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What Happened to the Moral Case for Health-Care Reform?

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I spent Sunday reading T.R. Reid's "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care". It's very, very good. I'll probably base a couple of posts on it. For now, however, I want to point out something he says about the successful efforts in Sweden and Taiwan to overcome the political opposition and rebuild their patchwork health care sector's into national health-care systems:

Both countries decided that society has an ethical obligation -- as a matter of justice, of fairness, of solidarity -- to assure everybody has access to medical care when it's needed. The advocates of reform in both countries clarified and emphasized that moral issue much more than the nuts and bolts of the proposed reform plans. As a result, the national debate was waged around ideals like "equal treatment for everybody," "we're all in this together," and "fundamental rights" rather than on the commercial implications for the health care industry.

Elsewhere, Reid quotes Princeton health economist Uwe Reinhardt saying that "the opponents of universal health insurance cloak their sentiments in actuarial technicalities or in the mellifluous language of the standard economic theory of markets, thereby avoiding a debate on ideology that truly might engage the American public."

This year, however, it's not just been the opponents of the policy who have relied on the "mellifluous language of the standard economic theory of markets." It's been the advocates of reform. Ask yourself what the administration's one-line goal is on health-care reform. Is it "equal treatment for everybody?" Is it "if every American is guaranteed a lawyer, why not a doctor?" Is it even "guaranteed health care for everyone?"

No. It's "bend the curve." And the problem with "bending the curve" is that it's a broadly testable proposition. This is, in part, why the Congressional Budget Office's skeptical assessments pose such a threat to health-care reform. If the White House's primary objective was health care for every American, or guaranteed care that you could keep even if you lost your job, or choice of insurance plans for every American, you could spend a bit more on health care and say you were achieving your goal. But if you say that the point of health-care reform is to save money, and then the outfit charged with estimating such things says it won't, that strikes at the heart of the project.

The economic case for health-care reform requires a really radical version of reform. Single-payer, say, or the Wyden-Bennett Healthy Americans Act. The consensus Democratic health-care plan -- the basic approach that the Obama campaign committed itself to and that Democrats in Congress are pushing -- is primarily a coverage plan. It has some cost-saving features on the margins, but it's primarily a way of getting to universal coverage. You can argue for that plan in primarily moral terms, with some economic arguments around the margins. But the administration has been pushing it in primarily economic terms, with some moral arguments around the margins. And now they're caught in that dissonance.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 2:28 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

What happened to the moral case for reform?

Republican lobbyists, and talk-show personalities are immoral, unethical, sociopaths who believe that what they personally benefit from is what is morally acceptable.

Lobbyists for big pharma (and the executives who hire them) are also in this mindset. Canceling a family's health insurance just when they need it for say, a cancer treatment, is all in a day's work for them.

The moral case for reform isn't heard because the MSM parrots the NEO-CON line, and the NEO-CONS & associates are IMMORRAL.

Posted by: onestring | July 27, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that fundamentally many Democrats do not at all want cost saving measures. You flat admit this when talking about Pelosi, Waxman, and Kennedy. If Democrats would show a real commitment to controlling costs in medicare then I could be readily convinced to start expanding coverage to more of the population. But Democrats are saying that covering 15% of the population is currently bankrupting the country so they want to expand coverage in a way that in no way saves money? Thats just fantasy land stuff.

Posted by: spotatl | July 27, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Onestring, give me a break. The Dems control the House, Senate, and White House. If they can't get it done put the blame were the blame should go.

Posted by: mike83631 | July 27, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I can't speak for every health care reform organizer out there but I've been working on refocusing the debate back to where it belongs since HR 3200 dropped and all the nitpicking and flat out lying began (as we knew it would). It's not an easy lift though since a lot of people still think with their Reagan brains. Thanks to that, we need to reach people with a combination of the moral case and the economic case - and that's what I'm doing in the field.

Posted by: eRobin1 | July 27, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

There is no moral argument for providing everybody with insurance but nobody with care.

The government will do the same thing with health care that it now does with money. It will print lots of paper (in this case insurance cards), but it won't be backed up with any actual medical treatment.

In other words, now that the government has destroyed the value of the dollar, they are moving on to destroy the value of insurance policies.

What indeed is the moral argument for this chosen course?

Posted by: RufusJunior | July 27, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I am a former foot soldier for Obama, but I will never again help his campaign because he has not been making the moral case for helth care reform.

President Obama has on numerous occasions made the moral case for reform, but since getting elected, he has always immediately turned around and essentially said that this is not possible. Just last week he stated the best system would be single payer "if we were starting from scratch".

I totally agree with Klein on the point that actuarial rhetoric is uncompelling to say the least. The fact is that hundreds of Americans die in their homes every day because they don't have health insurance, and thousands per day file for bankruptcy trying to pay for it.

The American people have been ready to embrace the moral case for health care for a long time, and nothing proved that more clearly than the election of Obama. The fact that the administration is not making the moral case is an outrage.

Posted by: JOlsson1 | July 27, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the administration will change course and endorse something akin to Wyden-Bennett. Perhaps it is moral to mandate that the entire nation have health insurance. This strikes me as a lesser moral concern than many other pressing issues right now.

Posted by: Dellis2 | July 27, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

For example, roughly 75% of the uninsured are either relatively wealthy, young, illegal immigrant, or currently eligible for Medicaid. Why is it a moral issue to force these groups to buy health care?

I agree with Mr. Klein's implicit point that destroying the employer-based health insurance model should be the goal of this round of health care reform, not reenforcing it as Kennedy-Dodd / Obama's plan attempts to do.

Posted by: Dellis2 | July 27, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Both countries decided that society has an ethical obligation -- as a matter of justice, of fairness, of solidarity -- to assure everybody has access to medical care when it's needed. The advocates of reform in both countries clarified and emphasized that moral issue much more than the nuts and bolts of the proposed reform plans. As a result, the national debate was waged around ideals like "equal treatment for everybody," "we're all in this together," and "fundamental rights" rather than on the commercial implications for the health care industry.
*********

well it would be pretty silly to make health care a fundamental right only to turn around and realize we cant afford it for everyone.

if its a right then you be able to gaurantee you can provide it.

unfortunately, that is not the case with health care or any other positive right.

Posted by: dummypants | July 27, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Dummypants,

you live up to your nickname when you say that the richest country in the world cannot afford what Cuba can afford

Posted by: JOlsson1 | July 27, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The immoral part is that in Sweden, Denmark, The UK, Canada etc. all working residents pay taxes. In the US the democrats have purschased votes by expemting 50% of the working population from paying income tax.

In Sweden for example the first increment of taxation is 31% on incomes from 0 to $175,000 there is an additional 1.5% health tax on all workers. There is a personal deduction of around $5,000. So anyone making over $5,000 and under $175,000 is taxed at 31%.

In the US a couple making $16,900 pays only 10%, a couple making $65,000 pays only 15%.

If you wanted to tax everyone under $175,000 at 31% you would have plenty of money for health care as well as paying off Obama's rediculous deficit.

Posted by: robtr | July 27, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows the moral case already. In the good ole USA, morality just doesn't carry the day so Obama has to put it in terms that will move American opinion. This will save money in the long run. Money is what moves the American political system and, apparently, the American people as well.

Posted by: steveh46 | July 27, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone arguing against covering everyone? Why would you have a debate over universal coverage when nobody is against it.

It seems the debate is over how to cover everyone.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | July 27, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The moral case for health care reform is still as strong as ever. But first we must be sure what we mean by "reform".

Too many people conflate health care reform with government-run "universal health care", which is a serious error.

The only moral reforms are free market health care reforms that respect individual rights, not government-run "universal health care", which necessarily violates individual rights.

Government-run "universal" care is predicated on the faulty assumption that health care is some sort of a "right". But rights are freedoms of action ,not automatic entitlements to goods or services that must be produced by another. Any attempt to guarantee an alleged right to health care must necessarily involve violating the actual rights of providers and patients.

And this is why any form of "universal health care" is fundamentally immoral (not moral).

Patients have the right to seek health care from doctors without government interference. Doctors, patients, and insurers all have the right to contract accordinng to their best interests without compulsion.

Free market reforms would respect those rights.

If someone needs care but can't afford it, he should rely on voluntary charity, not force others to pay for it.

For more on this, see:

"Health Care Reform vs. Universal Health Care"
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/health-care-reform-vs-universal-health-care/

"The Federal Health Care Muggers"
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-federal-health-care-muggers/

Paul Hsieh, MD
Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM)
http://www.WeStandFIRM.org

Posted by: PaulHsiehMD | July 27, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the "we are all in this together", or "Fundamental right for all" approach is that this country is not so much about fundamental rights for all, as we have seen from our long history of unequal rights for minorities, gays, women, etc. This country was founded on the ideas of individual rights, not so much on collective rights. In our countries short history the populous has generally sided with policies and politicians that gaurantee whats best for the individual, not the masses. In these economic times the populous is by and large concerned most with their ever shrinking pocket book. I can understand why the administration is focusing somewhat on promising health care for all, and savings too!

Posted by: clumsypooch | July 27, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Morality?! Don't get me started. Try the New York Times - that's right - the New York Times. Read this piece of trash titled "Why we must ration health care": http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19healthcare-t.html?ref=magazine. Check out the sickening graphics.

