zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
[personal profile] zorkian
Dear Congress,

I am disappointed that you passed this insanely huge, complicated, expensive, and generally pointless bill. I'm not looking forward to how much money you're going to charge us for the "privilege" of paying for other people's healthcare. I'm not excited about what you're offering. I think that people should be responsible for themselves, generally speaking, and any universal system of care (health, welfare, medicare, social security, etc) is not something I support.

I'm especially not excited about all of the earmarks and random things you stuck into the bill to make it palatable to enough Representatives to make it pass. Student loan reform? In the healthcare bill? Really? This just strikes me as yet another example of the decrepit American legal system that could use a rebuild. I don't make software that lasts 200 years, I don't expect a major system of people to reasonably work after that long either.

Also, dear Republicans: none of you voted for it? Really? That smacks of partisan politics and I don't like that game. At least the Democrats seemed to have the spine to vote against the party line if they didn't approve. I expect you to vote how your distract wants you to vote, not how Uncle GOP dictates. Come on now!

Sigh. I suppose we'll have to wait and see how bad this ends up. On the plus side, the majority of it won't start kicking in until 2014. Maybe by then we'll be able to repeal it -- or at least get it into some sort of position where it's not so obscene.

No love,
Mark Smith
Date: 2010-03-23 12:18 am (UTC)

princessofgeeks: (BN shirts by oxoniensis)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
i would love to see your outline of what a good health insurance system should look like.

i'm a liberal in the reddest of red states, and i'm married to an old fashioned Goldwater Republican, so we have lots of interesting political arguments at our house.

i try to stick to logic, but sometimes that's hard.

setting aside my feelings about the bill, i'd love to know what you think the system ought to look like.

i read an intriguing editorial by Robert Reich who claimed that this bill is what Nixon would have wanted... that the true liberal approach was the Medicare model -- a single payer model, and that Obama abandoned that goal a long time ago in favor of something much more pragmatic.

But I would love to hear your critique.
Edited Date: 2010-03-23 12:18 am (UTC)
Date: 2010-03-23 12:40 am (UTC)

owl: text editor with code, captioned "life would be easier if I had the source code" (source code)
From: [personal profile] owl
Never mind, you're already paying for other people's health care with the whole insurance thing. Theoretically it should work better if everyone is in the pool (because healthcare is pretty sucky to underwrite, in the long run), but maybe the existing system is so messed up that it can't be patched?
Date: 2010-03-23 01:00 am (UTC)

invisionary: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint.  When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist." (Default)
From: [personal profile] invisionary
As a rule, I think the reforms in the bill are a good thing. I would support universal health care, as I consider that a fundamental human right and always in the best interest of society, lest we have our sick and injured removed from the workforce through no fault of their own and outright survival come down to a matter of who's lucky enough to make it to old age in a dangerous world.

That said, what is a bad thing is how we came about it. Our government has become corrupt to the point of near uselesness, given just how badly this got pork barreled in the end. Constituents in Democratic districts are getting tons and tons of stuff, Republican districts are getting nothing, because they know they have to hold the party line, and this means no local benefits.

This may take a few more years, but I see the GOP becoming more and more galvanized towards the far right, and being anti-Obama for its own sake. When that happens, I expect a third party to come up in the middle given how much further the left is moving - at this rate it might actually become as far left as mainstream Europe.
Date: 2010-03-23 09:26 pm (UTC)

owl: Stylized barn owl (Default)
From: [personal profile] owl
From the other side of the ocean, it doesn't look like the left is going left, it looks like you have a centre-right party and a far-right party. Possibly the rabid element of the GOP will head so far right that it will drop out of consideration altogether, but so far it doesn't seem to be happening.
Date: 2010-03-23 01:40 am (UTC)

eagle: Me at the Adobe in Yachats, Oregon (Default)
From: [personal profile] eagle
Also, dear Republicans: none of you voted for it? Really? That smacks of partisan politics and I don't like that game. At least the Democrats seemed to have the spine to vote against the party line if they didn't approve. I expect you to vote how your distract wants you to vote, not how Uncle GOP dictates. Come on now!

