Obamacare: The Bankrupting of America

A review of The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid

Even when I considered the Left my political home I knew how effectively the movement could sabotage itself in its presentations of its ideas.

When I was in high school and saw Michael Moore’s anti-gun pseudo-docmentary “Bowling for Columbine” I walked out of the theatre with the exact opposite point of view that the notorious neo-communist propagandist had hoped to instill. I became pro-gun rights. Why? Because Moore was stupid enough to admit this fact: Canada has about the same level of gun ownership (per capita) as the United States but a fraction of the gun violence. Ergo sum: the staunch gun control of European countries was not the reason why they had fewer gun deaths. Government stepping in and trying to take away guns — in flagrant violation of the second amendment — would not reduce gun deaths. Moore’s unruly Oscar-winner fired shots all over the place, including through his foot. (Thus as a college leftist I could confuse my conservative friends by taking a second amendment position often to their right.)

In this regard, Journalist T.R. Reid’s popular paean for socialized medicine The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, might as well be called “Bowling for Obamacare.” Each of Reid’s 13 chapters are ultimately gutter balls, totally failing to demonstrate that a system of socialized medicine could actually work.

I read The Healing of America because one of my progressive friends insisted that I must. Throughout the last eight months of debating health care Reid’s book was his Bible. My friend sang of how great other countries systems were compared to our expensive, unjust, immoral abomination. So I decided to give Reid a shot to make his case.

Reid’s method is not to argue for any specific health care plan. Instead he goes globe-trotting, visiting France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Taiwan, India, and Switzerland. Reid explains the differences in each of these systems, talks about his personal experiences, and sings the praises of how superior most of these systems are when compared to the American system that fails to cover everyone.

But in chapter after chapter there’s a continual confession: these systems are running deficits. Reid talks about how in France they have to “reform” the system every few years to try and keep it afloat. But how long can foreign governments keep shuffling the debts around before the system finally collapses?

And how is it that other countries can manage to pay their doctors so much less than the United States does? Well, a system of socialized education in other countries ensures that doctors do not have the kind of six-figure student loan debt they do here in America. Socialized medicine requires socialized higher education. Such is the socialism snowball. The government absorbing one sector of society requires another and then another.

Reid also wants to claim that these other health care systems result in a healthier population. So he cites statistics like infant mortality rates to try and prove his point. But it’s quite clear that infant mortality is an inaccurate measure of the health of a country. Further, Reid does not bother to admit how other country’s markedly different cultures, diets and lifestyles affect the overall health of the nation. He cannot effectively link the means a country uses to pay for health care with things like life expectancy. There are just too many variables involved in the collective health of a nation.

Reid also shows his political ignorance. He does not bother to actually explain why our country has the system it does. Why is it that our country embraces a system where in most cases the individual is responsible for providing his own healthcare? One need only read our founding documents — the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Our country is based on the principle that the individual is responsible for himself. The sole purpose of the state is to ensure freedom for the individual. Other countries do not have this heritage of liberty. So of course nowhere does Reid even bother to ask, “Gee, are European-style health care systems constitutional? When our country was founded we were designed to do this?” Such questions have no relevance whatsoever to him.

All of these points I’ve raised are pretty obvious:

A) Socialized medical systems at home and abroad are going bankrupt. Why? Because they are based on fraudulent economics that do not understand human nature.
B) These systems require drastically higher taxes than we have now. This is something that is virtually never talked about honestly.
C) Nationalized medical systems in other countries are reliant on taxpayer-funded higher education to train the doctors. Socialism begets socialism.
D) These systems are not cheaper. Government mandating a price for a good or service does not lower the actual cost set by the market.
E) There is no evidence that these systems actually result in healthier populations. Correlation does not equal causation.

F) Such systems are directly at odds with the principles upon which our country was founded. The government was never intended to provide health insurance for every citizen.

So why can’t Reid see it? Why can’t my friend who insisted I read his Bible acknowledge this stuff? Why is it that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and President Barack Obama cannot grasp these points when they have supposedly been waist-deep in these issues for years?

It’s the same reason why Moore cannot even perceive that his own film refutes the gun control cause. The overwhelming psychological need to pursue “social justice” steamrolls over all contradictory facts. In confronting advocates of socialized medicine conservatives are not dealing with rational actors fairly pursuing the truth. They’re in a contest with True Believers whose minds were made up long ago. Understand this single point and all of a sudden the last year’s worth of health care “dialogue” suddenly make sense.

As conservatives near the endgame on the political fight over Obamacare that’s what needs to be kept in mind.

  • Maria

    I am sorry, but the health care system we have in this country sucks big time.
    Unless you have been very ill and dealt with elderly parents who haven been very ill, you will finally understand this.
    You will be bankrupt. Thank God that my elderly parents lived in the Netherlands and did not have to go tru the crap we have to go thru in this country.
    When I become more ill, I will rather put a bullet tru my head than have my children have to go tru this heart breaking mess. Instead of a bullet, may be their will be decent euthanesia available when my time comes.

    • USMCSniper

      In 30 years Holland has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia of people who are terminally ill, and from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia or as the Dutch prefer to call it ‘termination of the patient without explicit request’. The next step, non-voluntary euthanasia, is then justified by appealing to our social duty to patients who are not competent to choose for themselves. Today, the practice is so widely accepted, doctors have begun to involuntraily euthanize even children. In his article, “The Dutch way of Death” (2001), Richard Miniter points out that, in 1990 alone, of the 130,000 Dutchmen who died, 11,800 were “killed or helped to die” by their doctors. An estimated 5,981 people were killed by their doctors WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT—according to the Dutch government. This is what you embrace?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/DavidSwindle DavidSwindle

      Sure, our health care system sucks. But socialized medicine sucks more. I made 6 points above. If you can rebut them then go ahead.

