SEIU Blueshirts Attack Health Care Protestor

Friday, August 7, AD 2009

SEIU Blueshirts

[Updates at the bottom of this posting.  Most recent update at 7:41 pm CST]

On Thursday, August 6, the White House call to arms by Deputy Chief of Staff David Axelrod, “punch back twice as hard“, at the growing grass roots movement opposing government single-payer health care produced the first violent incident later in the day.  During a Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan at Bernard Middle School gym in south St. Louis County, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members dressed in dark purple shirts, though they look blue in the video below, attacked a black American protester by savagely beating him.  The protester ended up in the Emergency Room of St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.

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13 Responses to SEIU Blueshirts Attack Health Care Protestor

  • I just realized that Donald had posted about this incident earlier on one of his updates, but it goes without saying that these protests are drawing violent reactions from proponents of government intrusion.

  • It’s an important event Tito and it needs all the exposure it can get. Great post!

  • Just flat-out disgusted.

    No less because I’ve already seen folks blaming… dum dum dum… opponents of the healthcare boondoggle for the violence. (How dare that fellow violently attack the union members’ shoes?)

  • I rather be called an American, but for the sake of argument…

    Latinos are predominantly more conservative, traditional, and orthodox in their Catholic faith than liberals lead on. Once we find someone who can break this liberal stereotype, the floodgates will open when Latino’s realize that there are more platforms within the GOP than in the Democratic Party that reflects their own values.

  • This whole health reform mess gets uglier by the day.

    At what point do the Democrats back off?

    Mr. H
    http://www.allhands-ondeck.blogspot.com/

  • At what point can any Catholic in good conscience and of good-will be associated with the party of death?

    At first I was outraged by the barbaric violence found on this video but on further reflection this is a predictable natural outcome for a party that accepts abortion as the paramount plank in its platform. If you accept murder, then on what grounds would you object to anything that amounts to less?

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  • Marlene,

    Please be more careful in stating your opinions and refrain from what may be perceived as racist remarks.

  • Wait, I’m confused. Gladney is the black guy lying on the ground where the white guy is trying to kick him, right? Why is Gladney wearing a “Health Care 09: We Can’t Wait” t-shirt? That’s an SEIU shirt.

    Or is Gladney the guy who gets knocked down right after, while he’s rushing over to the downed SEIU guy? Because that guy gets right back up and is walking around throughout the rest of the video. Did he get some sort of delayed-onset injury, where you can walk around, chat with a cameraman, flag down the cops, and speak just fine on Fox News the next day, but then the day after that you can hardly move?

  • Gladney is the *skinny* black guy wearing a tan polo shirt; the one that purple-shirt-blue-jeans-hat on the right throws to the ground again at about 0:05, while the camera guy is trying to get what the heck is up.

    Can’t see who you think is rushing over, because you can see Gladney being pulled to his feet (and swaying) by the guy who looks like retired military, the one that directs a lady to pick up the button-boards.

    The fat guy in the purple shirt is the one that called him a n****r and first attacked him, if I understand it correctly– he’s on the ground because folks pulled him off Gladney. (and if that’s an attempt to kick, they suck– cheap shot would be dead easy there)

    I’m wondering– have you ever been hurt? It often takes at least five minutes after an attack before you realize how hurt you are. I know that when I got bucked off and dislocated my shoulder, I didn’t know it was damaged until I couldn’t lift it to climb the fence.

    Unless you’re going to claim that the hospital treated him for imaginary injuries….

  • Update on the guy mistaken for Gladney:
    Elston K. McCowan is a former organizer – now the Public Service Director of SEIU Local 2000 – and board member of the Walbridge Community Education Center, and is a Baptist minister, has been a community organizer for more than 23 years, and now, he is running for Mayor of the City of St. Louis under the Green Party.

    He’s…kind of known for nutty behavior, since he accused the mayor of setting fire to his/church/Green campaign van….

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Well, at Least Spell my Name Right

Tuesday, August 4, AD 2009

Inform

Hattip to DrewM at Ace of Spades HQ.  This from the White House Blog:

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected].”

I trust that some of the Obama supporters who frequent our site will draw the attention of the White House to a few of my posts regarding ObamaCare on this blog.  When you do please remember that the last name is spelled McClarey, not McCleery, McClaren, McClary, etc.  Thank you!

Update I: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has some pointed comments here about the sheer political stupidity of the White House making this public call for informants.

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10 Responses to Well, at Least Spell my Name Right

  • Hey, maybe the Obama admin will revise the Homeland Security alerts, now that we know we have nothing to fear from terrorists. Maybe something along these lines:

    Level Red: The Great Leader is more popular than Jesus, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson combined. This is how it should be.

    Level Green: A few grumblings are heard from disgruntled rednecks in fly-over country. Nothing to worry about, really, but keep your eyes open.

    Level Orange: Uh, oh. The peons are doing a lot of grumbling and booing at town hall meetings and there’s a quite a bit of seemingly fishy information (cunningly planted by Fox News) out there on the Net. Couric, CNN, HuffPo, you know what to do.

    Level Purple: Lord, the fish is now a great big dead rotting whale on the WH lawn. Comrades Dowd and Krugman, fire photon torpedoes!

