Flashback to 2009, when I spoke with a liberal physician who dismissed all of my concerns about the then-proposed Obamacare legislation

Everything I’m hearing today about the Obamacare trainwreck sounds very familiar to me.  So familiar, in fact, that I checked my blog archives and came upon this discussion I had back in August 2009 with an uber-liberal physician who believed that Obamacare would provide full medical service for every man, woman, child, and illegal alien, but who actually believed (despite an MBA along with his MD) that it would indeed bend the cost curve down.  Further, the physician was certain that, because I’m a right-wing wacko, not to mention the fact that I don’t have an MBA or an MD, I couldn’t possibly know what I was talking about.

I feel vindicated, of course, but it’s a very painful vindication because, like Cassandra, all I could do was predict the disaster, not stop it:

I believe that legislation can be created to change the incentives in the marketplace — or that, at the very least, we should start with that experiment, before diving into a wholehearted destruction of the current system.  My friend, however, believes that our current system creates “social injustice” and that the only way to remedy it is through government intervention.  To the extent doctors and companies profit from the current system, he believes these profits are immoral.  When I mentioned the marketplace determining what is just and what works, he said that’s just wrong.  The government, he said, is singularly well-suited to deciding which treatments (and, by extension, which profits) are just and which are not.

Incidentally, as part of the social injustice issue, this doctor believes that it is appropriate to extend the plan to cover illegal aliens.  He likens the Mexicans who come here and send money back home to Jews trying to escape the Nazis by immigrating illegally to Palestine in the 30s and 40s.  That is, he thinks the Mexicans are in precisely the same situation as death camp refugees and that we are morally wrong to deny them free ingress.

The doctor had a very interesting take on the current uninsured.  I said that a lot of people are opposed to the proposed plan because they recognize that those numbers being bandied about regarding uninsured are false.  That is, the 45 million (or whatever) uninsured aren’t uninsured simply because of poverty.  The vast majority are either illegal aliens (and you can see his views about those above) or voluntary uninsured.  As to the latter, my friend thinks they’re the real problem.  He understands that these people are voluntary uninsured because they are young and healthy.  They’re gambling that they won’t need insurance.  Or they might be marginally insured, in that they buy a $10 policy with a $10,000 deductible, just in case something really bad happens.  They are not putting money into the system.

What this doctor likes about mandatory universal health care is that it forces the voluntary uninsured into the system.  He thinks it grossly unfair that they are not paying into the system, while people who need insurance are paying.  If there were more money in the system, the person with a preexisting condition would not be required to pay as much for his insurance.  In other words, he thinks that the insurance system should be a cross between an uninsured motorist requirement and social security.  He freely admits that this is a government mandated spread the wealth approach, and one of which he approves.

Because he has a philosophical approach that requires everyone to be in the health care market, whether they want to be or not, he is unperturbed by CBO numbers projecting vast increases in the cost of health care under the new plan.  He thinks the CBO people, being accountants and not doctors, have no idea what they’re talking about.  What he envisions is a brave new world in which the government simply provides more insured people who will use medical services.  He finds it inconceivable that universal health care (which is a system by which all people are insured, but medical care providers continue to be privately owned) can shade into a single payer, government-owned system.

He does not believe that having the government as an insurance provider will change the system and drive out private insurance.  Nor does he believe that, even if all private insurance is gone, with the government being the only bill-payer, that this will do anything other than purify the private medical system of the current social injustices that plague it.  He also refused to believe that, in other countries that have socialized medicine, there are treatments that are denied to people, not because the treatments don’t work, but because the people are deemed (by government mandate) to be too old or too ill to be worthy of treatment.  As for government lists of treatment, he says we have them already, because every care provider is in thrall to Medicare and related government programs.  He did not see a difference between the fact that Medicare sets prices, but does not yet set age or health boundaries for providing treatments.

He is very disturbed by the opposition to the health care plan, which he sees as the product of Republican cabals who are shipping agitators into local town hall meetings.  The absence of any concrete evidence of such busing (such as buses) does not change his mind.