      • trickyblain

        David, your points all start from a false premise – that total gov't takeover is what is being proposed by Obama/Dems. What I've seen so far are proposed mandates on insurance companies in relation to covering pre-existing conditions and transparency in rate increases.

        In terms of the "Constitutionality" argument, one can find the general welfare clause in both the preamble and the section dealing with legislative power. Of course, we are fighting (at least) two undeclared wars at present, a huge no-no according to the Constitution. It's interesting that tea-baggers and like-minded "originalist conservatives" are silent on that obvious breach, while focusing intently on a matter that has a much larger grey area.

        • LucidThought

          Blain, I'm not sure a "total gov't takeover" is necessary for us to arrive at the place David describes. The moment the state insinuates itself into the marketplace, the damage is done. Medical care in the U.S. historically kept pace with the rate of inflation until the mid-'60's, and the advent of Medicare, which skewed natural market factors and began the runaway cost spiral. The only way to control costs without damaging the quality of care is through market-based reforms, and in that respect, Dems have offered nothing.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/DavidSwindle DavidSwindle

            Thank you LucidThought. Your name describes your comment.

          • trickyblain

            What kind of "market-based reforms" would control costs (please do not say tort reform, which would be a drop in the bucket)?

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/DavidSwindle DavidSwindle

          Obama was in favor of single-payer for virtually his entire political career. 60% of Democratic votes favor single-payer. Barney Frank is on film admitting that he would pursue single-payer if it was politically feasible and that the current plan is a good step toward single-payer.

          The current program is a stepping stone to single payer.

          The general welfare clause does not make socialized medicine constitutional. Read the Federalist Papers and study the founders' philosophy and you'll see that clearly.

          • trickyblain

            Ok. So you're not railing against actual legislation. You're railing aginst what you think someone might be thinking and might try to do. So, it's still a false premise.
            I've read and re-read the Federalist. Can you point to specifics that render any gov't passed legislation relating to health care unconstitutional? Is the current plan (not the plan that you feel someone is dreaming up for the future) unconstitutional and what are your citations and qualifications for making such a claim? And I've studied the founding from the point of view of the Federalists and the anti-Federalists. The Federalists (Hamilton, Madison, Jay et. al.) were for a strong, centralized gov't. The anti-Federalists (Jefferson, and the subject of my master's thesis, George Clinton) were more of the mind of the modern "conservatives" in terms of gov't power — the less gov't, the better.

        • Democracy First

          Tricky, you knew me before as CS.

          It's true the Dems have retreated on the public option. But it is inevitably true that government programs grow over time and pretty much never shrink. The Dems may be denied a public option this time, but you can be sure they'll pursue it again, perhaps successfully. For now they'll settle on an increased government role.

          • trickyblain

            Good to see you! And I thought this place was devoid of the old school crew. I'm sure you've heard the terrible news about our dear friend. He is sorely missed.

            The "dems" were not for the public option – they could've pushed it through if they had full support among them. Even now, they don't have that support. But it's probably true that the most visible dems support some kind of public option. And it's doubly true that once the govt gives, there's no turning back – it's unlikely to get smaller and damn impossible to take it away.

            But these points do not negate that "Constitutional" arguments on the matter are weak and unspecific. These opinions are most often given by folks who tell you to "read the Federalist papers," but didn't really understand them when they googled for passages to use against "The LEFT."

            How would you compare the health care in, say Canada, to what you know of US healthcare?

          • Democracy First

            I feel awful about Mike's very untimely passing. Hard to believe, hard to accept. FPM's post board will never be the same without his distinct wit and presence. he is someone for whom it can fairly said that the world is however much a lesser place for his passing.

            Seems the Democratic Party hierarchy favours a government option, but not enough of their voters do. Hence, their caution in pushing it. Mind you, they're nonetheless pushing through what they've got now, despite bad polling. FPM may be right in reasoning the Democrat's elites want anything now, no matter the short term political costs, as government only grows, never shrinks. As i think Coulter put it, Republicans in power are merely babysitters for Democrat programs, which will expand when the Democrats next assume power. Reagan was the exception. Some Republicans, like Bush, even grow government – which is a big reason why he polled so badly amongst conservatives in the end.

            Canada`s system is better than American conservatives give it credit for – although, health care being a provincial matter and not federal, it varies quite a bit from province to province.

            But it was much better 25 years ago, before technology and pharmaceuticals advanced so quickly, exponentially raising costs. Similarly, wait lists are exagerrated and medical emergencies are dealt with as such. Still, those waits didn`t exist once and the system has had a hard time maintaining them where they are, let alone decresing them.

            France and a few other nations have the best answer: parallel public / private systems. No waits and excellent care. But, from what i understand, even they're now struggling to keep up with the increasing costs of medical advances.

            And the conservative American argument that government allowed to grow anywhere means government growing elsewhere, with compromises on freedom and the economy.

            Americans, I think, should test out real free market reforms first, like allowing insurers to cover across state boundaries, like real tort reform. And gthen, when the results are in, decide what, if anything, should then be done.

            But one problem won't go away: You already have huge and growing costs for government coverage of the poor, elderly and military – far, far more per capita than endured by other nations. For this alone reform may be needed.

    • John C. Davidson

      I got divorce to my ex-wife so she could keep an oversized home, then I signed up for the VA Health program and became a number. I think she is now a lost cause health wise. She was raised in a sociolist country and believed in this nonsense our government proposes. The fact remains, who's going to profit from our woes: Big business or big government..

    • scotte

      Eline vanden Brock of the Netherlands' Independent Institute explaining why the Obamacare approach failed in her country and why it is all but guaranteed to fail in this country, too:
      http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/b

  • Tristan White

    OK I'm going to post this in segments because it's quite long and your forum doesn't allow one to write very long replies.