As is probably not too surprising given that I'm a socialist, we don't really agree on health reform in general, but I have utter love for this paragraph from someone who doesn't agree with the bill. If this were the tenor and type of concerns that everyone brought to political debates, we would be so much better off. I'm proud to share cordial disagreements and intense debates over how to address problems and what problems to address with someone who extends this fundamental respect to those with differing views.

You do your position proud. Thank you.
Date: 2010-03-23 02:19 am (UTC)

alierak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alierak
For some reason, I have a problem with the idea of not supporting any universal system of care. If you follow that line of thought a bit further, why should we have municipal 911 service, police and fire departments, jails, the military, the FDIC, or any other facet of government intended to protect us in some way? People should be responsible for themselves, right?

See also your previous post about how police _not_ showing up at minor accidents violates expectations. But hey, your state has required auto insurance, so at least your government is doing _something_ to help you in that situation.
Date: 2010-03-23 02:49 am (UTC)

kfk2: Color Swirl <asd> <asd> ' 'ad a'  (Default)
From: [personal profile] kfk2
I normally just read, but I have to reply to this one. 911, police, fire, & jails are all CITY (and county if you're in the boondocks) services - at level where a single vote really does make a difference, and if you don't like the level of service provided by that area you can easily move without having to give up your current job. The military protects the country as a whole, and it's been a long time since there was a draft.

The state required auto insurance is for something that is a PRIVILEGE and not a God given right. I'm tired of people thinking that driving is a right in this country.

As for the health bill specifically, it costs a lot for doctor visits, and lets not even get into specialists - but you know what, it also costs a ton to become a doctor. And then after you're a doctor you have malpractice suites.. I really wish other professions could be sued when something goes wrong - imagine going the barber and having a bad haircut, and suing - millions baby.. course the hair cut would've cost about 100 times as much, but that's the price you pay.

I think reducing the overhead costs will be a good thing, but where is all this money going to come from when the insurance companies have more people to cover? and as for the government subsidized, where's the money going to come from.. we already owe china a ton of money, and a some point they are going to stop loaning us money, causing taxes to go sky high or either call in the loan and just own the country outright.

Also, healthcare isn't about treating injured people, any hospital (and maybe clinic) is required to treat somebody to get them stable even if they don't have money or insurance - it's about creating a better quality of life - and you know what, the research for the techniques, equipment and medicine for all that costs money, and frankly I'm tired of having my income be reduced to subsidize those that were too busy partying in school to graduate.
Date: 2010-03-23 03:17 am (UTC)

alierak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alierak
I think you're missing the point that I have a theoretical objection to one of Mark's premises, and I don't really care how it applies to any actual government.
Date: 2010-03-23 03:57 am (UTC)

eagle: Me at the Adobe in Yachats, Oregon (Default)
From: [personal profile] eagle
I think this point about how those are city services is a very good one, and that's one of the things that I find very troubling about the political system we've currently got. I'm not sure how to usefully apply that criticism to health care reform in particular, where (assuming for the moment that one believes in the basic principle, which I realize that many here do not), I have a hard time seeing how to tackle it except via the largest pool of people possible given how insurance works. But on many other fronts, national is a bad move.

As mentioned in another comment, I'm a socialist, so I'm likely to disagree wildly with a lot of people about what government should be doing. But I absolutely agree that it should be done as locally as is feasible, because the only thing that actually makes democracy work is as much direct accountability to the people involved as can possibly exist. One of the travesties of our current system is that a bunch of our tax money gets routed through larger governments (sometimes federal but most frequently state) and then back to where we actually live, instead of going directly to the local government providing the services it pays for. That round trip means a huge loss of accountability and means that the money often gets tagged for political reasons in ways that the people who paid it and who live there don't want, need, or care about.

