Ignorance, Tyranny and Health Insurance

Quote of the Day:

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” –Act IV, Henry VI, William Shakespeare

Today’s QOTD is TB’s all time favorite widely misunderstood quotation. The line was written not in commentary of lawyers filing too many lawsuits, nor defending murderers, nor becoming too wealthy, but rather as the first step in a plot to overthrow the government. The rebels knew it was lawyers who would oppose them through both the judicial process and in the court of public opinion by exposing the liberties being attacked, and who in the long run most threatened their violently seized political power. Rather than being offended by this famous line, most lawyers take it as a tremendous compliment, and something of a reminder of our ultimate function in society.

I became mindful once again of the widespread public ignorance of this quote in recent weeks as I’ve watched and read news coverage of the angry protests at town hall meetings over the issue of health care. What has been proved amidst the ballyhoo of the August Congressional recess about health care is not that it “must be passed” or “must be stopped” but that the overwhelming majority of us are arguing from a position of pure, unmitigated ignorance, not unlike the mass ignorance of the true meaning of Shakespeare’s line. I don’t exempt TB from the indictment. After all, I haven’t “read the bill”, actually, none of the several early stage bills. And I won’t read a final bill should one come to pass. Generally, I support a health care bill. I think the current state of health insurance is so bad that I’m willing to support virtually anything the insurance industry opposes. And I get that there are many that oppose government reform of health insurance as a general principle, from political dogma, or even from a cost/benefit point of view.

So ignorance I can accept, to a certain degree. There is a point at which it becomes absurd, however, where it fairly drives me to hopelessness, blankly staring down the barrel of a bleak national future. Death panels. Tyranny. Nazism. Really? This is the opposition? I will readily concede the complexity of the issue of health insurance reform. I understand concerns of intellectual right leaning thinkers who point out the long term financial implications, the issue of physician compensation and the problem of overwhelming a system with too few general practitioners and nurses. I even can see the possibility that health care will be “rationed” because of these issues, though it should be clear in any honest consideration of the issue that rationing is already rampant in our system, and is in fact the main reason reform is so badly needed. But when I hear opposition centered around death panels that will “pull the plug on grandma” or that Obama is a Nazi, I am driven away from considering legitimate opposition to blindly supporting the side whose rhetoric is exponentially less damn dubious. The Nazis are FAR RIGHT WINGERS on the political spectrum for chrissakes! Let them call Obama a Stalinist and I will applaud the mob’s improving intellect.

As for tyranny, the quote that keeps appearing on the news is one of Thomas Jefferson’s most well known. I had to look it up to learn its context as I was previously ignorant–same as Timothy McVeigh likely was and the health care mob certainly is–of the background for his line, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants.” * The sentence is lifted from a letter written by Jefferson in 1787 in which he comments on Shay’s Rebellion, a Massachusetts uprising that stemmed from opposition to high taxes and a mounting foreclosure problem (sounds familiar). Jefferson, in full philoso-tom mode, wrote of the benefits of such a rebellion, mainly that an occasional outbreak of citizen fury would remind those tasked with governing that they remain answerable to the people. What is even more interesting is that Jefferson found the rebels’ motivations “founded in ignorance, not wickedness.” Again, it sounds familiar–mass anger, misapplied. If you are on the side of thoughtful opposition to health care reform you ought to remember the part about ignorance before you rush to the defense of your fringe allies. It is a defense that only weakens in the long run the legitimate criticisms of those opposed to health insurance reform. And if you are on TB’s side, you might consider joining me in noting the certainty that the shouters’ motivations are in most instances not founded in “wickedness” and that their boisterous presence at the town halls can serve a higher purpose of reminding all our politicians to whom they are ultimately beholden. Even if the whole affair is plagued with ignorance, from top to TB to bottom.


*I find it ironic and slightly humorous that the next sentence in his letter reads, “It is it’s natural manure.”

Here is a link to the full letter containing Jefferson’s “tree of liberty” quote.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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31 Responses to Ignorance, Tyranny and Health Insurance

  1. Zeek says:

    Dude, wasn’t I the one screaming “VIVA REVOLUCION” a while back?? Nostradums? No, but the Zeekster can read the writing on the wall, and I’m telling you, people have to speak out and take action or they will just keep doing as they please. Why not? There are no consequences. Apathy and ignorance are killing us, Whitey!!… they’re killing us!! (That is play on words from a quote by a coach on old NFL films clip, not a reference to the caucasian race)

  2. Jessie Lou says:

    Yes, Zeek, that was you.