I explained that people are also concerned that they’re being sold a bill of goods that is not as promised.  The rush to pass a bill (three weeks “deliberation” to change a sixth of the economy) didn’t bother him at all.  “That’s how things go.”  When I raised specific concerns about the existing bill (the inability to stick with your insurance if you change jobs, the incentive for employers to dump insurance and drive people into the government system, the government decision boards re treatments, the enhanced access the government will have to our finances) he just didn’t care.  He thought those were petty concerns and was sure I was wrong.  He also discounted the hidden taxes in the bill.  “Obama promised that he’d veto any taxes.”

The doctor also dismissed the fact that many of the bill’s proponents — including the president himself — are on record as supporting single-payer care (which is different from the universal care this doctor supports).  He denies that Obama lied at the New Hampshire townhall when he when he said ““I have not said that I am a supporter of a single-payer system,” despite several past instances of his having said precisely that.  “There’s no lie there,” said my doctor friend.  “Obama did not say that he ‘never’ supported single payer care.  He’s talking in the present tense.  He doesn’t support it now.”  I said that, if that’s what the great communicator meant, that’s what he should have said, including explaining why he’s changed his mind.  “Nah,” said the doctor.  It was clear.

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  • gpc31

    I devoutly hope you meet this doctor in the near future, confront him with time-documented evidence, and deliver a big fat “I told you so.”  It will be interesting to note any evasions, rationalizations, or cognitive dissonance.  Don’t let him off the hook.  Worth losing a friend over.

  • Texan99

    We’ve just joined the ranks of people who understand what it means to be lied to by a president who says “If you like your coverage, you can keep it.” Effective next November, Blue Cross will discontinue our existing high-deductible policy, because it doesn’t conform to Sec’y Sebelius’s views on the proper level for a deductible.  Now, for an extra $400 a month ($4,800 a year), I get to decrease our annual deductible by $4,000.  That way, in a normal year, I still won’t hit the deductible, but I’ll get to pay for it anyway!  Thanks, Mr. President!  Thanks, Congress!  I needed help bending that cost curve down.
    We’re in our 50s and have no expensive disabilities.  If our cost is going up this dramatically, it’s hard to understand for whom it’s going to go down.
    I wouldn’t mind so much if I could just pay a fine and get out of this.  The problem is that my choice now is Sebelius’s warped idea of what I need, or no insurance at all.  I want catastrophic insurance to cover huge bills that might wipe out our life savings and leave us penniless in our old age.  I don’t want coverage for anything less than that.
    Is it really possible to survive politically in this country by pushing a plan like this?  What’s it going to be like when people start filling out their tax returns for 2013, and when the IRS starts deducting fines from refund checks, and when people realize that the only way to avoid the fine is to spend hundreds of dollars a month for no noticeable benefit?  I certainly hope all this has time to sink in before the 2014 midterms.

  • Charles Martel

    Texan99, my fear is that even if people recoil at increased costs that are going to start hitting them, they’ll continue believing in the big lie that George Bush and the GOP are the reasons why. So they’ll still vote Demo, based on the notion that “If the Czar/Stalin only knew…”

  • pst314

    “There’s no lie there, said my doctor friend.”
    Your doctor friend is clearly lying, playing word games to deny the obvious truth.
    There is no point in trying to persuade such a person because he does not argue in good faith. The only point in debating him is to do so in ways that publicly expose him as the slimy liar that he is, to destroy his public reputation.

  • Danny Lemieux

    The Democrat solution to this will obviously be in two parts: 1) blame Bush and the Tea Party; 2) throw gazillions more money at it.
    As far as your Liberal/Lefty physician friend is concerned, Book, don’t expect him to change – they live in an abstract, ideological world immune from reality. This will only cause them to cling to their ideology more desperately because, in the end, that is all they have. Take that away and their entire worldview collapses to nothing.
    I predict that, as these Democrat Masters-of-the-Universe wannabees see Obamacare and the basic contradictions of their worldview collapse around them, they will become even more vicious and then….do something really, really stupid.


    Danny: Stupid, like this…
     Fox News:

    Soldiers attending a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood say they were told that evangelical Christians and members of the Tea Party were a threat to the nation and that any soldier donating to those groups would be subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.