Hey grandma, thanks for the hard work raising the family and helping to pay for my education, but your just too darn old for us to really care anymore and well, to put it bluntly, you are costing the collective too much. So die already will ya!

Posted by: geraldmerits | July 27, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The income tax in Sweden is NOT 31% for low income workers. Low income workers in Sweden do not pay "federal" taxes:

http://www.skatteverket.se/skatter/ovrigt/beloppochprocent2007.4.7459477810df5bccdd4800032404.html

Posted by: JOlsson1 | July 27, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

BESIDE THE ECONOMICAL BURDEN....WHAT ELSE THIS SO CALLED HEALTH PLAN OFFERS?

ABORTION,EUTHANASIA,GENOCIDE___'HEALTH PLAN'....WHAT KIND OF PLAN ?...(something hidden?)

If interested, anyone can go into READ, RESEARCH, INVESTIGATE, AND - 'read between' the lines'....and ultimtely ANALYZE, in multiangular way, this monstruosity of proposal.....you may find that the so called 'reform' vectorize promotional roads to ABORTION, EUTHANASIA, AND GENOCIDE. Strange right ?

The final result is but one thing, VIRTUAL STERILIZATION ON POPULATION.

But I will go even further, although the chanted 'socialized medicine' in other countries are in place not doing a great job,....is in here where to set the 'global basis' for a total ELIMINATION OF HUMAN RACE....and which would be the best pivotal starting point to do at great scale this ?,... once the circle is completed HERE the best coutry in the planet ?

Ah,....too far fetch?,.....too science fiction? (like aliens have a program of relatively slow program to erase humans from this planet ?).
Of course, is too speculative, but you know what?... if we do not think the unthinkable, that 'unthinkable' will come to be. Yes, and now - for as much we can see - here now the unthinkable is taking place systematicaly at local level...THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR COUNTRY BY THE OBAMA GANG ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL, ANTIAMERICAN,CORRUPTED ORGANIZATION.

And how your day is going so far ?

Wishing everyone good thinking,
Daniel Cabrera
Merrillville,Indiana

Posted by: morcab | July 27, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

JOlsson1,

Cuba!!?? What planet are you from? Such a great place to live that people literally die to leave there and come over here.

Great health care in Cuba? My god man, I wonder what the world is like inside your skull? Probably can't even here any crickets - no use sticking around if nobody is home.

A little research next time before you go touting a 3rd world dictatorship's health care system as some kind of model that any sane country should follow.

I was born in Canada. I have relatives that visit Cuba. They hate their own health care and think that Cuba's is off the chart crappy. They were thinking of retiring there and changed their minds after a little research.

Posted by: geraldmerits | July 27, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Want savings... take the malpractice liability and make it a government program.. the insurance portion and a simplified mediation process.. the trial lawyers can participate in the belt tightening. Tell everyone that they can save a bundle, if they give up their right to compensation for bungled care.

Posted by: newbeeboy | July 27, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that the left is often screaming that morality should not be legislated on the people. Limiting abortion or gay marriage is wrong since one group is imposing its moralality on the nation. Somehow though, if it is a moral cause for the left, then legislating morality is fine.

Nonetheless, my real complaint with health care reform is that there does not seem to be any background research done on the problem or the proposed solutions. For example, we have been hearing for years about the 50 million uninsured. OMB stated last week that 70% of those or 35 million are uninsured for less than four months. This is likely due to them changing jobs and chosing not to sign up for COBRA coverage. 30% have rejected employer paid insurance and about 10 million are illegals that will not be covered on any proposed plan. Once realize that the uninsured are not the poor masses but are instead, for the most part, people in transition from one job with insurance to another, the problem does not seem so urgent. Additionally OMB says that the proposed plan will not reduce the cost of heath care and will in fact increase the overall cost.

If we are talking morality here then maybe we should consider how immoral it is to take someone's hard earned money only to use it in the most inefficient and useless way possible.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Reynold's sums it up best: :"If you listen to President Obama, his ‘reform’ will satisfy almost everyone. It will insure the uninsured, control runaway health spending, subdue future budget deficits, preserve choice for patients and improve quality of care. These claims are self-serving exaggerations and political fantasies. They have destroyed what should be a serious national discussion of health care."

And let's not forget that Obama will also cure cancer, heart disease, make pigs fly, and create little dancing fairies to fill our Utopia with glorious and wonderful songs. Oh what a wonderful world it will be!

Posted by: geraldmerits | July 27, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I think Klein is right. Now Democrats have got themselves in a position of after having bashing Republicans, now the Democrats say they need Republicans as their White Knights despite controlling both Congress and the White House. The Democrats tried to label this as all things to all people along the lines of - "The healthcare bill is a stimulus bill" and "the healthcare bill will save money" (which are contradictory positions to hold, yet both are being argued). Instead of trying to be all things to all people, they should have just tried to be one thing.

Posted by: SpanishInquisition | July 27, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying Cuba has a great health care system, but the health of the Cuban population in general is better than that of the U.S.. My point is that the "health care" system in the U.S. is so bad, that it is on a societal level not even on par with second world countries such as Cuba and Turkey, and this is supported again and again by WHO and UN studies. As a citizen of Cuba, you are at least covered by some form of health care, whereas and American citizen can expect close to nothing.

Posted by: JOlsson1 | July 27, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for highlighting the moral case. Some groups have been communicating the need to do this to the White House and Congress. The Principles for Health Care Reform of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility begin with: "Social justice demands health security, guaranteeing affordable quality health care for all. Access to health care is a fundamental human right, benefits society and serves the individual, the common good and employers."
Another group, Faithful Reform in Health Care, says that "health care is shared responsibility that is grounded to our common humanity."
May our political leaders take this as their starting point in health care reform.

Posted by: rowan55 | July 27, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The problem is not morality.

The PROBLEM is that the Democrats' plan is not really reform. It's just throwing money at the same system they've been complaining about for years.

This does not provide healthcare.

This provides health INSURANCE, on the backs of $350 billion cuts in Medicare and same in Medicaid, just before the baby boomers retire and while more and more Americans lose jobs and would qualify for Medicaid.

The insurance companies are GLEEFUL about this new program, because Obama delivers to them, through his mandate, millions of new suckers.

And the public plan will be too small to have any impact at all on the costs of the mandated inurance company policies.

This is a give-away to the special interests, period.

I'm a lifetime Democrat. Obama is a BAMBOOZLER. Pelosi and Reid are not to be trusted with what actually ends up in the bill; their people won't even read the damm thing.

All that, to save and rescue Obama, who actually sold out his supporters on behalf of corporate lobbyists Axelrod and Emmanuel had meetings with.

We're not as stupid as they think we are.

Posted by: auntmo9990 | July 27, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

JOlsson1,

lets assume that you are right and that the health of americans is not on par with cuba. I doubt that but I do not doubt that some socialistic UN committee would say such a thing. In any event what proof is there of a correlation between poor health and bad health care. I have had great care my whole life...but I also have enough money to eat what I wont, pay someone to mow my lawn, smoke good cigars, and drink fine bourbon. I may not be as healthy as a cuban who works 20 hours a day in the fields and lives on rice and bananas....but I bet, given a chance, he would swim his healthy butt over here for what I have.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The problem is not morality.

The PROBLEM is that the Democrats' plan is not really reform. It's just throwing money at the same system they've been complaining about for years.

This does not provide healthcare.

This provides health INSURANCE, on the backs of $350 billion cuts in Medicare and same in Medicaid, just before the baby boomers retire and while more and more Americans lose jobs and would qualify for Medicaid.

The insurance companies are GLEEFUL about this new program, because Obama delivers to them, through his mandate, millions of new suckers.

And the public plan will be too small to have any impact at all on the costs of the mandated inurance company policies.

This is a give-away to the special interests, period.

I'm a lifetime Democrat. Obama is a BAMBOOZLER. Pelosi and Reid are not to be trusted with what actually ends up in the bill; their people won't even read the damm thing.

All that, to save and rescue Obama, who actually sold out his supporters on behalf of corporate lobbyists Axelrod and Emmanuel had meetings with.

We're not as stupid as they think we are.

Posted by: auntmo9990 | July 27, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that when 75% of people are happy with their own healthcare and Medicare already covers the 15% of the population that has best moral case for healthcare that argument simply wouldn't get a ton of traction. So Democrats picked "healthcare is going to bankrupt our country" to try and give the average american a reason to want to see change in the system. (All while hoping that no one will remember that Democrats have been steadfastly opposed to measures that would help control medicare costs) Without the cost savings then the average american simply doesn't have the motivation to want change in a system they are happy with. Bill Clinton was willing to make the argument that the average american would be happier in the new system but Obama doesn't want to go back down that road.

Posted by: spotatl | July 27, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Two Points - This is an perfect example of an invidious distinction. It just so happens that the best way to fufill our moral obliagtion to have everyone receive good health care will also save money and give us a platform in which to make changes that will bend the curve, that will make our medical practice more efficient. Single payer systems like Medicare for All are not only more efficient so we can give everyone decent health care at no more cost, but as we can see from the experience of others, they will allow us to gather data and put pressure on the system to have more resposive medical practice.