    Lots of complaints in today’s sound off about the Gene Taylor townhall meeting for various reasons. My aunt was there but I have yet to be able to ask her about it.

  3. coachteajay says:

    Simply put. The govt. can’t run Medicaid or Medicare and now these idiots and their supporters think its a good idea for them to run all our health care? Will these politicians be on the same plan as us? NO! They are all rich and will be able to supplement the crap we’ll subjected to. Baen, I guess anyone that opposes anything Obama proposes is ignorant. The fact is anyone that follows him blindly without asking questions are the ignorant ones. I do see one thing I like though. That little D in front of Mr. Taylors name is going to get him run out of office. Blue dog or not, he has been there for 20 years and hasn’t done crap. He should be carrying some major stroke in D.C. by now, but he chairs nothing of importance. Time for him to go. One of the worst days in our districts history was the day Larkin Smiths plane went down. Oh and Obama is more like Friedrich Engels than Stalin. He’s a major figure in early communist thought and he co-wrote the Communist Manifesto with Karl Marx.

  4. No coach, you miss my point. Almost ALL of us are ignorant of (a)what a health reform bill will accomplish or fail to and (b) we are ignorant of what is actually in the 1000 page bills. However, most of us have a general opinion on whether reform is needed. That’s normal. Anyone who calls the President of the United States a Nazi is ignorant and anyone who equates left wingers and Nazis is ignorant and anyone who thinks there will be death panels is ignorant. That’s abnormal, but that is the rhetoric being used to frame the debate. That having been said, I found it interesting that Jefferson’s famous quote was made in reference to a very similar situation where citizens were angry but ignorant of the causes of their problems and in their reaction to them. And most interesting that he considered an ignorant rebellion a good thing for philosophical reasons completely unrelated to the cause of the moment.

    And I disagree with the notion that Medicare is a failure. A dem put up for a vote recently whether to abolish it. The vote failed, unanimously. People on Medicare in my experience are typically very happy with the service.

  5. PS, I don’t believe the proposals are for the government to run health care. There IS a chance the so-called “Public Option” may be in the bill which would give you the choice of buying into an insurance plan run by the federal government or keeping your state government insurance. That looks unlikely to pass, so the reforms being proposed, as I understand it (and I don’t fully) include very good advances such as prohibiting insurance companies from dropping you when you get sick and preventing you from getting coverage due to “preexisting conditions.” These two reforms alone are worthwhile, though I’ll be disappointed if its all we get. One thing not under consideration as far as I can tell is stripping the insurance companies of their antitrust exemption which is the reason we only have one or two companies dominating almost every market in the nation. AND why the Gulf Coast can’t get decent homeowner insurance. But coastians consistently vote for insurance company friendly politicians, so I guess its not a big deal down there.

    One thing about Gene, I think his efforts at disaster insurance reform are great and its a shame no one will help him. Not surprising considering that he is extremely conservative on most other issues, but disappointing.

  6. coachteajay says:

    I agree with you about the Nazi tid bit. However, no politician is going to vote for getting rid of Medicare. You know why? Old people have nothing to do, so when an election comes around, they go vote. They look forward to that stuff, ever notice who poll workers are? Other geriatrics. A polling place is like a nightclub for people with one foot in the grave. Plus all those baby boomers are now getting tot that age and they will be bored and voting too. Medicare is a decent idea, but a horribly run program. And who runs it? However, It would be political suicide to vote against it. So don’t worry comrade Baen its not going anywhere. My grandparents were on it and it sucked! I doubt you know a plethora of 65 plus year olds that rely solely on Medicare to meet their medical needs. But since liberals like you think the govt. is a cure all and has all the answers. I’m fine with that, let them take care of you. But would you please let me opt out of your socialist programs like social security, the medicare’s, unemployment insurance and let me just keep that money in the future. You can keep what I have paid in. I have about another 16 years to work before I retire. I can build my own nest egg a lot better than anyone in D.C. can especially if the govt would stop taking my money to pay for other peoples shi*.

