I’m not sure why but I’ve had the Dire Straits song The Bug stuck in my head all day…
Well it’s a strange old game – you learn it slow
one step forward and it’s back to go
you’re standing on the throttle
you’re standing on the breaks
in the groove ’til you make a mistake
sometimes you’re the windshield
sometimes you’re the bug
sometimes it all comes together baby
sometimes you’re a fool in love
sometimes you’re the louisville slugger
sometimes you’re the ball
sometimes it all comes together baby
sometimes you’re going to lose it all…
Right now suspect a lot democrats are feeling a lot like the proverbial bug as they face their constituents at town hall meetings. People have strong feelings about health care reform and the debate is passionate to say the least.
Anyway, I’ve been tied up with various projects over the last couple of days don’t have a lot of spare time for writing but I hate to leave this page quite for two long so I though I’d pass on few must reads about the health care reform.
First is Dr. Melissa Clouthier’s excellent piece at Pajamas Media about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s attempt to frame the health care reform debate in philosophical terms all Americans can understand:
Once again, Sarah Palin brings the essence of a disputed policy into sharp focus. With dramatic flourish she illustrated average Americans’ concerns with her own in a post on her Facebook fan page. She said:
The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Health care by definition involves life and death decisions. Human rights and human dignity must be at the center of any health care discussion.
The bolded sentence caused an outcry on the left, but also among Republicans trying to take a measured tone. Ezra Klein interviewed Sen. Johnny Isakson and asked:
How did this become a question of euthanasia?
I have no idea. I understand — and you have to check this out — I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin’s web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it where people would be euthanized. How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as that is nuts. You’re putting the authority in the individual rather than the government. I don’t know how that got so mixed up.
Now wait just a minute. Talk about conflating the debate or, more likely, being willfully obtuse. Sarah Palin rightfully notes at the end that a government involved with health care issues will be involved in life and death decisions.
Since the goal of government-run health care is to insure everyone while simultaneously holding down costs (an outrageous goal on its face), decisions will have to be made. Those decisions will be made by the ones paying the bills — the government bureaucratic panel of political appointees. This is already happening in Oregon where there is a public option health care system.
The majority of health care expenses occur at the end of life. Right now, doctors and family members struggle with the ethical decisions individually. A way to cut costs would be to make central decisions — a “death panel,” if you will. How will the decisions be made? Well, political advocacy groups with the most power will push the panel to make certain choices. There will be bias. But mostly, there will be political correctness and bottom-line decision making by a very small group of people.
The philosophical questions Gov. Palin raises are ones that are very close to my heart… I lost my Father a few months ago and my family had to make the difficult choices of how best to care for him during his last days. We made those decisions in consultation with his doctors… The idea that a government bureaucrat could decide to deny treatment, based on on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society” is offensive. It is antithetical to the American ideal.
Second is Camille Paglia Salon.com column. I disagree with Paglia on most everything but her column today is one that everyone should read:
I must confess my dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy. When will heads start to roll? I was glad to see the White House counsel booted, as well as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, and hope it’s a harbinger of things to come. Except for that wily fox, David Axelrod, who could charm gold threads out of moonbeams, Obama seems to be surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bumbling mediocrities and crass bully boys.
Case in point: the administration’s grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform, one of the most vital issues facing the nation. Ever since Hillary Clinton’s megalomaniacal annihilation of our last best chance at reform in 1993 (all of which was suppressed by the mainstream media when she was running for president), Democrats have been longing for that happy day when this issue would once again be front and center.
But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.
The problem is that Barack Obama is neither sober nor deliberative he is inexperienced and indecisive and has so far has failed to take a leadership role in the debate. The White house can’t sell health care reform because it’s not their plan… It’s Congresses plan and it’s turd.
Health care reform is supposed to be Barack Obama’s signature issue but he’s left the heavy lifting of crafting the plan up to people like Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman.
Last is is the Wall Street Journal’s The Truth About Health Insurance editorial which explains some of the intricacies of the modern insurance market:
The White House is priming the defibrillator paddles to revive ObamaCare, and its new strategy is to talk about “health-insurance reform,” rather than “health-care reform.” The point is to make its proposals seem less radical than they are, while portraying private insurers as villains for supposedly denying coverage to the sick.
Sounds like a good time to explain a few facts about the modern insurance market. Start with the reality that nine out of 10 people under 65 are covered by their employers, most of which cover all employees and charge everyone the same rate. President Obama’s horror stories are about the individual insurance market, where some 15 million people buy coverage outside of the workplace.
Mr. Obama does have a point about insurance security. If you develop an expensive condition such as cancer or heart disease, and then get fired or divorced or your employer goes out of business—then individual insurance is going to be very expensive if it’s available. But what the President and Democrats won’t tell you is that these problems are the result mainly of government intervention.
Because the tax code subsidizes private insurance only when it is sponsored by an employer, the individual market is relatively small and its turnover rate is very high. Most policyholders are enrolled for fewer than 24 months as they move between jobs, making it difficult for insurers to maintain large risk pools to spread costs.
Mr. Obama wants to wave away this reality with new regulations that prohibit “discrimination against the sick”—specifically, by forcing insurers to cover anyone at any time and at nearly uniform rates. But if insurers are forced to sell coverage to everyone at any time, many people will buy insurance only when they need medical care. This raises the cost of insurance for everyone else, in particular those who are responsible enough to buy insurance before they need it; they end up paying even higher premiums. And the more expensive the insurance, the less likely people will buy it before they need it.