My second point is that malpractice is a classic red herring:

1. The total of all malpractice insurance premiums amounts to 0.56% of health care costs.
2. The CBO has examined the idea of defensive medicine. They found no difference in practice between states with limits on tort settlements and those with no limits.
3. There is no correlation between the price of malpractice premiums and the amount given out in malpractice settlements.
4. The price of premiums does (anti) correlate with interests rates.
5. If you take all the money given out in malpractice settlements over $250,000 in NJ ( a state without caps) in a year and give it to physicians, each doctor would get $15.

These come from the book The Malpractice Myth by Peter Baker (U of Chicago Press)

Thus the doctors are wrong on almost every count. Malpractice premiums are not a significant factor in health costs. Physicians order unnecessary tests and treatments even when there are draconian limits on lawsuits as in Texas. Caps would save us nothing. The price they pay for insurance has nothing to do with the large settlements given out, and the total amount of money involved in these settlements is trivial. What they believe is a fantasy.

Posted by: lensch | July 27, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Because a moral case that forces people who can't afford it to buy for-profit health insurance isn't a really easy sell.

I consider myself fiscally sane, and I know we could have better health outcomes at a far cheaper cost in totality(personal spending and government spending) if we did as the French do, basically expand Medicare to All and allow people to buy supplemental insurance.

This plan is a patchwork of crappy ideas that will just prolong our health care crisis. Employer-based for-profit coverage is a market failure. It's immoral to force people to spend more money on a broken system.

Posted by: masslib | July 27, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

PSOG,

you pose an interesting question, and of course Americans have more unhealthy life-styles than Cubans. However, the UN is basing its conclusions on problems that are for the most part unrelated to life-style problems, such as infant mortality rates. The U.S. has several problems that are otherwise only seen in second and third world countries due to poverty. The U.S. is not a poor country, it just doesn't have a health care system that treats ailments

Posted by: JOlsson1 | July 27, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

rowan55,

May our leaders be reminded that individual liberty and self-reliance are the founding principles of this country. These principles made this the greatest country on earth and every time we abondon them we chip away at our own foundation. The house will eventually come down.

Reform is necessary...but not give someone somethng they did not pay for. Reform should occur to keep trial lawyers from misusing the law to rape insurance companies in outrageous settlements, reform should limit claim-premium ratios to insure fair treatment, reform could force insurance companies to live up to the contracts they enter into. Reform could limit the duration of patents on new drugs, etc... What is being offered now though is merely a way to take money and control from the people and put it in the hands of politicians.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I see providing universal health care as a moral issue, but much differently than some others. To me there is something morally wrong with giving a resource to some people for free and then heavily taxing another group to pay for what is being given to the first group. I think the moral thing to do is to say that everyone needs to be responsible for themselves. My employer cut my health insurance years ago. My wife and I made the necessary, but not fun, choices in our household to make sure we could afford our own health care. We did not play the part of victims. We did not cry to the government. We worked very hard to take care of our own needs. And 99.9% of people can do the same, and for the others there are charitable institutions to help. We have heard quotes that 45 million Americans don't have insurance, well, did you know that 20 million of those are individuals making over $75,000 a year and thus can afford their own coverage? So out of over 300 million people in this country we have 25 million without coverage. That is less than 10%, that is not a crisis. So what is moral about adding to our national debt and changing a system that works for over 90% of our population to help less than 10% of our population? And what is moral about taking our breast cancer survival rate of 92% and trading it in for a survival rate of 76%?(I'm comparing the U.S. with England) Lastly, remember that the Democrat Thomas Jefferson said (to paraphrase) that which the governemnt gives it may also take away. So to all of you liberals, what if Hillary had been succesful with her plan in '93 and then in 2000 W. is elected? Do you think you would have been happy with the changes that he and Cheney would have enacted on health care? Whatever Obama does someone else will change and those changes could cost you your life.

Posted by: markushallus | July 27, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

One ignored question is...Do you want a public bureaucrat or corporate bureaucrat deciding what care you can have?

Posted by: Valjean1 | July 27, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

JOlsson1,

As I said the UN has its own axe to grind but I agree that we have a higher than expected infant mortality rate. The cause has nothing to do with health care however. It has everything to do with the fact that we are a nation a drug addicts. As a nation we use more legal and illegal drugs than any other country on earth. This is not the result of poverty or bad haelth care...we have so much affluence that spending money to get high is our national pasttime.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh Lawd...I'd like to know how many of you end up opting out of Medicare. Statistics would argue, not many. Why are Americans so completely ignorant to what we allow here? hello? We have nearly the worst health care outcomes of any industrialized nation, and we pay twice as much for it. Why? Because we are the only rich country on the planet that engages in a system of for-profit employer based insurance. My goodness, United Health made a quarterly profit of 800 million dollars last quarter. That's money that could have been spent on your health. Really, how ignorant can you be? I suppose next instead of fire departments and police men, you'd like to buy public safety through employer-based, for-profit insurance as well, because that's about as much sense as our health care system makes.

Posted by: masslib | July 27, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Valjean1

neither, I will decide what insurance policy I purchase. I will enforce the terms of that contract in court if I must but I will determine for myself what ocveratge I need based on how much I wish to spend and what I think my risks are.

This myth about corporate hacks at insurance companies limiting coverage is just propaganda. Insurance policies are contracts for services. If they fail to live up to their obligations they can be forced to.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, Obama is not the President we thought we were voting for - REAL change.

He's basically Bush all over again.

We can waste lives and billions on a religious two front war - and yet he can't lead the congress to reform health care and largely on the grounds of not being able to afford it. Obama's more worried about the Cambridge, Mass. police dept. and drinking beer than he is about driving hard to get a public health care option.

He's also doing one heck of job of continuing with Paulson's boondoggle for banks and insurance companies.

Can we please get a real President for the PEOPLE....I'm ready for an Obama recall vote.

Posted by: go2goal | July 27, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

The article could have been titled "What Happened to the Immoral Case for Health Care Reform" since the so-called "morality" referred to is a form of cannibalism which forces the productive to provide a health care feast for the unproductive.

It was amusing that he used Sweden and Taiwan as examples to emulate. Most people don't know much about those systems, but we can be sure they are failures; socialized medicine can be depended on to fail, as can socialized anything else. The immoral is always the impractical as well.

Posted by: jameshkramer | July 27, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Masslib,

I have never seen any evidence that we have worse outcomes. In fact, if that were true I would expect affluent americans to be traveling to countries with better outcomes for health care. But just the opposite seems to be true. Where would you go if you had advanced cancer? I suspect you would seek treatment right here. As for opting out of medicare...that is the straw man of the year. Medicare supplemental coverage is just about the only thing available for retirees. This is a better argument for how government coverage will push out all competition. I tried to find primary ocverage for my parents but it is not out there. The same will happen if the Dem plan is enacted. All primary coverage will dry up and we will pay the same high rates for secondary insurance. Only the insurance companies will get richer.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Klein makes some good and interesting points. However...

One problem with comparing Sweden with the United States is that Sweden never had a powerful multibillion dollar health insurance industry that was dead set against reform, as we now have in the United States. If it wasn't for the political influence of this industry, it is likely that reform would have been passed many years ago. The fact that single payer isn't even being discussed is strong testimony to its power.

Another problem is the "every man for himself" ethos so pervasive in America. Health insurance is simply viewed as a commodity that people are expected to provide for themselves, the same way they would food or shelter. Countries like the Netherlands and Sweden, which have long histories of capitalism and free trade, balance individualism with a strong sense of social responsibility. This seems to be utterly lacking in America. You can bet, for example, that had Bush tried to raise taxes to pay for the Iraq war (which would have been at least the fiscally responsible thing to do), public opinion would have been dead set against the war from the outset. As long as other people's kids are dying, and they don't personally have to make sacrifices, people just don't care.

If Obama tried to sell medicare as a moral responsibility, as opposed to a practical necessity, you can bet that he would be pilloried as another impractical, irresponsible, bleeding-heart liberal in the media, and laughed out of Washington in the process.

Posted by: bgabriel28 | July 27, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Which type of system has the best outcome for the health of the population, a private system or a "socialized" system? Considering the only true private systems exist in the U.S. and places like Somalia, I think the answer is pretty clear.

Has a country ever gone bankrupt because it's attempted to cure the illnesses of its citizens? No. Has a country ever gone bankrupt because of wars and rampant financial speculation? All the time

Posted by: JOlsson1 | July 27, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The article could have been titled "What Happened to the Immoral Case for Health Care Reform" since the so-called "morality" referred to is a form of cannibalism which forces the productive to provide a health care feast for the unproductive.

It was amusing that he used Sweden and Taiwan as examples to emulate. Most people don't know much about those systems, but we can be sure they are failures; socialized medicine can be depended on to fail, as can socialized anything else. The immoral is always the impractical as well.

Posted by: jameshkramer | July 27, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

What the heck are you talking about? Sweden ranks 20 in health outcomes. we rank 50. Tiawan's system is based on Medicare, and surprise, surprise, they have much better health comes than us as well. We rank near Cuba. Obviously, the system that has failed is ours.

Posted by: masslib | July 27, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

There is NO MORALITY in socialism.

Posted by: LoonyLeft | July 27, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama's plan is a bait and switch, Ezra.

You know it, and I know it.

Medicare for All or Single Payer would have been "moral."

What Obama suggests is not.

You've been bamboozled, AGAIN.