  7. Coach, you make a lot of assumptions about me that are off base. And while it is possible you are only trying to be funny and I’ve misinterpreted, if you must resort to name calling, i.e. “comrade” it does not speak well of your position.

    I know a few 65 year olds, mostly in my immediate and extended family. They are all Republicans and they all love their Medicare. That’s not conclusive evidence of Medicare’s efficacy, but it is my personal experience with it.

    I don’t know what a “liberal like me” is. What I know is that there are two major powers that rule our lives here in the US. One is the Federal Government and one is the collective corporate interest. Again, in my experience, the corporates have gotten more abusive than the Feds. If your experience is different, that’s cool, have your own opinion. I don’t sweat that. Just here in the TB universe, let’s not speak in the language of the rabble. It’s not like the 50 or so folks who occasionally read here are going to be swayed in their votes, but it is possible they might enjoy some spirited discussion of current events.

    I even see where you are coming from on issues like Social security and the government spending money where I don’t want it to. I feel the same way, just have a different reaction, again based only on what I’ve experienced. The Feds, under the “conservatives” spent a trillion bucks on what was to me an ill conceived war and another trillion bailing out Wall Street. I resent every penny of my tax money that went to those expenditures. And I think of all the good that could have been done. One good thing would’ve been providing health care for ten years. One good thing would’ve been regulating the businesses that caused my life savings to be cut in half (now up to about minus 20%). I lost more money in September, 2008 than I could’ve ever paid in taxes for 10 years of supporting health care or a vigilant SEC. But we’ve gone far afield of my post.

    If you read it again, you will note that I can see several areas where opposition to health insurance reform is reasonable. My examples were not intended to be exhaustive, just to point out my frustration with the tone of the argument changing to “tyranny” and “death panels.”

    Ok, like Papa Bear always does, you can have the last word, unless you call me names again. And I have you down for the 20th for when we come get your guns. Hey at least you’ll still have your socialist education job….and I fully support my tax dollars going to you for it.

  8. coachteajay says:

    As much as I disagree with you on some things, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the first thing that needs to be done is to get rid of the anti-trust exemption that insurance companies have. This would actually solve a bunch of problems because it would make them compete. An idea first brought to us by Adam Smith in his book The Wealth of Nations, a capitalist idea, not so sure Obama would like that. The problem with the “public option” is that its not an individual option. If you work for “da man” then he has an option to continue to offer you insurance or send you to the “public option”. Which one is he going to take? Most of you are educated people and know the answer to that. Here is the problem, we as a country want a health care system like the ones in France and Italy, where the govt. takes care of everyone. However, we don’t want the taxes that those people pay. So you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Really now who doesn’t have insurance? People who don’t have jobs!!!! So they are all for “free healthcare”. You know why? When taxes go through the roof to pay for it, what do they care? They don’t have jobs so they don’t pay taxes. Except for people that are self employed, most people that work, work for someone else and insurance is provided, so working for the man does have it benefits. If you don’t insurance, get a damn job!

    That’s the tragedy of Gene Taylor. He is a democrat and votes conservative…sometimes. Why not just switch parties so when the GOP is in power again he will be a major figure. However, I don’t think he is that conservative, he’s votes in favor of labor, against tax cuts and he doesn’t want to drill in Alaska. He and other dems that are from red states coined to phrase “blue dogs” when Newts revolution took place. They did it to save their jobs. A small state like MS. needs representatives with clout, people like Stennis, Colmer, Whitten, Lott, and Cochran. Anyone that thinks Taylor was instrumental in getting the federal funds that we got after Katrina is naive. It was our senators and Barbor’s influence that hooked us up, Taylor hitched his wagon to them. After 20 years in the house he should be able to get his insurance bills through. He can’t, which means he has failed us. Now, he will tell you all about the veterans this and that he oversaw. But at the end of the day, is he good for the people on the Coast? I say no! But old people keep voting for him and getting him re-elected and as long as he keeps those vets happy he will continue to be re-elected. Before I get bashed for downing vets, that is not my attempt. Both my grandfathers fought in WWII and they are two of the finest individuals that ever walked this planet. But Taylor by this time should be doing more than just serving on a vets and inrastruture committees.

