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glunn
10-04-2013, 01:51 AM
I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act.

In the New Testament, Jesus clearly advocates the importance of helping poor people:

Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."

Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Mark 12:41-44 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Luke 16:19-25 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.

How can any Christian oppose the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? Someone please explain this to me.

I also cannot understand how a non-Christian could oppose this. Previously, any uninsured poor person could always get FREE treatment at the local emergency room. This is very inefficient and helps explain why some hospitals can charge $50 for an aspirin or some other item what costs less than a dollar. The cost of poor people going to the emergency room gets passed on to many of the people who oppose the Affordable Care Act, and it is indisputable that emergency rooms are a very expensive and inefficient way to provide care. For example, if someone has curable cancer, wouldn't it be better to give them chemo once a week than pay for the 10 or 20 emergency room visits until they die? Do I even have to ask what Jesus would say?

And to those who say that this is socialistic, it seems to me that Medicare and Social Security are more socialistic. The Affordable Care Act, like Romneycare (which seems to be working in Massachusetts), is based on creating competition among private insurers. This approach was invented by Republicans, and initially opposed by Democrats who preferred a single payer solution, modeled on Medicare.

And to the civil libertarians, your rights end when you ask me to pay for your failure to provide for your own economic costs. If you drive without car insurance, others will have to pay if you get into an accident and cripple someone. Don't ask me to pay for your health care, unless you genuinely cannot afford it. Yes, I admit that there is a part of me that would not mind seeing some Tea Party adherents experience poetic justice by dying of curable cancer because they were too irresponsible to buy medical insurance, but deep down I agree with Jesus on this.

And to the Republicans who complain that this does not apply to Congress and the Executive Branch, I agree with that. On the other hand, how many women and children would you like to die of cancer next year because they cannot afford treatment? And you might want to read Luke 16:19-25 again. Do you really want to argue with St. Peter at the gates of heaven that you let poor people suffer and die because the legislation was not perfect???

Almost every civilized foreign country (and Massachusetts) has government supported health care. So far, God has not rained hell storms on these places. Instead, many of these countries have better results than we do in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and other important measures of success.

One thing that I believe everyone can agree on is that there is lots of room for improvement in the law. If not for the lobbyists in Congress, I think that this would have been a much cleaner, simpler and less expensive statute. What I would love to see would be for the Republicans and the Democrats make amendments that cut costs, but unfortunately the lobbyists seem to be able to block changes that might reduce the profits of their clients -- companies who are making a killing with profit margins on medical devices and drugs that far exceed what they would get if Medicare and insurance exchanges were allowed to negotiate prices in an open market.

Finally, I am concerned that doctors and other medical professionals have been squeezed and may become more squeezed unless they can get a fairer share of health care revenues. Unfortunately for them, their lobbying power is no match for the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and insurance companies. This has been getting worse for years, and I don't think that the Affordable Care Act will make much of a difference either way, but this is something that I think that people should really worry about.

What do you think?

mike wants wins
10-04-2013, 10:26 AM
I am not sure what I am allowed to say on line, since I work for the US's largest health insurance company......

but in general, I agree with your premise. We are the most expensive country, and have mediocre to bad outcomes......and yet there is a huge majority that want to keep the status quo. There should be change, but as long as we worship at the alter of free markets, like they are infallible, nothing will substantially change.

PseudoSABR
10-04-2013, 10:44 AM
Great stuff, glunn.

I think it's important to see that the Affordable Healthcare Act isn't a threat in and of itself (that is by it's policy or its aims) to the Republican rightwing, but rather they see it as an extension of a government and a society that wishes to enfranchise more and more people. They see their piece of the proverbial pie shrinking (even if the whole pie grows), and by god they've given up enough already.

The emergence of a radical rightwing, who hold uber-liberatarian principles, has lead to election of officials who are more than cynical of government--they are against any public bureaucracy. Right wing Republicans are electing people who are against the very job they are enlisted to serve. The shutdown is a victory onto itself for the likes of Ted Cruz, no matter who it harms.

While we can all agree that handing over any complex system to public beaucrats is not very palatable; there are instrinsic inefficiency in public systems; however, when the industry in question is healthcare, I seriously doubt that a for-profit beaucracy is really the better steward. There's a reason that Americans pay more for healthcare than any other developed nation--there's simply infinite demand for good health, creating a market that can never benefit consumers.

There's real issues with the AHA in terms of how it effects businesses that employ over 50 people, especially in service and retail sectors. Companies will face difficult choices in terms of expensively insuring their employees or cutting hours to less than fulltime or paying fines for not insuring. The profit model of companies will need to change, and likely will be reflected in more expensive goods and services. I don't know the letter of the law, but I hope there are means of grandfathering this policy in over time and subsidies for businesses as well as citizens.

In the short term, health care will be more expensive for everyone. But over the long term, with higher access to preventive health care, and an actual marketplace to shop for insurance (rather than taking your employers option or nothing) should drive healthcare prices down. Let's not forget the AHA was a conservative idea born out of the Heritage foundation; this plan actually keeps the governments hands out of the actual industry. Though of course, I'd prefer a public option and universal healthcare.

TheLeviathan
10-04-2013, 11:29 AM
My biggest worry is the potentially adverse effects on a still shaky economy. We could see some companies react to this (to save their own business model) in ways that dramatically shift employment for the worse.

PseudoSABR
10-04-2013, 12:06 PM
My biggest worry is the potentially adverse effects on a still shaky economy. We could see some companies react to this (to save their own business model) in ways that dramatically shift employment for the worse.Mayhaps. But shutting down the government certainly does not prioritize the health of a shaky economy.

mike wants wins
10-04-2013, 12:24 PM
My biggest worry is the potentially adverse effects on a still shaky economy. We could see some companies react to this (to save their own business model) in ways that dramatically shift employment for the worse.

There will be an excuse of some kind forever, at some point, you need to make the change.

PseudoSABR
10-04-2013, 12:48 PM
There will be an excuse of some kind forever, at some point, you need to make the change.Right. We need a system that enlists everyone into health insurance, even the healthy and the poor, and even at a short term cost.

Imagine how expensive car insurance would be if it was not mandated. That good drivers pay for insurance, makes the cost palatable. I'm sure as car insurance became mandated, there were those that suggested it would kill the auto industry, and thereby the economy...

SweetOne69
10-04-2013, 12:51 PM
You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.

mike wants wins
10-04-2013, 12:54 PM
You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.

do you have evidence of this, or just believe it? Because in HC, the evidence is clear, it isn't working like you think it is.

ChiTownTwinsFan
10-04-2013, 01:18 PM
You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.
In theory ... but a lot of people today operate on a 'save yourself' mode ... they also believe anyone who needs help just isn't working hard enough.

Ultima Ratio
10-04-2013, 01:35 PM
Is a Christian allowed to believe in free markets and equal application of laws?

TheLeviathan
10-04-2013, 01:59 PM
Mayhaps. But shutting down the government certainly does not prioritize the health of a shaky economy.

never said it did, just said this could have some really awful long term effects as well. Whether the net gain is a positive I have my doubts.

mike wants wins
10-04-2013, 02:05 PM
UR, I'd guess a Christian can believe in anything they want......but I'm not sure how your question really answers any of the questions raised by the OP. One of the reasons I left the church, however, is that I saw most Christians acted in a way that I felt was 180 degrees off of what your savior suggested.......and I think the OP is asking some good questions. If your savior says something is how you should be, how much can a Christian ignore that, and still really be a Christian? It's a philosophical question, really....

mike wants wins
10-04-2013, 02:06 PM
never said it did, just said this could have some really awful long term effects as well. Whether the net gain is a positive I have my doubts.

As opposed to the awful results we are getting now, because of the current HC laws?

gunnarthor
10-04-2013, 02:25 PM
You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.

People can do it through the government they elect. Perhaps a bunch of us wanted health care reform to help the poor but couldn't do it ourselves. So we had a big election and voted in people that could handle such a large project.

glunn
10-04-2013, 02:29 PM
Is a Christian allowed to believe in free markets and equal application of laws?

I don't think that this is about what people are allowed to believe. I do think that history proves that unregulated capitalism would be disastrous. I also think that it's pretty clear that Jesus would be in favor of laws that allow poor people to have access to affordable health care, even if this means reducing the profit margins of insurance companies to 10 to 20% per year.

mike wants wins
10-04-2013, 02:51 PM
Uh, insurance companies can only make 15% a year from now on......the costs are not going up because of insurance companies, you might want to look at what is driving costs.

TheLeviathan
10-04-2013, 03:01 PM
As opposed to the awful results we are getting now, because of the current HC laws?

Depends what happens. The current laws suck, no doubt. But does a change to them tht further cripples the economy really provide a net gain? One were full time work and benefits are cast aside?

I don't think it's an easy answer.

PseudoSABR
10-04-2013, 03:02 PM
You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.Well if it's up to "the people" to do it, they've done a really, really poor job. No one would be talking about the government helping the poor and taking care of the infirm if churches, charities and other private institutions were getting the job done.

Ultima Ratio
10-04-2013, 03:11 PM
1. I don't think that this is about what people are allowed to believe. I do think that history proves that unregulated capitalism would be disastrous. 2.I also think that it's pretty clear that Jesus would be in favor of laws that allow poor people to have access to affordable health care, even if this means reducing the profit margins of insurance companies to 10 to 20% per year.

1. "I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act."

This is your opening line. You obviously think Christians have an obligation to support the ACA, no?

This is only about beliefs and what you think Christianity teaches Christians about hiring their government to compel of its citizens.

You realize that of the uninsured in the country, only a small percentage was wanting but unable to afford/be insurable, right? The vast majority do not have insurance by choice and many will pay the fine (tax*) which will be cheaper than purchasing the bronze plan.

Furthermore,


2. Don't we already have medicaid?


Last, you should go to the ACA enrollment Facebook page and read the complaints. Even the bronze plan is still unaffordable for many. They are shocked, thinking they would qualify for a subsidy and now realizing that it's not in their budget.

My insurance premiums and deductible are going up dramatically because of the ACA -- as are most peoples'.

My understanding is that Jesus' message was personal. Only you can repent and save yourself with the grace of God. One has a personal obligation to serve God and those who cannot help themselves. One has the obligation to be charitable with one's own blessings (not just money), but one does NOT have the obligation to be charitable with others blessings. In fact, this is immoral.


This is a job killer, wage reducer, full-time to less than 30 hour work week, 2.6 trillion to the debt increasing over the next ten years unpopular law; which also is full of exceptions and waivers, making the application of the law different from what was originally passed and unequal.

One could go on and on, but no, I don't think Jesus has the choirs in Heaven singing gilded hymns.

biggentleben
10-04-2013, 03:22 PM
My biggest worry is the potentially adverse effects on a still shaky economy. We could see some companies react to this (to save their own business model) in ways that dramatically shift employment for the worse.

I will say that I was offered a job last week that I found out would be a personal insurance policy through ACA for health insurance rather than the group insurance I currently have. With my eye history and current weight (take my BP, cholesterol, etc. and I'm rated very well, but the weight number is off of certain scales and is a red flag), my individual policy would have cost more than the per-month stipend they were offering. I ended up turning down the job (though I utilized it to get a promotion and raise at the current job, so it worked very well), but ACA certainly in the short-term had a drastic effect on my perception of that job.

biggentleben
10-04-2013, 03:45 PM
My understanding is that Jesus' message was personal. Only you can repent and save yourself with the grace of God. One has a personal obligation to serve God and those who cannot help themselves. One has the obligation to be charitable with one's own blessings (not just money), but one does NOT have the obligation to be charitable with others blessings. In fact, this is immoral.

If we were to break down Christianity to Christ, then the faith is incredibly failing in its care for one another. Christ's greatest command was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. His second was to love your neighbor as yourself. An Acts 2 church, the ORIGINAL Christian church would be seen as a cult now for its reliance on the members to use all possessions for the betterment of the church and the ministry of Christ. The average church member, according to the last Gallop poll I've read, gives to ALL charities (not just their church, but all charities) at a 1.8% giving rate. The average non-church member gives at a 1.9% rate. In general, our society emphasizes personal wealth over societal concerns, expecting the taxes taken from our paychecks to take care of the poor and needy, and Christians and non-Christians subscribe to this at the same level.