    You seem fond of quoting amendments. Therefore, I hope you will consider your First and keep these multiple "comments", which should be read as a whole.

    PART 1:
    I have never visited Frontpagemag before, but came to the site because I found it via Google and have a huge interest in Obama and his reforms, someone who has made your country credible again. I live in London, in the UK, am clearly much much older than you, and am a floating voter (have voted differently in the last five elections). However, I am a staunch supporter of our National Health Service, without which I probably wouldn't have had a number of operations, including a new eardrum, new bones put in the ear, and various other operations and treatment over the years.

    • Democracy First

      Obama has made the US credible again – amongst left wingers. He has discredited the US amongst realists and true spiritual allies, like Poland, the Czech Republic, Israel and conservatives in western Europe.

      But, at least, his quiet adoption of pretty much all of Bush's anti-terror policies and protocols has kept him a credible prosecutor of the war on terror (and even though he laughingly changed its name to the absurd "overseas contingency operations."

  • Tristan White

    PART 2:
    I don't pay for my healthcare directly, but like everyone else in employment I do so out of my social security. Out of £3,272 UKP (just under $5K) I got paid last month, just £284 UKP ($430) went into the social security, which is known nationwide as NI or "national insurance". That little bit of money into the public coffers means that I know that I will never have to pay for medical assistance, nor will I pay if I lose my job, nor will anyone have to pay who doesn't have a job. What a small price to pay, for a healthier, happier less desperate country. And because of reciprocal agreements, I don't pay whenever I visit other European countries either (which is all the time – off to Germany next week, was in Belgium last week). I will be 40 next year and I have never in my life seen a gun in the United Kingdom, apart from at airports during high security alerts. The majority of police are not allowed to carry them. It's a relatively happy place to live.

    • oldjags

      $430 a month for a single person is more expensive than most private insurance here in the US. With a spouse and 2 kids, what would it cost? If I've got to pay $800-$1000 a month or more for NI, with all the waiting for treatment and denial of certain drugs and treatments as too expensive, I'll just keep what I've got now, thanks.

      • Tristan White

        No Oldjags, that's not how it works. The $430 I pay every month is National Insurance contributions which come directly out of my salary. Only people who work pay it. You don't pay for your spouse or your kids. They will pay one day if they work (and only over a certain threshold). So your wife and kids are completely covered. If they never work, they will still be covered by free NHS healthcare. Because people like you go to work. And if you didn't work either, you'd also get it, because I would be paying for it. And I wouldn't mind. Also, the National insurance also pays towards my State Pension when I'm 65.

    • Joe Foss

      Tristan, you ought to find a gun or two, they're quite fun and it would certainly make you more manly

  • Tristan White

    You are wrong about other things too, at least in the UK. It's been many many years since we had student grants. They were beginning to phase them out in the 90s and now they're pretty much all but gone. Only those bright pupils who come from poor families get non-repayable maintenance grants and free university education. The rest of us have to take out student loans (however, this is low interest and one does not have to pay them back until we earn over a certain threshhold – known as the Income-Contingent Repayment Scheme, whereby the money comes out of your paycheck but no interest is accrued until you are earning at least £15K UKP (=$22,750) a year, and once that happens, you pay 9% of anything over £1,250 UKP (= $1,900) per year automatically to the government out of your paycheck, and you can do this immediately if you want or over 25 years, however you wish). Is this such a terrible system?
    So no, please check YOUR facts before you write about other cultures. Or else you are no better than the authors you take such relish in criticising.

    Regards, Tristan White, London UK

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

      Tristran,

      Is the soundness of your economic system why the UK and the Netherlands are trying to rip off the people of Iceland?

      Concerning you last point, the United States is not the UK. As the author said, the sole purpose of our Constitution and our government is to ensure the liberty of the individual to lead his/her own life, the way that they see fit. Are you "free" to opt-out of the NHS?

      I somehow think that you are not …

      • Tristan White

        1) I cannot see what Icesave has to do with this. Landsbanki collapses, Iceland owe investors etc over here (300,000 of them in the UK alone!) quite a lot of dosh, Iceland decides to use discrimination and only pays back Icelandic investors (which contravenes so many rules), legally they have to pay at least the first €20,000 per account holder anyway but they won't pay. I am sure you can see the logic. The thing is, they are going to have to pay the money back, but by taking this stance they will risk marginalising themselves from future help from the EU, bail-outs, loans etc. And they've lost credit rating from Fitch. Now the thing is, the Icelandic PRIME MINISTER, a very sensible lady, even she believes that the money should be paid back. But because it went to a referendum (because of the former president) the people voted against it, without looking at the wider picture and its implications.

      • Tristan White

        See (1) first in reply to this comment.

        2) Stephen, imagine you're at university and you were owed $100 from one of your fellow students. That student owes a lot of people $100. However, he only pays back people from his own nationality. What do you do? Do you try and take legal action to get the money back? And if you don't, is it fair to ask your Dad to look in his pocket and give you the money that you should have been getting from the student?

        Anyway, this has nothing to do with the NHS argument, but I enjoyed replying, anyway. I don't see why the UK is trying to rip anyone from Iceland out of THEIR money, though.
        I'll reply to NHS stuff much further down

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JosephWiess JosephWiess

    If other country's have such great medical systems, then why are doctors and nurses coming to America to practice medicine? Could it be, that at least, for now, the government interference is minimal, and the medicine isn't rationed?

    • Democracy First

      Speaking as a Canadian, I'd say, in some cases, it's as you suggest: they can sometimes provide better care. But it's also the lure of sometimes higher pay and warmer weather in your country.

      It's also the case that a great many doctors and nurses come to Canada to practise.

