August 14th, 2009


Q's to be A'd re health care in the U.S.

Convos with Todd & others got me to thinking... I don't know enough about Obama's watered-down-by-Blue-Dogs-etc health care proposal. (WTF is a blue dog? Never mind, I don't care.) I'm fed up w/ the current system and I know both first-hand and through reading stuff that the system is failing us in a variety of ways. So I don't see 'do nothing' as an option. I sincerely doubt this legislation could make things worse (claims of jackbooted thugs, death panels, socialist democrats killing babies nothwithstanding) and I'm put off by the idiotic rhetoric most opponents of it employ. It's like they can't think of any serious real objections so they just make up shit.

But anyway, though perfect is the enemy of good, it would be nice to know just how far from perfect the current bill is. I wrote to some friends in public health to get their thoughts. In the meantime, here are some Q's that popped into my head when I was swimming.
  • Why should health care be tied to one's employment? (I think it developed in US as a historical accident-- like WWII -- but do supporters of the existing reason offer any reasons why it should stay this way? Are there any benefits to having employers be responsible for employees' health care?)

  • What % of U.S. federal budget is spent on defense? What % is spent on health care?

  • How many people in the U.S. currently lack health insurance?

  • How much govt. money goes to treatment vs preventative care (for things like cancer)

  • How much of total health care cost in this country is spent on billing overhead?

  • Do the vociferous opponents of the proposed legislation have an alternate proposal for reforms? Do they even think there's a problem?

  • Given that the sole purpose of a corporation is to increase shareholder value by maximizing profit, does it make sense for corporations to be in charge of rationing health care? *

    *fuck it, this isn't a question, it's a rhetorical question. Insurance companies only want to insure healthy people! God forbid you have a Preexisting Condition. Obviously cost should be a consideration when deciding who gets what treatment, but what about the actual well-being of human beings in a society? Unlike govt., private entities (corporations specifically) don't give a flying fuck about 'society', except inasmuch as it provides infrastructure and a basis for increased profitability.

  • Could we replace malpractice insurance w/ a shared risk pool? (saw some New Yorker article about this)

  • Is the # of docs in this country artificially low? ('economic rent' i think they call it)
Additional thoughts:
  • health care isn't a 'right' but it's the responsibility of any civilized society to provide it for all

  • problem with listening to opponents is doubt that they're being for real, as opposed to trying to score a political point w/ their 'base'... true on both sides i guess, but the reflexive lying and endless venality of the bush administration really set a new standard. 'all politicians do it' screw you all politicians don't make up reasons to get us into a war. this false equivalence is ignorant at best and malevolent at worst. But anyway, would be easier to have a rational debate if we could believe the other side was acting in good faith

  • disintegration of journalism/media isn't helping either.

  • impossible to convey complex/nuanced position in a 30s soundbite

  • Corporations are psychopathic personalities; they are habitual liars with no empathy or moral compass. They lie without hesitation to get what they want. Thus it is hard for me to accept arguments for the status quo from insurance companies.