A glimpse into the future of Obama care

Again, Britain reminds us of the possible consequences of allowing the government to control health care.  (See here and here.)

As always, what amazes me about the Left is it’s never ending optimism about the government.  Its members will cheerfully concede that the government pretty much bungles most of the things on which it gets its hands, and they’re terrified of the government when the “other” party is in power.  Nevertheless, in masterful cognitive dissonance, they’re always willing to turn over more and more of their lives to that same government.

Despite failure after failure after failure, those on the Left are always perfectly sure that this time (with Carter, with Clinton, with Obama, etc.), they’ll get it right.  They’ll never concede that their theory is flawed — that statism is imperfect and by its nature cannot achieve they goals they set for it — but will always insist that the execution was flawed and that this time it will work.  A hundred million lives have been lost in this quest for statist perfection, and hundreds of millions more have been made drab, depressing, demoralizing and dangerous.

Let me say it again:  The market is imperfect, but the spur of competition forces those who wish to survive to offer a service that consumers will buy.  In a properly functioning marketplace, the government’s only role should be to ensure that no one is cheating the market. If one takes away this competition — making government the only game in town — there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that gives the workers in that statist system any incentive to provide a decent service.  So what if they do nothing at all?  There’s nowhere else to go.

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  • Charles Martel

    My old high school friend, Tom, a brilliant musician and television producer, emigrated to New Zealand in 1997 to help a struggling Christian broadcast network better disseminate the Gospel.

    He did well, starting and producing several programs and documentaries. In late 2002, he was offered a slot on an expedition to Antarctica where he would document the efforts of a team of New Zealand scientists.

    When doctors tested him for the trip, they found a pin hole in one of his heart valves, a hereditary condition that had gone undiagnosed until then. (His father had died at age 46 from the same defect.)

    Tom had to resign from the expedition and petition the government for corrective surgery.

    The government, which could only afford one team of surgeons and the equipment to perform this kind of surgery, put Tom on a waiting list — four months long.

    Tom patiently waited, but by the time his turn with New Zealand’s wonderful rationing system came up, his heart had degenerated past recovery. The socialist doctors stopped his heart and performed the surgery to repair the hole in it, then tried to to restart it.

    It wouldn’t.

    So they “rested” it for a few days, hoping it would recover its strength. Finally, five days after the surgery, when the machine keeping him alive was now at the point of damaging him irretrievably, they shut off the machine and tried to get his heart going again.

    He died on July 4, 2003, the victim of Marxist dunderheads who love people in the abstract (“Free healthcare for all!) but despise them in particular (“Get in line, take a number!”).

    All hail Obama, the Compassionate and the Merciful.

  • Danny Lemieux

    At least at this point, some Brits still seem to be able to appreciate the defects in their National Health Service. Wait a generation or two and they will have learned to passively submit to and be grateful for what they get.

    As far as the older and disabled members of society who have outlived their economic usefulness and continue to drain resources from the State, forget it. The subjects referenced in the two articles you link, Book, fall into the “useless citizen” category, so there is no value in wasting diminishing State resources on their ilk (whooops…I’m starting to mimic Ymarsaker’s rhetorical style, I see).

    Slaves, farm animals and Cubans get free health care, too. After all, the State has a vested interest in protecting the health of its agents of economic production in the interest of maximizing output. The old and the disabled don’t qualify. “Compassion” or responsibility of government to its citizens has nothing to do with it.

    Lefties are such sheep.

  • David Foster

    “what amazes me about the Left is it’s never ending optimism about the government”…”progressives,” and even old-line liberals, tend to view government as an idealized parent-figure. They don’t grasp that it is made up of *people* who are themelves economic actors and who are pursuing their own desires for money, status, and security.

  • Deana

    Bookworm –

    I read your post with interest. As you know, I decided to go back to school to become a R.N. I’ll be finished next week.

    One thing that has troubled me about my nursing education is the constant discussion by professors of how bad the U.S. health care system is. According to what we are told, millions in America have “no access” to health care; we spend billions and billions and our outcomes are “worse” than other countries; our infant mortality is “much higher” than other industrialized countries, etc.

    While some of this is the natural tendency of Americans to focus on problems in an attempt to fix them, I’m afraid that it also may be due to an effort by some to promote socialized medicine.