  9. Damn Coach I agree with almost every word of that part about Taylor and a lot of the rest.

    Bet you didn’t see that comin.

    edited after re-reading to simply point out that if you have health insurance through your job (a) if you don’t work for the state it changes almost yearly–at least mine always has (b) the continually rising cost of the insurance is a direct depressor of your wages (c) the co-pays are continually higher

    Also, those who don’t have insurance need it not only for themselves but for those of us who have it and pay through the nose to keep it. Why? Just the main example off the top of my head is that since they get no preventative care they are prone to serious problems, often get treated at the emergency room for both the serious issues and the not so serious, and often are unable to pay for the treatment. They either ignore the bills or declare bankruptcy, often, and the cost for their care is passed on to the rest of us. So whether we are taxed to help them become insured or we are hit with higher insurance costs, higher deductibles and co-pays and/or lower wages, we are already paying for the care of those who don’t work, don’t work for someone who pays benefits or can’t work.

  10. coachteajay says:

    The comrade was a jab at you to get you riled up. You and I agree more on these topics more than you think. I loathe big govt, corporations and the stranglehold the small number of “elites” have on this country’s politicians dems and rep. alike. I just wonder how this conversation would have went 10 years ago riding around in the green saturn.

    Baen: TJ where you wanna go tonight? Smiley hand me a beer.

    TJ: Gorenfloes

    Smiley: (hands beer to Baen) Sweet you sexy Mother Fu***, what do you think of Clintons new health care proposal?

    Baen: (sippin and shiftin) Eff that, I’m tired of paying for others people shi*! I work 60 hours a week, travelin all over Texas and the delta. Those broke ass people need to move to a place where its the 20th century and there are jobs. This thing called the internet is really taking off, I’m thinking about investing in some of that stuff.

    B Rad (formerly known as Sweet): my side hurts ya’ll might need to take me home.

    TJ: Yeah Baen your right, I just got my first pay check last week from the school, and this FICA guy clipped me for a shi*load. I only cleared 1200 this month. Sweet shut up you puss and sip on this brown whiskey it will cure you. Smiley you cant have any, I don’t want your aids on my bottle.

    Smily: EFF you TJ, I’m only gay with Sweet.

    B Rad: Hey MAN

    SMily: EFF Clinton, although I’d do Chelsea

    Baen: So you like girls now Smily? TJ where did you say we were goin? Gorenfloes? Lets hit bombay first to see how much they got done on the Beau Rivage this week, that place is goin to be the shi* when it opens.

    B Rad: Here TJ get this away from me, yeah lets do Bombay first, there was this SEXY lil waitress in there the other night, she was wanting her some Sweetness baby.

    Smily: You cheatin on me?

    Baen: Smily your gay

    Smily: Just with sweet, but when TJ gets drunk I’m gonna kiss him in the back of Gorenfloes

    TJ: I’ll beat you with a pool stick if you touch me you homo.

    B Rad: Seriously I don’t feel good

    Baen: Shut up you puss,,,What were talking about?

    TJ: I don’t know, something about Clinton

    Baen: Eff him, Smily hand me another beer, TJ your driving back to Gautier tonight.

    TJ: (sippin Jim Beam straight from the bottle) OK

    I miss those nights, not those mornings

  11. sweet says:

    Coach, if you were not drunk while typing that, it is all the more impressive

  12. coachteajay says:

    Sober as a goat, typing notes for class tomorrow, sorta, between Baens blog, facebook, hotmail, fantasy baseball/football and Ya’ll politics, I’m not getting much done. May have to wing it tomorrow with a good old fashion lecture on the French Rev! Obama!!!! ya’ll have no clue how many times a day my students shout that out like Chris Jackson with tourettes….just randomly out of the blue at all times of the day. I think it’s code for “Coach Johnson must die”. Probably has something to do with my distaste for the mans politics. Anyone see how the media berated his wife for wearing shorts. Not a fan of the woman, but thats a little tacky to get on her about shorts. The major media sucks too Baen.

  13. face says:

    Nice work TJ. I’ve been waiting for a conversation between TB and Surly Baen from 10 years ago, but this was just as good.

  14. Yes, it’s good. Did you have a recorder going one night?

    Maybe one of these days I’ll blog about the things that changed my perspective on things.