I agree if we were living life as Christ's hands and feet, this wouldn't be needed because we would all be helping our poor and widows, but that's not the world that we live in, and seeing that, we need to work with the government system we have.

glunn
10-04-2013, 07:17 PM
Uh, insurance companies can only make 15% a year from now on......the costs are not going up because of insurance companies, you might want to look at what is driving costs.

There was a great article in Time Magazine a few months ago -- I think the author was Steven Brill -- where he explained why hospitals can get away with charging $50 for something that costs them less than $1. I agree that this is worth looking at.

glunn
10-04-2013, 07:27 PM
1. "I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act."

This is your opening line. You obviously think Christians have an obligation to support the ACA, no?

This is only about beliefs and what you think Christianity teaches Christians about hiring their government to compel of its citizens.

You realize that of the uninsured in the country, only a small percentage was wanting but unable to afford/be insurable, right? The vast majority do not have insurance by choice and many will pay the fine (tax*) which will be cheaper than purchasing the bronze plan.

Furthermore,


2. Don't we already have medicaid?


Last, you should go to the ACA enrollment Facebook page and read the complaints. Even the bronze plan is still unaffordable for many. They are shocked, thinking they would qualify for a subsidy and now realizing that it's not in their budget.

My insurance premiums and deductible are going up dramatically because of the ACA -- as are most peoples'.

My understanding is that Jesus' message was personal. Only you can repent and save yourself with the grace of God. One has a personal obligation to serve God and those who cannot help themselves. One has the obligation to be charitable with one's own blessings (not just money), but one does NOT have the obligation to be charitable with others blessings. In fact, this is immoral.


This is a job killer, wage reducer, full-time to less than 30 hour work week, 2.6 trillion to the debt increasing over the next ten years unpopular law; which also is full of exceptions and waivers, making the application of the law different from what was originally passed and unequal.

One could go on and on, but no, I don't think Jesus has the choirs in Heaven singing gilded hymns.

I am not arguing that Christians have an obligation to believe anything -- I am merely asking how they can oppose something that seems so consistent with the teachings of the New Testament without proposing something better to help poor people get health care.

That said, please explain why you think this will be such a disaster considering how it has worked in Massachusetts. And why should I have to pay a dime to cover the emergency room visits of people who can afford insurance but choose not to pay for it?

Frozented9
10-04-2013, 09:37 PM
Just got my insurance bill for next year went down $10 a month.

ChiTownTwinsFan
10-04-2013, 09:49 PM
A friend of mine's went from $550/mo to $371/mo.

TheLeviathan
10-04-2013, 10:00 PM
A friend of mine's went from $550/mo to $371/mo.

That's good, the question is - how much is this going to impact people 25-35 who are least likely to need health insurance, already strapped with much higher student loans than previous generations, and are likely not yet on a true career path but trying to make ends meet? Or the people working 2 or 3 jobs, one of which for benefits?

This law is largely funded off of their backs, I have serious reservations about how that's going to play out economically. Ben's example above works fairly well for that.

Hornhead
10-05-2013, 10:42 AM
Levi beat me to the punch. I could just as easily ask how a Christian could support a bill that will take from the young and often struggling. I fail to find the morality in running up bills for the next generation to pay. Hopefully, the youth seduced by messages of compassion, fairness, etc. will realize it’s coming out of their wallets, assuming they enjoy the good fortune if earning a decent living.

Mr. Brooks
10-05-2013, 10:57 AM
Well, I won't venture into the religious aspects of the discussion.
But I will say that the Republicans are being childish.
You don't have to like the law, but the process should be respected.
The law was passed by Congress.
It was upheld by the Supreme Court.
It was upheld by the People when they overwhelmingly re elected President Obama.

Again, people don't have to like the law, that is okay.
But, respect the process, don't throw a tantrum like a little kid just because you didn't get your way.

Mr. Brooks
10-05-2013, 11:02 AM
1. "I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act."

This is your opening line. You obviously think Christians have an obligation to support the ACA, no?

This is only about beliefs and what you think Christianity teaches Christians about hiring their government to compel of its citizens.

You realize that of the uninsured in the country, only a small percentage was wanting but unable to afford/be insurable, right? The vast majority do not have insurance by choice and many will pay the fine (tax*) which will be cheaper than purchasing the bronze plan.

Furthermore,


2. Don't we already have medicaid?


Last, you should go to the ACA enrollment Facebook page and read the complaints. Even the bronze plan is still unaffordable for many. They are shocked, thinking they would qualify for a subsidy and now realizing that it's not in their budget.

My insurance premiums and deductible are going up dramatically because of the ACA -- as are most peoples'.

My understanding is that Jesus' message was personal. Only you can repent and save yourself with the grace of God. One has a personal obligation to serve God and those who cannot help themselves. One has the obligation to be charitable with one's own blessings (not just money), but one does NOT have the obligation to be charitable with others blessings. In fact, this is immoral.


This is a job killer, wage reducer, full-time to less than 30 hour work week, 2.6 trillion to the debt increasing over the next ten years unpopular law; which also is full of exceptions and waivers, making the application of the law different from what was originally passed and unequal.

One could go on and on, but no, I don't think Jesus has the choirs in Heaven singing gilded hymns.

And that was a huge part of the problem.
Young people who CAN afford insurance, but selfishly go without it, then shift the burden to the rest of us when something catastrophic happens and they wind up in the ER, ICU or life support with a 500k medical bill that they will never pay.
You talk about the fairness of forcing people who don't want insurance to buy it. Well, how fair is it that people who can afford insurance would rather pass the cost on to everyone else when something terrible happens?

Mr. Brooks
10-05-2013, 11:04 AM
One final thing, did anyone else notice the comical irony of Ted Cruz reading Green Eggs and Ham during his marathon tantrum?
You could basically replace the words "Green Eggs and Ham" with "Obamacare", and it would have summed up quite well certain people's stubborn rejection of something that we simply do not KNOW for sure will be a good or bad thing, long term.

Mr. Brooks
10-05-2013, 11:17 AM
Do you like
Obamacare?

I do not like it,
Sam-I-am.
I do not like
Obamacare.

Would you like it
Here or there?

I would not like it
here or there.
I would not like it
anywhere.
I do not like
Obamacare.
I do not like it,
Sam-I-am

Would you like it
in a house?
Would you like it
with a mouse?

I do not like it
in a house.
I do not like it
with a mouse.
I do not like it
here or there.
I do not like it
anywhere.
I do not like Obamacare.
I do not like it, Sam-I-am.


Would you try it
in a box?
Would you try it
with a fox?

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I would not try it here or there.
I would not try it anywhere.
I would not try Obamacare.
I do not like it, Sam-I-am.

Would you? Could you?
in a car?
Try it! Try it!
Here it is.

I woould not ,
could not,
in a car

You may like it.
You will see.
You may like it
in a tree?
not in a tree.
I would not, could not in a tree.
Not in a car! You let me be.

I do not like it in a box.
I do not like it with a fox
I do not like it in a house
I do mot like it with a mouse
I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it anywhere.
I do not like Obamacare.
I do not like it Sam-I-am.

A train! A train!
A train! A train!
Could you, would you
on a train?

Not on a train! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! Sam! Let me be!
I would not, could not, in a box.
I could not, would not, with a fox.
I will not try it with a mouse
I will not try it in a house.
I will not try it here or there.
I will not try it anywhere.
I do not like it, Sam-I-am.


Say!
In the dark?
Here in the dark!
Would you, could you, in the dark?

I would not, could not,
in the dark.

Would you, could you,
in the rain?

I would not, could not, in the rain.
Not in the dark. Not on a train,
Not in a car, Not in a tree.
I do not like it, Sam, you see.
Not in a house. Not in a box.
Not with a mouse. Not with a fox.
I will not try it here or there.
I do not like it anywhere!

You do not like
Obamacare?

I do not
like it,
Sam-I-am.

Could you, would you,
with a goat?

I would not,
could not.
with a goat!

Mr. Brooks
10-05-2013, 11:18 AM
Would you, could you,
on a boat?

I could not, would not, on a boat.
I will not, will not, with a goat.
I will not try it in the rain.
I will not try it on a train.
Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! You let me be!
I do not like it in a box.
I do not like it with a fox.
I will not try it in a house.
I do not like it with a mouse.
I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it ANYWHERE!

I do not like
Obamacare!

I do not like it,
Sam-I-am.

You do not like it.
SO you say.
Try it! Try it!
And you may.
Try it and you may I say.

Sam!
If you will let me be,
I will try it.
You will see.

Say!
I like Obamacare!
I do!! I like it, Sam-I-am!
And I would try it in a boat!
And I would try it with a goat...
And I will try it in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
It is so good so good you see!

So I will try it in a box.
And I will try it with a fox.
And I will try it in a house.
And I will try it with a mouse.
And I will try it here and there.
Say! I will try it ANHYWHERE!

I do so like
Obamacare!
Thank you!
Thank you,
Sam-I-am

Hornhead
10-05-2013, 12:37 PM
And that was a huge part of the problem.
Young people who CAN afford insurance, but selfishly go without it, then shift the burden to the rest of us when something catastrophic happens and they wind up in the ER, ICU or life support with a 500k medical bill that they will never pay.
You talk about the fairness of forcing people who don't want insurance to buy it. Well, how fair is it that people who can afford insurance would rather pass the cost on to everyone else when something terrible happens?
If that is the huge concern, where was the mandate that folks carry catastrophic insurance rather than a plan they may not be able to afford or even want? That approach suffers from the flaw of not enough young subsidizing the old, similar to Social Security. We see how well that scheme is working out.

PseudoSABR
10-05-2013, 02:19 PM
This article (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-korobkin-shutdown-congress-conflict-theory-20131004-16,0,7727948.story) by Russel Korobkin is rather illuminating.


[...]In negotiation, the crazy person wins.

If your counterpart is willing to act in a way that harms both sides rather than making any concessions, you are outflanked. As a rational individual, you should give in, because doing so will make you better off than you otherwise would be, even though your concession will reward your irrational, uncooperative and completely maddening counterpart. [...]

Shane Wahl
10-05-2013, 04:33 PM
I just received an infraction for saying "Also, George W. Bush was not a legitimate authority" in a Twins thread, even though it was both a joke and a rather uncontroversial example of the distinction between "authority vs. legitimate authority" so I am not sure what I can get away with here, but I would actually--perhaps surprisingly--say that I would imagine Christians and all those supposedly with a deep sense of compassion would want rather rampant and deep change with how healthcare is administered in America. It's a joke and a mess and we still cannot provide coverage for every human being. Somehow. I don't view the ACA as a significantly great improvement. Only a single-payer, not-for-profit system is going to be a significantly great improvement.

I do know that if I still an adjunct (though I could be thus forced into this decision again next fall), I would have to quit teaching or work for two or more different colleges. At my particular community college, adjuncts teaching 5 classes a semester make about $7,400 after taxes. That's an abomination, but just imagine being limited to only three classes because the college cannot afford benefits?

TheLeviathan
10-05-2013, 05:09 PM
Good post Shane and sympathies on the infraction, I thought it was clearly tongue in cheek.

Shane Wahl
10-05-2013, 05:57 PM
Of course the ACA should have nothing to do with this shutdown. It's only because of one part of one party in one house of Congress that this is even occurring. Yet, it amazes that two things dominate most of the talk about the GS in the mainstream media:

1. That both parties are to blame for this, and
2. That this is actually the time to debate the merits of Obamacare

Both of those two things are blatantly false.

Hornhead
10-05-2013, 06:31 PM
This article (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-korobkin-shutdown-congress-conflict-theory-20131004-16,0,7727948.story) by Russel Korobkin is rather illuminating.

The tried and true "crazy person" argument. Show me the crazy. Asking Congress to live by the law as originally written until Obama unilaterally exempted them? Removing a tax on medical devices that actually improve healthcare? Funny how simply enrolling in Obamacare has been an ordeal despite ample time to prepare and less online traffic than anticipated. A taste of the incapable bureaucracy come.

And if the Left is so weary of appeasement, why the concessions to some of the most brutal thugs in the world? Obama reached out to the new leader of Iran for discussion but won't afford the same courtesy to democratically elected leaders in his own country. I find that far more illuminating than this silly article.