Posted by: auntmo9990 | July 27, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

PSOG, regarding Cuba, the UN accepts as facts all the propaganda from Fidel Castro! That's what we have also from Obama -- PROPAGANDA. Much like Castro, Chavez, and the rest of the Marxist thugs in Latin America, he lies, manipulates, intimidates and commits fraud. He said and will say whatever helps him impose socialism/Marxism on us.

The more we know about Obamacare, however, the scarier it gets. If Obamacare is imposed on us, we may be forced to pay not only for abortions, but also for late-term abortions (infanticide) and euthanasia.

Keep in mind pages 425-430 of the bill, which MANDATE that we receive end-of-life (death) counseling when we turn 65. Keep also in mind that Obama’s "Science Czar," John Holdren, has called for population-control policies such as forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and mandatory population controls.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 27, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

How can you suggest having a moral imperative without tackling the single greatest stumbling block to expanding care without breaking everyone's pocketbook, tort reform. You cannot act moralistic and compare Europe and Asia as being morally superior without pointing out that they first had to reform tort actions of the few before they could offer good care to the many.

Posted by: rich15 | July 27, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

MassLib,

your continued reliance on what some left-leaning quasi-poltical group claims are medical outcomes reminds me of the old saying "there are lies, d--ned lies, and statistics. I bet there is not a person in the UN that would not rather run into a hospital in NY than in their own hometown. Show me the evidence of americans fleeing into tiawan or sweden to get first rate medical care.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I keep hearing that the problem is 50 million uninsured. That’s not the problem. The problem is the high cost of health insurance. If we can bring the cost under control, those who need it are more likely to be able to purchase it.

Unfortunately, I don’t see anything in the current proposals that really address the costs. A public option “competing” with private plans will give us nothing better than our public schools have provided.

Posted by: biketoad | July 27, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, PSOG. Take a gander:

http://www.oecd.org/document/30/0,3343,en_2649_34631_12968734_1_1_1_37407,00.html

By the way, where's the big coalition of elderly people trying to repeal Medicare?

Posted by: masslib | July 27, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

MassLib,

your continued reliance on what some left-leaning quasi-poltical group claims are medical outcomes reminds me of the old saying "there are lies, d--ned lies, and statistics. I bet there is not a person in the UN that would not rather run into a hospital in NY than in their own hometown. Show me the evidence of americans fleeing into tiawan or sweden to get first rate medical care.

Posted by: PSOG

Well, first of all, health travel has become a huge industry, and some private insurers are sending their patients to India for operations, so please spare me. If our private, for-profit health insurance system is so flipping great, why don't we see huge coalitions of all the countries who spend half as much of us, with better outcomes, covering more people, screaming in the streets for our employer-based, for-profit insurance scheme?

Posted by: masslib | July 27, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

There are ALREADY problems with socialized health care in Taiwan: "The government is not taking in enough money to cover the services it provides, so it is borrowing money from banks.[9] The revenue base is capped so it does not keep pace with the increase in national income. Premiums are regulated by politicians[10] and they are afraid to raise premiums because of voters. The country is slow at adopting technology except for drugs. There is a low doctor-to-population ratio resulting in too many patients depending on too few doctors. Patients visit the doctor more frequently causing doctors to keep visits short to about 2 to 5 minutes per patient.[11] There is no system to regulate systematic reporting of clinical performance, patient outcomes and adverse events....

And just wait a few more years, when you'll be able to see the devastating effects of socialized health care!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 27, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Antonio,

I suspect that is the problem with all the medical outcome studies. Where there is government provided healthcare there is motivation for the government to show good outcomes, even if false. The US government does not have a stake in health care so it has no motivation to dicker with the numbers. I do know that lived for nearly twenty years on the US side of the canadian border. The parking lot at our hospital was always full of cars with license plates that said "Beautiful British Columbia". Those folks did not get the memo telling them that they have better health care than we do.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Let me preface this by saying that I support universal health care.

There's a moral case to be made for everyone to have access to health care. But we already have that to a degree; anyone can receive treatment at an emergency room, and we have Medicaid to provide care to people who are otherwise totally incapable of paying for it.

The question is how equal we feel everyone's treatment ought to be. If you say "absolutely equal", I challenge you to announce here what fraction of your paycheck you've sent off to UNICEF or the Gates Foundation to pay for vaccines in countries where the standard of care is far, far below anything we have in the United States. If you're outraged that people in America can't receive high-tech cancer treatments because of cost, are you also outraged that 500,000 children die each year from rotavirus -- a disease for which a vaccine is readily available?

Furthermore, how do we allow different pricing of our lives in public health interventions? People implicitly price their own lives when they choose how safe a car to buy, how dangerous a job to accept, etc. How much are you willing to subsidize these kinds of public health interventions?

The point is that the moral argument is actually pretty messy when you dig down. And, in fact, the imperative to cover everyone is hindered largely by the potential for prohibitive costs. So perhaps focusing on cost and efficiency is not so bad a plan after all.

Posted by: davestickler | July 27, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

PSOG,

it's not about "first-rate" care. It's about care that keeps people healthy and living long lives. If you have money, you can always go to some clinic in Switzerland and get care.

I am a Swede married to an American, and I there are definitely lots of people in our situation that go to live in Europe instead of the U.S. because of health care (and also things like vacation and support for families with kids). In fact, I know of very few people in my situation who have ended up staying in the U.S. permanently precisely because of the inadequate government services

Posted by: JOlsson1 | July 27, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

We really don't have a health care system to begin with
We have a financial service sector which specializes in health care stocks and which operates as a for profit business.
We have for profit health ins. corporations which are publicly traded on the NYSE
Each health ins. corporation is headed by well paid and well compensated CEO's, COO's, CFO's, national, regional, and state administrators with boards of directors and share holders.

Providing actual health care is a secondary function of the financial health sector.

Posted by: Gracefulboomer | July 27, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

It's NOT a "moral" issue. It's a practical issuse but not moral. The way it's phrased by the liberals, one might think that if health care is paid for by everyone BUT the recipients, this will make "health" happen. It'doesn't work like this. I've been a Physician for 30 years and do charity care day/week. Everything is paid for. I can tell you guys this much: free health care does nothing to make people healthy. It's a myth to think it does.....and a very expensive proposition.

Since it doesn't work (free health care) why spend ourseleves into bankrupcy?? Let the Governement in this arena is folly. See how nice the governmant has done with Medicare and Indian reservations? See how well the VA is run? 3 shining examples of billions spent and no return.....why? ...because the money's got little to do with health care. But back to the origininal idea: it's NOT a moral issue. To think so is folly and politics...and a nice way to buy votes too...which is likely what's behind this idea.

Posted by: mdabe80 | July 27, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone believe that paying for additional bureaucracy is going to save us money? Adding billions of dollars to our deficit so Obama can pay thousands of additional ACORN-type government workers -- to provide us with “end-of-life” (death) counseling and to decide who lives or dies – is an ABOMINATION. Obamacare will only increase our deficit, further steal from our children and grandchildren, and further deteriorate health care.

To fix our health care problems, we need to go in the OPPOSITE direction in which Obama is taking us. A socialized health care system would be another step to destroy our country, our future and the future of our children and grandchildren!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 27, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Masslib

Well, first of all, health travel has become a huge industry, and some private insurers are sending their patients to India for operations, so please spare me. If our private, for-profit health insurance system is so flipping great, why don't we see huge coalitions of all the countries who spend half as much of us, with better outcomes, covering more people, screaming in the streets for our employer-based, for-profit insurance scheme?

Go to any local hospital along the candian border. They are full of canadians seeking care. How many people from the US to India last year for medical care? come on...you dont expect anyone to buy that load do ya? India has a great educational system and they produce a lot a doctors and engineers...who leave their free health care and come to the usa to work.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Moral cases cannot be made by immoral people. The liberal fascists who are trying to destroy private health care are the same people who find it acceptable as a matter of convenience to crush babies' skulls and vacuum their brains out. Obama supporters think it's OK to force Catholic hospitals out of business because they refuse to butcher little babies. Obama supporters want the government to decide who gets health care (illegal aliens) and who waits (european-american males). Obama supporters want the government to own and run everything. Surely, if Obama really believes his own lies, he won't mind taking his supporters and starting his own country, and letting Real Americans take their freedom back. It's time to face the fact that the lib-nazis will never relent, and separation is the only answer. Let them take the national debt and move to the coastal cities, and start their own slave land.

Posted by: doctorfixit | July 27, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Great, PSOG! Please go ahead and move to Sweden as soon as possible. Nobody is forcing you to live in the U.S.

Those who want socialized medicine and a socialist/communist country, please move to Sweden, Cuba or North Korea!

You have no right to transform the U.S. into a failed socialist country like Cuba just because you are "dumbed down," as per Pravda: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 27, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Not too long ago Frank Barney was in Congress talking about the moral right for people to own their homes and forcing Fannie Mae to act accordingly. Does anybody remember how everything end?. In the fantasy land that most liberals live we can extend health care to everybody and expect that the "infinite" resources of the government will pay them forever, but in the real world that most of us have to live you can not provide for all what you "need". You have to chose the needs that you can pay. For sure in the middle of a crisis and deeply in debt with China we cannot pay for this. If it were only a matter of moral right why don't we pay for the same healthcare for all the poor people in the Third World, hey, they have a moral right too!

