Give Me Socialized Health Care or Give Me Death !

As a card carrying member of The Godless Liberal Heathen Club I am oath sworn to uphold various beliefs and ideas. Collectively these beliefs and ideas are known as "The Esoteric Laws of the Magnificent Kennedy" and to date there are 1,347 of them. In order to gain entrance to the GLHC, a candidate is "compelled" to memorize all the Laws and recite them from memory at an induction ceremony. The ceremony itself is a secretive affair involving a ritual baptism in John Locke's platinum bidet, copious amounts of libations and interpretive dance....but that's neither here nor there. Now I know many of you may not be familiar with these laws since membership in the club is restricted to college professors, politicians, Hollywood types and the French. So for your convenience I'm going to list a few of them for you:

  1. Gay people should be allowed to get married if they so choose.
  2. Bill Clinton was the greatest president in the history of the universe.
  3. Destroying the environment is a bad idea and we should stop doing it.
  4. Grown men should be allowed to marry farm animals and small children.
  5. Religion has no place in (public) schools.
  6. War is very bad...especially when it's declared on nouns. (i.e. drugs and terror)
  7. Rich people should be taxed all to hell.
  8. Life on Earth developed over millions of years due to evolution/natural selection.
  9. Although Charlton Heston starred in many great films (ex. Omega Man, Soilent Green, Planet of the Apes) he became a real horror show later in life.
  10. Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondent's Dinner is the single greatest moment in television history.

As you can see, my list is nowhere near exhaustive. Were I to copy down every Law it would take 12 hours to read and then Ted Turner would come to your house to kill you. Just know that our Laws are many and varied. And, although we DO have to memorize every one, only the most gifted members of the Club are able to combine all 1,347 tenets into a coherent world view.

But just knowing the Laws isn't enough. We GLHers are also duty bound to disseminate the Laws into society by any means available to us. Some accomplish this by infiltrating the mass media. Others insert themselves into the political world and introduce legislation that reflects GLH dogma. You'll be able to see an example of this next year when Senator Ted Kennedy introduces the Baby Fetus' For Biodiesel Act of 2009. The Act was ghostwritten by Al Gore and represents a masterful synthesis of several Esoteric Laws. Also, be sure to catch Gore's upcoming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth II: the Quickening" in which he begins to plant the seeds for the BFBD Act before it's formally introduced.

Unfortunately I have no political or media ties so I'm forced to work with what I have: Blogs here and on MySpace. That means that, right now, you get the honor of reading (if you're still actually reading this that is) about my current cause célèbre: socialized health care! HOORAY!

I've been interested in the idea of socialized health care for some time now but lately I've really started to get obsessed with the idea of it. I think it has something to do with the fact that I currently work for a large prescription drug insurance company. I'm not going to mention the name or anything but there's a good chance more than one of you has called me and begged me to override a rejected pharmacy claim for oxycontin...you junkies! I just don't understand what the U.S.A's friggin' problem with socialized health care is. Why aren't Joe Six-Pack and Jill Sleeping-Pill-Addict out in front of the White House screaming for this? Why, as a nation, will we sit back and let the government waste billions of dollars launching missiles at poor people in other countries while millions of people here in America go without health care?

Every single day at work I deal with people who are getting screwed because their insurance company drastically raised their co-payments or stopped covering some medication they need. Then, when I foolishly decide to listen to talk radio I get to hear fuckwits like Sean Hannity lie to his mush brained listening audience about how socialized health care is SOOOO expensive and how it's the next step towards all of us becoming dirty pinkos. Do you know, as a nation, we consistently spend more on health care that any other nation IN THE WORLD?! Every other industrialized nation on the planet offers health care to ALL of it's citizens yet we spend more than they due annually and millions of Americans still go without. Does that sound right to you? Does that sound like something that should happen in "the greatest country on Earth?"

I've gotten into arguments with people about this before and I swear to you that every time their counter-point is essentially, "I don't want to pay for health care for poor and lazy people." Well you know what, you already are. Why do you think your premiums keep going up? Hospitals off set the cost of treating uninsured people by charging YOUR insurance company more for YOUR operations. Then your insurance company raises your premiums to cover their loss.

Why not just eliminate the insurance companies and cut out the middle man? Either way someone is going to wind up getting your hard earned money for health care. Is it really that horrible of a prospect to think that part of what you make in a week is going to help someone out instead of making some CEO's stock increase by a fraction of a percent?

You can feel free to disagree with me if you want (if you do please do it in comment form...I'm pretty desperate for attention) but you better make a really good argument. Part of my job entails telling elderly people that the medication they need to live is no longer covered under their insurance because it's to expensive. It's pretty hard for me to be objective when I have to do that every day.

Also, if you're curious about where I got some of the information from in this blog you can look it up here, here, here, and here. I was going to provide direct links to articles and stats but I'm a typical lazy commie liberal. Besides, it's not like this stuff is hard to find.