    Texan99: The idiots a/k/a seditious bastards are going to double-down on O’Care and any and all things deemed social activism.  Floridians, 300,000 of them received cancellation notices, which by any measure is fact, that more Americans have lost coverage than have signed up for the exchange.
    I have no idea how we skirt the IRS. I suggest adding deductions to your 2013 taxes to leverage any chance of the IRS deducting money. They’ve just announced that refunds will be delayed two weeks due to the two-week shutdown. Golly, gee whiz – you’d think with 16,000 spanking new employees ….

  • Spartacus

    “Incidentally, as part of the social injustice issue, this doctor believes that it is appropriate to extend the plan to cover illegal aliens.  He likens the Mexicans who come here and send money back home to Jews trying to escape the Nazis by immigrating illegally to Palestine in the 30s and 40s.  That is, he thinks the Mexicans are in precisely the same situation as death camp refugees and that we are morally wrong to deny them free ingress.”
    1) So, if we are giving to each according to his need, who has the greatest need?  Those who have successfully fled the propblem country, or those still stuck there?  Those who snuck across our border are in a land of relative freedom and prosperity, and are already enjoying many other forms of public assistance.  If we really want to help those in need, we should instead set up a network of public health clinics in Mexico to help those without such benefits.  And honestly, Mexico is a land of opulent luxury compared to most other places in the Third World… shouldn’t we start in all those countries instead?  By the logic of your friend?
    2) If memory serves, the problem that the Jews of Europe had with the Nazis was that the Nazis had a Plan for them — a governmental solution — and they were really rather inflexible about imposing this Plan, and heedless of the objections of those affected.  Those Jews who were able fled to places where the government would basically leave them alone and allow them to do their own thing.  So we learn from history by… coming up with a Plan?
    “There’s no lie there,” said my doctor friend.  “Obama did not say that he ‘never’ supported single payer care.  He’s talking in the present tense.  He doesn’t support it now.”
    “There *IS* no sex between the president and Miss Lewinsky.” [emphasis added] — David Kendall
    Like deja vu all over again.

  • Texan99

    I’m not worried about paying a fine. I never, ever, ever overpay my taxes and get a refund. But I’m furious that my only choice other than to pay the nearly doubled premium is to go completely bare and put our life savings at risk.  So it’s worse than paying a fine.  The affordable coverage I prefer has simply been removed from the market by law.  No one can legally sell it to me now.  I get the coverage Pres. Obama thinks I should have, or no coverage at all.
    I’ve never gone without health coverage in my life, but this stupid law is tempting me to try it.  At worst, I’d have to pay bills for a year before signing up to be covered again.  But I can’t quite bring myself to do it.  If this monstrosity of a law is ever repealed, I’ll be screwed by the pre-existing condition clause.
    I suppose I can hope that, even if they don’t repeal it, they may at least have enough sense to relax the restrictions on high-deductible coverage so that I can get my premiums down again.
    Bald-faced, stinking liars.  Officious little meddling Nanny State pricks.

  • jj

    Interesting.  I don’t know how the rest of you are doing, but we got the letter from our insurance company – Regence Blueshield.  We’ve been paying $545. a month – with a 10K deductible.  As of January 1st, I’m worth $900 a month to them, spouse is $800.  So we go from $545 to $1700 a month.  But hey! – if we like it, sure, we can keep it!  Just at more than three times as much.
    Which is why I sort of laughed when I read the guy bitching about his coverage on the Daily Kos.  I’d take his new rate any day, and twice on Sundays.  He doesn’t know what the phrase ‘high rates’ really connotes – and he’s still pissing and moaning and whining, just as though he has an actual problem.
    But that’s what happened to us: more than tripled – with a $10,000 deductible already in place.  How’d everybody else – those of you who pay for your own insurance – do? 

  • Caped Crusader

    Never, never, never, ever, ever, ever equate acquisition of “degrees’ with intelligence, or common sense, as it relates to the real world or performance therein. In my wife’s medical school class there was one young man who never made anything but a perfect score on every exam, for four years. He was never able to come to grips with reality and never did anything with his education, nor did he ever practice medicine. Several in her class who were directors of various medical entities have tried to steer him into something productive, but were never successful. He is seen around in stores at times and has never done anything of any consequence.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Americans won’t deserve to be saved by anyone until they show a sufficient level of hate for evil. There are all kinds of reasons for that, which I won’t mention at this time. They’ll come up sooner or later though.