Posted by: George1955 | July 27, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

There is only one God, and His name is Obama.

http://www.thesubstratum.com/general-politics/there-is-only-one-god-and-his-name-is-obama/

Posted by: geraldmerits | July 27, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Why do you assume if we expanded Medicare to All we'd have worse care? One has little to do with the other. How are for-private, private insurers improving health care? We are not arguing about doctors or medice here, just payers. I think third-party payers have added absolutely nothing to the quality of care. Are you arguing that third-party payers have added to the quality of care? if so, how?

Posted by: masslib | July 27, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The reason the moral case for health reform is kept implicit is that programs already exist for the indigent. One may, of course, make the claim that it is a moral issue that people who are not indigent should have to spend over a certain amount of their disposable income or go into debt to receive medical care, but this, compared to the availability of care for all, is shaky. America does not neglect the poor or weak or those unable to afford medical care. Far from it. The debate is really about how much those who are not indigent should have to pay for their medical care in relation to what they are receiving for it. Contrary to all history and common sense, health care radicals and statists maintain that more government involvement means more bang for the buck, greater efficiency, higher quality, and a better deal for all concerned.

Posted by: Teleologicus | July 27, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"If every American is guaranteed a lawyer, why not a doctor?"

Ezra, I'm pretty sure you don't want that as your tagline. For anyone familiar with our criminal justice system, it will put a terrifying image in their head.

(You don't actually think that an urban kid arrested for selling crack gets the same representation as, say, a Kennedy accused of rape, do you? If you invite people to draw those parallels, you lose. The average person knows they don't want to be "guaranteed" a doctor in the same way that they're "guaranteed" a lawyer.)

Posted by: paultx | July 27, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Masslib,

The reason we would all have worse care is at least two fold.

1. The private payee system allows doctors and medical researchers who make break throughs in treatment techniques or drugs to make a big profit. Profit is what drives the desire to innovate. I assure you that most of the great developments in medicine over the last 50 years have not come from Canada or tiawan.

2. Free health care will only motivate people to use the system when it is not necessary. When I was a kid we did not have insurance so my parents bandaged every owee, pulled every sliver or piece of glass, and treated every ailment. When we went to the doctor it was the real deal. I never actually went till I was 17. I will be the first to admit that my kids go to the doc way more than I did because it just does not cost me that much to take them. When its free...good luck. There already is not enough doctors to go around.

Posted by: PSOG | July 27, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

What is the morality of requiring adults 18-65 to guarantee the health coverage of seniors 65 and older, political officials, govt. employees, military,disabled, and every other person who has a public option coverage, while those same citizens have no health guarantee, indeed no health coverage or services for themselves or their families, now to the tune of 47 million??

My sister in law, age 57, now has cancer, can't work, losing her health insurance, when COBRA is gone, she gets no more cancer treatment.(you don't get cancer treatment in emergency rooms). She loses her health care, her home, her life. That's morality for someone who has been supporting Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare, and Congressional Health care all her adult life??

Posted by: cmpnwtr | July 27, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Here's a prime example of why health care will never be equal. Senator Kennedy shunned the great Mass. General Hospital and traveled to Duke for his brain surgery. (b/c he had the money to pay for it). No government plan would (could or should) ever pay for such extravagant care for the masses. However, those with inluence and money will always be able to crack the single payer systems they create.

Posted by: jacowanjr | July 27, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

We have an administration and a party that both advocate taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. It is beyond preposterous to suggest that they have any standing to make a "moral" case for anything.

Where morality is concerned, they have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Besides . . . who do they think they are, trying to force their "morality" down someone else's throat? Isn't that what they constantly accuse us of doing?

Posted by: nourse | July 27, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Agree. Reinhardt has known this for a long time. And unless we adopt universal Health care we'll never be able to control the terrible costs to American taxpayers of 12-20 million illegals swarming every day and night to State and Academic emergency rooms. Because any other alternative that keeps the for profit insurance sector alive, with or without a competing Public option for the poor and middle class, will not solve the illegal factor. Single payer universal care paid for with taxes is the only long-term solution so we can budle up in one the Plan of Congress, Federal employees, the VA, Medicare and Medicaid and significantly control costs. Congress has shown no intention of sharing with the people the cushy taxpayer-subsidized Health Plan it enjoys. Federal employees have a similar Plan. Medicare for all won't do it because it is quickly going broke with all kinds of unmanegeable billing fraud and market-driven expensive payments for drugs and medical devices. Given that there is no political will for universal care for all the above reasons, Obama is fighting this problem alone, now that his own Bluedog Democrats are blocking his Public Plan option-the only short-term alternative towards universal care. Obama is facing a huge wall of money and has not received the necessary consensus from the people like Great Britain gave Atlee right after WW II. Atlee defeated Churchill at the latter's point of highest popularity when Churchill refused to back National health care. Great Britain has never regretted that decision. They pay one half of what we do with better access for everyone and superior indices of morbidity and mortality.

Posted by: lionelroger | July 27, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS IT!

The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!

SPREAD THE WORD

Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 27, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping it would take a little longer before Ezra's comment section turned into this:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

Oh well, it was a good run while it lasted...

Posted by: void_pelican | July 27, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"For example, roughly 75% of the uninsured are either relatively wealthy, young, illegal immigrant, or currently eligible for Medicaid. Why is it a moral issue to force these groups to buy health care?"


Yeah, these guys love taking the moral high road. But it's all about POWER and out of control spending.

Posted by: Jules5 | July 27, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to turn this issue over to a BIPARTISAN commission to fix the problem, with one of the goals being : AS LITTLE GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION AS POSSIBLE! One of the things that this administration just does not get is the fact that there is LITTLE FAITH IN THE GOVERNMENT DOING ANYTHING RIGHT -- EXCEPT DEFENSE!

Everything the government touches costs an 'arm and a leg', and when it comes to health care, that is precisely what it might very well cost.

Obama has not leveled with the American people. It was clearly portrayed on July 22. As evidenced by his own poll numbers, his personal credibility is slipping – largely as a result of this issue – HEALTHCARE!

What is also a bit bothersome is Obama's recent statement, "Don't bet against me!" That statement is bothersome. Is he betting against the American people?

If he wants to reform health care -- GET IT OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE, and NANCY PELOSI's hands!

The plan has lost credibility. Bits and pieces have slipped out; the White House has failed to share details with the American people; and the government -- in total -- is forgetting that there is a little phrase that should be guiding us all: "LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS!" They should not be playing with LIFE!!


I know that it would be like mixing oil with water, but some of the recommendations from Gingrich make a lot of sense, and would return some credibility to the process -- the latter is now sorely lacking!!

Posted by: wheeljc | July 27, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

This is _exactly_ what the bully pulpit of the White House is for. Obama should be out there making the moral case for health care *and* the necessity for sacrifice on everyones part to make it happen. He also needs to be more willing to take on members of his own party - it is possible that modest malpractice reform would bring some GOP votes - why not try?
He really needs to get out there and actually LEAD.

Posted by: invention13 | July 27, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I want to laugh at the people who talk about free market health care.

In a free market you can refuse to pay something you find too expensive
If you have cancer and think the drug to cure you is too expensive do you refuse it?

Single payer is the only way to go

Posted by: plasma411 | July 27, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"that had Bush tried to raise taxes to pay for the Iraq war (which would have been at least the fiscally responsible thing to do),"

What the hell are you talking about? That is exactly what our taxes "ARE PAID FOR". Keep Americans and our Country safe from those who threaten us and wish us harm.

"Clearly, Obama(democrat) is not the President(democrat) we thought we were voting for - REAL(democrat) change.

He's(democrat) basically Bush(DEMOCRAT SCAPEGOAT) all over again.

We(democrats) can waste lives(AMERICAN) and (AMERICAN)billions on a religious two front war"

He's(DEMOCRAT) also doing one heck of job of continuing with (DEMOCRAT)Paulson's boondoggle for banks and insurance companies.

Can we please get a real(AMERICAN) President for the(AMERICAN) PEOPLE....I'm ready for an Obama(DEMOCRAT) recall vote"

go2goal, dO YOU VOTE AS AN INDIVIDUAL or did you sell the rights to your vote to those stupid "WE" people? I don't think your should be voting period till you get that "real or imagined" problem taken care of. Don't feel bad , I without hesitation admit I had no business voting the first 16 years of my life ,however for completely different reasons.

Posted by: RobLACa | July 27, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Universally mandated anything is a farce.

There is nothing in the COTUS that gives the federal government any responsibility, or any authority to mandate universal healthcare. That should be sufficient to end the arguments.

If we truly want to reduce the cost of healthcare, get the government out of it completely. All the FedGov does is continually raise the floor of costs. Much like the Minimum Wage, raising the cost floor impacts every cost above it, often by multiples: it reduces employment, makes both entry and advancement less likely, and drives more of the economy 'underground', benefitting no one.

Let's take a closer look at Veterans' Healthcare, or Medicare, or Medicaid to see how effectively and efficiently the federal government looks- after those who have sacrificed the most for our way of life; and those who need the most help. I never hear people clamoring to get that same level of professional care as is provided by federally managed healthcare. Why is universal healthcare going to be different?

Like every other federal program, universal healthcare will do more harm than good. On what basis do Liberals continue to expect a different result from government interference in the private sector that has NEVER been successful?