ThePuck
10-05-2013, 09:15 PM
Good post Shane and sympathies on the infraction, I thought it was clearly tongue in cheek.

It was clearly tongue in cheek.

biggentleben
10-05-2013, 09:54 PM
The tried and true "crazy person" argument. Show me the crazy. Asking Congress to live by the law as originally written until Obama unilaterally exempted them? Removing a tax on medical devices that actually improve healthcare? Funny how simply enrolling in Obamacare has been an ordeal despite ample time to prepare and less online traffic than anticipated. A taste of the incapable bureaucracy come.

And if the Left is so weary of appeasement, why the concessions to some of the most brutal thugs in the world? Obama reached out to the new leader of Iran for discussion but won't afford the same courtesy to democratically elected leaders in his own country. I find that far more illuminating than this silly article.

You may want to check your sources. The site crashed due to incredibly high demand of users on the first day multiple times. Our IT director discussed it with us as many of our clients will need to utilize the site, so we are to get familiar with it. I had no problem getting on at an odd hour of the day and navigating the system, so if you're considering that an ordeal, eBay must really blow your mind!

old nurse
10-05-2013, 10:32 PM
In terms of Christianity and Obamacare I would say that a majority of the religions are Christian in name only. Paul, Martin Luther, John Calvin et al founded religions based on what they believed Christianity to be.
Mike wants wins might better know where the money goes but there is a large percentage that goes into events that happen because of nothing the person did wrong. Many cancers, juvenile diabetes, any disease associated with genetics, influenza, etc. Some thing we didn't have a clue about and caused harm to people, cigarettes to the WWII fighters for example. Preventative medicine is a good thing. As a society I have no problem us paying for it. We pay for a lot of bad stuff that never happened to us. We pay for a lot of things to prevent bad things from happening to others. I will probably never visit Acadia National Park. I pay a miniscule amount to that and other places I will never see. That should be part of society. Healthcare should be no different.

glunn
10-06-2013, 02:42 AM
Well, I won't venture into the religious aspects of the discussion.
But I will say that the Republicans are being childish.
You don't have to like the law, but the process should be respected.
The law was passed by Congress.
It was upheld by the Supreme Court.
It was upheld by the People when they overwhelmingly re elected President Obama.

Again, people don't have to like the law, that is okay.
But, respect the process, don't throw a tantrum like a little kid just because you didn't get your way.

I would add that about 1.3 million more people voted for Democrats over Republicans for seats in the House of Representatives, but the Republicans won more seats as a result of gerrymandering.

glunn
10-06-2013, 03:06 AM
That's good, the question is - how much is this going to impact people 25-35 who are least likely to need health insurance, already strapped with much higher student loans than previous generations, and are likely not yet on a true career path but trying to make ends meet? Or the people working 2 or 3 jobs, one of which for benefits?

This law is largely funded off of their backs, I have serious reservations about how that's going to play out economically. Ben's example above works fairly well for that.

The law is also funded by taxes on people with high incomes and medical device manufacturers.

"Individuals with annual incomes higher than $200,000 and couples who make more than $250,000 a year will face two new taxes — a 0.9-percent increase in the 1.45-percent Medicare levy on earnings above those income thresholds and a new 3.8-percent tax on investment income. Together, these two taxes are expected to raise about $318 billion over the next decade — roughly half of the law’s new tax revenue." (http://twinsdaily.com/www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipes/2012/12/25/in-2013-millions-of-americans-face-obamacare-tax-hikes/)

As a capitalist and small business owner, I am happy to pay these taxes. It makes me feel good to contribute to helping people who would otherwise be uninsured. The idea of saving people who have curable diseases appeals to me.

I agree that there are serious issues relating to student loans. I believe that inflation will eventually make such loans easier to repay. I also believe that we need to rethink our economy to deal with the fact that there are going to be millions less jobs as time passes, due to automation. The good news is that robots and computer programs will be doing more and more as time passes. The bad news is that millions more jobs will be going away. For the sake of younger people, I think that we need to work hard to make sure there will be jobs that allow them to prosper, but I don't think that this is a good reason for them to not participate in the ACA.

Does anyone know if student loan payments count in computing the subsidies under the ACA?

glunn
10-06-2013, 03:23 AM
The tried and true "crazy person" argument. Show me the crazy. Asking Congress to live by the law as originally written until Obama unilaterally exempted them? Removing a tax on medical devices that actually improve healthcare? Funny how simply enrolling in Obamacare has been an ordeal despite ample time to prepare and less online traffic than anticipated. A taste of the incapable bureaucracy come.

And if the Left is so weary of appeasement, why the concessions to some of the most brutal thugs in the world? Obama reached out to the new leader of Iran for discussion but won't afford the same courtesy to democratically elected leaders in his own country. I find that far more illuminating than this silly article.

The medical device industry enjoys very high profit margins and the excise tax of 2.3% seems like a fair price to pay for having millions more potential end users. This is less than the 3.8% additional tax that high income people will be paying.

As for giving courtesy to the Tea Party, this works both ways. A majority of Americans voted for Obama and for Democratic candidates for both the Senate and the House. Due to gerrymandering, the Republicans retained the House, which does not seem very democratic to me -- more like a perversion of democracy.

TheLeviathan
10-06-2013, 05:21 AM
I agree that there are serious issues relating to student loans. I believe that inflation will eventually make such loans easier to repay. I also believe that we need to rethink our economy to deal with the fact that there are going to be millions less jobs as time passes, due to automation.

A couple things - first, automation has been a threat since the first factory was built. The issue isn't going to be the number of jobs but the reduced hours, pay, and security of full time positions. Its going to force people to work much harder to earn the same pay at (most likely) a time in their life they need health care the least.

Secondly, inflation isn't going to change the loan problem. The loan problem was caused by the implementation of the program itself and the ludicrous notion of having virtually no accountability for colleges in keeping rates down. The program is nothing more than a slush fund for universities that has actually made the affordability of college LESS than what it was. I personally believe that impact has been a huge factor on a number of industries that are used to having more spending power available to 22-35 year olds.

TheLeviathan
10-06-2013, 05:24 AM
Also Glunn, you should note the phrasing of your link: "tax" revenues. The fees and issues I'm talking about aren't technically taxes. TheDems worked very hard to muddy those waters to sell this.

So I'm sure there is a sizable chunk of the official taxes coming from the rich, it's the other penalties no one wants to call taxes that concerns me.

Shane Wahl
10-06-2013, 09:53 AM
Did I just read the word "appeasement" and talk about how opening up a conversation with the Iranians is a bad thing?

I just got baited.

Shane Wahl
10-06-2013, 09:56 AM
A general point: I have a hard time believing that Jesus would endorse capitalist economics. Now, maybe to his detriment (I would say because capitalism was necessary to generate massive wealth), but nonetheless.

So a healthcare system that does quite little about the for-profit nature of the enterprise seems inadequate.

Brock Beauchamp
10-06-2013, 10:07 AM
The tried and true "crazy person" argument. Show me the crazy. Asking Congress to live by the law as originally written until Obama unilaterally exempted them? Removing a tax on medical devices that actually improve healthcare? Funny how simply enrolling in Obamacare has been an ordeal despite ample time to prepare and less online traffic than anticipated. A taste of the incapable bureaucracy come.

And if the Left is so weary of appeasement, why the concessions to some of the most brutal thugs in the world? Obama reached out to the new leader of Iran for discussion but won't afford the same courtesy to democratically elected leaders in his own country. I find that far more illuminating than this silly article.

It says a lot about the current state of the GOP that Obama can open negotiations with "brutal thugs" but not the opposing party in this country.

This law passed Congress. It was upheld by the Supreme Court. The people of this country re-elected Obama despite the GOP platform of "stop Obamacare".

As Shane said, respect the process. The minority GOP doesn't get to hijack the government just because they don't like something (and I don't even like Obamacare much).

Shane Wahl
10-06-2013, 10:18 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/us/a-federal-budget-crisis-months-in-the-planning.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

This is pretty illustrative.

Why even talk to people who have been planning and scheming in every way possible to undermine you?

TheLeviathan
10-06-2013, 10:22 AM
To be fair, both parties have played a significant role in getting to this point. But the Republicans around about 95% to blame for this particular situation.

Brock Beauchamp
10-06-2013, 10:40 AM
To be fair, both parties have played a significant role in getting to this point. But the Republicans around about 95% to blame for this particular situation.

Yep. There is no way to objectively look at this situation and say it is Obama's fault.

The GOP tried and failed to overturn this bill 51 times, for crying out loud.

I don't like Obama at this point (his drone strikes and hawkish nature re: privacy and security have completely turned me against him) but let's call a spade a spade here. The GOP is completely out of line right now and we'll all be better off if the American public tells them as much next election. This country badly needs to get back to the point where the GOP moderates are allowed to influence the party and not be cast to the side in favor of the fringe lunatics.

diehardtwinsfan
10-06-2013, 04:29 PM
I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act.

In the New Testament, Jesus clearly advocates the importance of helping poor people:

Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."

Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Mark 12:41-44 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Luke 16:19-25 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.

How can any Christian oppose the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? Someone please explain this to me.


As a Christian, the first thing I need to clearly state is that your understanding and use of Scripture is incredibly poor. Proper exegesis always takes the passages in question within their appropriate context. Jesus's commands to Christians to take care of the poor do not obligate Christians, non-Christians, or otherwise to forcibly remove wealth from the people to redistribute it to others. These passages are not a call for a government sponsored healthcare or anything of the sort... as a matter of fact, they have nothing to do with government at all. They are a personal call to sacrifice.

Likewise, the call here says nothing of forcing everyone to make sacrifices. As a believer, I give a large portion of my income to various Christian charities, so much so that it hurts, which I do in large part because of the passages above. This does not obligate you to do the same, nor does it obligate me to support the government's attempt at doing this.

I get the need for social justice, and I will not argue if you were to state that the church has been lacking in this area for some time, but to conclude that because Jesus says we should give means that we should support a deeply flawed program that does nothing to address the actual causes of this mess (and greed plays a real big one here as the health system has been engineered in such a way to allow for several groups of people to create and take advantage of cash cows) is beyond silly.




I also cannot understand how a non-Christian could oppose this. Previously, any uninsured poor person could always get FREE treatment at the local emergency room. This is very inefficient and helps explain why some hospitals can charge $50 for an aspirin or some other item what costs less than a dollar. The cost of poor people going to the emergency room gets passed on to many of the people who oppose the Affordable Care Act, and it is indisputable that emergency rooms are a very expensive and inefficient way to provide care. For example, if someone has curable cancer, wouldn't it be better to give them chemo once a week than pay for the 10 or 20 emergency room visits until they die? Do I even have to ask what Jesus would say?


Nothing is free. The first problem I have is what is being assumed here and in a few of your other posts. We do not have a right to healthcare. We have a right to exist, and in our nation, we have a right to liberty (at least that's what our propaganda says, reality is a bit different)... Liberties, I'd add, that are being stepped on both by the Affordable Care Act, and walking into emergency rooms and demanding free care. What's not being said here is that there's a cost problem.

Costs have spiraled out of control, and no one is looking into why it is that this is the case. There was a day, not all that long ago, where people paid for a doctor just as they paid for a plumber. You didn't have a 3rd party payer, and if you couldn't pay, you typically worked something out with the doctor. Medicine wasn't all that expensive. Something has changed. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry personally, and having family members involved in various parts of the medical industry, I can tell you for certain that this is a system that is in desperate need of reform from the inside out. There are large groups of people benefiting from it in ways that make them very rich and have done so on the backs of everyone else. They can do that because they've created conflicts of interest, barriers to entry, unnecessary regulation, etc. in order to increase their profits... and they've been able to act unchecked.




And to those who say that this is socialistic, it seems to me that Medicare and Social Security are more socialistic. The Affordable Care Act, like Romneycare (which seems to be working in Massachusetts), is based on creating competition among private insurers. This approach was invented by Republicans, and initially opposed by Democrats who preferred a single payer solution, modeled on Medicare.