  15. Jessie Lou says:

    My dad was very happy with medicare after his quad by-pass two years ago. But all this talk about socialism – I am confused so one of you guys who are all much smarter than me can explain. If Medicare/Medicaid are both government programs that we’ve had in place for years – isn’t that ALREADY socialism?

    Loved the conversation TJ! My only question is if Sweet was with SmilyJ at any time between 1995-2002? I’m beginning to think it is so 🙂

  16. smilyj says:

    Have i told anyone my WIFE is pregnant? She is . 7weeks now. Hey Sweet.

  17. awesome news Smily. congrats. Who’s the father?

    sorry….couldn’t help myself

  18. coachteajay says:

    Laura our country has been moving towards socialism since the 1880’s when the interstate commerce act was passed. It was a good thing because Railroad company execs got together and decided to set prices and not compete. This is against the basics of capitalism, so the govt. stepped in and put a hault to it. After a major backlash from their constituents ofcourse. Then we fast foward to FDR’s New Deal which was nothing but socialism. I can’t think of the guys name, but he said it was ok for govt. to step in on a temporary basis if the economy was in trouble. The programs were so well liked at the time that they remained in place once the crisis was over. The problem is, that govt. hasn’t stopped growing since and Laissez-faire is a thing of the past with too much govt. involvement in business and peoples personal lives. Just my opinion ofcourse.

  19. sweet says:

    Hey smi-LY

  20. Jessie Lou says:

    Thank you for the history lesson Mr. Johnson and you’ve helped me with my point of view. It isn’t just this administration that is trying to point us in the Socialism direction – it has been a gradual turn of events for quite some time.

  21. George Bush was the biggest socialist of all. Let’s not forget–the bailout was on his watch. I posted this at the time.


  22. Any discussion about the proposed health insurance reforms in Congress that includes the topics socialism, nazis, fascism, death panels, coverage for illegal immigrants, or government-run health care is not a discussion about the current proposals because none of the current proposals include those things.

    Stated another way, if any of those topics come up, then we’re already off subject. It’s the same thing as wanting to debate the efficacy of child protective trigger locks on handguns and having to instead talk about whether “the government is taking away our guns.” A lock to protect a child is not taking away the gun. One would think that’s evident by the fact that we’re adding something to our guns, not taking them away, but somehow that doesn’t sink in.

    Same with health care. The proposals are not socialist or fascist. There are no death panels and illegal immigrants aren’t covered under any bill. The government won’t run health care.

    The main reason this “debate” has entered the Twilight Zone is no Republican will admit the statements in my last paragraph b/c they care more about power than truth. An improved health care system might increase the chance of Democrats holding onto power so the Republicans have chosen to propagate lies.

    And a significant segment of our population will never believe anything that a Democrat says.

    So, we end up with a ludicrous situation in which Sarah Palin can say on facebook that the bills include death panels, and a large swath of our citizenry says, “I’m not for death panels.” A Democrat says, “There are no death panels.” And the swath says, “You’re a Democrat. I don’t believe you. Palin, a Republican, says there are, so there must be.” Democrat says, “Look at the bill. There is nothing about death panels or anything that can be construed as a death panel.” And the swath will say, “I don’t need to read the bill. I read Sarah Palin’s page on facebook and she said death panels exist. And Obama wants to kill her baby. I’m against Obama killing Palin’s baby. How dare Obama want to kill that sweet little baby.” And then the Democrat shakes his/her head and walks off.

    coachteajay, two things: 1. your line about old people at the polls was damn funny and I laughed out loud. 2. you seem to concentrate much of your argument on the notion that the underinsured/uninsured are simply people who don’t want to work. I beg to differ.

    I’ve worked my whole life and am still working harder than ever. My current monthly premium for a family of 4 is $1050 and they’re about to raise it by 6% even though we’re all perfectly healthy. Also, I have very high deductibles and co-pays, but the price is high and climbing.

    The “it’s all the lazy people” argument has been debunked time and again. Sure there all worthless POS folks out there, but they are so few compared to the millions of us who are struggling to make ends meet and afford insurance.

    Just as an aside, unlike 99% of the people who scream socialism/fascism, I’ve actually lived in one of those “socialist” systems — Germany. It was nice. I had health insurance at affordable prices, used it, and liked it. I remember thinking, “We need to have some of this stuff back home.”

  23. “And another thing,” he screams as if he’s been ranting all night.