Stupid is as Stupid Does!


Posted by: fbanta | July 27, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

lensch's paste key says:
"2. The CBO has examined the idea of defensive medicine. They found no difference in practice between states with limits on tort settlements and those with no limits."

Translation: Doctors don't take more shortcuts when the awards are smaller. That's what you're saying. But it's not like they paid the awards directly anyway -- that's why they have malpractice insurance.

What you have conspicuously NOT said is that the doctors would still be guilty of malpractice if they took the same shortcuts. And what's missing from your paste key is true safe harbor for doctors who recommend which procedures their patients might want to skip to save money.

Absent that, you're just pasting a lie. As usual.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | July 27, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

As a Registered democratic American since the age of 18 I see nothing American , truthful, worth listening to from the party of democrats. Our Country would be with out a doubt better off without the likes of Pelosi, Waxman, Reid,.... well pretty much this UnAmerican party of democrats. They are incapable of doing anything without causing harm one way or the other. I don't need them for anything.

Posted by: RobLACa | July 27, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Sure there's a moral case for health care. But, this plan with its huge cost, expensive bureaucracy, money for abortion, and government intrusion is not moral, ethical or realistic. You are seriously confused and hiding the issue behind a moral smokescreen.

Try this on for size: 1. tort reform to eliminate lottery awards and wasteful defensive medicine, 2. increased competition (get rid of medical boards that can turn down new hospitals and clinics and that erect unreasonable barriers to entry for medical staff), 3. tax-advantaged medical savings accounts leveraged against catastrophic health care coverage, 4. rapid tax write-offs for investment in medical equipment and research 5. honesty - fair pay for doctors who treat medicare and medicaid patients 6. legislation to encourage private insurance plans and group coverage.

Now, that might actually work. The Obama plan is a bunch of lies and false promises.

Posted by: CEBFburg | July 27, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

There is no moral obligation to provide health care.

Is it moral to take from one to give to another??? Apparently when the government says so or legalizes it. It is illegal to break into a house and steal someones belongings but not illegal for you to break into their checking account and take their money.

Is it immoral to have children when you cannot take care of them? Apparently not. But is immoral for me to not provide health care to those same kids. That makes no sense. But, I guess it doesn't have to make sense as long as you can change laws to legalize theft.

I went all the way through my twenties with no health care by choice - was it immoral of you to not force health care on me.

Get's old people placing jagged edges on the American value system in order to poke and prod, via guilt, the masses into giving away their freedoms. Government run health care will not provide good health care to all - it will minimize health care for all. Find one example where the government ran anything well....besides the IRS ... they actually don't run that well or they would have caught all of Obama's cabinet members cheating on their taxes prior to becoming a cabinet member. Oh....and those are the same cheats who will run health care. Sure they won't pass your parents over for their friends and family (can you say pipe dream).

No doubt there are plenty of savings and scams in health insurance, from the obvious Medicare/Medicade fraud to why individuals have to get insurance from employers at all instead of making their own purchases, to not allowing insurance sold across state lines, etc, etc. But any one who thinks the government will do a good job providing insurance is a chump.

If I were to say to your grandparents...."Sorry you do not have insurance looks like you will die sooner rather than later" is that more upsetting than the government saying to them, "Wow, you lived a long life and health care you need is only available to someone younger. Looks like you will die sooner rather than later"? Why in the world would you sanction the government to decide life and death matters? The difference is - if you do not have insurance that does not have to be permanent. Where as if the government has control over health insurance it will be forever ineptly managed.....forever. We will go from expensive and the best in the world to expensive and inept. Unless you are one of those who expects people to go through 12 years of higher education to work for the government.

The same people who manage the post office will be managing health care. There are solutions to improve health care - and none of them will involve the government take over of it.

Funny, when you expect something for nothing how often that turns into nothing for something. The Greatest Generation must be turning over in their grave as their kids and grand kids abdicate their freedoms after they risked life and limb to secure it.


Posted by: rdmartin1 | July 27, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Don't Americans have a fundamental right to keep the fruits of their own labor? Helping the poor is one thing but subsidizing healthcare for families making 400% of the poverty line is something different. If a family of four making $88,000 per year can’t afford a reasonable healthcare policy…they need to closely examine their own lifestyle.

Posted by: kingstu01 | July 27, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

there's alot hidden in the bill markups that have the potential of bending both the cost and moral curve.

The Perils of a Quick Fix Will Change Over Time.
It starts with a public alternative. Then no alternative. Then eventually who knows??

Who knows---has happened in the Netherlands where I was born. Euthanasia has been approved there. Doctors can now end life without family approval.

Elderly people are in fear of a hospital stay not knowing what their doctors may decide. I suppose when they go to the hospital they feel like they may be rolling the dice.

So here we are in the United States of America and we actually have many of our representatives and senators willing to cast their vote without reading all the pages. Do Americans feel like their reps are rolling the dice??

Let’s slow down and start over!! Why not reform healthcare a page at a time, an issue at a time, one solution at a time?? If it has to be snuck by us---it isn’t right!! If the solution can’t stand the light of day---it isn’t right!! No more slick back room deals!! Remember transparency?? Lets do it right!! One piece at a time!!


In 30 years Holland has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia of people who are terminally ill to euthanasia of those who are chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for mental illness, from euthanasia for mental illness to euthanasia for psychological distress or mental suffering, and from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia or as the Dutch prefer to call it "termination of the patient without explicit request".

http://www.euthanasia.com/netherlands.html

where will this boondoggle lead us??

Posted by: corryvan | July 27, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

As in all instances of public policy, a "moral argument" must be tempered by reality. The US had a decent "moral argument" for invading Iraq and installing a democracy there (I don't think I need to list the grievances of the Iraqi people here). Unfortunately, the Bush administration was so narcissistic about the morality of the policy that it sort of overlooked the practicalities of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and installing a democracy.

So we should not be surprised if health reform that is created primarily on a "moral" foundation is as successful as the Iraq War.

Posted by: harrassee | July 27, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Morality and the profit motive will never mix....

Focus on the costs, Ezra. Money talks in this land of ours. Morality only counts if you care about the fetus until it draws its first breath....

Posted by: anne3 | July 27, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

An excellent article, Mr. Klein. One crucial point, only mentioned by one commenter, is the "Thanks, Granny, but die soon" issue that the emphasis on "bending the curve" economically rather than on morality is enforcing in some White House and legislative proposals, which would "trim" Medicare for greater "efficiency" at cost of some end of life treatment and while limiting tests and specialist visits for those on Medicare. And of course putting equivalent limitations on any public insurance coverage--making this into actual rationing for anyone old, poor, disabled, or chronically ill. . .unless of course they're rich enough to support the insurance companies. How does this differ from today's U.S. health coverage disaster? For those affected, not at all. We need fair, single-tier, single-payer health insurance for everyone alike.

Posted by: friedman1 | July 27, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

you live up to your nickname when you say that the richest country in the world cannot afford what Cuba can afford

------------

It is highly debatable whether we are the richest country in the world in view of our immense government debt obligations. And as others have pointed out, moral obligations fall by the side if you can't afford them. And in view of our rapidly escalating health and entitlement costs, we will not be able to afford them without fundamental change in the way in which health services are provided in this country. Hence the focus by Obama on this aspect of the problem.

Finally, comparisons with Sweden and Cuba and other countries are simplistic. They do not have our "defense" obligations that consume a very large proportion of our tax revenue for better or (in my view) worse. Nor, for that matter, do they have interest payments on their national debts that are going to the moon, as they are in our case, unless we get our fiscal house in order.

Posted by: JamesSCameron | July 27, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Markushallus - Glad to hear that your health and well being allow to maintain an independent lifestyle. I hope you never face a major medical crisis because you will find out the realities of the American for-profiteer health insurance system.
65% of bankruptcy are brought about because of medical crisis. Of those 65%, 75% had medical insurance at the beginning of the crisis. The health insurance industry does not care about your health. Their bottom line is profit. They're doing quite well since 2000 they've increased their profits by 400%. They routinely compensate their CEOs in the range of 10 mil to 30 mil annually. Who do you think is paying for those exaggerated profits and compensations?
For-profiteers are running about 20% overhead while Medicare runs about 3%. Which system is more economical to run?

Posted by: al10oter | July 27, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

PSOG - 150,000 Canadians (0.6%) come to the US each year for medical treatment. Half of them are sent here and paid for by the Canadian health care system for rare treatments that we have more experience since we are 13 times larger. The remaining 0.3% are probably rich people who want fancy food in the hospital.

In poll after poll, the Canadians have preferred their system to ours by over 90%. The last in 8/2008, had 91% of them preferring their system.

Posted by: lensch | July 27, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Frankly it is past time to "cut to the quick" on the health care issue for Americans.
1. We cannot be compared to any other nation. Nothing about us is the same!
2. For profit health care develops new drugs,and life-saving methods, makes new equipments, builds new hospitals, and trains new doctors and staff while caring for Americans.
3. The Government has no business in trying to take over and destroy the free enterprise health system. Their role is one of support and protections only, not radical control, or rationing and patient-doctor relationship interference! Our Government has ceased to protect us and now wants to rob us.
4. Obama and his "Chicago influence control mob," need to stop their lies to the American people now! The Democratic party will never recover if they continue to deceive Americans. Stop the Harry and Louise.org propaganda trash too, along with the e-mail lies from David Axlrod. These propaganda attacks are new real low blow... Just how stupid does the Obama Administration think we are?