They are all socialistic, and personally I'm against all of them. Of course I'm neither a Republican or a Democrat.

diehardtwinsfan
10-06-2013, 04:30 PM
And to the civil libertarians, your rights end when you ask me to pay for your failure to provide for your own economic costs. If you drive without car insurance, others will have to pay if you get into an accident and cripple someone. Don't ask me to pay for your health care, unless you genuinely cannot afford it. Yes, I admit that there is a part of me that would not mind seeing some Tea Party adherents experience poetic justice by dying of curable cancer because they were too irresponsible to buy medical insurance, but deep down I agree with Jesus on this.


I missed the part where Jesus weighed in on health insurance. If you want to know what the Bible says, it calls us to care for the needy within our family first and for the church to handle those who have no family to take care of them. I Timothy 5 provides a good example of this, as Paul makes it clear that it's my responsibility to take care of the needy in my family and the church's responsibility to take care of those who have no family to take care of them. I'm not a tea-party guy, and truth be told, most of them probably have insurance, recognize that economic system is setup in this country to destroy the middle class, and just want to keep what little they have left. I agree that I shouldn't ask you to pay for my healthcare if I can afford it.

I'll take it a step further, I should not be asking you to pay my medical bills at all. I know it sounds uncaring, cold, or even inhumane, but healthcare is not a right. The rich have always been able to get better healthcare than the poor, and if I cannot afford to pay for the options on the table, then I need to look into less expensive options.



And to the Republicans who complain that this does not apply to Congress and the Executive Branch, I agree with that. On the other hand, how many women and children would you like to die of cancer next year because they cannot afford treatment? And you might want to read Luke 16:19-25 again. Do you really want to argue with St. Peter at the gates of heaven that you let poor people suffer and die because the legislation was not perfect???


The ones who will be arguing with St. Peter at the gates of heaven are going to be the ones that did nothing while expecting the almighty government to do everything. Again, I've read Luke 16 many many times. This is a personal call. A call for me to give, to do so sacrificially, and make a difference. It has nothing to with affordable healthcare. When the Bible discusses subjects such as the future, worry, etc. it says something along the lines of "do not worry about what tomorrow will bring". Read Matthew 6 when you have a chance. Jesus commands his listeners not to worry about food and clothing etc. as God will take care of them. When it discusses things like sickness, it commands us to pray, lay hands, and anoint with oil (see James 5). It does not call me to force you to pay my medical bills.



Almost every civilized foreign country (and Massachusetts) has government supported health care. So far, God has not rained hell storms on these places. Instead, many of these countries have better results than we do in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and other important measures of success.

Almost every civilized foreign country has no military obligations and lets the US do it for them. It's pretty easy to have free healthcare when someone else is spending more than a trillion dollars a year keeping you safe.



One thing that I believe everyone can agree on is that there is lots of room for improvement in the law. If not for the lobbyists in Congress, I think that this would have been a much cleaner, simpler and less expensive statute. What I would love to see would be for the Republicans and the Democrats make amendments that cut costs, but unfortunately the lobbyists seem to be able to block changes that might reduce the profits of their clients -- companies who are making a killing with profit margins on medical devices and drugs that far exceed what they would get if Medicare and insurance exchanges were allowed to negotiate prices in an open market.


It isn't just the lobbyists, though they are a huge problem. The system itself is broken. It starts with the idea of having a 3rd payer, but that is hardly the only problem. That right there eliminates the concept of personal responsibility for healthcare. It takes it to a convenience. We don't sit down and look at healthcare in terms of what we can afford, or not afford. We don't even look at it as true insurance. There was a time when insurance policies were for catastrophic events. That has long passed and now they cover everything, and make me responsible for nothing. Costs were a lot lower back then, and ironically, if you couldn't afford to pay, people still managed to find a way to work things out.

Likewise, there's no competition. Because of this, providers can charge what they want for their services. They don't have to publish their rates, so the same procedure can cost a vastly different amount of money from one provider to the next. A few years back, when I was my own employer, I had only a major medical plan with an HSA. My son had a sore throat and was going to need a throat culture. I called a provider to find out what they charged for the procedure. They refused to tell me (even though I was going to pay cash for it)... Refused. I was told that the rate "depends". In most other industries, this practice would be blatantly illegal and borderline fraudulent.

There's large barriers to entry all over medicine as well, and these are also created to keep the supply of doctors low so as to increase the price. It also keeps the cost of pharmaceuticals high as well, not to mention the conflicts of interest that exist there too.



Finally, I am concerned that doctors and other medical professionals have been squeezed and may become more squeezed unless they can get a fairer share of health care revenues. Unfortunately for them, their lobbying power is no match for the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and insurance companies. This has been getting worse for years, and I don't think that the Affordable Care Act will make much of a difference either way, but this is something that I think that people should really worry about.

What do you think?

Most medical doctors I've met are quite well off... far better off than I am, and I am doing quite well for myself. I don't think they are being squeezed. The ones being squeezed are the rank and file support people. My brother in law is an MRI tech. People like him get crapped on all the time. He doesn't make a lot of money, and his employer restricts his hours to 32 hours a week so they don't have to pay him benefits. His employer is a hospital that is one of the largest publicly traded hospital systems in the country, bringing in billions a year in revenue. There's one expansion project after another where he works. And the Affordable Care Act isn't going to fix that.

diehardtwinsfan
10-06-2013, 04:37 PM
I don't think that this is about what people are allowed to believe. I do think that history proves that unregulated capitalism would be disastrous. I also think that it's pretty clear that Jesus would be in favor of laws that allow poor people to have access to affordable health care, even if this means reducing the profit margins of insurance companies to 10 to 20% per year.

I agree with your premise that capitalism needs to be regulated, but the ironic thing is that what we have going with the affordable health care act does nothing to actually regulate it. As a matter of fact, the regulation that exists is setup in such a way as to make it more expensive and allow for certain individuals to pillage the system. Regulation has stopped being about right and wrong and is instituted in a way to make people rich at the expense of others. Neither party is regulating it in a healthy way.

As for your second premise, Jesus went out of his way to avoid political issues. His enemies tried on more than one occasion to trap him there. His only advice on politics was to pay Caesar what is Caesar's and to pay God what is God's.

diehardtwinsfan
10-06-2013, 04:45 PM
I agree that there are serious issues relating to student loans. I believe that inflation will eventually make such loans easier to repay. I also believe that we need to rethink our economy to deal with the fact that there are going to be millions less jobs as time passes, due to automation. The good news is that robots and computer programs will be doing more and more as time passes. The bad news is that millions more jobs will be going away. For the sake of younger people, I think that we need to work hard to make sure there will be jobs that allow them to prosper, but I don't think that this is a good reason for them to not participate in the ACA.

Does anyone know if student loan payments count in computing the subsidies under the ACA?

Inflation is one of the system costs that we rarely discuss, or understand. It's the reason why people do not save. Their purchasing power is reduced. Inflation is just another tax, and while it may make loans easier to repay down the road, that only works if your income keeps up or exceeds it. The problem is that for the last decade income has been stagnant, and adjusted for inflation, incomes are dropping. Inflation is one of the big things destroying this economy and at one point, your dollar won't be worth the paper it's printed on.

diehardtwinsfan
10-06-2013, 04:47 PM
Yep. There is no way to objectively look at this situation and say it is Obama's fault.

The GOP tried and failed to overturn this bill 51 times, for crying out loud.

I don't like Obama at this point (his drone strikes and hawkish nature re: privacy and security have completely turned me against him) but let's call a spade a spade here. The GOP is completely out of line right now and we'll all be better off if the American public tells them as much next election. This country badly needs to get back to the point where the GOP moderates are allowed to influence the party and not be cast to the side in favor of the fringe lunatics.

We will be better off when the American people send both parties packing. Not until then.

Brock Beauchamp
10-06-2013, 07:00 PM
We will be better off when the American people send both parties packing. Not until then.

Well, yes. But you cut out the biggest tumor first.

snepp
10-06-2013, 07:08 PM
Well, yes. But you cut out the biggest tumor first.

Unfortunately it's going to take more than a little cutting to get rid of that growth.

glunn
10-07-2013, 12:59 AM
As a Christian, the first thing I need to clearly state is that your understanding and use of Scripture is incredibly poor. Proper exegesis always takes the passages in question within their appropriate context. Jesus's commands to Christians to take care of the poor do not obligate Christians, non-Christians, or otherwise to forcibly remove wealth from the people to redistribute it to others. These passages are not a call for a government sponsored healthcare or anything of the sort... as a matter of fact, they have nothing to do with government at all. They are a personal call to sacrifice.

Likewise, the call here says nothing of forcing everyone to make sacrifices. As a believer, I give a large portion of my income to various Christian charities, so much so that it hurts, which I do in large part because of the passages above. This does not obligate you to do the same, nor does it obligate me to support the government's attempt at doing this.

I get the need for social justice, and I will not argue if you were to state that the church has been lacking in this area for some time, but to conclude that because Jesus says we should give means that we should support a deeply flawed program that does nothing to address the actual causes of this mess (and greed plays a real big one here as the health system has been engineered in such a way to allow for several groups of people to create and take advantage of cash cows) is beyond silly.




Nothing is free. The first problem I have is what is being assumed here and in a few of your other posts. We do not have a right to healthcare. We have a right to exist, and in our nation, we have a right to liberty (at least that's what our propaganda says, reality is a bit different)... Liberties, I'd add, that are being stepped on both by the Affordable Care Act, and walking into emergency rooms and demanding free care. What's not being said here is that there's a cost problem.

Costs have spiraled out of control, and no one is looking into why it is that this is the case. There was a day, not all that long ago, where people paid for a doctor just as they paid for a plumber. You didn't have a 3rd party payer, and if you couldn't pay, you typically worked something out with the doctor. Medicine wasn't all that expensive. Something has changed. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry personally, and having family members involved in various parts of the medical industry, I can tell you for certain that this is a system that is in desperate need of reform from the inside out. There are large groups of people benefiting from it in ways that make them very rich and have done so on the backs of everyone else. They can do that because they've created conflicts of interest, barriers to entry, unnecessary regulation, etc. in order to increase their profits... and they've been able to act unchecked.




They are all socialistic, and personally I'm against all of them. Of course I'm neither a Republican or a Democrat.

I still don't understand how people can call themselves Christians when they choose to ignore what Christ said that they should do. I understand what you are saying about Jesus viewing this as a personal decision, but I am finding it difficult not to conclude that many of these people are insincere about their religion.

I think I understand your point about having no right to healthcare but am wondering if you really believe that someone whose life may be in danger should be turned away from an emergency room if he or she has no ability to pay. Would you make an exception for someone who will die without immediate treatment?

Finally, imagine a country where some of us are Christians and those who are not Christians agree that helping the poor is a good idea. Why not use government to get this done? Would you really like to eliminate Social Security and go back to having old people living on the street? Would you really eliminate Medicare and let old people die from curable illnesses? I am still unclear how you could explain to St. Peter that you did these things knowing that they would hurt so many people.

glunn
10-07-2013, 01:08 AM
I agree with your premise that capitalism needs to be regulated, but the ironic thing is that what we have going with the affordable health care act does nothing to actually regulate it. As a matter of fact, the regulation that exists is setup in such a way as to make it more expensive and allow for certain individuals to pillage the system. Regulation has stopped being about right and wrong and is instituted in a way to make people rich at the expense of others. Neither party is regulating it in a healthy way.

As for your second premise, Jesus went out of his way to avoid political issues. His enemies tried on more than one occasion to trap him there. His only advice on politics was to pay Caesar what is Caesar's and to pay God what is God's.

My understanding is that there is some good regulation here, including caps on insurance company profits and penalties to be applied to hospitals with higher than average infection rates. There is also some effort being made to make rates available on the internet so people can better shop for particular procedures.

As for Jesus avoiding political issues, I don't understand the relevance. Caesar was a dictator. Today, we each have an equal vote. Collectively, we are Caesar. With power comes responsibility, and we no longer have a Caesar to blame for policies that screw poor people.

TheLeviathan
10-07-2013, 08:21 AM
I don't like all this moral sledge-hammering. Too many god awful, crippling policies have been built on that premise. We should care that we are doing the right thing but we should care even more that we do it the right way. Not just do something or anything regardless of consequences so we can feel good about ourselves.

just look at student loans, the housing crash, and even the medical system - all examples of pious good intentions that caused enormous harm.