Shayne



Comments

Tim Mathis said…
There were two primary things that I came back with from New Zealand: one was a deeper concern for environmental preservation and the other was a strong belief in the effectiveness of a fully socialized healthcare system. In both cases I was converted b/c it was obvious that they were doing better in both areas, and that their quality of life was better for it.

The most intriguing ideas I've come across relating to why we continue to be stuck where we are with healthcare were in John Kingdon's book "America the Unusual". (He's an academic, so it's not a very popular book...) A major part of his argument relates to American ideology as the culprit, beyond healthcare lobbies and big business, because we resist the idea of higher taxes and bigger gov't even against the testimony of evidence and good sense. We're freedom fundamentalists, and we view big gov't as an inhibitor to freedom. (Ironically enough, exemplified in the phrase "Give me liberty or give me death".) That's wound up in our roots as a revolutionary society rebelling against a monarchy. Nevermind the fact that strong gov't and personal freedom don't actually generally come into conflict in wealthy and functioning democracic countries--they can actually be complementary.

He also argues that Americans in general don't really value equality. Well, rather, we want 'equal opportunities' for all, but we don't care so much about equality of resource distribution and overall health and happiness, or true equality of 'outcome', as he phrases it. Ideologically, we want a meritocracy (even if our policies don't actually promote such a thing). That's one reason why some can say with a straight face that 'productive' members of society shouldn't have to contribute to the medical expenses of those who are 'unproductive'. They haven't earned it. Back Asswards, but undeniably a popular opinion.

In some ways this is an extremely depressing situation to be in, b/c a large part of our society rebels against socialized medicine at the deepest core, so even if we make strides towards it, it might not be possible in a culture such as ours. Then again, maybe like with education we can get our heads out of the sand on this issue, now that 1 in 5 have zero health coverage.
socializethis: wes said…
..."I think it has something to do with the fact that I currently work for a large prescription drug insurance company."

So, what you're saying is that you work for an institution which is already heavily regulated by the government, yet you want more regulation within the health system by the body of morons who have caused more human death and destruction than any other civilization in history. You cant see or even allow the possibility that maybe less regulation would be a better idea than more? In terms of making peace and war, government cant be trusted; but in matters of life and death concerning an individual's health, well of course we'll all be better off (dead?) in their hands. Is that what I'm reading? Things are fucked up, but what we need is more politicians making other people's health choices? Is that correct? Is it safe to say that the GLHC will be lobbying for the gov. to start handling the production of vehicles, software, food, pornography, books, videogames, movies, music, etc. as well as health care services? Why stop with health care? All Americans deserve the same standard of living.
Yes, but it isnt "gov" that is so bad--its that nit-wit Bush fellow! Some great altruistic leader will soon emerge from the cream of America's great brackish crop and take us to the promised land of egalitarianism. Preferably a leader who has read a lot of books by bell hooks.

All the idiots that disagree with you probably do watch too much Fox News if they only think that socialized health care will cost more. Not only will it cost more, but more of those funds will likely be poorly allocated, because socialism never has had a system of profit and loss to determine supply and demand of services, which translates into efficiency and money well spent. Tax payers will continue to be gouged whether or not services are being provided poorly or well...or not at all. (See "Katrina"). In addition, market innovations and cost-cutting practices (Wal-Mart's prescription drug program) in health care would be stifled by even more government regulation, lowering the overall quality of services that could be provided. Would I pay for someone else's well being if they needed it? Sure (and I do within my company). Do I want to pay for more government misallocation of taxes in the name of humanism? Hell no. If you and every other rich or poor liberal or neo-conservative wants it, then sign up for it and leave my ass out of it. The only actual complaint that I have concerning republicans and democrats is that they insist on raping the whole country with their brainless policies. Take your own medicine. I'll take mine (mine will cost less and I'll have more choices).

If you want any decent policy, you must start from the foundation. And the foundation consists of "public servants" who are good at nothing else but acquiring and keeping office, while taking free lunches. Think about that while you're planning to put your life and health into their staff-infected hands.

See, I thought this new addition of a brother with a different angle would add some dynamism--or at least a new perspective. Instead, we have two brothers double penetrating the crack whore "socialism" from different positions. The internet already has enough sloppy, low-quality porn.
Anonymous said…
Ha! Debbie Downer!
Tim Mathis said…
Sorry if my brother doesn't live up to your exacting standards in disagreeing with me Wes. I'll kick him off and disown him immediately. I know I've babbled on about this before, but I of course can't resist doing it again (I'm addicted to that crack whore, after all.)