Local government is better government. I think we've lost track of that badly in the United States right now.
Date: 2010-03-23 03:04 am (UTC)

alierak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alierak
Sort of -- you're justifying X with Z, I can also justify Y with Z, we agree Y is absurd, so we should also agree Z is absurd. Nothing to do with X.
Date: 2010-03-23 04:11 am (UTC)

eagle: Me at the Adobe in Yachats, Oregon (Default)
From: [personal profile] eagle
My personal feeling is that once we've gotten to the point of agreeing that it's worthwhile to socially support the people who are trying to make ends meet but are getting hammered about circumstances beyond their control, we've already reached the core fundamental agreement and much of the rest of the debate is over implementation details.

I suspect that one of our disagreements over implementation details is a disagreement over the statistics: I suspect I believe there are far fewer freeloaders out there than you suspect there are. It's hard to measure, in part because, as you say, it's hard to distinguish. I think there are few enough that helping them along with the people who are just being hammered is acceptable waste; I can definitely see how that opinion might not be shared.

I think we both agree that by the time we get to the point of a single mother with three kids abandoned by the father, we've already lost. We can debate the details of such situations -- for instance, I doubt there are really that many people in that situation who are truly not trying to work -- but I'd much rather cooperate on solving the core underlying problem. In that particular case, better (and accurate) sex education, availability of birth control, and better general access to primary health care seem to me to be the best available solutions for preventing that situation in the first place.
Date: 2010-03-23 09:20 am (UTC)

From: [personal profile] rho
The way the benefits system works over here (UK, which you know but other passing readers may not), it's set up with a fairly heavy emphasis on making people prove that they aren't freeloaders who are trying to play the system. In my experience, this absolutely doe not work.

The people who are out to commit benefit fraud and freeload have no problem. They learn the systems inside out know exactly what they need to say, and have absolutely no qualms about telling bald-faced lies to get what they want.

On the other hand, there are the majority of honest people who would like to work but aren't able to do so, for whatever reason. They often have a nightmare of a time trying to prove their case, because they don't know the system, and because they're more likely to be honest to a fault and downplay their problems.

What this all leads to is a very adversarial system, where dealing with the benefits agency turns into an us against them situation. This does nobody any good. If you can't talk openly with an advisor about why you aren't able to work, for fear that they might deem it insufficient reason and cut off your benefits, then there's absolutely no way they can advise usefully. It all ends up a sorry mess.

It's a tricky situation, for sure, and there isn't a single easy answer. If there was, everyone would have done it by now.
Date: 2010-03-24 12:18 pm (UTC)

juliet: (grrrr)
From: [personal profile] juliet
Plus, the more us-and-them it becomes, the more I suspect it encourages people to game the system a bit. If you know that being honest is likely|possible|highly possible to get you cut off, then you are more likely to wind up being dishonest, or taking it out of the system in other ways. Especially with a contributions-based benefit like jobseeker's allowance (where you have to have been earning in the recent past to be entitled to it).

In the UK, this applies to benefits -- unemployment, long-term sick, income support -- rather than to healthcare, because healthcare is straightforwardly free-at-point-of-use and there's not really much there to game, or an adversarial structure. (Well; the better-off and better-educated & whiter & generally more-privileged you are, the more likely you are to get the treatment you want, but that's for slightly different reasons :-/ )
Date: 2010-03-23 03:20 am (UTC)

cheyinka: A sketch of a Metroid (Default)
From: [personal profile] cheyinka
In my opinion (and I'm not actually against all universal systems of care, myself), the difference between fire / police / prisons / &c. and medical insurance / welfare is that the first group are all things that people would need to work cooperatively for anyway - even if somebody's rich enough to buy a fire truck and can dig a cistern on their property for it to draw from, they'll still have to hire people to actually fight the fire, so they may as well contribute to a shared fire department.

Similarly, it's in everyone's advantage to have one justice system, rather than having it be every powerful individual for themselves, and if we're going to have any sort of emergency responders, one dispatching system makes sense. (And if we're going to detain criminals for any length of time, we need community jails/prisons.)