Frozented9
10-09-2013, 12:00 AM
I don't like all this moral sledge-hammering. Too many god awful, crippling policies have been built on that premise. We should care that we are doing the right thing but we should care even more that we do it the right way. Not just do something or anything regardless of consequences so we can feel good about ourselves.

just look at student loans, the housing crash, and even the medical system - all examples of pious good intentions that caused enormous harm.


Flashback: Private Sector Not GSEs Triggered Crisis | The Big Picture (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/10/4-year-flashback-private-sector-not-gses-triggered-crisis/)

The housing crisis wasn't caused by the government.

TheLeviathan
10-09-2013, 06:09 AM
Flashback: Private Sector Not GSEs Triggered Crisis | The Big Picture (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/10/4-year-flashback-private-sector-not-gses-triggered-crisis/)

The housing crisis wasn't caused by the government.

It absolutely was. Without the loosened credit requirements of the early to mid 90s, these private banks could not have legally done this. Ultimately the chief abusers were in the private sectors (much like college universities are), but their abuses were only possible because of changes to regulation meant to give everyone the American dream of owning a home.

Part of good policy is anticipating and stemming the tide of abuse.

Frozented9
10-09-2013, 09:55 AM
It absolutely was. Without the loosened credit requirements of the early to mid 90s, these private banks could not have legally done this. Ultimately the chief abusers were in the private sectors (much like college universities are), but their abuses were only possible because of changes to regulation meant to give everyone the American dream of owning a home.

Part of good policy is anticipating and stemming the tide of abuse.

Credit requirements are set by the lenders not the government unless you are are talking about FHA loans.

The government didn't say you have to start doing ninja (no income no job approved) loans. They didn't tell banks that you should have fake pay stubs and bank statements on loan officers computers to make anyone qualify for a loan.

This was all because of packaging of the loan by the private sector and because of individual and collective greed. Read the lost bank about WAMU. Or just actually look at the numbers from 2000-2007. Loan originators started making a killing on subprime any really any type of mortgage and since they didn't have to care about accepting the risk down the line they approved everyone. Check out the rise in subprime lending since 2000.

Now remember subprime was something that freddie and fannie had no imput on it is the closest thing to a true free market in mortgage industry during this time. As we know subprime loans were the biggest driver of the crisis.



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Subprime_mortgage_originations%2C_1996-2008.GIF

PseudoSABR
10-09-2013, 12:27 PM
It's not our morality per se that has driven us astray in terms of student and housing loans, and even healthcare, rather it's that certain private institutions have advocated and successfully implemented policy that benefits them far more than it benefits the actual public good. Even worse, we too eagerly let those who profiteer from a public morality write the damn policy itself. Our cynicism should not be located in trying to ensure some moral good or equitable opportunity, but rather our methods of guaranteeing such outcomes. I'm always widely cynical of these public/private hybrids that can address a public good or a systemic inequality--if there was any real profit to be gained from such transactions the market would have supplied us with such. It's that things like public good must be taken at short term profitable loss (and maybe even long term, though things like healthcare and education you could argue are investments), hence the need for a government and a body of tax paying citizens to organize and provide such non-profitable services.

TheLeviathan
10-09-2013, 03:19 PM
Credit requirements are set by the lenders not the government unless you are are talking about FHA loans.

there are an abundance of laws that relate to this as well. It was the relaxing of federal regulations during a booming economy that got the ball rolling. That doesn't excuse the private banks, just gives proper due to poorly thought out policy as well.

TheLeviathan
10-09-2013, 03:22 PM
Our cynicism should not be located in trying to ensure some moral good or equitable opportunity, but rather our methods of guaranteeing such outcomes. .

Fine by me, as long as we are actually worried about that. Too often the moral sledgehammer gets out and the nuance needed to guarantee is lost in the scuffle for high ground. I want good moral policy. Not just more policy. Too much of this thread ignores the "good" in the name of the moral. It's rampant in here much like in society.

Shane Wahl
10-10-2013, 11:48 AM
Can I share what I tell my students in Philosophy of Religion class?

I offer them a distinction:

Christian

vs.

Christ-ian

That is, I think it might be a wise move to actually pronounce "Christian" as Christ-ian, saying the guys name. It reminds of the imitation of Christ and what that actually entails. And I am serious about the potential effect that might have on some people who clearly distort the message with their weird moralism.

PseudoSABR
10-10-2013, 11:57 AM
Can I share what I tell my students in Philosophy of Religion class?

I offer them a distinction:

Christian

vs.

Christ-ian

That is, I think it might be a wise move to actually pronounce "Christian" as Christ-ian, saying the guys name. It reminds of the imitation of Christ and what that actually entails. And I am serious about the potential effect that might have on some people who clearly distort the message with their weird moralism.Religiousity and moralism need not go hand and hand; in fact, some might argue they serve opposed purposes (as ironic as it might be that one is clothed in the other).

glunn
10-11-2013, 01:38 AM
So while people argue about what to do and how best to do it, children continue to die every day because they are unlucky enough to have parents who cannot afford to provide health care.

Our medical system is among the least efficient in the world. The Affordable Care Act includes attempts to make it more efficient, by penalizing poor results (such as hospitals that have high infection rates because staff does not always wash their hands) and by allowing consumers to better compare policies offered by competing insurance companies. It also increases taxes on people and companies who can afford to pay such taxes.

I understand that the ACA could be a lot better and less expensive. If not for the lobbyists, the ACA would be far more efficient. One huge example is prescription drug prices. Why do prescription drugs cost more in the U.S. than anywhere else? Check this (http://twinsdaily.com/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prescription_drug_prices_in_the_United_States)out. Is it a coincidence that the drug companies spent more on lobbying than any other industry from 1998 through 2006?

To me, the supreme irony is that if our policy was created with a focus on efficiency, we could afford to take care of everyone. Other countries do it -- here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/23/steven-brills-26000-word-health-care-story-in-one-sentence/)is one of many articles that provides common sense ideas about how we could do it.

This is not rocket science. The inefficiency is deliberate. The politicians could adopt a plan modeled on the Israeli plan tomorrow, we could cover everyone and have money left over -- please check out this article (http://forward.com/articles/158550/israels-health-care-outpaces-us/?p=all) as an example of many that show this.

While our politicians squabble, the lobbyists make sure that good things cannot happen. I would think that my Christian friends would be with me in wanting to do whatever it takes to save children from dying who can be saved by the ACA. I certainly join them in wanting to do this with the least possible expense and the best possible results.

TheLeviathan
10-11-2013, 11:24 AM
I think you are following the debate too closely in your interpretation Glunn. I don't mean a "good" law in terms of being cheap or financially sound. I want a good law that is well tailored to solve the problem without rampant unintended consequences that far outweigh any immediate good it creates.

sometimes good solutions are expensive, but at least they are good solutions. Too often the moral chest thumping your first paragraph uses overrides the entire discussion.

mike wants wins
10-11-2013, 11:43 AM
If only our current generations were as willing to sacrifice their own wealth as the generations fighting world war 1 and 2.......but we aren't.

Shane Wahl
10-11-2013, 05:31 PM
There is a fairly illuminating documentary, called "Medicine and Money" (I believe that is the title) that might be worth a watch on Netflix.

kab21
10-11-2013, 10:46 PM
I'm not a fan of big social programs (and this is huge) but medical care is something that is unobtainable for far too many in the US. The ACA has its flaws and imo the Republicans have actually taken steps to make it less effective but it is still a big step in the right direction.

PseudoSABR
10-16-2013, 03:29 PM
Was it worth while for Ted Cruz and the House Republicans?
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RHpZHDYQD7U/T8r6AtHQCtI/AAAAAAAAEHc/1j-CBpO4Y2I/s400/willy-wonka-you-get-nothing.gif

kab21
10-16-2013, 08:00 PM
Was it worth while for Ted Cruz and the House Republicans?
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RHpZHDYQD7U/T8r6AtHQCtI/AAAAAAAAEHc/1j-CBpO4Y2I/s400/willy-wonka-you-get-nothing.gif

Don't worry they will spin this as a positive and play this game again in February.

Riverbrian
10-21-2013, 05:07 PM
Anger at Ted Cruz?

To me that's like getting angry at Charlie McCarthy or Bubba J for his actions. It's political contributors like the Koch Brothers who are controlling the strings and that is the sad state of our political machine.

It's going to get worse until we can get the money out of politics with some comprehensive campaign finance reform. Until then... The Koch Brothers and the like are calling the play. Ted Cruz is just a face who needs money to get re-elected.

We the people have the strength in numbers but there is no strength in numbers when the numbers are distracted and informed by 10 word answers and catch phrases.

Statesmanship is gone and it will not return. The executive and legislative branch is a cesspool and I'm pretty sure the judicial branch is probably infested as well. Nearly 7 Billion dollars was spent on federal elections. The Majority of the 7 billion dollars was for the purpose of influence. 7 billion dollars that they could have been spent or invested elsewhere.

I don't care if people have a conservative view on things or if people have a liberal view on things. I think things are supposed to be that way.

The only thing I care about is the answer to this question:

1. Why are corporations or wealthy individuals contributing large sums of money to political campaigns. Why Indeed?

These guys are not in the habit of giving away money and getting nothing in return. They invested nearly 7 Billion dollars for something.

The answer to that question leads to the answer of how you fix this. I don't have the strength to be passionate about any party or anything political until Campaign Finance is truly reformed and that includes the closing of all loopholes and the new loopholes that spring up.

Until that happens... I'm on the sideline and a boat floating on the tide...

It's up to me to become wealthy enough to influence things for myself. Until then... There ain't much I can do but cast a vote for the person who has the best chance of getting elected and is also closest to supporting what is important to me. I just can't find one that wants to cut off their funding and give the other guy a chance at beating them.

Hang on... It's only gonna get worse!!! Shutdowns... Political Games of Chicken... Oh Yeah... There are more to come.

PseudoSABR
10-21-2013, 05:51 PM
I think you're probably right, RB, but there MAY be another path through the dollars-to-democratic-power stranglehold. (Though this take is totally rose-colored). We can already see it happening to some extent (with the public reaction to the Shutdown), but if a significant voting majority grows so disenchanted by ideological politicians and that same significant majority remains totally cynical of political advertising, that that majority might begin doing their own independent research (thank god for the internet!) and form their own opinions on the actual issues.

With each generation of voters/consumers, the capacity of which media and technology can manipulate that generation decreases. Throwing money on somehow creating an echo chamber won't work as the populace gets more and more cynical of echo chambers altogether. That combined with the traditional (dated) core beliefs of the extreme right, shrink their ideological appeal twofold.

The connection between right wing politics and Christian ritualism can't be ignored; so much rightwing polictical headway is made from the preacher's bully pulpit. However, I do take some solace, that at least in Catholicism, the new pope seems to be moving towards the center (if not being outright progressive). Now, I don't believe any one priest changes their tune because of a new pope, but I do think it will allow for more progressive priests to gain sway within the church and even for progressives to have a calling to the church, which in turn, might affect their partitioners rejection of an ideology that works against their own interst.

stringer bell
10-21-2013, 06:42 PM
Thanks, TDers! This was a far better discussion than I read anywhere else. You all demonstrated more knowledge and more civility than I have witnessed in any other threads regarding the ACA/Government Shutdown. I probably am closest to Brock in this matter, in that I see the ACA (Obamacare) as cumbersome, confusing and somewhat ineffective, but I think that the far Right is way out-of-bounds in their vitriol and the extremes they have resorted to in order to short circuit the Affordable Care Act. I, too, hope they are punished for their disrespect.

diehardtwinsfan
10-21-2013, 09:00 PM
I still don't understand how people can call themselves Christians when they choose to ignore what Christ said that they should do. I understand what you are saying about Jesus viewing this as a personal decision, but I am finding it difficult not to conclude that many of these people are insincere about their religion.

I think I understand your point about having no right to healthcare but am wondering if you really believe that someone whose life may be in danger should be turned away from an emergency room if he or she has no ability to pay. Would you make an exception for someone who will die without immediate treatment?

Finally, imagine a country where some of us are Christians and those who are not Christians agree that helping the poor is a good idea. Why not use government to get this done? Would you really like to eliminate Social Security and go back to having old people living on the street? Would you really eliminate Medicare and let old people die from curable illnesses? I am still unclear how you could explain to St. Peter that you did these things knowing that they would hurt so many people.