  • heather

    Current plan for my family: $355 with a $3500/7000 deductible. Will no longer be offered.  Can keep it through Dec. 1, 2014 due to Anthem shifting the dates around (first time ever that I have thought a kind thought about Anthem!).
    Plans that I can get instead according to the Anthem website:  starting at $779 with a $12.000 deductible.  Coverage is no better than what we have now.  May qualify for a subsidy through the exchanges, but we really don’t want to go there.  But who knows what will happen between now and next year.

  • Texan99

    I’m so boiling mad it’s making it hard to enjoy life. So here’s what I’m trying: I’m thinking of my extra $5K a year as the price I pay to see an absolute bloodbath in the 2014 primaries and again in the 2014 midterms.  I want to see careers ended.
    It reminds me a bit of how I felt about writing a check for quarterly taxes on September 15, 2001.  I actually relished sending in the money:  my little bit toward the response to the vile attack.  I wouldn’t mind getting a bit of that feeling back.
    Far, far more people are losing their coverage than will ever be able to sign up under this pathetic website exchange.  I want to see that experience reflected in the voting booth.
    I hear what you say about not wanting to go there in terms of subsidies.  It’s dirty.  Part of me says it’s just getting back some of what’s been robbed from me, but it still feels dirty.  I’d rather work on thinking I’m helping buy a hurricane of political change.
    Now I have to work on a way to continue to be civil to anyone I encounter in the next few days who (to my certain knowledge) voted for this sack of *(!$& in the White House, which includes, for instance, my sister and my nextdoor neighbor.  I really cannot talk to them while I’m in this state.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    It’s fascinating (and saddening) hearing your stories. You guys started out mad, and you’re going to stay mad.  I just hope that the sheeples have it in them to be upset. 

    As for me, since I get my insurance through my spouse and my spouse gets his through a large entity, I’m somewhat insulated from all this.  I have the good sense to be grateful, I hope, and not arrogant.

  • Spartacus

    My letter from Regence informed me that as of January 1st, I will be paying 3.94 times what I was paying on the day this a** clown first fumbled the oath of office (although, sadly, they missed the opportunity to word it quite that way.)  But you know?  The money is the least of what makes my blood boil.

  • Caped Crusader

    1. Stay mad!
    2. Once again let me invoke the advice of Churchill as the lights of Europe were going out from the Nazi steamroller, “Make them feel, even in their fleeting hour of brutish triumph, that they are the moral outcasts of mankind!”.

  • Texan99

    Ha. Not much doubt of that. I’m channeling Robert DeNiro from the Untouchables.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    “He likens the Mexicans who come here and send money back home to Jews trying to escape the Nazis by immigrating illegally to Palestine in the 30s and 40s.  That is, he thinks the Mexicans are in precisely the same situation as death camp refugees and that we are morally wrong to deny them free ingress.”
    Your doctor friend is a liar…he does NOT “liken the Mexicans who come here and send money back home to Jews trying to escape the Nazis by immigrating illegally to Palestine in the 30s and 40s.”  If he did, he’d be OK with Americans doing to the Mexicans what the Arabs in Palestine did to the Jews who were escaping Europe.  And the Jews weren’t getting free health care, believe me!!
    He’s like all liberals…words mean whatever he wants/needs them to mean at the moment he speaks them, and the minute his mind changes, then the earlier meaning is no longer “operative”.  Or, to paraphrase what some have said about the President, “Every (statement) has an expiration date.”

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Once sufficient hate is generated in an group of people for a specific enemy, that group can then be organized and mobilized to fight. Otherwise not. There are logistical concerns too, but those won’t exist when people desire peace. Peace in human history has often been synonymous with decay and surrender. It’s sad, but that’s how humans are. Those who are warlike, tend to live longer like the Mongols. Those who are peace loving and give money to the conquerors, are merely funding their own extinction.
    Once the army is organized, then it becomes a matter of controlling the hate. Which is not that easy if the level is sufficient to start up a war and maintain it.
    An army that is controlled by hate and emotions, will make tactically unwise judgments and fail more often than not.

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