    I recently wrote letters to two professors at the school and the director of curriculum, outlined my concerns, provided evidence of why the infant mortality numbers are not accurate, submitted a CATO Institute study on the pros and cons of health care systems around the world, and requested that the curriculum be altered so that students are required to read articles that detail the pros and cons of multiple systems, including ours.

    The school has been receptive to my requests and I’m planning on meeting with the director of curriculum next week. As grateful as I am that they have been receptive to my requests, I still can’t quite believe that I am having to ask that we be exposed to and study BOTH the pros and the cons of different health care systems. That should be a given!

    We have a health care system that, while imperfect and in need of some changes, has achieved much and continues to benefit Americans and so many of the world, often regardless of whether they can pay.

    We need to be very cautious about rushing in and making massive changes to our health care system. Tinkering with success can lead to failure.

    Deana

  • suek

    Deana…

    Congratulations! Both on your pending graduation and on your success in having your concern noticed by management…

    I keep thinking back to my youth, when there was no health insurance. I have no idea what the statistics of the period were, but folks paid for their own expenses. How did they manage? My father was military, so we had health care (as long as you could prove to the doctors that you were actually sick!), but my parents preferred a civilian doctor, which they paid for themselves. I wonder if people generally were healthier then, or if, lacking modern care, they died quickly from afflictions which are treated today…I remember polio – we were not allowed to go swimming in public pools. We had measles, mumps and chickenpox…that was just normal stuff. Parents hoped that kids wouldn’t get them during the school year, but other than that, no big deal. My mother sent us out to play with kids that had them – it was considered better to have all three as children rather than as adults when it was serious.

    Sometimes I wonder if we really are better off today, healthwise.

  • Deana

    Thanks, suek!

    I’m definitely no expert in health care but what I see every day in the hospital is astonishing.

    We keep hearing about how Americans do not have access to health care. Well, I work part-time in an ER. Yesterday I was in triage – you know, the nurse and other staff you talk to when you first check into an ER. These are the people who make the decision who gets called back first into the ER – the woman who appears to be having a heart attack or the guy who thinks he needs to see an ER doctor because he can’t get an erection. (And guys, I’m NOT saying that isn’t a problem! It just isn’t an emergency. Really.)

    Literally one half of all the people we checked into the ER yesterday did not need to check into an ER. They could have gone to a primary care physician or a doc-in-the-box establishment. I mean, when you think “ER,” don’t things like:

    – breathing trouble
    – chest pain
    – sudden numbness on one side of the body
    – bleeding
    – high fever
    – broken bone
    – crippling abdominal pain

    or other similar health issues pop into your mind as legitimate reasons to go to an ER? Instead, we get people who have head colds come in. Or they check in and tell us that they have had this rash for 6 weeks and finally decided to come in. (If they’ve had it for 6 weeks, isn’t that plenty of time to go see their doctor?)

    Suek – we’ve actually had families come in before and check in ALL of their children into the ER all at the same time for colds and coughs!!!!

    When people do not have to pay for their own health care, they don’t feel pressure to make rational economic decisions. They don’t have to stop and think: should I make an appointment with my (less expensive) family doctor to have X checked out or should I go to an ER where it costs $800 just to walk through the front door?

    Ask yourself: If you don’t have to pay for dinner and yet you are entitled to have dinner, will you go to McDonald’s or Ruth Chris Steakhouse?

    So then what happens? Well, when all of these millions of Americans who have “no access” to health care check into the ER, they take up bed space. Every single day in every single ER in the country, bed space is taken up by people who have illnesses or health issues that could easily be taken care of by a family physician, internist, etc. And then, inevitably, an American (or perhaps a non-American), who may or may not have health insurance, walks in and REALLY needs to be seen right away because they are TRULY sick – they are having a stroke, or a GI bleed, or tightness in the chest – whatever. And we don’t have a bed . . .

    Sorry. This is a soap box of mine. I don’t know whether Americans are truly more or less healthy than they once were. But I am confident that many Americans do not feel the need to make rational, cost-effective decisions involving their health care.

    Deana

  • Deana

    Charles –

    What you describe about your friend’s experience in New Zealand is what I am convinced few people in America realize is part and parcel of national health care systems.

    I’m not arguing that everything about those systems is terrible but I think we Americans need to stop and think about what we value. We have become very accustomed to and now demand top-notch health services almost instantly.

    Many of these other countries have made the decision that it is more important to them to be able to say that all of their citizens have access to “free” health care.