First, I'll reiterate, there's no command from Jesus to support universal heathcare. Your premise is flawed from the start. My biggest complaint as a Christian, and a teacher, is people who use the Scriptures to back whatever viewpoint that they want to espouse, regardless of what the writers were attempting to say. This is a real good example. The Bible doesn't weigh in on it.

Now to answer your question, this is not your decision or my decision, it's a hospital's decision. And since you ask the question, what would Jesus do, what do you think he'd say to them? You've asked what he would say to me, but he speaks to multiple audiences does he not? Another point I'd make is that for the longest time, this was never an issue. People who couldn't afford to pay got put on payment plans and what not. Insurance was cheap because it covered things like catastrophic items and not every day visits. The system is setup in such a way now that it encourages this.

I think my biggest problem with your argument here is that it can so easily be reworded to make you look just as extreme. That multi billion dollar hospital isn't having problems paying their bills, and the doctors that work there are millionaires many times over, yet you and I are now being taxed so that their profit margin isn't squeezed. And then of course there's a few more pragmatic questions. What of that guy who needs immediate treatment because he chose to abuse his freedoms. Why should I take care of him? There is a huge slippery slope here and I'm not sure people have thought through all of the ramifications. When the government starts footing the bill, how long do you think it will be until they start telling you what you can and cannot eat, how much you should exercise, etc.?

I don't have a problem with Christians and non-Christians helping the poor. I have a problem with the government compelling people to do it, and I have a problem with the naiveté that goes with it to think that they can somehow make this more stable than the free market system. They cannot. Look at Social Security and Medicare. They are perfect examples. Both programs are great ideas on the surface, but your politicians took the money from these trust funds and spent it. Then, to mask it, they game with the inflation numbers (a problem they also created), entitlement benefits, etc. so that a person living on social security and medicare are still broke. And now these same people are in the hands of your great government to care for them, and that doesn't work well either. I have little memories of my one grandfather who died in a VA hospital due to gross negligence. My wife's father served his country in Vietnam and sustained a brain injury the prevented him from ever being able to support a family. They convinced him while he was in the hospital to sign away his benefits and he finally got them back about 10 years ago. The government will not take care of you.

The government isn't your savior. And eliminating medicare won't suddenly mean that old people will be dying all over from curable illnesses. What it will do is force the price of the cure to drop, and given the current environment, pharmaceuticals and hospitals have zero incentive to lower prices as they have little competition. A real good example of this is a non-life threatening procedure. Lasik isn't covered by insurance. When it came out, it was insanely expensive, and because it wasn't insured, the price dropped to the point where it became fairly affordable. That's how supply and demand works, and in so doing, it makes charity a lot easier. The market will dictate what the price is actually worth, and when you artificially subsidize it, it doesn't seek to lower the price... It never does. It always makes things more expensive, which leads to more subsidies.

diehardtwinsfan
10-21-2013, 09:13 PM
Flashback: Private Sector Not GSEs Triggered Crisis | The Big Picture (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/10/4-year-flashback-private-sector-not-gses-triggered-crisis/)

The housing crisis wasn't caused by the government.
It most certainly did. It was the federal reserve who enabled our Government's debt binge by lowering interest rates to create a debt bubble in the economy in the first place. It was the government that chose to repeal the glass steagle act that created the TBTFs in the first place. Yes, the private sector jumped in there too, but pretending that it was one without the other is absurd. None of this happens if the gov leaves glass-steagle in tact and kept rates where they belonged... none of it.

glunn
10-22-2013, 12:48 AM
Anger at Ted Cruz?

To me that's like getting angry at Charlie McCarthy or Bubba J for his actions. It's political contributors like the Koch Brothers who are controlling the strings and that is the sad state of our political machine.

It's going to get worse until we can get the money out of politics with some comprehensive campaign finance reform. Until then... The Koch Brothers and the like are calling the play. Ted Cruz is just a face who needs money to get re-elected.

We the people have the strength in numbers but there is no strength in numbers when the numbers are distracted and informed by 10 word answers and catch phrases.

Statesmanship is gone and it will not return. The executive and legislative branch is a cesspool and I'm pretty sure the judicial branch is probably infested as well. Nearly 7 Billion dollars was spent on federal elections. The Majority of the 7 billion dollars was for the purpose of influence. 7 billion dollars that they could have been spent or invested elsewhere.

I don't care if people have a conservative view on things or if people have a liberal view on things. I think things are supposed to be that way.

The only thing I care about is the answer to this question:

1. Why are corporations or wealthy individuals contributing large sums of money to political campaigns. Why Indeed?

These guys are not in the habit of giving away money and getting nothing in return. They invested nearly 7 Billion dollars for something.

The answer to that question leads to the answer of how you fix this. I don't have the strength to be passionate about any party or anything political until Campaign Finance is truly reformed and that includes the closing of all loopholes and the new loopholes that spring up.

Until that happens... I'm on the sideline and a boat floating on the tide...

It's up to me to become wealthy enough to influence things for myself. Until then... There ain't much I can do but cast a vote for the person who has the best chance of getting elected and is also closest to supporting what is important to me. I just can't find one that wants to cut off their funding and give the other guy a chance at beating them.

Hang on... It's only gonna get worse!!! Shutdowns... Political Games of Chicken... Oh Yeah... There are more to come.

Because of the Supreme Court's rulings about campaign finance reform, it is going to take a constitutional amendment or some changes in the court to reduce the influence of billionaires and corporations. A constitutional amendment would require a huge grassroots movement, because most politicians nowadays don't seem to want to cut the flow of cash and perks. And a change in the court that favors this could take decades.

Did you see 60 Minutes last night? They did a segment about how politicians can legally use campaign funds to take luxury vacations and pay family members to work on their campaigns. I think that this system as a whole comes pretty close to outright bribery in cases where the politician plans to use a lot of the money to line his or her own pockets.

glunn
10-22-2013, 12:54 AM
I think you're probably right, RB, but there MAY be another path through the dollars-to-democratic-power stranglehold. (Though this take is totally rose-colored). We can already see it happening to some extent (with the public reaction to the Shutdown), but if a significant voting majority grows so disenchanted by ideological politicians and that same significant majority remains totally cynical of political advertising, that that majority might begin doing their own independent research (thank god for the internet!) and form their own opinions on the actual issues.

With each generation of voters/consumers, the capacity of which media and technology can manipulate that generation decreases. Throwing money on somehow creating an echo chamber won't work as the populace gets more and more cynical of echo chambers altogether. That combined with the traditional (dated) core beliefs of the extreme right, shrink their ideological appeal twofold.

The connection between right wing politics and Christian ritualism can't be ignored; so much rightwing polictical headway is made from the preacher's bully pulpit. However, I do take some solace, that at least in Catholicism, the new pope seems to be moving towards the center (if not being outright progressive). Now, I don't believe any one priest changes their tune because of a new pope, but I do think it will allow for more progressive priests to gain sway within the church and even for progressives to have a calling to the church, which in turn, might affect their partitioners rejection of an ideology that works against their own interst.

I am hoping that you are correct about an independent movement evolving to make the world a better place.

I also am encouraged by this new pope. It seems to me that of all the popes during my lifetime, this one comes closest to saying things that Jesus would say if he were around today. It seems to me that Jesus was trying to teach people about love, empathy and generosity, not hate, prejudice and saving taxes.

glunn
10-22-2013, 12:57 AM
Thanks, TDers! This was a far better discussion than I read anywhere else. You all demonstrated more knowledge and more civility than I have witnessed in any other threads regarding the ACA/Government Shutdown.

If only we moderators had the power to enforce the TD rules in Congress, there would be a lot less gridlock and a lot more respectful discussion. Yes, we might have to issue some bans, but it would be worth it.

glunn
10-22-2013, 01:44 AM
First, I'll reiterate, there's no command from Jesus to support universal heathcare. Your premise is flawed from the start. My biggest complaint as a Christian, and a teacher, is people who use the Scriptures to back whatever viewpoint that they want to espouse, regardless of what the writers were attempting to say. This is a real good example. The Bible doesn't weigh in on it.

Now to answer your question, this is not your decision or my decision, it's a hospital's decision. And since you ask the question, what would Jesus do, what do you think he'd say to them? You've asked what he would say to me, but he speaks to multiple audiences does he not? Another point I'd make is that for the longest time, this was never an issue. People who couldn't afford to pay got put on payment plans and what not. Insurance was cheap because it covered things like catastrophic items and not every day visits. The system is setup in such a way now that it encourages this.

I think my biggest problem with your argument here is that it can so easily be reworded to make you look just as extreme. That multi billion dollar hospital isn't having problems paying their bills, and the doctors that work there are millionaires many times over, yet you and I are now being taxed so that their profit margin isn't squeezed. And then of course there's a few more pragmatic questions. What of that guy who needs immediate treatment because he chose to abuse his freedoms. Why should I take care of him? There is a huge slippery slope here and I'm not sure people have thought through all of the ramifications. When the government starts footing the bill, how long do you think it will be until they start telling you what you can and cannot eat, how much you should exercise, etc.?

I don't have a problem with Christians and non-Christians helping the poor. I have a problem with the government compelling people to do it, and I have a problem with the naiveté that goes with it to think that they can somehow make this more stable than the free market system. They cannot. Look at Social Security and Medicare. They are perfect examples. Both programs are great ideas on the surface, but your politicians took the money from these trust funds and spent it. Then, to mask it, they game with the inflation numbers (a problem they also created), entitlement benefits, etc. so that a person living on social security and medicare are still broke. And now these same people are in the hands of your great government to care for them, and that doesn't work well either. I have little memories of my one grandfather who died in a VA hospital due to gross negligence. My wife's father served his country in Vietnam and sustained a brain injury the prevented him from ever being able to support a family. They convinced him while he was in the hospital to sign away his benefits and he finally got them back about 10 years ago. The government will not take care of you.

The government isn't your savior. And eliminating medicare won't suddenly mean that old people will be dying all over from curable illnesses. What it will do is force the price of the cure to drop, and given the current environment, pharmaceuticals and hospitals have zero incentive to lower prices as they have little competition. A real good example of this is a non-life threatening procedure. Lasik isn't covered by insurance. When it came out, it was insanely expensive, and because it wasn't insured, the price dropped to the point where it became fairly affordable. That's how supply and demand works, and in so doing, it makes charity a lot easier. The market will dictate what the price is actually worth, and when you artificially subsidize it, it doesn't seek to lower the price... It never does. It always makes things more expensive, which leads to more subsidies.

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I don't think that the government is good at running hospitals and I am sorry for your family's experiences with the VA. On the other hand, I look at the Israeli system and like the idea of spending about 50% of what we spend now, and getting better results. I would also note that prior to the ACA, some bozo who abused his freedom by not buying insurance then drunkenly wrecked his car would get emergency room treatment anywhere in the U.S., and those of us who had insurance ended up paying for that. I cannot imagine us going to a system where emergency rooms require proof of ability to pay, and I see the ACA as affirming a conservative principle that people should pay their own way when they can afford to do so, i.e. less freeloading. I don't mind being required to buy car insurance and am glad that if some maniac hits me in L.A. traffic, he will probably have some insurance.

It also seems to me that maybe we can agree that capitalism can provide the optimum solution. Under the ACA, insurance companies can compete, as in Massachusetts and Israel. In contrast, Medicare has no competition, but gets better rates than insurance companies because of its size and bargaining power. Maybe if Medicare could become a public option for everyone and users could instead opt for private insurance, this would create an even more robust market. I think that ot would also help if hospitals were required to post their billing rates, success rates and other relevant data so that consumers could make more informed choices. Competition is a powerful tool to reduce costs.

Here is the part where I need help -- the passages in the New Testament where the rich guy asks Jesus how to get to heaven and Jesus tells him to sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor. Then Jesus says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven.

Maybe I am dense, but it seems to me that Jesus was saying that helping poor people is pretty important. I think that means that letting poor children die from cancer and other curable ailments would be a lot worse sin than the sins that the Republicans seem obsessed with, such as premarital sex, abortion, same-sex marriage, drug addiction and welfare fraud. I would be grateful if you would explain to me (in as much detail as you are willing to provide) why this does not mean that we should be doing whatever we can to at least provide health care to all children whose parents cannot afford it on their own. It's not as though this is not working in lots of other countries (some better than others). What are we going to say to St. Peter if he asks us about this?