    • Tristan White

      Pretty much down to pay. Our nurses don't get paid very much, compared to other countries. This is because it's seen as very much a vocational role. After training, you start on about £12,000 (£18,000 if you start off as a midwife). Which is very low paid. Obviously you get extra if you work in London, and you get cheaper housing and stuff like that, but it's still nowhere near enough. But you know that when you decide to become a nurse. No one has a gun to your head and tells you you need to be a nurse!

  • Bru

    Tristan, your comments were well put and I thank you for your intelligent contributions. However, I would like to offer the following to think about:
    1) I appreciate and respect your loyalty to the UK system. It seems to work (and has worked) for you. You've gotten the care you've needed and have been satisfied with the costs as you see them. But you can't say you wouldn't have gotten the same care had you been working under a system more like the US's. We have plenty of folks getting the care they need as well. And on top of that, you may find that most of the medical technologies (meds, devices, methods, etc.) that you are so satisfied with were first developed by profit-seeking American companies. Why would any large medical research company in the UK invest the years and pounds required if they can't sell their creations at market rates?
    More to come…

  • Bru

    Tristan, to coninue…

    2) While the UK system has worked for you, it goes against everything we hold dear on this side of the pond. We value choice and accountability above almost all else. When we succeed, we can reap the harvest. When we fail, we pay the consequences. It's individual freedom that we're talking about here… the ability and responsibility to choose a path for ourselves. If we don't want to work hard (go to college, study hard, etc.) we realize we won't be able to get paid as much as someone else who does. If we choose to spend our money on something other than insurance, we know we're taking a chance that catastrophic health problems may take away much of our lifestyle. On the other hand, if we work hard and make wise decisions (throw in a dash of good luck), we can leave the ghettos, make a name for ourselves, and someday own our own yacht (if that's what we want).

    more to come…

  • Bru

    Tristan, right or wrong, that's the way we like it and have always liked it. That's what the whole war was about over 200 years ago. Yes, it means there will be those that suffer. Yes, it means we may have to work hard. But it also means we owe no one for our own success. It also means we retain a bit of self respect when we fail. It's certainly not a perfect system, but it's the American way and there's a good chunck of the population that wants it to stay that way.

    This is the point of the article and I think you missed it. If socialized medicine is something Brits, or Franks, or Swedes want to live with, that's fine, but it's most un-American.

    • Grayzell

      You are right on the spot with this comment. Thankyou

    • Tristan White

      Hi Bru, thanks for the lengthy reply. Annoying that one cannot post long replies all in one go isn't it!

      Of course I would have got the same care in the US (assuming I could afford it, or got out a comprehensive insurance). However, even those who DO have insurance aren't always covered, are they? I take it Michael Moore is the equivalent of mentioning Beelzebub on a forum such as this, and I am not a troll so don't wish to raise a red rag to a bull, but as for the individual cases in that documentary, the people who HAD insurance but the underwriters still made them foot the whole bill, who were these people? Even if you don't believe Michael Moore, these were still real cases. Anyhow, I'll continue below.

    • Tristan White

      I won't mention the MM word again (although the precedent was set by Mr Swindle in the original article). I don't think it would go down well here. BUT looking at other comments you raise:
      Yes, the NHS works for me and for most of us. If you visited our shores and God forbid got knocked down by a car and ended up unconscious, taken to A&E, it would work for you too, even if you had paid for travel insurance before you travelled here. Because when you're knocked down by a car, get an unexpected heartattack, whatever, you get taken to a hospital and get free treatment and looked after in spite of being an American on vacation here in the UK, You have no time to say you want to go Private, you're unconscious!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/71_911E 71_911E

        Tristan, anyone hit by a car here is covered by law. He would have to pay for his care, either by insurance, or from his pocket, written off by the hospital and doctors, or by our "unfair" government. As far as insurance coverage goes, read the contract to figure out what is covered by a policy, and if you don't like that one get a different one. Then let's talk about your NHS. I'm sure the majority gets adequate care, but there are those who don't, which has been well-documented. And what about the cost? With the great confiscation of your incomes in Britain it is still insolvent. One last thing: last year I spoke with one of our fellow British citizens who is unwilling to depend solely on your NHS and therefore provides for his own medical care (I don't remember if he has additional insurance or pays cash) and is disgusted by the fact he still has to pay 6% (according to him) of his salary to the government. I could go on, but that's enough for me…

        • Tristan White

          Getting one's own private healthcare as well is fine. You don't have to, and all it really does is cut down time waiting for your treatment, and perhaps you end up in your own room or get a choice for a single-sex ward. NHS patients have to wait (unless it's an emergency, when all – private and public – get equal emergency treatment) and are often in mixed-sex wards. I also have private healthcare given free with work, but I have never used it.

          Your National Insurance contribution doesn't just pay for the nation's healthcare, but also towards your own retirement pension, and should you ever become unemployed you of course get your dole money. All this comes out of NI contributions. Which is why I think it's a small price to pay.

        • Tristan White

          Likewise, I also have a private pension, because I don't think the state pension is enough. That's my right, and that's because I have expensive tastes and love travelling and will want to continue to do that when I'm retired (perhaps even more so!).

          But the state pension is there, and if I couldn't afford a private pension, like many people, then it's great. It's no different to free healthcare and getting out an extra private insurance as well. Up to you. But at least it's free if you just want the basic (or in the UK, not so basic) package.

    • Tristan White

      Sorry for the grim image, but it's a valid one. And my national insurance will have paid for that, and in spite of the fact you're not a UK taxpayer, I would be delighted that that small amount from my salary paycheck has gone towards saving your life. It's a shame it's not reciprocated, but even though it isn't, no one would begrudge you getting free healthcare. If anything good came from it, when you returned to the US not having spent your cash on free emergency treatment in the UK, you'd probably have a different opinion on this forum :-))
      It's like giving money to Haiti or whatever. A percentage of my salary also goes to a few of my favourite charities too.

