The exchange on Facebook began when Marjorie posted:
ABC's John Stossel Destroys/Pulverizes/Crushes Obama's anti-American 'Health Care' Plan
(Click on link below to watch Stossel video. Then to return to blog click on back button of browser.)
And having watched the video, it makes sense to me that you may fear having to perhaps wait a little longer to have hip replacement surgery or something similar. I'm wondering, though, if you mean that people who don't have a job that provides insurance and can't afford the high cost of a non-group policy should just take their chances as my son has been doing and then go bankrupt (leaving everyone else to pay his expenses) if he is in a serious car crash or comes down with MS or some other terrible condition? And do you mean that health care decisions should be based on who has enough money to pay cash (or the best insurance coverage) rather than on who needs a procedure right away? It seems to me that if health-care costs have to be contained in order that the country not go bankrupt, then the current House proposal will provide a big step in that direction while helping thousands who would have died for lack of coverage a good chance at getting the care they need and would have otherwise had to do without. I am quite confident that rich people will ALWAYS have access to a fast, private option. This true in Austria and France where unlike here everyone regardless of socio-economic status has access to quality care. Here, people who are very poor are covered by Medicaid, and disabled folks are covered by Medicare. It's the people in the middle who are losing their homes when they win the serious injury or illness lottery. As a physician who cares about all my patients, I can hardly wait for The President and Democrats in Congress to succeed in reforming a system I believe is seriously broken. It seems to me that the video is an effort to frighten folks into believing change is anti-American if the currently well-enough off are going to be inconvenienced even a little even if the slight inconvenience helps a lot of people live longer and helps decrease the budget deficit.
Seems to me that if the primary reason for posting the video was to object to the firing of John Stossel or to say that as you see it, ABC is biased in some direction, it would have been helpful to comment to that effect when posting it. Stossel's report seems very biased to me. Makes me wonder if he was fired for double dipping from both ABC and the health insurance lobby?
Marjorie, I'm not trying to come down on you; and I am concerned about using terms like "anti-American" to describe The President with whom you may, in my opinion, freely disagree but who, as I see it, is certainly not pursuing an anti-American agenda. Using words like "anti-American" and "Destroys/Pulverizes/Crushes" seems to me to be extremely provocative, perhaps even inflammatory, and doesn't, in my opinion, contribute to a thoughtful examination of specific differences in perspectives about the legislation currently being debated.
Marjorie said further:
I'm reading you as saying that you intended to comment on the video and checked it out via snopes and google but didn't find anything but in any case you do believe that Socialism is anti-American and that it has been since FDR instituted Social Security, which you believe was never meant to be used as a retirement program. You also agree that going without insurance is dangerous and have been told by some military families that they do not like their free medical service and by other friends around the world that they do not like their medical delivery systems nor do they like their high taxes. Sounds like you believe that while the system in the US may need some revision after careful examination, there is a lot about it which is better than anywhere else in the world and that you think we don't need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I'm hearing you say that you think nobody has read the entire bill and that you believe a lot of pork has been added to it and that what scares you is what everyone else and you don't know about it and think that other systems need to be studied from all angles before revamping something that deals with so many people's lives and the economy of this great nation. Am I hearing you correctly?
If so, it makes sense to me that since you seem to think no one has even read the bill and since you also seem to think that Social Security is a form of anti-American socialism, you would be very concerned that the result of this effort to reform health care delivery will be terrible; that The President and members of Congress don't even know what they are putting together; that it will be filled with pork; and that there is a significant risk of acting so hastily that the result will be another anti-American, socialistic program.
Is there more that you would like to say about this before I respond with a few more thoughts of my own?
As I read your last post, seems to me that you think I'm kind of getting what you are saying but that you are not saying that the House health care bill would be terrible. On the other hand, you do think that The President and members of Congress haven't read the bill and are not aware of everything it says and that "socialism" is the mildest thing you could call the proposals that you understand are included. I'm also reading that you think that everything done since January has been rushed with results that you think are not good. Given that you are concerned that changes are being made that you don't think are good and that it is your perception that everything is being rushed, it makes sense to me that you want this wide-sweeping bill on health care to be carefully deliberated.
I guess I'm still not sure about your SPECIFIC concerns. To what proposals specifically in the House bill do you know you have objections? It is hard for me to understand what you think is inappropriate, misguided, or corrupt about what is being proposed without specific examples. I hear your general concern that the bill will lead to something worse than socialism ("socialism is the mildest thing I could call what proposals I have understood"), but to what specifically are you referring, and what from your point of view would be a less mild but more accurate description of what you think is being proposed?
From my perspective, the current House bill as I understand it is inadequate, because many will still be left uninsured. This concerns me not only because of the personal costs to the individuals involved but also because of the increased costs to the rest of us when the health care of the uninsured is neglected due to not being able to afford it leaving them with treatment in an emergency room as their only option. The cost of that treatment will be passed on to you and me as it is now. As I understand it, government is already either directly or indirectly paying for 65% of the cost of all health care provided but with less than optimal results. I am concerned that despite having the most expensive health-care system in the world, we still have a maternal death rate higher than many other developed nations (41st in the world for maternal mortality rates http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1339620220071013). It bothers me that when I do evaluations in the emergency room that many of the people I see can’t afford the medications most likely to help them and will stop taking the medicine I prescribe after the 30-day supply provided by a pharmaceutical company coupon has run out. Then it is highly likely that they will return to the emergency room and perhaps even have to be admitted to the hospital with no means of paying for those costs.