My solution is straightforward -- get rid of all of the poor people -- every last one. Give them an opportunity to be productive and reduce benefits to exactly the poverty level for those who refuse to work. Reward those who work hard -- a family where both parents are working full time (or more) should make enough to be comfortable. It seems to me that if we can create a system where almost everyone works, then the extra productivity would benefit everyone and St. Peter would smile when we tell him how we got rid of poverty so that we could all go to heaven (or at least most of us, excluding, of course, Yankees and White Sox fans). Maybe I need to go see a priest or a minister, but I just don't understand how we can get out of helping poor people, especially children, until there are no more people (or at least children) who are poor.

kab21
10-22-2013, 12:28 PM
I have problems with the 2 main rallying points against the ACA.

The first: the tax on medical devices is always brought up. I think that by adding 30-40M people onto insurance the additional sales will pay for these taxes several times over.

the second: Mandated healthcare: There seems to be an outcry against mandating that individuals have insurance. I can understand this but at the same time individuals are terrible at their financial planning. As a whole young people won't see a positive return on their coverage but that is the wrong way to look at it. I don't buy collision auto insurance when I buy a new car just because the insurance company requires it and I expect to profit in the long run. I buy it because I cannot afford to total a 20+K new car. The same is true with health insurance. Young people shouldn't need to visit the doctor that often but bad stuff happens. How many young people can afford a 250K operation/treatment following a severe injury? And the gov't is giving people an opt out that is not horribly expensive unless you are really rich.

I'm just not buying the main rallying points by the republicans on this one. I naturally align myself with conservatives and don't like big social programs (this is huge) but the republicans are fighting a losing battle on this one and they are going to look silly in hindsight.

FWIW - I currently have national health insurance in Taiwan. It's not perfect but it is the correct direction to go.

biggentleben
10-22-2013, 04:11 PM
I am hoping that you are correct about an independent movement evolving to make the world a better place.

I also am encouraged by this new pope. It seems to me that of all the popes during my lifetime, this one comes closest to saying things that Jesus would say if he were around today. It seems to me that Jesus was trying to teach people about love, empathy and generosity, not hate, prejudice and saving taxes.

Pope John Paul II was making a lot of moves in that way as well in his final years. He was incredibly saddened by the cover-up of the cardinals with sex scandals but had little power at that time to affect change, he had discussed the idea of allowing married deacons full powers of communion of any other priest, and he was making some bold comments about financial living as a Christian years before the global financial turn.

diehardtwinsfan
10-22-2013, 07:25 PM
Because of the Supreme Court's rulings about campaign finance reform, it is going to take a constitutional amendment or some changes in the court to reduce the influence of billionaires and corporations. A constitutional amendment would require a huge grassroots movement, because most politicians nowadays don't seem to want to cut the flow of cash and perks. And a change in the court that favors this could take decades.

Did you see 60 Minutes last night? They did a segment about how politicians can legally use campaign funds to take luxury vacations and pay family members to work on their campaigns. I think that this system as a whole comes pretty close to outright bribery in cases where the politician plans to use a lot of the money to line his or her own pockets.

Politicians won't touch this with a 10 foot poll. They should though. Personally, I don't have a problem with corporations giving money. I have a problem with the fact that they can give so much more than you or I. Call them a "person" and cap them at $2500 like the rest of us. Ban all pacs. Problem solved.

diehardtwinsfan
10-22-2013, 08:09 PM
I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I don't think that the government is good at running hospitals and I am sorry for your family's experiences with the VA. On the other hand, I look at the Israeli system and like the idea of spending about 50% of what we spend now, and getting better results. I would also note that prior to the ACA, some bozo who abused his freedom by not buying insurance then drunkenly wrecked his car would get emergency room treatment anywhere in the U.S., and those of us who had insurance ended up paying for that. I cannot imagine us going to a system where emergency rooms require proof of ability to pay, and I see the ACA as affirming a conservative principle that people should pay their own way when they can afford to do so, i.e. less freeloading. I don't mind being required to buy car insurance and am glad that if some maniac hits me in L.A. traffic, he will probably have some insurance.

Freeloading is largely the result of a broken system in the first place. It's broken because the system has been rigged in such a way to eliminate competition, and forcing everyone to buy insurance (and not allowing them to get cheaper major medical policies) doesn't fix those issues.

If you want to lower medical prices, switch to a cash only system and eliminate insurance altogether. Then you will see just how "unaffordable" this really is. ACA isn't going to fix these problems, it's only going to make it worse. It will do nothing but provide a nice subsidy to the medical and pharma industries who are already doing quite well. The real losers are small businesses and self employed people.



It also seems to me that maybe we can agree that capitalism can provide the optimum solution. Under the ACA, insurance companies can compete, as in Massachusetts and Israel. In contrast, Medicare has no competition, but gets better rates than insurance companies because of its size and bargaining power. Maybe if Medicare could become a public option for everyone and users could instead opt for private insurance, this would create an even more robust market. I think that ot would also help if hospitals were required to post their billing rates, success rates and other relevant data so that consumers could make more informed choices. Competition is a powerful tool to reduce costs.

Both Medicare and SS should have been available as public options, but these "safety nets" are nothing more than Ponzi schemes, and that was the intent from day 1. These are bankrupt because the government took the money in these trust funds and replaced it with government debt. This is going to accelerate the debt problems this country already has because as more people retire these IOUs have to be converted to cash to pay them.



Here is the part where I need help -- the passages in the New Testament where the rich guy asks Jesus how to get to heaven and Jesus tells him to sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor. Then Jesus says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven.

Maybe I am dense, but it seems to me that Jesus was saying that helping poor people is pretty important. I think that means that letting poor children die from cancer and other curable ailments would be a lot worse sin than the sins that the Republicans seem obsessed with, such as premarital sex, abortion, same-sex marriage, drug addiction and welfare fraud. I would be grateful if you would explain to me (in as much detail as you are willing to provide) why this does not mean that we should be doing whatever we can to at least provide health care to all children whose parents cannot afford it on their own. It's not as though this is not working in lots of other countries (some better than others). What are we going to say to St. Peter if he asks us about this?

I never said that Jesus said not to help the poor. It is you who is reading more into this than what is there. I'm arguing against 2 things:

1. Whether or not the government is an effective tool for this. I'm not just arguing against its ability to fix this either. I'm arguing that the government is the primary cause for things being the way they are and the "fixes" are nothing more than bandaids to allow them to perpetuate the broken system, in large part because it's in the financial best interests of their backers to continue it. This system won't get fixed until there's a return to a true free market with no central bank. Fix this, and there's a lot less poor. Fix this, and helping what poor that remain will be a lot easier to do.

2. I'm also arguing against your conclusion of these passages means that a Christian must support universal healthcare. That's a huge reach. If you are concerned about poor children and cancer, see point number 1, as dealing with the root cause will be far more beneficial than ACA. Your last plea here is where I think the big disconnect lies. I'd argue that point 1 will do far more to accomplish what you desire than any kind of government intervention in the current system. You mentioned it works in other places, but you also forget that most of these other places that can afford it also don't maintain a standing army that essentially rules the globe. Do you think Israel could afford their healthcare if the US wasn't sending them billions of dollars a year? What about Europe?

Also, minor, ok major, theological note here, but the fate of the believer was sealed by Christ in his sacrifice on the cross. My assurance of salvation has absolutely nothing to do with where I stand on this issue. Peter won't be standing at the gates giving me a quiz about ACA and helping the poor. Believers will be admitted because they were justified by Christ and sanctified by the Spirit.




My solution is straightforward -- get rid of all of the poor people -- every last one. Give them an opportunity to be productive and reduce benefits to exactly the poverty level for those who refuse to work. Reward those who work hard -- a family where both parents are working full time (or more) should make enough to be comfortable. It seems to me that if we can create a system where almost everyone works, then the extra productivity would benefit everyone and St. Peter would smile when we tell him how we got rid of poverty so that we could all go to heaven (or at least most of us, excluding, of course, Yankees and White Sox fans). Maybe I need to go see a priest or a minister, but I just don't understand how we can get out of helping poor people, especially children, until there are no more people (or at least children) who are poor.

Again, I'd love a system like what you describe. ACA is a step in the wrong direction. My challenge to you is to take a hard look at this nation's history, particularly in regards to a central bank. There was far more to the American Revolution than taxation without representation. You want to eliminate poverty, you will need to start there.

mike wants wins
10-23-2013, 03:42 PM
It most certainly did. It was the federal reserve who enabled our Government's debt binge by lowering interest rates to create a debt bubble in the economy in the first place. It was the government that chose to repeal the glass steagle act that created the TBTFs in the first place. Yes, the private sector jumped in there too, but pretending that it was one without the other is absurd. None of this happens if the gov leaves glass-steagle in tact and kept rates where they belonged... none of it.

The government removing regulation is somehow the government causing problmes? Isn't that actually evidence that more government oversight was needed, not less?

TheLeviathan
10-23-2013, 07:06 PM
The government removing regulation is somehow the government causing problmes? Isn't that actually evidence that more government oversight was needed, not less?

Cmon. Why this black and white stuff? Not all regulation is bad and not all of it is good. This is such a flimsy talking point and it completely ignores what was said in order to smash a silly scarecrow.

There are clowns in politics that believe all regulation is bad, but no one has said that here.

mike wants wins
10-23-2013, 08:05 PM
Actually the post I responded to stated it was the governments fault because they removed regulation.......I would argue that it is de facto evidence that it was caused by the private sector.* in the absence of regulation! the private sector did things they were not previously allowed to do that at least partially contributed to the problem. How is that a government cause, and not clearly a private sector cause?

*no idea if I used de facto right! but I liked typing it.

TheLeviathan
10-23-2013, 08:17 PM
Actually the post I responded to stated it was the governments fault because they removed regulation.......I would argue that it is de facto evidence that it was caused by the private sector.* in the absence of regulation! the private sector did things they were not previously allowed to do that at least partially contributed to the problem. How is that a government cause, and not clearly a private sector cause?

*no idea if I used de facto right! but I liked typing it.

The private sector couldn't have done what they did if not for government action. There is accountability on both sides of it. And it's not as if the government did it out of a sound policy, they did it to win votes and short-sighted objectives.

Riverbrian
10-23-2013, 10:22 PM
Because of the Supreme Court's rulings about campaign finance reform, it is going to take a constitutional amendment or some changes in the court to reduce the influence of billionaires and corporations. A constitutional amendment would require a huge grassroots movement, because most politicians nowadays don't seem to want to cut the flow of cash and perks. And a change in the court that favors this could take decades.

Did you see 60 Minutes last night? They did a segment about how politicians can legally use campaign funds to take luxury vacations and pay family members to work on their campaigns. I think that this system as a whole comes pretty close to outright bribery in cases where the politician plans to use a lot of the money to line his or her own pockets.

I didn't see 60 Minutes but nothing surprises me when it comes to Politicians. The sad part is that I can hardly blame them. They need money to get elected. The Vacations and Nepotism that you mention is just a small part of it all.

Money Influences... Money Corrupts... If you happen to throw one of them out for being dirty... The New guy comes in dirty. Meet the New Boss... Same as the Old Boss.

I Won't Get Fooled Again.

Bark's Lounge
10-23-2013, 11:46 PM
Nothing is certain in the world in which we live. I would consider my wife and myself, middle class - probably on the lower end. At times we give a little charity towards Cancer foundations, but most of our charity is focused towards my sister and her children.

The society we live in is reaching a critical mass. I do recognize that there is a good amount of people who actually put a great effort in to helping the poor, destitute, and unfortunate of this country, but I think that self obsession and greed is winning the day.

For the most part, we have lost our way in the wilderness of modern times. We are too advanced of a species to let greed and self obsession consume us and to let our fellow man suffer the consequence of not being in the winner's circle.

Universal health care for one and all!

I grew up in the ghetto and for the majority of the systems in place for the children of these areas, there is no way out, young people need positive guidance, not beaten down parents or drug addict parents... for the most part, these kids follow what they know, and they learn it well, becoming very problematic pieces of our society. These kids need a chance to survive in a safe environment and a chance to survive on terms that are optimistic.