    • Tristan White

      I don't buy that whole "un-American" stuff. You could say that having blacks and whites riding buses or swimming in pools or being taught together was "un-American" before the 60s was un-American. You could say that having gay rights was "un-American".
      There's no such thing. Countries change. Look at South Africa. Look at Spain. Rules and regulations change. The current insurance system may be very "American" but it's very unfair if you're poor, and even if you have paid for insurance the underwriters often will try and find a loophole not to pay! (CONTINUES)

    • Tristan White

      It may seem "un-American" to you, but to most of the world, it seems "un-Fair"! Get a fairer system, stop discriminating against the poor. And I say this as someone who also has private health insurance, who is happy to pay National Insurance contributions, and who is not on a bad salary. As I said earlier, think of it as a charity contribution, a cancer research charity that hopefully one day you will not be needing but you're sure to know someone who would have wished a cure had been invented already. What's the difference? (END OF COMMENTS FOR NOW)
      Tristan White, London UK

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/DavidSwindle DavidSwindle

        If the government is forcing you to do something it's not charity.

      • Democracy First

        Tristan, the poor (and military and elderly) are already covered for free under the US system as presently constituted. Which is one reason the US government already forks out so much for health care.

  • SCUMBUCKET

    you better start working hard, Bru, because Obama's health care plan will fail, and more Americans will be uninsured or underinsured ten years from now. Behold the disaster that awaits, as American continues the downward spiral. But even Rome fell, so it's our turn now. Might as well bend over, because Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff and all their cronies want your money, and they want it now. Sell your house and buy a trailer in Idaho, Tea Party losers

  • John C. Davidson

    Good post, David. Maybe we can debate civilly and look at how our government is really treating health care problems while seeking political contributions from those that are part of the problems we all face.

  • Grayzell

    Thank you for your well thought out article. It was a pleasure to read.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/DavidSwindle DavidSwindle

      You're welcome. Thank you for your support.

  • voted against carter

    To all of you progressive libratard dumbocrats; whhhaaa!!, wwwhhhaaaa!!!, Mommy!! plllleeeeaaaaeeeese will you take care of me?
    Just so we are clear and there is no misunderstanding, that IS sarcasm.
    I have MS. I was diagnosed when I was 27. I'm 52 now. I do NOT have any health insurance. I do NOT want anything to do with obumbacare. NO THANK YOU! I do not have any problems getting health care at all. I can see any doctor I want for ANY problem. Yes I have to pay for treatment. No kidding Sherlock thats how capitalism works. If I need my car fixed i pay for that also. Why is healthcare any different? Is it SPECIAL some how? if so why? Because it has to do with your health???? Thats a lame argument. My suggestion to all of you people who want free health care is to MOVE TO SOME PLACE that provides it if you like it so much. I'm sure they woulld welcome you with open arms. Good luck with that.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

      Yeah, why is it so expensive and getting more so at a much faster rate than auto-repair? That's a good question. It might have something to do with the rise of insurance giants while our allies in WWII all put in place public health insurance.

      Maybe we should reform the insurance industry….no..then people will call it Obamacare and quixotically ask questions which insurance reform is trying to answer

  • Twister

    just recently I've heard supposedly UNDISPUTABLE "fact": – "if there is a gun in a house, somebody is more likely to kill another person or self than if there was no gun, right?"
    NO. WRONG!!!
    Many people have guns and kill no one – IF A PERSON WANTS TO KILL, S/HE WILL FIND A WAY – A KNIFE, A ROPE, A SCREWDRIVER, SCISSORS…Suicidal people without gun jump from windows or in front of a moving train…..

    • John C. Davidson

      It looks like they're trying to take a few bureaucrats with them, recently. It might be why these unresponsive politicians want to take our guns away. Well, if they weren't so self-serving, I don't think they would have to worry so much.

    • Joe Foss

      actually the indisputable "fact" is correct but the "fact" is a flawed one…it's like saying that those who ride bicycles are more likely to be injured riding bikes than those who don't ride bikes…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

      It's a statistic…people with guns in their home (their own guns) are more likely to be the victims of gun violence.

      It's true, their are lots of ways to kill people. But if you want to kill a bunch of innocent people for no reason in a Mall or something…nothing beats a good automatic with an extra clip. Hollow point shells insure a low surivival rate, and armor piercing rounds help with any pesky law enforcement issues that might arise.

      So, you might need a couple of major weapons, which shouldn't be a problem at all.

  • jose

    To all you whiney Europeans who say you can't make it without your Statist Big Brother taking care of you: Stay in Europe. If you are in the USA, Go home! Now. The difference is obvious. Free 'Citizens' can and want to take care of themselves. Subjects are dependent, passive, well-fed slaves. We broke our chains here in America over 200 years ago. What really sucks is that you still have yours.

  • hal barton

    ObamaCare for the ObamaNation is bad in many ways. Yeah, what you say up there is great! It is a crummy solution! HOWEVER, what about all the thousands and thousands of people who have got to die while we wait for a an idealistic privatized medical care system to be crafted by the "invisible hand"? No one has even come up with a faint plan of how to make this possible. So, do we let them die and suffer until evolution gets rid of all those with inferior genes, or else produces a free-marketeer with a huge I.Q. that will come up with a plan to save all these lives? Seems to me, in this emergency, anything that can be agreed upon that will save all these human lives should be done immediately – idealistic far-fetched dreams of an Atlas Shrugged solution be damned! Where is your heart? I guess it is where the survival of the fittest are hiding. Perhaps on some Island they bought while they wait out the deaths and dying of those too stupid to get rich.