    If government-run health care would be so horrific, I guess we’ve been sticking it to our veterans for decades. I assume now that Palin, Limbaugh, et al., have shown us the horrors of health care if the government gets involved, Republicans will submit a bill that will rescue our veterans from the clutches of the government and turn them over to the benevolent hands of Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Aetna.

    Seriously, if government involvement in health care is such a terrible thing, then why choose government-run health care for our veterans?

    Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but the answer to this question is either (1) the VA really does suck and we’re too cheap to adequately care for our veterans or (2) government can successfully be involved in health care.

    If the answer is No. 1, then shame on us all and where are the bills to straighten out that situation? If it’s No. 2, then opponents of health care reform need to take it down a notch.

  24. smilyj says:

    I work with a few veterans. They are very unhappy with their healthcare. They do not want any sort of govt run system either. I know it needs fixing but I too am skeptical of what is being proposed. Not because what is being put out there because I think the info is being exagerated(spellcheck). The nazi crap and all that just makes everyone opposing it look stupid. But on the other hand portraying all those that oppose it as yelling, screaming, ignorant, unamerican, bigots is also dishonest.

    I am skeptical for several reasons. First, its 1000 pages. That puts up a red flag for me. Why so complicated. That makes me think it would be like the tax code or something. Just leaves to much room for too much govt involement. I mean they cant even run the cars for clunkers program. Which is simply a trade-in process that the car dealers have been doing for decades. When the govt gets involed, there’s so much redtape that they cant get the reimbursements out properly.

    Second, why try tto push it through so quick before anyone knows what’s in it? Another redflag. Just makes me think there is an alterior(spellcheck) motive.

    Third, why not work in a bipartisan manor. This goes for both sides. Get input from both sides. There are enough reps. and dems. willing to work together.

    All I know is that most Americans think the system needs changing. But most are also happy with their current coverage. I am for sticking to insurance companies. They need to be regulated, but that’s where i think govt involvement should end. Or maybe they could require insurance companies to use some of there obscene profits to contirbute to medicare and medicaid without raising rates on the people.

    It just sounds like too much money to spend on the system thats being proposed. It will surely be more even than what they are claiming. That scares people. Not just right wing extremists but even people that voted for Obama.

    I just think it could be much simpler. Start by putting some regulations on insurance companies. Then concentrate, ( I mean really concentrate on fixing Medicare and Medicaid). way too much fraud and waste there. No need to try to do it all at once. See how that works then come back and add some more.

    I also, dont believe in the everyone without insurance is lazy theory. I have immediate family members who are elderly and disabled. They are on Medicare and Medicaid but it would be nice if they could afford additional insurance cause those dont cover everything.

    Finally, I think the way its headed is bad news for Obama. But I think he could stop the trouble. I even kind of hope he does. Because I am afraid the republicans as a whole would do absolutely nothing about the system if they could get away with it. And that aint good either.
    I just want some compromise up there not each side trying to win some contest.

  25. Harmony says:

    My husband is self employed and the cost of insurance to cover our family is extremely high. We do not have the benefit of getting package deals for groups of people. Businesses get lower rates because they have quantity buying into healthcare packages. Not to mention that my pre-existing condition made my share of the cost amount to half of what we were paying in monthly premiums. In order to ensure a reasonable rate and insurance for my family I opted out the plan. I am one of many without insurance. In order to just be seen by a Dr. I must pay $90 up front and then I’m billed for whatever transpires in the Dr. Office. $90 is a lot of money..but it’s nowhere’s near the cost of the security in having insurance, I had been paying.

  26. smilyj, that was the most reasonable exposition of concern regarding the reform proposals that I’ve heard yet. I’ll bet that if you and I were given the keys to the kingdom, we could knock out a plan in a month.

    Unfortunately, that type of clear headed thinking is not what’s going on in our minority party. The leaders of the minority party are not saying anything as calm and rational as what you’ve said. And that’s the problem. I just read this morning that Sen. Hatch is against co-ops, which is the alternative to the public option, which is the alternative to a single-payer system. So, we have Republicans — who have been soundly voted down to a small minority — saying “no” to practically any reform and we have Democrats catering to them.

    We’re going to end up with a Republican health care bill that only has 2 provisions: doctors must convert to electronic medical records by the year 2075 and pharmaceutical companies can only give out ball point pens to doctor’s offices — no more roller ball.

