Thanks for making my case for limited, conservative government and an informed and empowered populace!
Would you have gone to the hospital if you knew up front the costs?
"So I suppose that the bill was paid in part by my Kaiser insurance plan, in part by Medicare."
Really, this was a revelation to you? Who do you think pays for the medical services? We do! This is precisely the reason Obamacare is a total failure because it doesn't tackle the basic issue of value and responsibility. We should encourage folks to have catastrophic health care insurance ans have them be responsible for the day-to-day cost of medical care. This approach combined with tort reform would dramatically decrease the cost of care while maintaining the quality of care without imposing government control.
My wife is a Kaiser advice nurse, maybe she was the one that directed you to the hospital? Yes, they work off of detailed protocols that are designed to provide appropriate care while protecting Kaiser. She has to follow these protocols even when she disagrees with the directions. In certain situations she can transfer the call to a manager, like with the ,morning after pill, but most of the time she just has to follow the script, no common sense allowed.
The flip side of the Kaiser protocols is that they are necessary because so many people are ignorant about their own health. I could tell you hundreds of stories of stupid calls to the advice nurse. Maybe a reality TV show?
"There is one part of me that despises what I believe my friend, Bob, would condemn as the "nanny state"--though I believe that he and his fellow rightists go much too far: in my view, a reasonable, government-provided safety net is needed for the sick, the poor, the elderly, the defenseless."
Yes I condemn the "nanny state" because it disempowers the citizen. "The larger the state the smaller the citizen." And those "rightists" you mention are the Founding Fathers who recognized that protection of the citizen was the fundamental responsibility of the government. The Constitution defines the specific powers of the government to protect the people. Somehow liberals like to twist the truth and make it seem like those of us who believe in the Constitution that we don't want to help the sick, the poor or the defenseless. This is mythology and is counter productive to creating solutions.
When people are in need the first line of defense should be the family, then friends, then neighbors, then churches and fraternal organizations, then the city, then the county, then the state and finally the feds. Now, and the majority of voters agree, that the nation must look first to the government to be taken care of. This is wrong, this is creating a society of takers in lieu of makers.
God Bless you and be well, BobSo there you go... What do you think?