  • trickyblain

    And I do know it's off topic, but I'm curious. Why the obsession with the Constitution when it comes to this (social) issue, but when it comes to undeclared wars, the Constitution is completely ignored by so-called conservatives? Can you explain how FrontpageMag and its editors are more than willing to see their precious constitution betrayed when it comes to foreign entanglements, but become livid with indignation when it comes to domestic issues – shepherd of a constitution only when it suits them?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/DavidSwindle DavidSwindle

      Sounds like the scope of the discussion you're seeking is a bit larger than as is suitable for internet comments. If you want to email me for a thoughtful discussion you can. DavidSwindle AT Gmail Dot Com

      • trickyblain

        Good deal, I'll take you up on that offer soon. BTW – I do think you have improved on the predictable repsponses by FPM authors in many subject areas (except this one ;). Keep up the good work…

  • hal barton

    An Island paradise, where the ones too stupid to get rich cannot afford to go – meanwhile, on the continental United States (a country that rich people don't really have to live in – they are citizens of the world really, they can go anywhere anytime and live in any country anywhere), They stay away until those who are not genetically intelligent enough to get rich, or well born enough to be rich, die of diseases they get from the crumbling neighborhoods their low intelligence forced them to live in. Well, thats the way you think about them for sure, but I don't care. I'm alright.

  • hal barton

    Yeah, that is great! It is a crummy solution! HOWEVER, what about all the thousands and thousands of people who have got to die while we wait for a an idealistic privatized medical care system to be crafted by the "invisible hand"? No one has even come up with a faint plan of how to make this possible. So, do we let them die and suffer until evolution gets rid of all those with inferior genes, or else produces a free-marketeer with a huge I.Q. that will come up with a plan to save all these lives? Seems to me, in this emergency, anything that can be agreed upon that will save all these human lives should be done immediately – idealistic far-fetched dreams of an Atlas Shrugged solution be damned! Where is your heart? I guess it is where the survival of the fittest are hiding.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

    "When I was in high school and saw Michael Moore’s anti-gun pseudo-docmentary “Bowling for Columbine” I walked out of the theatre with the exact opposite point of view that the notorious neo-communist propagandist had hoped to instill. I became pro-gun rights."

    You're silly. The movie never suggests really what should be done. It just shows us what is…if you think it was anti-gun…you're like my aging father who thought the message of TerminatorII was anti-nuclear weapons. Moore wasn't "stupid enough" to include facts, that's what documentaries are for…it's not like there are lots of great pro-gun stories he left out. That many people die from gun violence every year…another fact. Moore's movie…if it had a direct message was…we are culturally odd and your weird paranoia shows it.

    "Government stepping in and trying to take away guns — in flagrant violation of the second amendment — would not reduce gun deaths."

    First of all…who has proposed or even talked about gun laws in any way, shape or form? No one. Moore's movie doesn't ever say we should take away guns…but it does cast a light on the glorification of guns, the ease of aquisition…our gun craziness.

    While you call people "true believers" and such…it's you own cultic template you put on everything…you divine people's thoughts and feelings but it makes your comprehensive skills like that of a child.

    You want "conservative" to be some kind of psuedo religion so you can argue beliefs and ideals instead of issues and give other people whatever counter beliefs you want to fight against. The guy who wrote this book went around the world and did research. His conclusions you don't like…his descriptions you don't like so you pretend he's some propaganda artist who is trying to sell some broken dead system of communism.

    Get a new narrative…the right/left dichotomy around here is turning people into simpletons. I think the Republicans worst fears (and the fear of all their watercarriers) is that America will get some type of public option and like it. That's the fear…not that we will suffer from communism but that reform will help and the health insurance companies won't make as much money.

  • hal barton

    bubba4 – you said up there, "I think the Republicans worst fears (and the fear of all their watercarriers) is that America will get some type of public option and like it. That's the fear…not that we will suffer from communism but that reform will help and the health insurance companies won't make as much money." Right on – and let me add this: There is no way no matter how shi*ty the compromised health plan is, that it will not save many, many human lives (alas, though, no rich people will be helped by it). And, if a Shi*ty one is all we can get still many cry in joy and relief at the crust we were able to throw them out our window as we speed by junk town.

  • Len Powder

    The Left has no ideas. It has slogans and it has thugs. It has a religion called Marxism. It has a passion called Power. It cannot be dissuaded, convinced, converted, mollified, diverted. It must be DEFEATED!

  • hal barton

    If only the left would stop helping in the abortion-murders, and the right would stop helping in the getting rid of the notion that the best way to cure poverty is to punish the poor by withholding needed medical treatment, this would be a really good place

  • hal barton

    excuse me I meant to say up there, "If only the left would stop helping in the abortion-murders, and the right would rid themselves of the notion that the best way to cure poverty is to punish the poor by withholding needed medical treatment, this would be a really good place". Think about it.

  • brimp

    I disagree with you analysis of obamacare. It will not bankrupt the country. The purpose is to fix the cost. This will cause rationing (not based on the amount of good that one has produced but based on which politician you know). This will cause a die off of the elderly. This will result in reduced cost to Social Security, and other forms of welfare. Thus it will actually save the government money. The error that you are making is assuming that the government is trying to help people live instead of helping those who are not paying them money (via taxation) to die.

  • Linda Rivera

    Health Care or HEALTH ABUSE?

    It's a marriage of government and extremely WEALTHY, extremely POWERFUL corporations. What terrible things will be done to our lives and health if the government runs health care?

    http://www.mercola.com
    A livestock drug banned in 160 nations and responsible for hyperactivity, muscle breakdown and 10 percent mortality in pigs has been approved by the FDA.

    How does a drug marked, "Not for use in humans. Individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure. Use protective clothing, impervious gloves, protective eye wear, and a NIOSH-approved dust mask" become "safe" in human food? With no washout period?