Posted by: USDefender | July 27, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Frankly it is past time to "cut to the quick" on the health care issue for Americans.
1. We cannot be compared to any other nation. Nothing about us is the same!
2. For profit health care develops new drugs,and life-saving methods, makes new equipments, builds new hospitals, and trains new doctors and staff while caring for Americans.
3. The Government has no business in trying to take over and destroy the free enterprise health system. Their role is one of support and protections only, not radical control, or rationing and patient-doctor relationship interference! Our Government has ceased to protect us and now wants to rob us.
4. Obama and his "Chicago influence control mob," need to stop their lies to the American people now! The Democratic party will never recover if they continue to deceive Americans. Stop the Harry and Louise.org propaganda trash too, along with the e-mail lies from David Axlrod. These propaganda attacks are new real low blow... Just how stupid does the Obama Administration think we are?

Posted by: USDefender | July 27, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

The US has the best health care in the world - just look it up. We need to screw around with this?

This is all about health insurance - who get's to pay for the freeloaders? If you have no intention of paying for your own health insurance why demand that "the rich" pay for your inability to pay for their own insurance.

The government has no business messing around with insurance markets - except to buy votes from freeloaders who blow their money on cigarettes and booze.

Posted by: PerryM1 | July 27, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I wish some of you "reformists" would give me one good reason for health care reform! You basically want to re-create what we already have. That is, tax the people who are buying health care insurance now, to fund free health care for those who do not. Is this not what system we have currently?

No individual in this country is denied health care currently. Those of us who can afford insurance subsidize those who get free care. Bottom line is, nobody is deniged care.

Don't fix it if it ain't broke!

Finally, health care reform will cause 40,000 medical sales representatives to lose their jobs. Learn more about why at http://www.gorillamedicalsales.com/blog

Posted by: medsearch | July 27, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, there is no moral case for health care reform, unless you mean fully privatizing it.

The reason is: it's not possible to speak of morality in a context in which you are literally forcing choices on people. Morality is a matter of chosen moral codes, not coercion. Morality is a matter of choosing values with your mind and sticking to them. There can be no morality when social policy entails forcibly preventing doctors from setting the terms of the their practice, preventing insurance to be bought and sold across state lines, preventing insurers from doing business as they see fit, and preventing consumers from partaking of all of the above, as they choose.

Liberal health care reform, single payer, socialized medicine... whatever you wish to call it, never had the moral high ground because it is morally wrong on principle. It stands in opposition to people thinking and living their lives, and disposing of their earthly goods as they see fit, be they doctor, insurer or patient.

There is no moral right to harness some people as beasts of burden to others. That is not caring, that is not social, that is not compassionate; it is slavery. It is the end of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What is right is for people to live by the judgment of their minds, and be left free to do so.

Posted by: mtnrunner2 | July 27, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

What is the moral case for our elected leaders of imposing Obamacare on the rest of us, charging us up the ying yang in taxes for the priviledge of enjoying rationed health care in which the very sick and old are put on waitlists to die, or outright refused any care except morphine, while they specifically exempt themselves, their families, and all Federal Employees from participating in Obamacare. How can it be moral to force the rest of us into a system that our President and Congressman don't want for their own families. Obamacare that exempts the President, Congress, their families, and all Federal employees is profoundly immoral!

Posted by: valwayne | July 27, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

"No individual in this country is denied health care currently. "

22,000 people in the US died last year because of a lack of health insurance (Urban Institute)

Over half of all bankruptcies in the US were caused by medical problems. Most of the people involved had health insurance. (Harvard Medical School)

I have leukemia. Where can I get health care?

For those who are interested in drug companies practices, google Alan Sager a prof at BU.

Posted by: lensch | July 27, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

This health care system IS broken! When my family of 5 pays $1400/mo for coverage with a high deductible and decreasing services every year, things are terribly wrong.We've been denied coverage by other insurance firms because of migraines and acid reflux! If you have ANY illness, you're dreaming to think anyone will cover you if you lose your current plan.

What's wrong with having a moral reason for health care for this country? When did doing the right thing become wrong? The spending excuse is bogus. This country's productivity will explode when people feel secure about their health care.

The Blue Dog Dems are obviously in the pocket of the health care industry and are loading their coffers with their donations. Senators, you represent this entire country and doing hard things is why you were put in office.

We want to send our kids to college, but who can save when premiums (for healthy people even) eat up an enormous share of our income?

Great article--KEEP ON IT!!

Posted by: cathy14 | July 27, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

The United States was founded on the idea individual rights. Our founding documents are imbued with the moral philosophy of principled self-interest and the social-political philosophy of individualism -- the theory that individuals are ends-in-themselves; that each one of us owns our own life; that each one of us has the right to exist for our own sake; that no one has the right to force anyone to live for the sake of others; that each one of us has the right to be left alone to pursue our own ends in life as long as we don’t infringe on the liberty of others to do the same; that we should deal with one another by voluntary means; that the proper role of government is to protect our rights by legislating, adjudicating, and enforcing laws that prohibit other individuals or groups -- foreign and domestic -- from initiating force against us.

Our founding documents--contrary to the wishes of the left-over leftists among us--did not openly embrace the moral philosophy of altruism and the social-political philosophy of collectivism - the theory that the interests of the collective (tribe, church, monarchy, Aryan nation, proletariate, society, “public interest”, etc.) take priority over the interests of each individual in it; that the individual has value only insofar as he or she serves the collective; that the proper role of government is to subjugate the individual to the collective; that the government is entitled to own, use, and dispose of the land, the means of production, personal property, and even the lives of individuals, as necessary to promote the welfare of the collective.

A so-called “right to healthcare” demands that some members of society (taxpayers as well as doctors and other healthcare providers) be forced to serve the healthcare needs of the society at large. Any use of government force to enforce a “right to healthcare” would necessary violate the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

A right that violates other rights is a virulent virus to release in the body politic. How does a localized infection of statism not become a systemic one? Where does it end? Food? Water? Clothing? Shelter? Healthcare? Transportation? K-12 Education? College? Pre-school? Graduate School? Toiletries? Haircuts? Legal services? Art? Entertainment?

How about some free sex while were are at it? Universal sex--that’s the ticket--that’s a winning plank in the platform for some politician to get re-elected! But who would be appointed sex czar? What is Billy “The Rooster-in-Chief” Clinton doing nowadays?

When will this ever end? Who is John Galt?

Yes, Jefferson and our other founders are turning with disgust in their graves.

Dr. Gregory Garamoni
Founder and Executive Director,
Doctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine
www.doctorsonstrike.com

Posted by: GLGPHD | July 28, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

What I don't understand is that the GOP wants to encourage small businesses, how many would-be small-business entreprenuers are not making the attempt because they can't afford private heatlh insurance. Another thought, how many near-retirement, older employees would leave their jobs, opening positions for young workers (who have a high unemployment rate) at lower salaries if getting health insurance until they get on Medicare wasn't a concern.

Posted by: ahalfar | July 28, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

In the US, you can get the very best care in the world for those who can afford it and so-so care is made available to everyone else, depending what their insurance chooses to cover. Great for people with alot of money. Rich people from other countries come here.

It's too freaking expensive for those who aren't rich to come here though. And why would they when many can get at least the guarantee of care at home that Americans themselves don't have access to here.

My Norwegian-born friend, who is middle class by the way, chose to go to Norway to receive care when she developed cancer. She didn't have to worry about getting her insurance to cover her there.

Posted by: lucylives | July 28, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

The case for health care reform is an immoral one of forcing people into doing something they may or may not want to participate in, and taking money from somebody who has worked for it and giving it to somebody who hasn't. Healthcare is not a right.

In order to pay for this in a fair way they should charge people according to their health, take into consideration their age, weight, sex, prior health conditions,whether or not they choose to smoke or exercise,and their driving record. Like the life insurance companies do (are we going to have socialized life insurance next?) Oh yea and if you can't afford it because of how your results come in, then you can't afford it. Reap what your genetics, fate, and lifestyle have sown. The insurance companies are there to make a profit by charging people to be covered. Why would someone qualify for insurance if it is a sure thing that they will cost more than they put in?

Maybe instead of confiscating peoples hard earned money to pay for other persons' health care, maybe they can confiscate it and pay people to be in shape and remain healthy. I would rather pay somebody to remain healthy than give them money in the form of healthcare after they have chosen a lifestyle that gets them sick. Maybe people could go to the doctor for an annual physical and get a health based tax credit.


We are all going to get sick and die at some point. Why would anybody have a RIGHT to live for longer than God or nature has dictated by their lifestyle, choices, and their genetics? And on top of that at somebody elses expense and hard work!

It is immoral to confiscate people's earnings and give it to those who have not earned it. America has always been about making your own way, and reaping the rewards of your labor. Read the constitution, the law of our land upon which everything is based, and you will nowhere find that health care is an innate right. It would be un-American, more fitting of some communist or socialist country. Its in the name - "Socialized" Medicine.

