Archive for health care

The Real Problem with Obamacare

Posted in Argumentation, Explanation, Government, Healthcare, In the News, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2013 by Xajow

Hello students. Yes, I am finally back. Save your applause and celebrations for later. I know, you want more D/s discussions, and there will be some later. Right now, however, I am going to rant about explain what the true and fundamental problem with the ACA (Obamacare) is. All the usual warnings apply: I am libertarian, trust-in-government folks will be offended, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Every one prepared? Okay, let’s begin. Continue reading

Political Arrogance Masked as Compassion

Posted in Economics, Fairness, Government, Philosophy, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2012 by Xajow

Among the links on my Google News page the other day, was a link to a column at philly.com. It was written by Jeff Gelles, a business columnist. In this particular entry to his regular Consumer 12.0 column, Mr. Gells says some quite ridiculous things. Not the least of which is suggesting that Tyler Cowen claimed Obamacare would deliver “health care egalitarianism.” Tyler Cowen did object to “health care egalitarianism” but he made no claim Obama care would deliver it.

But worse than that, Mr. Gelles assumed a pious, arrogant attitude, for which he does not hesitate to pat himself on the back.

Like the Democrats in Congress who ultimately passed Obamacare without a single GOP vote, I’ve long believed our health-care system was broken and needed fixing. Sadly, I seem to have believed so more urgently than Republicans who’d voiced similar concerns in response, say, to Census Bureau data showing 45 million people uninsured even before the Great Recession, or stories of sick people denied lifesaving treatment, or of families bankrupted by costly care.

Well, that does not seem so bad, perhaps you are saying. Maybe you are right. The part of Mr. Gelles column that annoyed me most is the end of it.

There’s a price for all this. The Congressional Budget Office puts the net expense at $110 billion in 2015. And the numbers are wrapped up in the larger necessity — partly addressed by innovations built into Obamacare — of having to “bend the cost curve” for medical care.

But doesn’t a humane society have value, too?

A humane society? Oh yeah, putting our children deeper and deeper into trillions of dollars worth of debt is so humane. Yeah, I am being sarcastic. I have a hard time not being sarcastic when presented with the kind of arrogance Mr. Gelles is showing.

Why arrogance? Because Mr. Gelles is oh-so-politely saying that being opposed to Obamacare is inhumane. This is just more of the typical “if you really cared you would agree with me” arrogance that is very much what is wrong with political discourse in this country.

(This is not to say I agree with Tyler Cowan’s article. I do not. But Mr. Cowan’s article made no hubristic claims about what is humane.)

I bristle when people try to tell me what is humane or compassionate in a manner that is intended to shame anyone who disagrees with them. And in this instance, I think Mr. Gelles’s assertion that Obamacare is humane happens to be incorrect. I do not believe makes people more dependent on government is humane. I do not believe incurring ever more public debt is humane. It might be inspired by humane intentions, but the acts themselves are neither compassionate nor beneficial to society. They are short-sighted and serve to make some folks feel better about themselves, but that is not compassion. It is not humane. And it does not create a humane society.

Do not misunderstand me. I believe the health care system in the U.S. is a mess in many ways. But a large part of that mess stems from too much top-down government control. We are not going to fix it with more top-down control. Health insurance needs to be decoupled from employment (which was an innovation we got back during the New Deal when the government tried to control how much businesses could pay people for work), and we need to eliminate the laws the prevent people from getting health care from companies in other states. We need to put an end to government, via the Medicare and Medicaid programs, effectively setting price controls on health care. Price controls do not work. We have hobbled the health care market, and we bitch about how it does not do what we need it to do. It is kind of like tethering a horse’s hind legs together and then complaining that the horse does not walk fast enough.

(Am I arguing for no regulations in health care? No. At another time, I may argue for a more open market in health care, but that is not the topic of this post.)

I am sure Mr. Gelles means well. I am sure his intentions are good. But I do not buy that Obamacare is humane. And I find ridiculous Mr. Gelles’s suggestion that we ought to overlook the cost of Obamacare to have a humane society. Also the implication that opposing Obamacare is inhumane is something I believe to be an insult. I have heard a number of complaints during my life about how Christians claim theirs is the only true religion. Well, I am tired of people talking as if their ideology was the only way for those with intentions compassionate or humane or helpful or kind. ’Cause here is a clue: I believe most of the top-down “government will fix it” solutions are neither compassionate nor helpful. I believe they are largely short-sighted and deleterious. So when someone smugly suggests their top-down government “government will fix it” solution is necessary to be humane, it is an insult.

I oppose Obamacare exactly because I want society to be humane. No, I do not want the poor to suffer and die without care. I also do not want the poor and the middle class perpetually dependent on government for health care. I believe that would be detrimental to society. I am not saying someone cannot be compassionate and support Obama care. Of course that can happen. But we are not going to get far in public debate over health care if people start from the arrogant assumption that their preferred option is the only one for people with compassion and anything else must therefore stem from something other than compassion. Or, put another way, our compassion needs to include not just sympathy for those in need, but also some empathy for those who disagree with us.

More on the Obamacare SCOTUS Ruling

Posted in Economics, Government, In the News, Philosophy, Politics, Stupid Legislation, Taxes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by Xajow

I cannot state strongly enough how very much I dislike the ruling from the Supreme Court today on Obamacare. One the one hand striking down the use of the commerce clause is good, but then turning around and saying the mandate works as a tax is horrible. Basically now the Supreme Court has established precedent for Congress to use taxing behavior or lack of behavior as a means of controlling what individuals do. One of the arguments against the use of the commerce clause to support the mandate was that if the government could force people to buy health insurance, it could then force people to buy broccoli. Well, now, the government can, if it chooses, tax people for not buying broccoli. In other words, you still end up punished for not doing what the federal government tells you you must do.

This is what comes of sacrificing principle for so-called “practicality.” This is what comes of voting into office the “electable” candidate rather than the one who shares your principles. This is what comes of all the excuses for not protecting liberty. You lose liberty little by little.

Thankfully, the number of people willing to fight back against this is growing. The situation is not hopeless. There are rising politicians who are starting to push back against the government expansion of power. And there are growing numbers of people who are willing to support those politicians. Things will change slowly, but they will change.

And I am still holding out hope that someone like Justice Janice Rogers Brown will be nominated to the Supreme Court. I will be very happy when that happens. And mark my words, one day it will happen. Maybe not specifically Justice Brown, but someone like her. Then you will know we are working our way forward to a more free and just society.

Obamacare Ruling from SCOTUS

Posted in Economics, Government, In the News, Philosophy, Politics, Stupid Legislation, Taxes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by Xajow

So now instead of using the commerce clause as an excuse to do whatever it wants, Congress can now use taxation powers as an excuse to do whatever it wants. Or basically a combination of the two. This is my understanding of what the SCOTUS ruling means for the U.S. in the long term. Because even if Republicans take control of Congress and repeal Obama care, this legal president will still remain on the books.

Ugh.

Little by little the government whittles away the limitations placed on its power. People sworn to uphold the Constitution are instead using any means they can to ignore it. And now SCOTUS just gave them another tool for that purpose.

And do not even come to me with your “You must be against Obamacare because you don’t care about helping people” nonsense. I am so much not in the mood today. Obamacare is going to hurt the nation, society, and individuals. I oppose it exactly because I do care about my neighbor, about helping others in need.

I really do not like what this SCOTUS ruling portends for the future.