    We will leave aside for the moment that it is anything but “free” and that over time, the citizens in countries that have adopted socialized medicine wind up getting different qualities of health care because the wealthy will always pay for the best. In the end, the vast majority of the citizens of these countries receive a lower standard of health care services at a slower pace.

    Most of us here know this. We see the reports coming out of Europe, Canada, and other countries and realize that these countries have not found the answer to our health care problems.

    My fear is that most Americans don’t realize it. They don’t understand that what your friend went through in New Zealand would become standard if we adopt systems similar to what these other countries have adopted.

    I don’t know how to make people understand this. It isn’t that we have a perfect system – we have problems. But I don’t think Americans fully appreciate what a radical change we would be in for if Obama and his supporters get their way.

    Deana

  • Ymarsakar

    (And guys, I’m NOT saying that isn’t a problem! It just isn’t an emergency. Really.)

    I comment at Villainous Company, Deana. I assure you, your comment is perfectly legitimate.

  • Ymarsakar

    Your insights on the medical practice, from the inside, is very interesting.

  • suek
  • Mike Devx

    Details by Deana, such as a whole family showing up at the ER to get bad colds taken care of, take the cake. I can’t add anything, except at the meta-level, aren’t we training our citizens (and illegal adults) simply to behave immaturely? This is just another case…

    And we’re training our investment firms, auto companies, state pension plans, etc, to behave immaturely as well. Capitalism doesn’t work when you remove risk; and I think we are now actually rewarding failure and harming competitors who have behaved wisely.

    I just heard our total bailout commitments over these three months now total 7.5 billion. What’s our GDP per year… 9 trillion? The investment firms are getting over 2 trillion of this… it makes the 25 billion for the auto industry seem like peanuts, to me. I fail to understand why all the screaming is over the auto industry’s 25 billion; no one’s nearly so fired up about the TWO TRILLION plus for investment firms.

    AIG is “too big to fail”? Well, well, well, then we’d better get busy and break the m*therf*ckers up! Anyone too big to fail? Break them up, immediately. Or quit the lying. “Too important to fail”? Heck, for me, I’m too important to fail. Where’s my bailout. Too important implies too big, so: time to break them up, too.

    Yes, I’m still upset about all of this. If I thought it could work, I could be sanguine, but of course, none of this can work anyway.

  • Deana

    Mike D –

    Yes. We ARE rewarding failure, I think, in so many ways. It is happening in schools, in business, in health care, in government.

    I don’t know how you go about correcting that sort of thing. How do you make millions and millions of people change a learned behavior that has rewarded them?

    I’m not sure there is a way. I am actually wondering if you need to have a total system failure so people see what these practices lead to.

    In the meantime, I have fantasies of telling these people who show up in the ER with sniffles that they aren’t permitted to check in. Of course, I would be fired. But it would feel good for a little while!

    Deana

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Read the following for what’s headed our way….

    This story is from 2005 – I know that this poor guy lost on appeal, but has anyone heard up-to-date information on him?

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/645igjun.asp

    London
    THE MOST IMPORTANT BIOETHICS LITIGATION in the world today involves a 45-year-old Englishman, Leslie Burke. He isn’t asking for very much. Burke has a progressive neurological disease that may one day deprive him of the ability to swallow. If that happens, Burke wants to receive food and water through a tube. Knowing that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) rations care, Burke sued to ensure that he will not be forced to endure death by dehydration against his wishes….Burke won his case at the trial court level when a judge ruled that denying the tube-supplied food and water a patient wants “would be a breach of claimant’s rights under . . . the European Convention on Human Rights.” This should be uncontroversial. But the General Medical Council, the medical licensing authority, appealed, joined by the British government….
    Even though the Burke case does not involve high tech medical procedures–he is not asking for a respirator or kidney dialysis, after all–the government claims that the trial court’s ruling undermines the authority of doctors to make the “clinical judgment” about whether a patient’s “treatment would be of benefit,” based at least in part on the question of “the resources which are available.” The right of doctors to exercise such control is “absolutely fundamental to the day-to-day functioning of the NHS.”….When I privately discussed his case with a prominent British physician who I expected would sympathize with Burke’s views, I was taken aback when he told me crossly, “Burke is only thinking of himself rather than looking at the bigger picture.” How thoughtless of him.

  • Ymarsakar

    How do you make millions and millions of people change a learned behavior that has rewarded them?

    You make sure the leaders in power that set these kinds of policies get the Axe, that’s how.