I hope that someday soon the Republicans, Democrats, and special interest parties are extinct and we can have a government that truly has the peoples' best interest in mind.

I am not sure what the right solution is, but as Americans we need to take care of our own and give them a fighting chance to be healthy and productive... right?

Right now, we are doing a **** Job.

TheLeviathan
10-24-2013, 06:29 AM
I'm never comfortable with the notion that we're "at a critical mass" or that "modern times" have hurt our ability to help our fellow man.

We've been doing that for a long time. If anything, we're helping our fellow man far more now than we ever have in human history. It's hyperbole that detracts from the good reasons to institute universal health care.

Where the greed truly lies is in the political class. If there is a point of critical mass, it's because the balancing act of achieving their own power is slowly eroding the foundations of a stable economy/society. We're seeing those issues become more and more severe each time we have to pay the piper on one of those short-sighted, power grabbing moments. And it's both sides doing it.

mike wants wins
10-24-2013, 09:16 AM
The government removing regulation, giving freedom to coroporations, is not the government doing something that makes the companies act one way or the other. The people that run those companies made those choices. I really don't understand your stance at all.

On topic of the ACA......and this is my opinion as a person, not an employee of UHG.....

I think health care is not like potato chips. You don't get to choose if you are sick or not, and the basic premises of capitalism fall apart in this area. Therefore, while I am generally a capitalist, I think universal healthcare is the most efficient and effective way to do HC. That is clear from the outcomes achieved around the world. We have decades of experimentation around the world, and the nations with universal healthcare produce better outcomes with less resources. This isn't really even debatable. The facts are there for everyone to see.

Ultima Ratio
10-24-2013, 12:59 PM
I know the ACA doesn't include dental, but does it include eye care? If not, why not include both dental and eye care? You're going to need it at some time after all and it's probably even the moral (perhaps Christian) thing to do -- perhaps even the constitutional thing to do if your reading of the general welfare clause is such that welfare means the government/tax payers must pay for and provide any service that could possibly be categorized under the broad umbrella of "welfare."

1. How many programs, how much money, how big a bureaucracy will it take in order to fulfill this constitutional promise?

2. When will we know when we've achieved it?

mike wants wins
10-24-2013, 01:08 PM
for chiildren it includes essential health benefits, of which vision is one.

btw, those nations with universal health care spend a lot less money, not more money, than the US......and, they get better outcomes. That data is out there, has been for decades.

TheLeviathan
10-24-2013, 06:33 PM
The government removing regulation, giving freedom to coroporations, is not the government doing something that makes the companies act one way or the other. The people that run those companies made those choices. I really don't understand your stance at all.

That's like arguing if the government removed murder laws it wouldn't have played a role in a crap-ton of murders happening.

glunn
10-26-2013, 12:13 AM
That's like arguing if the government removed murder laws it wouldn't have played a role in a crap-ton of murders happening.

So the big lenders were like murderers at a time that murder was legal?

TheLeviathan
10-26-2013, 06:49 AM
So the big lenders were like murderers at a time that murder was legal?

Absolutely. Bulk of the blame.

diehardtwinsfan
10-26-2013, 07:08 PM
I think health care is not like potato chips. You don't get to choose if you are sick or not, and the basic premises of capitalism fall apart in this area.

I don't agree with this at all. You can control a lot about your health. Yes, there are some things that you cannot reasonably prevent, but a smoker saying they didn't choose to get lung cancer is kind of silly. A fat person saying they didn't choose to have knee problems is kind of silly. People make lifestyle choices all the time that affect their health, whether that be working too many hours at work, to eating to much, to smoking, etc.

Yes, there are some things you can't choose about your health, but the bulk of it does boil down to simple lifestyle decisions.

The other thing is that you can also control how you deal with it. Some people don't want to wait in line to see the Dr, so they just go to the ER. That costs more. And a single payer doesn't discourage that. Nor does a single payer encourage innovation to reduce prices. Truth be told, insurance as it's presently implemented doesn't do that either. There's nothing efficient about it. They say this is to reduce prices, but in reality prices will do nothing but go up. Subsidies never lower prices in the long term. They create dependence.

freshinthehouse
10-27-2013, 04:35 AM
You mentioned it works in other places, but you also forget that most of these other places that can afford it also don't maintain a standing army that essentially rules the globe.

This is the biggest problem in the U.S. right now. Why do we have to be the world's police? Just think if we scaled our military back by 50% (we'd still spend more than any other country at this rate). Just think what that would do for the debt, as well as necessary social programs.

kab21
10-27-2013, 08:39 AM
I don't agree with this at all. You can control a lot about your health. Yes, there are some things that you cannot reasonably prevent, but a smoker saying they didn't choose to get lung cancer is kind of silly. A fat person saying they didn't choose to have knee problems is kind of silly. People make lifestyle choices all the time that affect their health, whether that be working too many hours at work, to eating to much, to smoking, etc.

Yes, there are some things you can't choose about your health, but the bulk of it does boil down to simple lifestyle decisions.

The other thing is that you can also control how you deal with it. Some people don't want to wait in line to see the Dr, so they just go to the ER. That costs more. And a single payer doesn't discourage that. Nor does a single payer encourage innovation to reduce prices. Truth be told, insurance as it's presently implemented doesn't do that either. There's nothing efficient about it. They say this is to reduce prices, but in reality prices will do nothing but go up. Subsidies never lower prices in the long term. They create dependence.

It also doesn't work like your proposed change (or someone else's). It was mentioned that if things were pay as you go then costs would be driven down. That's true but the quality of care and amount of preventative care would drastically decline. Doctors and hospitals would start really cutting corners to attract patients since they are now price shopping for everything and people would just skip preventative care (huge long-term consequences). And when someone needed a big dollar operation due to injury or other non-lifestyle illness they simply wouldn't get treated due to not having insurance. Either they would die or they could end up disabled and unable to work. there are massive issues before and after the ACA but the previously proposed system (possibly by you) would be a horrendous step backwards.

Do we actually know that E-room visits and regular doctor visits have the same fees? Taiwan (I have National Health Insurance here) had the same fees initially and that was a giant screw-up (obviously) but they raised the E-room fees and my friends had no problems getting admitted into the E-room almost immediately when I took her. basically it became a non-issue.

mike wants wins
10-28-2013, 09:48 AM
So years of proof in other countries, vs what we get, does nothing for you? You really think innovation is only done for the US market? I don't think you've really looked at the facts and data across the world. Healthcare is more expensive here, ALOT more expensive, and gets worse outcomes. That is indisputable. You can disagree if you want, but you have no facts to back up your opinions.

mike wants wins
10-28-2013, 09:59 AM
As for choice, sure, we can choose a lot of our behaviors. But we can't choose falling off a bike, or having a stroke, or other stuff.....And, even as a smoker, you aren't choosing to need healthcare, like choosing to buy doritos. It just isn't the same. Lots of economists have made that point in their work.

all of these opinions are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect any opinion of my employer.....

Brock Beauchamp
10-28-2013, 11:22 AM
The other thing is that you can also control how you deal with it. Some people don't want to wait in line to see the Dr, so they just go to the ER. That costs more. And a single payer doesn't discourage that. Nor does a single payer encourage innovation to reduce prices. Truth be told, insurance as it's presently implemented doesn't do that either. There's nothing efficient about it. They say this is to reduce prices, but in reality prices will do nothing but go up. Subsidies never lower prices in the long term. They create dependence.

The problem with this is that health care is usually not a true free market situation.

If you get sick and have to go to the hospital, you generally don't price-shop hospitals and make an informed decision. Sure, you can do that with general check-ups but that's not where the real costs of health care are found... They're found in surgeries and emergency visits, which offer little or no cost-control opportunity for the consumer.

An example of this is TIME finding an example of a hospital in Texas charging ~$7,000 for a procedure.

The same procedure was ~$90,000 in a California hospital.

There is no rhyme or reason to healthcare pricing because in so many cases, hospitals have a monopolistic control over their patients. If you get hit by a car, you don't get to request "hey, take me to that hospital instead of this hospital... their beds are nicer". The EMTs take you to the closest hospital. In many places, there is only one hospital within a reasonable distance.

The free market does a good job of managing many costs and keeping things competitive... But when the consumer base has little or no choice in what products and services they use, the private sector takes the opportunity to charge whatever they want. All rhyme or reason goes out the window in favor of pure profit-grabbing.

mike wants wins
10-28-2013, 11:34 AM
To be fair, from what I can tell, not all hospitals and doctors are about pure profit grabbing, Brock.

all of these opinions are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect any opinion of my employer.....

Brock Beauchamp
10-28-2013, 11:52 AM
To be fair, from what I can tell, not all hospitals and doctors are about pure profit grabbing, Brock.

all of these opinions are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect any opinion of my employer.....

I didn't mean to imply that.

My point is more that without alternatives, there is nothing to stop hospitals from profit-grabbing whenever possible. Without a proper free market, which healthcare doesn't really offer because of the limitations of how it is administered, there is nothing "competitive" about the market at all.

glunn
10-29-2013, 12:46 AM
From what I am hearing, most doctors who are general practitioners are not making very much money. On the other hand, hospitals and drug companies seem to be making more than ever.

I believe that hospitals should be required to make their rates available on demand so that consumer groups can publish comparisons.

Brock Beauchamp
10-29-2013, 07:34 AM
From what I am hearing, most doctors who are general practitioners are not making very much money. On the other hand, hospitals and drug companies seem to be making more than ever.

That has reduced the competitive nature of the market to a further degree. Specialists dominate the medical landscape nowadays and GPs are paid less and hard to find (one of my friends is a GP because he felt a social obligation to go that direction, despite it being a "bad career choice").

More specialists mean higher costs (but also, better more focused treatment). They're also found only in certain locations and hospitals, which further reduces the ability of the consumer to make a truly free market choice.

The deck is stacked against the consumer in the healthcare industry. We need to throw out these notions of "competitive free market" because they don't apply in the reality of today's world. Then we can start finding real solutions that don't exist only in the theoretical.

diehardtwinsfan
10-29-2013, 07:46 PM
The problem with this is that health care is usually not a true free market situation.

If you get sick and have to go to the hospital, you generally don't price-shop hospitals and make an informed decision. Sure, you can do that with general check-ups but that's not where the real costs of health care are found... They're found in surgeries and emergency visits, which offer little or no cost-control opportunity for the consumer.

An example of this is TIME finding an example of a hospital in Texas charging ~$7,000 for a procedure.

The same procedure was ~$90,000 in a California hospital.

There is no rhyme or reason to healthcare pricing because in so many cases, hospitals have a monopolistic control over their patients. If you get hit by a car, you don't get to request "hey, take me to that hospital instead of this hospital... their beds are nicer". The EMTs take you to the closest hospital. In many places, there is only one hospital within a reasonable distance.

The free market does a good job of managing many costs and keeping things competitive... But when the consumer base has little or no choice in what products and services they use, the private sector takes the opportunity to charge whatever they want. All rhyme or reason goes out the window in favor of pure profit-grabbing.

I've used this example before Brock. This is part of the problem. This is in large part because these prices aren't posted anywhere. They aren't required to do this so that no one can comparison shop. Most procedures aren't emergencies that need to be done immediately. You can price shop if the prices are public. Switch to a system where insurance only covers emergency situations and this type of stuff will stop rather quick.

mike wants wins
10-30-2013, 09:53 AM
Well, I'd say if insurance covered large financial risk (like, you know, the entire purpose for insurance), we'd be better off.....but most financial risk is not emergency either. That does not mean you can ignore the non-risk parts of the system, though, and leave all of that up to individuals. The incentive device inside our minds does not fully work correctly for the best decisions (for individuals and society) to work for long term things like health. It just doesn't.

And, most insurance companies now have cost estimators their members can use. If your's doesn't, something is wrong probably.

all of these opinions are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect any opinion of my employer.....

TheLeviathan
11-17-2013, 07:18 AM
Yep. There is no way to objectively look at this situation and say it is Obama's fault.

Well, after a few weeks it's clear the shutdown wasn't Obama's fault. But good god, has there been a more incompetently handled piece of legislation in recent memory? The executive branch might as well get out of a tiny car honking horns every time they arrive for a press conference.