I of all people dislike the U.S. gov't, and agree that they've generally mishandled the country on almost every front. The problem for me is statistics: in the past during the New Deal and Great Society, America--even with our screwed up gov't--had indicators of societal health (income distribution, life expectancy and infant mortality rates, prison population, etc.) similar to other Western industrialized nations. In the last 30 years we've embraced de-regulation and privatization to an extent that no other Western industrialized nation has, and have seen a corresponding decline in relation to societal health indicators. Other democratic western industrialized countries have embraced greater gov't regulation and execution in healthcare, law enforcement (private prisons anyone?), welfare, etc., and have begun to pull away from us. Interestingly, even screwed up governments that have adopted these sorts of policies have seen improvements. Cuba's a great example. By all statistical measures, their healthcare system is cheaper per capita (by a factor of 7) and more effective than ours). It would be great if there were any evidence that market pressures and altruistic medical capitalists actually did improve our quality of health and life, but what we see is that increased competition in health arenas is actually a bad thing in many ways--it leads hospitals to invest in 'customer service' and unnecessary new technology b/c those are the things that draw the crowds (Granted, there is some evidence that competition produces more medical technology--just not that that technological advantage actually benefits us in any comprehensive or significant way). Hospitals don't want scandals, and they're generally staffed by good people, but they also generally are pressured to invest significant money in unnecessary areas to keep up with the Joneses. Argue if you want, but them's the (crude) facts. (BTW, litigation is the flip side of the privatization problem. I'm not going to write on it now, b/c I have to go to work before long, but the Democrats are in bed with the trial lawyers, and as such are a big part of our systemic healthcare problem.)

Ultimately, I think it's a mistake to lump all gov't functions (and employees) together. Teachers are gov't employees, as are a lot of nurses and social workers. Lots of gov't employees do brilliant and self-sacrificial work. Granted, our elected officials somehow tend to always get it wrong, but let's clean up that problem rather than jettisoning the whole thing. Once again, gov't is just another word for the way we organize ourselves.

By the way, I'm pretty sure you'll like this Wes: https://www.relationaltithe.com/index.php
Shayne Mathis said…
In response to Wes’ comment:

“You cant see or even allow the possibility that maybe less regulation would be a better idea than more?”

Not with health care. If the average American actually took some initiative and educated themselves about their own health care than maybe, but, in my experience, they don’t. I spoke with someone the other day that choose an insurance plan without reading anything about it at all. According to this person they picked it simply because it was the cheapest choice. Consequently, they wound up picking a plan that had a $250 annual spending cap on medication. The first time they went to a pharmacy to refill some prescriptions they met their limit for the year. Unfortunately, this person is not the exception to the rule. The majority of the people I deal with have no idea how their health care coverage works. I have no idea why Americans don’t bother to educate themselves about things like this but they don’t. I’m not defending this mentality; it’s incredibly stupid to make decisions about things like health care w/o first educating yourself. But people do it anyway and then find themselves SOL later. Some type of universal health care system, even in a very basic form, could stop situations like this from happening.

“Is it safe to say that the GLHC will be lobbying for the gov. to start handling the production of vehicles, software, food, pornography, books, videogames, movies, music, etc. as well as health care services? Why stop with health care? All Americans deserve the same standard of living”

That’s a pretty slippery slope there Wes. I don’t remember saying or even eluding to any of those examples. I like my porn just the way it is.

“Yes, but it isnt "gov" that is so bad--its that nit-wit Bush fellow!”

Yeah, I think Bush is a terrible president but I’m in no way pacing blame directly on his shoulders. Both sides of the aisle are in bed with the health care and drug industry. That’s part of the problem.

“All the idiots that disagree with you probably do watch too much Fox News if they only think that socialized health care will cost more.”

Try re-reading the post, that’s not the argument I was presenting. What I said was that the people I’ve argued with about this with think they shouldn’t have to help pay for health care poor the poor or “lazy.” That’s just good ol’ fashioned self-centeredness and lack of compassion.

“In addition, market innovations and cost-cutting practices (Wal-Mart's prescription drug program) in health care would be stifled by even more government regulation, lowering the overall quality of services that could be provided.”

Insurance companies are already stifling the cost cutting practice you mentioned. A few years ago some insurance companies started placing limits on the amount of times patients could refill prescriptions at retail pharmacies. They do this to offset the money they’re losing on low cost refill plans that retail pharmacies are now providing. They are forcing their members to go through their own mail order services and to pay the prices that they set.

Also, America’s quality of health care is already falling behind the quality of health care provided by other industrialized nations.

“If you want any decent policy, you must start from the foundation. And the foundation consists of "public servants" who are good at nothing else but acquiring and keeping office, while taking free lunches. Think about that while you're planning to put your life and health into their staff-infected hands.”

I guess it’s a good thing we can vote these people out of office then isn’t it?

“See, I thought this new addition of a brother with a different angle would add some dynamism--or at least a new perspective. Instead, we have two brothers double penetrating the crack whore "socialism" from different positions. The internet already has enough sloppy, low-quality porn”

Considering I’ve only posted twice and only one of those posts had any real content in it it’s pretty premature to come to that conclusion isn’t it? And BTW, I’m the only one corn-holing the crack whore…Tim stopped when he got married.
Debbie said…
Tim, you forgot to tell him that I like making outlandish statements whether I believe them or not. So, I'm sorry, Shayne. I like making premature, outlandish statements. Well, because it prompts people to define terms and clarify themselves without actually having to ask a boring question like "can you expound on that idea". I hate sounding like I give a shit. It's just so patronizing.
Tim Mathis said…
Oh, right. Forgot to mention it. Shayne, Wes is also an asshole.

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