But insurance isn't necessarily the same kind of thing, because people could be independently wealthy, or could choose to see homeopaths, or whatever, and someone in financial trouble could rely on family or charities rather than the government. (In theory. I am not actually in favor of getting rid of food stamps, WIC, welfare, CHIP, Medicaid, &c.)

Too, emergency services are generally viewed pretty-neutrally (nobody will be offended by having fires put out, at least not within city limits, say), but insurance potentially might cover things that someone would rather not contribute to covering, even indirectly through paying premiums. With auto insurance (or homeowner's insurance, I guess?) that's easy (don't drive / own a house, or choose to pay the fine rather than pay for insurance), but with health insurance it's harder, since your option would be pay the fine / pay for something you don't want to subsidize.

(The FDIC / NCUA are another thing that I guess people might not want to subsidize. I suppose these are the people who keep all their money under their mattress or in a vault in their basement.)
Edited (fixing my ampersand) Date: 2010-03-23 03:29 am (UTC)
Date: 2010-03-23 02:46 am (UTC)

somewhat tangential

cheyinka: A Metroid from Metroid Prime, made to look like an old, faded photograph. (faded Metroid)
From: [personal profile] cheyinka
In general I agree with you re: following the party line, but I know I remember reading political commentary from a year-ish ago which said, basically, a Republican won't actually gain anything by voting for something Democrat-backed, because if it doesn't pass he can't say he helped defeat it and if it does the Democrats will take all the credit. Maybe someone listened?

Too, it's actually probably very politically-advantageous for them to have voted against it, because that way they can play up any disadvantages without anyone saying "but you voted for it!" and they can appeal to pro-life Democrats and say, "Stupak gave in and voted for it, and look what that got you! We knew it was a bad idea all along!!!!1"
Date: 2010-03-23 05:32 am (UTC)

nicki: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nicki
Even without the bill, however, we do still pay for the people who don't have insurance. The hospital doesn't just eat the cost of the people it has to treat for free, it passes those costs on to consumers or government and by the time someone gets to the ER, often those costs are high.

There is also the factor that uninsured people don't go to the doctor to get their plague cured and so they bring it to various public places (malls, schools, restaurants, parks, etc) and share it with everyone else.

On a purely practical level, regardless of my personal philosophy, I am hoping that the bill will ultimately save us all some money on emergency treatment (even if we trade it for the same amount in preventive care for 4 times as many people) and that we all end up with fewer lost days in school/work.
Date: 2010-03-23 05:53 am (UTC)

janinedog: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janinedog
This is how I feel, too. I think having more people be healthy is better for everyone in the long run.
Date: 2010-03-23 12:27 pm (UTC)

hoarmurath: re-colored Jaheira portrait from BG1 (Default)
From: [personal profile] hoarmurath

I have no good idea about US politics (what with being on the other side of the world) so I can't comment on most of this stuff, but are you saying universal health care is a bad thing? :(

Date: 2010-03-23 06:58 pm (UTC)

hoarmurath: re-colored Jaheira portrait from BG1 (Default)
From: [personal profile] hoarmurath
Okay. I can't see how it's a bad thing (what with making people's lives better and all), but as politics is such a private thing, so I am not going to pry more.
Date: 2010-03-23 07:29 pm (UTC)

hoarmurath: re-colored Jaheira portrait from BG1 (Default)
From: [personal profile] hoarmurath
Responsibility for the self is a good point. However, since I subscribe to a "the strong help the weak" philosophy myself, I still do not agree. And the balance is difficult indeed. But I personally would rather live in a country with free healthcare (like Finland) as opposed to the country I currently live in and where I feel largely safe due to my privilege of having money. But if I lost the money or became disabled, I'd be pretty damn afraid and angry, so, the free healthcare thing sounds rather good.

It also might be a fundamental philosophy difference, :P and God knows how hard it is to remain civil in those.