Posted by: saltydawg1 | July 28, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

To make the moral argument one has to be moral. Unfortunately our modern government gives continual evidence of being highly contrary to any morality. Unless we clean up our government we will continue to see disappointing outcomes opposed to the will of the electorate. This nation is dieing for want of statesmen and truth.

It is immoral to leave 50 million Americans without health insurance and care. It is immoral that our health outcomes are behind every other advanced nation especially considering we are the richest nation on earth. It is immoral to spend more than twice ass much per person than the next highest payers (France!)and have these poor results for this obscene overpayment.

Anybody with half a brain can see that our present course in health care will only lead to more adverse results. Price rises are unsustainable. The US does not have anywhere near the best health care in world for all we spend. We have a broken health system which a corrupt congress fails to even talk about honestly much less act on problems with true remedies.

Posted by: motodude | July 28, 2009 2:48 AM | Report abuse

"This country's productivity will explode when people feel secure about their health care."

What utter crap! This Country's productivity took a dump when the dirty rats took control of the House and Senate.

"Senators, you represent this entire country and doing hard things is why you were put in office."

No they represent their individual states you moron.

"We want to send our kids to college, but who can save when premiums (for healthy people even) eat up an enormous share of our income?"

What's the problem Cathy? Community College is there just for people like you. You want Govt run quality ? There you go.

Posted by: RobLACa | July 28, 2009 3:09 AM | Report abuse

If you correct for racial makeup the health statistics of the US and Sweden are roughly similar. Individuals of different ethnic origins have roughly the same health outcomes, but the difference between countries is the different ethnic makeups.

Taiwan? Sure, I have the answer to that. Lots of asians, plus capitalism. Asians, everywhere live longer than europeans, who, in turn, live longer than africans. Yes, that pattern is genetic, import a bunch of africans, I mean lots, into Taiwan and you'll have a long term reduction in "healthcare outcomes".

You people really need to read more Nietzsche.

Posted by: AsherJ | July 28, 2009 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Excellent column! I have frankly been appalled at the lack of morality and honesty with respect to the health care debate. It has been frustrating to see the discussion morph from universal healthcare for all Americans, to the possibility of including a public option, to the even weaker idea of a co-op -- and Orrin Hatch said he can't even support that watered down proposal! The misinformation out there is rampant - people need to get the facts and then get active contacting their representatives.

Posted by: CP0879 | July 28, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

If we really wanted to "improve healthcare outcomes" we'd deport all africans to Africa. Of course, no one really cares about "healthcare outcomes" outside of political control and manipulation, and no one wants to deport all africans to Africa (not even me).

I just like to stick things in people's eyes.

Posted by: AsherJ | July 28, 2009 3:52 AM | Report abuse

lensch pretends:
"In poll after poll, the Canadians have preferred their system to ours by over 90%. The last in 8/2008, had 91% of them preferring their system."

The USSR also had convinced its citizens that their system was better than ours.

Russians understood that Americans lived in poverty, since we had something we called "poverty," but which also turned out to be just about as good as the average Soviet lived -- only our poor didn't have to work, and they had more access to luxuries like toilet paper.

In the same way, America's political left continues to confuse the issue today. Most of America, we are told, is one illness -- one paycheck -- away from the bread line.

Lensch now proves that the propaganda is effective, by showing how Canadians favor their healthcare over what they think our healthcare is. Not the same as favoring their healthcare over the care thousands (tens of thousands?) of Canadians actually come here for each year.

Perhaps we should ask the only people who've actually tried both systems, Lensch: Let's conduct a poll of those thousands who've been here (for our hospital food, I'm told -- LOL!) and ask them which system they'd prefer. After all, they've been in both systems, haven't they?

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | July 28, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

lensch:
"I have leukemia. Where can I get health care?"

Health care? Why not just settle for some nice, economical "end of life counseling"?

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | July 28, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

lensch:
"22,000 people in the US died last year because of a lack of health insurance"

But by adding free "end of life counseling" we hope to put an end to that?

Have any of you libs calculated how many people will die because Obama says you can't get the same kind of treatment Ted Kennedy gets???

I didn't think so.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | July 28, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for bringing up Kennedy's treatment. A big moral issue in all this is whether those who would be our healthcare overlords will be subject to the same restrictions and rationing as the rest of us. It would be so nice if they set an example of this NOW, before the whole thing goes into effect. People like Kennnedy need to voluntarily give up some of their world class specialists to young children similarly afflicted.

Posted by: truck1 | July 28, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Taxpayer funded abortions, people suffering on waiting lists. Let's have a moral debate.

In the Old South a race of people got their basic rights: food, shelter, healthcare, and religion all provided for them. They were called SLAVES.

Somehow, I just don't feel right abdicating that we return to slavery for the working class in America. There's a word I'm trying to think of. I think it was in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence or something....Oh yeah:

FREEDOM. I'd rather die in a gutter in a land of opportunity than live a meaningless existence of oppression in another country. This is what so many have fought for. It's what people immigrate for. It's what we take for granted.

Posted by: power2thepeople | July 28, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Two days after his diagnosis, Ted Kennedy had flown to his bedside the best experts from around the country. They advised him, and secured instantly the services of one of the nation's foremost neurosurgeons who practices at Duke. Within a few days of his diagnosis, Kennedy was being treated down there. Does this resemble the kind of healthcare that Americans will get under the Obama plan. If not, why not? Is there any problem with a person who had such "gold plated" care advocating rationing and "skin in the game" for ordinary, non celebrity Americans?

Posted by: truck1 | July 28, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Maybe those advocating Obamacare see your "moral rights" argument bringing problems of its own. I'm not sure what "right" national health confers; nor does your article clarify. Right to health insurance, possibly; but does this bring me a "right" to actual health care? How does ceding ultimate decision-making to some government bureaucrat enhance my "right"? What about the elderly, or some who may have made some unhealthy "life style choices"? What kind of right does all this guarantee them? It is acknowledged all around their access will be restricted, and decided by some health panel. So, everyone will have equal right to healthcare; but some will be more equal than others? Are there problems with people not having insurance or being denied care? Certainly, again undeniable. How about more honesty on all sides to address the real problems and the actual consequences of the possible solutions. And I'm not sure that demonizing everyone as immoral or greedy who doesn't see the only option as turning all this over to the government wins many backers. On what possible basis, in terms of any other program, would there be any reason to put it all in their hands, or trust their promises?

Posted by: huntleygreen | July 28, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The questions raised by the previous poster show how shallow is the talk of "the moral case" for healthcare reform. There are a host of issues raised by such a massive reform that would fall into the "moral" category. Only a very simple mind could say : universal care, moral, present situation, immoral. What about the elderly, indeed? Is it moral to take away their present level of care and give it to a young person? A young non-citizen resident? To break the medicare "bargain" that they assumed would be in place when they worked all those years and paid taxes. What about the higher level of care for the overlords (Kennedy) Is that moral? What about the forcing of the young and healthy to pay an equal amount? Moral? What about the character and nature of those who impose this? Should they be honest people? People who have paid their taxes? People who do not habitually lie? People who will share in the sacrifice -- or people living high on the hog, and calling on others to have "skin in the game". What about the eugenic proposals of "Zeke" Emanuel, by which the demented, the physically impaired, the old and weak would be offered limited care? Would be allowed to die off? This kind of thinking was very discredited after the second world war, but memory has faded. Is eugenics moral?

Posted by: truck1 | July 28, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

What sacred text or natural law makes health care reform and universal health care the moral imperative that those who are advocating it claim it to be? In truth their argument is based more on misplaced jealousies than in morality. A large segment of our society is able to afford or has health care available to them, and since this is so these advocates believe that it should be available to all at the same level. Politicians, wanting everyone to think they are compassionate, compound the issue by reaping votes on the promises of having some one else pay for it with their taxes so government can provide health care to those who cannot or will not provide it for themselves. We all as individuals should be compassionate towards those with financial difficulties but there is no moral authority to this proposed government mandated sacrifices.

Posted by: RCCRVS | July 29, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Mr Klein,

You are correct that we should be arguing health care reform as a moral issue. We differ in that there is no moral case for what is being proposed. It is morally wrong. Please answer me, what gives the government the right to guarantee health care to anyone and at whose expense??? We, as Americans, are guaranteed the right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. We, as individuals, are protected by the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution that these rights will not be infringed upon. Well, guess what, government backed health care has to take from some individuals and redistribute to other individuals. This is not freedom. We were founded on the premise of individual rights. Do you know what that means? It does not mean extorting earnings/property from some to give to others. We are not slaves to the state. The state does not own us. Health care run by the government forces the individual (whether doctor or patient) to participate in a system that they have no right to mandate. This is called tyranny. Do you know what that means? We live in a country founded on the principles of being free to choose, not forced to choose. Morality exists when individuals have the right and freedom to choose and voluntarily exchange and trade with one another. The initiation of force against any individual is immoral, evil, period.

Posted by: karemason | July 29, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

President Obama's vain push for national health care is not even about "bending the curve" of health care costs. It's about expanding the role of government into our lives at the expense of our self-sufficiency and self-determination. In other words, it's about creating a class of dependents who will continuously vote for larger, more expensive government.

Posted by: partyanimalken | July 30, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Good News for all you conservatives, America will NEVER get anything close to universal healthcare. Bad news if you run a small business, healthcare will never be reformed!

Posted by: RobMadrid | July 31, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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