Thursday, November 29, 2012


This morning I post without comment the response I received from my friend Bob to my post yesterday about my visit to the Emergency Room at Kaiser.  (I would, though, be interested in comments from readers.)

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, Bob
So there you go... What do you think?

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

Yeah, well, Bob, the Founding Fathers weren't living in the 21st century and would likely have been horrified by the idea of gay marriage. Didn't we have to pass an amendment to give women the vote? What makes you think that the Founding Fathers (note no mention of Founding Mothers) are in any strict sense, the sine qua non for determining how we Americans should behave towards each other?

From what you appear to say, a kid who grew up downriver from a factory dumping chemicals into his drinking water should be the primary person responsible for his medical costs when he gets cancer. Ditto for the guy who suffers an accident, because the business owner cut equipment safety to make more profit, giving him the money to influence his Congressperson to pass laws that prevent his accountability. Such ideas are punitive, Bob, and if you extend them out to include the venality of insurance companies whose primary goal is to make money off their patients’ health problems, "sociopathic" is a word that fits.

The most socially evolved societies are found in Northern Europe. They fully take care of their own and pay for it, the majority of them willingly. Why? Because they have a handle on what makes a healthy and just society, which necessarily is a blend of capitalism and socialism. Not perfect, but a whole lot better than ours, and a model we ought to consider, but won’t, because like all empires we’ll fall because of who we’ve become. When it comes to private health insurance companies, even the French who use them in addition to their state-run entities, limit profit to 4%, which is similar to our Blue Cross model before the health care "industry" debacle began in the U.S. Obamacare may not be perfect, but it's a damn sight better than allowing some corporation to dump me, or my children because of pre-existing conditions, or limit the extent of care, even though some drunk hit your daughter’s car head on. How do you come by thinking it’s OK to give a health insurance company the right to make profit off of anyone's suffering?

Also, when you have millions living in urban centers you can't pretend that the rules of an earlier agricultural society apply. It may be what our Founding Fathers experienced, but slavish adherence to old governance models don't work. We live in radically different times, and we have to deal with that reality. We have to adapt, the basis of all evolutionary success.

What’s more, we may live in a global society of great cultural diversity, but the DNA that we share, which is highly homogenous compared to other species, is likely to have come from few as 1,000 human pairs. In fact, we all share the same mother who preceded those pairs--one genetic mother, Bob, the mitochondrial Eve.

This makes us brothers and sisters through and through. We’d best start thinking of ourselves as such and make equal treatment among us a priority. Yes, “we pay” for each other because “we should.” The health of any society can be measured by how it cares for its weakest members. We’re all in it together, which is why in the U.S. we had to pass the Civil Rights Act, or are you for Jim Crow? Are slums what you think the poor deserve; the slums are "their fault"? The federal government is the only way we have of making sure that the principle of equality is actually followed in our society. The forces against it are legion, because greed and lust for power in the human animal is a fact, just as is the delusion of individuality as something separate from the web in which it exists and takes its nourishment. The truth is that we are all responsible for each other, Bob, and it’s time we take this seriously if we’re going to survive. We need each other.