    The drug is banned in Europe, Taiwan and China, and more than 1,700 people have been "poisoned" from eating pigs fed the drug since 1998, but ractopamine is used in 45 percent of U.S. pigs and 30 percent of ration-fed cattle.

    Industrial agriculture lobbyists wield incredible power in Congress.

    Michael Taylor, a former vice president of public policy and chief lobbyist at Monsanto Company, is now the senior advisor for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
    Who is Michael Taylor? He is the person who not only “oversaw the creation of GMO policy,” but also oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH/rbST).

    This growth hormone, which has been banned in Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand because of cancer risks and other health concerns, was approved in the United States while Taylor was in charge at the FDA.
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archiv

  • Tristan White

    Linda above posted a heartbreaking story about when patient care goes wrong, as can happen anywhere (and investigations will surely be forthcoming).

    But the vast vast majority of stories are very positive. Check this out, from yesterday's paper:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1256162
    also
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7375

    All NHS patients, no one paid, perfect. I imagine if you had to pay for this yourself it would cost a bomb, and if you were lucky to be on private insurance before the symptoms started, the orchestrating of the various patients would have been much harder.

    Instead, because of the centralised, socialised system, they were all matched up, and all are now fully recovered. A great success story.

  • Linda Rivera

    The UK Hospital of HORRORS

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk
    Up to 1,200 needless deaths, patients abused, staff bullied to meet targets… yet a secret inquiry into failing hospital says no one's to blame

    By Fay Schlesinger, Andy Dolan and Tim Shipman
    25th February 2010

    Up to 1,200 patients died unnecessarily because of appalling care
    Labour's obsession with targets and box ticking blamed for scandal
    Patients were 'routinely neglected' at hospital
    Report calls for FOURTH investigation into scandal

    Not a single official has been disciplined over the worst-ever NHS hospital scandal, it emerged last night.

    Up to 1,200 people lost their lives needlessly because Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust put government targets and cost-cutting ahead of patient care. But none of the doctors, nurses and managers who failed them has suffered any formal sanction.

    The independent inquiry headed by Robert Francis QC found the safety of sick and dying patients was 'routinely neglected'. Others were subjected to ' inhumane treatment', 'bullying', 'abuse' and 'rudeness'.

    The inquiry found that:

    • Patients were left unwashed in their own filth for up to a month as nurses ignored their requests to use the toilet or change their sheets;

    • Four members of one family. including a new-born baby girl. died within 18 months after blunders at the hospital;

    • Medics discharged patients hastily out of fear they risked being sacked for delaying;

    • Wards were left filthy with blood, discarded needles and used dressings while bullying managers made whistleblowers too frightened to come forward.

    The Francis report said staff numbers were allowed to fall 'dangerously low', causing nurses to neglect the most basic care. It said: 'Requests for assistance to use a bedpan or to get to and from the toilet were not responded to.

    'Some families were left to take soiled sheets home to wash or to change beds when this should have been undertaken by the hospital and its staff.' Food and drink were left out of reach, forcing patients to drink water from flower vases.

    Kelsey Lintern was at the centre of one of the worst tragedies in the hospital’s appalling catalogue of failure. She lost four members of her family within 18 months, her grandmother, uncle, sister and six-day-old baby.

    That summer, her grandmother Lilian Wood Latta, 80, died hungry and dehydrated after suffering a stroke. She was left in her own excrement during her final days and the family said the dehydration was caused by staff failing to give her adequate fluids.

    James Reay died in agony after a junior doctor at Stafford Hospital failed to check his medical history and gave him the wrong drug…he was rushed to another hospital where he died from internal bleeding after three weeks of intense pain.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1253438/M

  • Linda Rivera

    The UK Hospital of HORRORS

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk
    Up to 1,200 needless deaths, patients abused, staff bullied to meet targets… yet a secret inquiry into failing hospital says no one's to blame

    By Fay Schlesinger, Andy Dolan and Tim Shipman
    25th February 2010

    Up to 1,200 patients died unnecessarily because of appalling care
    Labour's obsession with targets and box ticking blamed for scandal
    Patients were 'routinely neglected' at hospital
    Report calls for FOURTH investigation into scandal

    Not a single official has been disciplined over the worst-ever NHS hospital scandal, it emerged last night.

    Up to 1,200 people lost their lives needlessly because Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust put government targets and cost-cutting ahead of patient care. But none of the doctors, nurses and managers who failed them has suffered any formal sanction.

    The independent inquiry headed by Robert Francis QC found the safety of sick and dying patients was 'routinely neglected'. Others were subjected to ' inhumane treatment', 'bullying', 'abuse' and 'rudeness'.

    The inquiry found that:

    • Patients were left unwashed in their own filth for up to a month as nurses ignored their requests to use the toilet or change their sheets;

    • Four members of one family. including a new-born baby girl. died within 18 months after blunders at the hospital;

    • Medics discharged patients hastily out of fear they risked being sacked for delaying;

    • Wards were left filthy with blood, discarded needles and used dressings while bullying managers made whistleblowers too frightened to come forward.

    The Francis report said staff numbers were allowed to fall 'dangerously low', causing nurses to neglect the most basic care. It said: 'Requests for assistance to use a bedpan or to get to and from the toilet were not responded to.

    'Some families were left to take soiled sheets home to wash or to change beds when this should have been undertaken by the hospital and its staff.' Food and drink were left out of reach, forcing patients to drink water from flower vases.

    Kelsey Lintern was at the centre of one of the worst tragedies in the hospital’s appalling catalogue of failure. She lost four members of her family within 18 months, her grandmother, uncle, sister and six-day-old baby.

    That summer, her grandmother Lilian Wood Latta, 80, died hungry and dehydrated after suffering a stroke. She was left in her own excrement during her final days and the family said the dehydration was caused by staff failing to give her adequate fluids.