It seems to me that “socialism” is bandied about as a pejorative term which may often be meant to frighten people but without being specific about what is considered objectionable about the policy being maligned. It could also be that “socialism” is a term that can be applied to our collective paying for fire protection, police protection, military expenses, and other government services. Seems to me that just as for many other words, “socialism” is a word that has different connotations for different people. I don’t think, however, that it implies something that is inherently unconstitutional or “anti-American.”
"Most socialists share the view that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and derives its wealth through exploitation, creates an unequal society, does not provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximize their potentialities and does not utilise technology and resources to their maximum potential nor in the interests of the public." Lenin believed that socialism was the middle stage between capitalism and communism. There is a difference in our paying taxes to provide protective services for society and "sharing the wealth." As a republic, even since before colonial times, we have been faced with a tenuous balance which has to be maintained between personal freedom and government protection. Those who had to live within the walls of a fort, for instance, to save their families from Indian attack, chose for a period of time to protect themselves by relinquishing some of their personal freedoms. Those who chose to live in communes in the 1960s chose to share everything on principle; they chose to relinquish their freedoms in order to remove themselves from the materialism and capitalism they disagreed with in the US society. That was their choice. It was not mine. I believe that capitalism is one of the secrets of our government's survival over the two centuries.
From where do you get your facts on the health plan; have you read the 1900 pages? what do you believe is in there that will save our poor and hungry? Do you really believe that independent companies will continue to make a profit in competition with our government run plan? do you really believe that employers will continue to provide the perks of health insurance to employees who can simply accept the government plan? do you really believe that costs for private insurance will drop due to that government competition? do you really believe that the new program will pay for itself in ten years?
In True Success: Ideas About Living And Loving In An Unbalanced World (1991) I wrote, "Seldom does anything have to be all or nothing. The best available approximation of a balance between the extremes is usually desirable."
The inalienable individual rights of The First Amendment to The Constitution of The United States of America are considered in the U.S.A. to be "basic needs," while in socialist countries "basic needs" are adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.
Rather than adopt either of these definitions of "basic needs" exclusive of the other, it would be far better to join forces as a world community in which no one person is allowed to have excesses above a certain level until the basics of both The First Amendment AND adequate housing, food, clothing, and medical needs are provided for all inhabitants of the world. In order for this to be possible, while avoiding irresponsible exploitation of our environmental resources, it might be necessary to encourage vigorously the limitation of the world's human population. At least limit the population until technological developments make it possible to provide the comprehensive basic needs to all without doing irreparable harm to the environment which belongs to us all and to all future generations.
How could this synthesis between individual rights and collective rights be attained? First, we have to come to understand that we are all in this together--that our world has become so small as the result of technological developments, increases in the global human population, and intertwined national economies that we can no longer pretend that we can sagely isolate ourselves from each other. We are capable of ruining our entire world environment with all kinds of chemical, biological, and nuclear pollutants even if warfare never becomes a factor. Second, we must preserve the opportunity for individual economic incentives while not allowing any single individual or small group of individuals (in business corporations or governments) to exert so much power that they cannot be prevented from doing irreparable harm to the environmental birthright of us all. Third, we must spread the news that true success does not come from more and more wealth and power but rather from meeting our basic needs and having a loving attitude toward ourselves and equally toward others. This loving attitude must be demonstrated by our respect for ourselves and for the rights of others. After meeting our own basic needs, freely given service to others within our own unique limitations can then replace self-centered and ultimately unsatisfying greed and provide us with genuine mutual satisfaction."
Even though those words were written more than 18 years ago, I continue to think in a way that is consistent with what I wrote then.
My perspective on "sharing the wealth" is that it is already being shared but in the opposite direction from what I think you mean. As I see it, people who work two jobs and can barely make ends meet are sharing their wealth with the people who do nothing other than invest money and bet on the market. I know some folks who held "short" positions in the market before October of last year about which one of them who was already very, very wealthy said, "This was the biggest transfer of wealth in history." It was a transfer of wealth from hard working pensioners and people invested in mutual funds to people who bet on the market to crash. Somehow, that doesn't seem like the best way to encourage ordinary people to work hard and invest their hard-earned capital, though I am certainly one who has worked very hard and invested my capital in various ways consistent with our system. I'm not in any way suggesting we adopt socialism or communism in place of capitalism, but I do think that given the human propensity for power to corrupt, there have to be checks and balances in place that protect the less powerful from the potential intentional or unintentional exploitation by the very powerful.
My information about the House bill on health care reform comes from David Price, Representative from the 4th Congressional District. While I have not read the entire House bill myself, I have known David well for many years and trust that he has either read it all or is being advised by members of his staff who have read it all. My answer to all your questions is basically, "Yes." I think that while there will always be the need to make changes in whatever decisions are made about this issue or any other, the House bill on health care reform should, in my opinion, help move us in a direction which will overall be quite beneficial.