regulation on those insurance companies! Great, best health care ever! Go USA!

uponfurtherreview:
Thanks for the best laugh I've had all morning, SFHeath. Obviously you failed to grasp my rather simple analogy -- that government can dictate anything it wants, but someone eventually has to pay the tab for it, and that needs to be taken into consideration before we get stuck with the current bloated, bribe-laden health care boondoggle.
I also want to salute the fine strawman you created. Nowhere in my post did I endorse a position of "life-or-death health care" as a luxury. To the contrary, I've noted that illegal immigrants can walk into emergency rooms and get treated, regardless of their ability to pay (not to mention their citizenship).
That hardly strikes me as a system that denies life-saving treatment and lets the underprivileged die by the millions on the curb, but hey, I understand your side's desperation to impose government-controlled care on the American public before what's left of your Congressional majority gets voted out in November.
Fact is, I'm not opposed to health care reform. But ObamaCare is about power, not health care, and you're not fooling anybody with your histrionics and deliberate mischaracterization of my position. Thanks for playing, though.

sfHeath:
Huh. I must have actually hit a nerve to get such a patronizing response. Nowhere else on this thread have you been so very dismissive. Listen, you say you aren't opposed to health reform. Do you understand that this is the one chance we'll get for health reform in a generation? The last opportunity was in the early years of the Clinton administration. Twenty years before that, we got Medicare. For over sixty years, we've been trying to put the brakes on our unsustainable medical delivery system and failed. Do you want to wait another twenty or sixty years for real changes? For the elimination of pre-existing conditions, of recission, of unregulated premium increases?
The status quo is a life-or-death situation, though you disbelieve it. It's not a strawman argument, since you have been arguing for the status quo in every comment you make. I personally know a man who lost his life when his insurance gave out and he couldn't manage his diabetes any longer. There are many life-or-death situations that won't be solved by an ER visit (which, by the way, you and I pay for out of taxes - incredibly more expensive than maintenance and prevention care would have been).
I also don't see how you say I "mischaracterized" your argument when I actually quoted your comment ("caviar...Dom Perignon"). Nowhere did I say "lets the underprivileged die by the millions on the curb" - the number is more like 45,000 per year - nor did I say I wanted to impose "government-controlled care" on anybody. What the heck does that mean, anyway? And where in the legislation does it exist? Sounds like "death panels" to me. An example of a true strawman argument. Have you been listening to the discredited Betsy McCaughey?
I hope that you can feel some empathy for your countrymen, and review the legislation a little more, with an open mind. You'll find that the provisions are paid for. You'll find that 30 million more Americans will get health care. You'll find that premium increases slow down for everybody. I don't begrudge you any skepticism of politicians - in fact, I applaud it - but the fact remains that Ds try to actually address the serious problems our country faces, and the Rs merely politick and loot the treasury.

uponfurtherreview:
It's not about hitting a nerve; it's about accurately reflecting my position. Speaking of which, I have these reactions to your post:
1. "Do you understand that this is the one chance we'll get for health reform in a generation?"
I understand that this may be the one chance for GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED health reform, yes -- which is exactly why I want it to fail. I'm not interested in federal bureaucrats telling me which doctor I'm allowed to see and which treatment (if any) I'm allowed to get, nor are most Americans.
If Congress is serious about reforming health care, it should try creating a program that covers only the 30 million American citizens (if that many) who need and want g0vernment-controlled health care, and leave the rest of us alone.
2. "I personally know a man who lost his life when his insurance gave out and he couldn't manage his diabetes any longer."
Your mistake is in assuming that government-rationed care would be any better. Google "advanced breast cancer" and "UK" and "denied treatment" and you'll find out about the thousands of women who were denied life-extending drugs because the government deemed the expense unworthy. We also have the president on record as saying that a 100-year-old woman who needs a pacemaker should perhaps receive a pain pill instead.
How many more elderly Americans are going to be prescribed pain pills when what they really need are pacemakers, dialysis and countless other treatments that the bureaucrats of ObamaCare want to deny?
3. "I also don't see how you say I 'mischaracterized' your argument when I actually quoted your comment ('caviar...Dom Perignon'). "
Because it had nothing to do with comparing luxury items to luxury items. The point was, you can pass laws that say every American is entitled to (a house, a car, free food, or fill in the blank) and then call yourself compassionate. But somebody has to pay for it -- and it won't be our Congressmen -- so all they're really doing is blowing other people's hard-earned money in hopes of winning votes.
4. "There are many life-or-death situations that won't be solved by an ER visit."
Sure there are -- but there are other options, too. My mother was able to enroll in a hospital program that enabled her to get cancer treatments at a reduced rate. So the "crisis" is exaggerated by power-hungry politicians like Obama and Pelosi, who care far more about gaining greater control over Americans than whether a bunch of little people get the life-saving care they need.
5. "I hope that you can feel some empathy for your countrymen, and review the legislation a little more, with an open mind. You'll find that the provisions are paid for. You'll find that 30 million more Americans will get health care."
Again, if this were only about those 30 million people, I'd be more open to the bill. But it's not -- it's about putting the federal government in control of my medical decisions in the guise of compassion. You have to see through the smoke screens of politicians and ask yourself, "Have they really been pushing this bill so hard for the past year because of their altruism -- or because they see a historic opportunity to make government the boss of the people?"
Let me know which of us you think got the better of the discussion.

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