PS: Having a billion dollars would make my life profoundly more worse. I would wreck myself with trying to think about what to do with that money. :P Ymmv, of course.
Date: 2010-03-23 02:04 pm (UTC)

denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
From: [personal profile] denny
This whole issue looks so weird from the UK vantage point. Especially since my crash.
Date: 2010-03-23 10:02 pm (UTC)

owl: Stylized barn owl (Default)
From: [personal profile] owl
To me the right to carry a handgun is pretty useless compared to access to healthcare (and only leads to an increased demand for healthcare :-P I mean, as opposed to a rifle or a shotgun, it's only good for shooting other people, right?)
Date: 2010-03-23 10:25 pm (UTC)

owl: Stylized barn owl (Default)
From: [personal profile] owl
I think I've been watching too many American cop shows ;)
Though you can target shoot with the other guns I mentioned. And clay pigeon shooting is fun and all, but in the grand scheme of things it's not that important that I'm legally allowed to do it.
Date: 2010-03-23 04:30 pm (UTC)

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatman
Too sleepy to put together a coherent response. Already hashed this out yesterday with someone else.

Suffice it to say I respectfully disagree.

However... your points are well stated. And I have to second [personal profile] eagle: Major respect to you for your paragraph to Republican congresspeople.

Mostly, though... I'm impressed with this whole page so far. Comments on both sides are respectful and well thought out. (This one perhaps being an exception to that last.) It's refreshing to see the resurfacing of what seemed to be a lost art.

And yes... the system we use to make laws is badly broken. Earmarks and riders and special deals. Corruption not just legalized but institutionalized by the combination of lobbying and campaign finance law. I don't know how the country is supposed to function with such a deeply flawed governing body, no matter which party is in charge.
Date: 2010-03-24 03:10 am (UTC)

lacey: Me and my leather :D (Default)
From: [personal profile] lacey
I agree with you, for the most part.

I'm a big believer in people earning what they get, and I'm sick of being milked dry by the system for little-to-no benefit to me. I'm hoping I might stand to gain a little from it, but I'm not hoping my breath.
Date: 2010-03-24 05:20 pm (UTC)

ashcomp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ashcomp
You may have noticed that there are a great many more job-seekers in this country than jobs. My goodness, the overseas outsourcing of the manufacturing jobs of the ignorant and uneducated has given way to overseas outsourcing of professional work. IT is particularly hard hit, but now people are going to India for their heart surgery, because it's a better deal.

So, the unemployed can starve or die of any of a multitude of illnesses because they can no longer earn their right to life?
Date: 2010-03-24 08:33 pm (UTC)

lacey: Me and my leather :D (Default)
From: [personal profile] lacey
Um, no. I didn't say that and I don't believe that.

Trust me, I know our system is FUBAR- I work in a pharmacy and I'm tired of having to tell my customers that the medication (singular) they need to live is $1,000+. Our current system is bloated and wasteful at the very least, and I think we need to do some drastic re-structuring to make it more fair and beneficial to everyone.

I don't know if this bill was the answer, though, and I am sick to death of busting my ass in a low-wage job getting yelled at by the very people whose medications are being paid for by the tax dollars I'm contributing to the system by working. I don't believe it's my duty to be my brother's keeper- I believe in people looking after themselves.

Our current system, of course, makes that impossible for some people, and that's why we have assistance programs. That's fine, it isn't giving help I object to because we all need some sometimes, but a lot of us that don't qualify for those programs need help too and we don't get anything. What then?

My anger isn't with the people that need the help- they've done the best they can under a broken system. My anger is with the businessmen and politicians that created the mess we're in and allowed it to continue, and that encompasses a lot of things, not just this bill.
Date: 2010-03-25 12:18 am (UTC)

tcpip: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tcpip
Services like universal health care have very significant positive externalities; places that don't have them ended up with negative externalities. That is why the United States spends more on health care per capita and more as a percentage of GDP (apart from Timor-Leste, for obvious reasons) and ends up with some of the worst outcomes.

The bill is far from perfect, and there is a significant percentage of the U.S. population who think it should have gone further - including things like a single payer system for medications and a public option for insurance. All that said however, this is the first real attempt I have seen in the U.S. for genuinely universal health care. It will make a positive difference.


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Mark Smith

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