    James Reay died in agony after a junior doctor at Stafford Hospital failed to check his medical history and gave him the wrong drug…he was rushed to another hospital where he died from internal bleeding after three weeks of intense pain.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1253438/M

  • Linda Rivera

    UK HOSPITALS in THIRD WORLD CONDITIONS

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk
    Shaming of the NHS: Patients STILL treated in kitchens, abandoned in mop cupboards and left without meals despite Labour's billions

    By Daniel Martin
    09th March 2010

    Patients are routinely being treated in kitchens, mop cupboards and corridors because hospitals are so overcrowded, a shocking survey reveals.

    Third World conditions are commonplace, with hospitals housing patients for days in storage areas, offices, TV rooms and outpatient clinics.

    This disturbing treatment of the sick and vulnerable comes despite a tripling of the NHS budget by Labour over the past decade. The survey of 900 nurses follows a Daily Mail story telling how Doris McKeown, 80, spent 48 hours in a supply cupboard while waiting for surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

    Many nurses also told how extra beds were often crammed into wards to avoid breaching a Whitehall target on A&E waiting times. This increased the risk of infection and threatened patients' privacy and dignity, especially on mixed-sex overflow wards.

    Examples of appalling care cited by staff included:

    * A woman 'barely coping' after a miscarriage being sent to a ward with male patients.
    * Children left at 'high security risk' and a threat of infection when adults were put on their ward.

    * One overflow ward being so crammed a nurse could not reach the emergency buzzer when someone had a heart attack. She had to run into the corridor to yell for help.

    * One patient being left in a mop cupboard where there was only room for a chair, not a bed. At another hospital, a kitchen was set aside for two beds.

    * A hospital discharging elderly patients before they were ready.
    * Another using a ward which had been 'condemned' for patient use.

    * Up to three patients being crammed into a tiny office cluttered with staff belongings.
    * Eighteen patients being stuck on trolleys in the corridor of a medical assessment unit.

    The Nursing Times survey also found that beds were 'faulty' and 'condemned', fire exits were blocked, toilets were 'inadequate', and many patients went without showers and baths. Maintaining single-sex areas was often impossible because of the sheer numbers of extra patients.

    Nurses have to take blood samples in corridors and beds are sometimes placed in isolated corners, meaning nurses cannot see if a patient needs help.

    Elderly patients are 'parked' in day rooms while waiting to be transferred to another hospital, and left 'soiled and neglected', and 'needing fluids'.

    Sometimes spare beds run out – and people have to sleep on chairs or mattresses on the floor. Nearly half the nurses said patients in non-clinical areas did not have proper access to water, oxygen, suction and a call bell. Four in ten said they did not have the screening to protect their dignity and privacy.

    'If a patient suddenly had a cardiac arrest, we would not be able to get the crash trolley to them,' said one nurse at a hospital which squeezed extra beds into wards. Others said cramming patients into wards put them at risk of cross-infection.

    One added: 'Urine bottles are not emptied, meals are missed as staff are not aware of the patient.'
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1256520/D

  • Hal Barton

    ObamaCare is an ObamaNation! And that is what we have become! Revolt now! But realize what you are fighting for. We are fighting against Obama's famous love of Abortion-murder! That is what ObamaCare really is in its bare bones nakedness! Bur we have failed – here's why: It has all been done before, over and over and over again – pro-life people thinking they can stop abortion by being polite and careful not to offend their rich contributors begin to refuse to call abortion what it really really obviously is, cold blooded premeditated MURDER! Because you won't tell the truth and insist on calling murder by the Planned Parenthood euphemisms of "Killing" (something you do to a bad tooth that has gone bad) or "abortion" (a wonderful medical procedure that has saved many women's lives) You will fail – how many times are you going to repeat the stupid mistakes of the past? Thanks to you comfortable people, almost no one out there really really believes that killing a baby by means of an abortion procedure is really MURDER. So why bother? If it is virtually a victimless crime, who is going to support you wholeheartedly? No one. Nothing is changed. It has been almost 40 years since insane Ronald Regan used his popularity to legalize cold blooded murder. And where are you people at? You had more credibility in the beginning than you do now, and every year you get weaker – so observe the fruits of Moral Cowardice. I could carve better pro-life workers out of bananas. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result! But don't worry, you are not insane, just total cowards. Identify Murder by it correct name, or risk the disapproval of your Father, and your Mother and your eldest bother, Jesus Christ. Tell me I do not have the total authority of God behind me when I tell you these things – go on! Do it!

  • http://www.ukschoolsdirectory.net Independent Schools

    Wonderful website. Plenty of useful info here. I am sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you to your sweat!

  • Jessica

    For a conservative, you sure seem to have a callous view of infant mortality. When I read the hyperlinked NR page, I was shocked and disgusted by their comparison of the deaths of premature infants in the US as “apples and oranges” and therefore totally inconsequential as a metric of health. And yet the conservatives are falling over themselves to protect these “apples” and declare them full human beings from the very moment of conception. What a load of shit, you only care about infants when it comes to restricting women’s rights, but when it comes to improving health outcomes, they [fetuses] are no longer of any use to you. Shameful Republican pandering.

  • Tristan White

    What an awful story and I feel sorry for the family, but clearly a breakdown of communication has taken place and I am sure a thorough investigation will be launched. It's crass to admit it, but these things can happen anywhere, if you scour the news long enough. Including in the UK. It doesn't make any reference as to whether he used private healthcare or the NHS though (in fact, we don't know ourselves either, from that article). Private normally means you get seen quicker, ie no waiting lists. You still see the same doctors and very often you're in the same hospital.

  • John C. Davidson

    If you've ever had the pleasure of visiting a VA Clinic, you may have to re-think your position, sir. Draw a number and hope for the best like a bakery shop