    This type of lunacy is why I remain a Disgruntled Independent.

    Harmony, you need to monetize your blog and all your worries will be over.

    TB, you can have your blog back now.

  27. Good points above–that kind of discussion is one of the things I had in mind when I first broached political topics on the blog when it started. The TB Universe is really, really tiny, but I would like for it to be a utopia in one regard–thoughtful discussion with consideration of opposing views. Not agreement, just acceptance of valid points of view. And a haven from chain email/talk radio/cable news bs.

    One thing some of the points made above is convincing me of is that “comprehensive reform” may be the wrong way to go about the business of fixing the system. A single bill to require competition among companies in all regions would help, a single bill to outlaw denial for preexistings, a single bill to ban cancellations when you get sick–an approach like this may be more politically sensible.

  28. irvineredd says:

    Coach, I’m one of those with out health insurance, and I’ll admit it’s due to my own fault and lack of time. But I just point myself and my assistant as two people with no health insurance who work more than most people do.

    Overall, I think a level of reform is badly needed. The stories of rising costs and denial of coverage are terrible and something our President has a very intimate relationship with considering the way his mother was handled by the insurance companies as she was passing. So I definitely think insurance companies (of any kind really) should be held more accountable for their actions and shouldn’t be exempt from anti-trust suits. Why are they anyway? I assume one of you would have that answer. If they are just denying coverage when you need it, then all they do is make a straight profit, for no real product. That would be like if I charged people for their textbooks, but never gave them the books.

    I think this issue has fully exposed the ways in which people can be manipulated to believe anything politicians say. I hate it, but I think a large portion of our country is not very bright, so they buy into things that aren’t necessarily true, which goes for people on both sides of the political spectrum. The majority of the questions the AARP recieved from their members were about the death panels, which is obviously a ludicrous idea.

    Also, I’ve heard many good things about the German system and the Swedish system as well.

    On the nutballs that freak out at town halls, I mean the one’s that are clearly ignorant, not the one’s who have legitimate questions, I think the best response has been from Barney Frank. I loved what he said to that lady. That and it’s very interesting the reaction from the extreme right wingers towards Obama. They want to call him a Nazi and fascist, but forget that Bush cracked down on people protesting at his events. One couple in 2004 was arrested and all they did was wear t-shirts with the Bush on it with a circle and line through the name. At Obama’s there are people carrying automatic weapons, which is simply ridiculous because there is no reason for that.

    It’s sad to me that as a country we can’t have a serious conversation about reforming our health care system, which is most certainly not the best unless you’re rich. Yes we have some of the best doctors on the planet but only the wealthy have access to that form of care while many are left out with very few options.

    Also, how would the public option not foster competition? I’ve heard people blast that possibility but I fail to see how having another option won’t cause the insurance companies to rethink their ways. Obama stated it incorrectly but the example of FEDEX/UPS v. the USPS is a good one in my eyes.

    Oh yeah, and on Nazi irony, there is a history class they teach here at VCU and one of the books is on how the Nazi’s were actually ahead of the rest of the world when it came to health care. Given that doesn’t excuse anything they did, I just find that to be an interesting piece of irony.

    Plus, I think we really need to step up stressing exercise and healthy eating with children. Preventive measures that will save money on health care in the long run.

    Also, the “beuracrat between you and your doctor” argument seems quite laughable, considering if a doctor wants to perform a procedure they have to clear with the insurance company, so it’s essentially the same thing.

  29. Fig E says:

    CoachTJ, your post re what the Old TB, Smile-e, B Rad f/k/a Sweet, and your conversation would be like was on the money. I had to go get some Orange Jubilee after reading that.

  30. Jessie Lou says:

    SmilyJ – I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote. And I continue to read down and TDW is right as well. The KISS principle ceases to exist in governmental planning. My husband is self employed and has purchased his own insurance plan – which he only did with my insistence. It is not the greatest but it is better than nothing. It scares me to to death that my child is uninsured when I think of the things that can happen to him. Those are the things I have to hand over to God because I have no control – none over healthcare options or what happens to someone I love.

    Also Congrats Smily on the new SmilyJ, Jr. coming into our universe!

  31. smilyj says:

    Thank You…..thank you very much.

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