  • Ymarsakar

    Most people are exactly as you have described, Deana: people who follow the path of least resistance. They, however, don’t tend to be the leaders and policy setters.

  • MacG

    “As always, what amazes me about the Left is it’s never ending optimism about the government”
    I have marveled at the same point. These very same people that seethe at the likes of big corporations, swoon at the valor of the Big Government. What they never seem to make out is that they both are comprised of people in love with money. One wants to make it and the other wants to take it. I have long believed that the Democrats ought to abandon their beloved jackass mascot and rebrand with the loveable Robin Hood of the Sure Weird forest. Their merry band’s theme song could be napstered from Monty Pyton “Brave, Brave Sir Robin ran away.” with apologies to the Monty P crew. But I digress…It really seems that they believe that they are the only ones that are pure of heart and will convert those sinful profits into works of righteousness for the “little guy” er, uh “Sorry Honey, I meant socio-economically challenged and Corporately oppressed persun”. All the while taking credit for “giving” what was not theirs to give. I just had a vision of the White Witch in the Chronices of Narnia giving Edmund the Turkish Delight and inscripting him into her service. Hmmm…

  • Danny Lemieux

    Er, MacG, I was with you until the Robin Hood analogy. Robin Hood “stole’ from Government (King John) and the Church to return the wealth to the poor. What I can’t figure out is if the Democrats are more like the King, the Church, or both (Executive and Legislative).

  • Gringo

    At a time when I was without health insurance, I developed a tumor the size of a grapefruit on my back. I went to a hospital founded by Jewish philanthropists for assistance. The hospital provided facilities for free, and the surgeon charged me only $1000- probably $1500 in today’s dollars. The tumor turned out to be benign. So, when you hear about the sad state of people without health insurance, consider my tale. ( BTW, I am Gentile.)

  • MacG

    Danny,

    It appears that I need to fact check myself and not rely on the byte of a memory that I have. I was going on the memory that he “stole from the rich and gave to the poor” not recalling who the rich were. I suppose the point stands if viewed from their paradigm that it is the rich who are the evil oppressors and thus equating themselves with the valiant Robin Hood “defending” the poor as it were by redistributing the wealth. Since they can rewrite history why not folk tales. I have heard John Kerry, and Obama decry the tax system as unfair because as rich people they do not pay enough taxes. It easy to pay more taxes than what the law calls for, take less deductions! How about taking only the standard deductions and tossing the schedule A? They be should be throwing their money into the coffers of the IRS to set the supreme example of what should be done to fix our Nation. I guess it turns out that their money is not worthy of the nobility of the IRS.
    The Demo’s like to refer to our taxes spent as “investments”. When my church gives to One Great Hour of Sharing (http://www.pcusa.org/OGHS) about 95% of a dollar given directly aids individuals. When the Demo’s “invest” our dollars through the government machine most of that “green power” powers the machine first then “trickles down” the little byproduct that remains. Not so good of a return on the dollar. I suppose what’s really important is that they feel better about themsleves.

  • Ymarsakar

    King John levied taxes while Richard the Lionhearted was away on the Crusades. Suffice it to say that, regardless of history’s views on King John or whether his policies resulted in increased taxation or not, King John was a disaster for the people of England.

    England tends to have a lot of this legends and myths, like Arthur and Robin Hood, derived or based off of their history. The lasting appeal of such things tend to be very high given that Anglo literature repeats the themes over and over again.

    I suppose the point stands if viewed from their paradigm that it is the rich who are the evil oppressors and thus equating themselves with the valiant Robin Hood “defending” the poor as it were by redistributing the wealth.

    George Soros and all the rich Democrats like Teresa Heinz and what not surely can be called evil oppressors. They just happen to be the ones funding the Democrat party, however, so the Democrats don’t target those rich people.

    powers the machine first then “trickles down” the little byproduct that remains. Not so good of a return on the dollar.

    Demoncrats love the trickle down economy. Don’t let their lies and declamations fool you when they talk about how the “trickle down” economy doesn’t work. It works great for them.

  • MacG

    Book,

    The hyperllinks to the articles in the first paragraph are apparantly broken. I was about to send this on and checked them and got a page not availble error.

    MacG

  • Ymarsakar

    Mac, links work for me.

  • MacG

    Ymarsakar,

    They did the other day for me as well…must be my liberal server :)

    MacG

  • Ymarsakar

    Yeah, Daily Mail got on somebody’s list.