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Thread: Government Shutdown and the Affordable Care Act

  1. #61
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    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.

  2. #62
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    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.

  3. #63
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    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

    The housing crisis wasn't caused by the government.

  5. #65
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozented9 View Post
    Flashback: Private Sector Not GSEs Triggered Crisis | The Big Picture

    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.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    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.



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  7. #67
    Twins News Team All-Star PseudoSABR's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #68
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozented9 View Post
    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.

  9. #69
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
    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.

  10. #70
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    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.

  11. #71
    Twins News Team All-Star PseudoSABR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
    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).

  12. #72
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    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 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 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 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.
    Last edited by glunn; 10-11-2013 at 01:41 AM.

  13. #73
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by TheLeviathan; 10-11-2013 at 06:43 PM.

  14. #74
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    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.
    Lighten up Francis....

  15. #75
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    There is a fairly illuminating documentary, called "Medicine and Money" (I believe that is the title) that might be worth a watch on Netflix.

  16. #76
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    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.

  17. #77
    Twins News Team All-Star PseudoSABR's Avatar
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    Was it worth while for Ted Cruz and the House Republicans?

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
    Was it worth while for Ted Cruz and the House Republicans?
    Don't worry they will spin this as a positive and play this game again in February.

  19. #79
    Twins Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    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.
    A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

  20. #80
    Twins News Team All-Star PseudoSABR's Avatar
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    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.

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