    Level Gray: We’re screwed. We have now crossed the River Styx and are in Jimmy Carter territory.

  • Thank you Donna! That was the funniest bit I’ve read on the net today!

  • There will be some who quickly point out that Bush did the same thing at times. He DID, for instance, ask that truckers keep an eye out for the unusual in their cross country treks.

    But theres a whale of a difference between trying to stop terrorist acts and trying to ferret out political dissenters.

  • Huh… wonder if I can do a diving expedition to the KOS kids’ playground and send in some of their defenses….

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  • I have an idea: who wants to join me in flooding that email address with “flags” about the fishy positions Obama’s been taking with regards to abortion’s role in this health care plan?

    If we flood it, we can take it and Obama’s Big Brother mentality down.

  • It’s been almost 24 hours since you posted this and I’m disappointed. I was hoping to see a trackback saying, “Dan McCleary at the Catholic American has a good post about…”

  • Don’t know about anyone else, but this was about the 15th post on my RSS feed about the snitch program.

  • And I’m reporting them all to my Staatssicherheit commander!

  • When you do please remember that the last name is spelled McClarey, not McCleery, McClaren, McClary, etc.  Thank you!

    Isn’t one “Mc” the same as any other? *wink*

It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy and Gal

Tuesday, August 4, AD 2009

Ah, it does my heart good to see Senator Arlen Specter (D.Pa) and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services exposed to the verbal anger of the public!  Now why is that?

Well as to Snarlin’ Arlen, he was for decades a pro-abort Republican and now is a pro-abort Democrat.  My reaction when he jumped parties earlier this year was good riddance.  He jumped parties of course because he was an almost certain loser to pro-life Pat Toomey in the Republican primary.  The hilarious thing is that Specter will face a Democrat primary challenge from Congressman Joe Sestak who announced his candidacy yesterday.  If he survives the primary challenge he faces an up-hill fight against Toomey.  In a Quinnipiac poll on July 22, Specter leads Toomey by a single percentage point 45%-44%.  This is a devastating poll for an incumbent facing a well-known challenger.

As for Sebelius, she is a fanatic pro-abort, as I detailed here, and a close political ally of the late Tiller the Killer.  Just before her confirmation it came out that she had received three times the donations from Tiller than she had claimed.    Of course this is only the tip of a large ice berg of campaign funds that Tiller used to aid Sebelius as this letter here from Tiller indicates.  Her ties to Tiller were outlined by Bob Novak last year here. When confronted about Tiller she was always in full ” Tiller?” mode:

Yep, I can watch these two being booed with a fine enjoyment!  Schadenfreude?  Indeed!

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36 Responses to It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy and Gal

  • I too take some comfort in knowing the likes of Specter and Sebelius are being challenged. However, my real delight was in the substance of those two clips from the town hall meeting. They demonstrate the common sense of the common man, and the futility of trying to stump it. The common man may not be slick or sophisticated like those who desire to lord over them, but he is far wiser because he chooses to deal with reality rather than delude himself.

  • Agreed Rick. This was the classic case of two con artists suddenly learning to their dismay that “the marks” of their con weren’t quite the rubes they thought!

  • Like Hitler watching the Reichstag.

  • I’m confused… Your theory is that Donald will burn down the administration and then get himself elected chancellor of the US in a tight three way election?

    Or is it some sort of vague aspersion that although the Democrats may be bad, the Republicans are infinitely worse?

  • It’s funny that MZ is getting his “talking points” from a website where the main contributor (Marshall) in 2005 openly stated that the social security reform package should be “demagogued” to death. So now it’s four years later and suddenly the left is upset about passionate rhetoric and instilling fear as a method of squashing reform. Convenient.

  • That being said, the comparison to Hitler in this context is revolting, but it’s MZ so it’s not surprising that he said something intentionally inflammatory. His hair shirt has to be chafing.

  • I could be wrong, but didn’t M.Z. vote for Obama?

    Also remember that when people start comparing Republicans or Conservatives to anything Nazi or Hitler, that’s a strong indication that they are losing (or have lost) the argument.

  • Oh, I get it… The point is supposed to be that the booing is orchestrated and therefore doesn’t count. (And the Nazis are simply thrown in for extra rhetorical spice.)

    Of course, the booing could be orchestrated. These things happen. Goodness knowns, given the much greater preponderance of bored students on the liberal side of the aisle we’ve been dealing with this for decades. But given that support for the health plan has dropped solidly in the polls, it’s hardly surprising if adverse reactions are seen regardless of whether they’re orchestrated or not.

  • Does that mean we can call liberals communists when they use the same tactics?

  • I thought that’s how you say communist in American?

  • We have no idea whether or not the lady in the audience who spoke up was there to be a disruption or was there due to her own concern. Nothing in what she said would indicate that she was trying to be a trouble maker – unless of course, one considers challenging the wisdom of the ruling elite as being such.

    Oddly enough it was Specter’s own words, voluntarily given, that were damning. Anyone who thinks it is good or appropriate to ram through legislation of such magnitude without studying what effects it may have or to do it so it can’t be scrutinized really has no business making such decisions. Alas, I know we elected them, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to keep them in check.

    Personally, I’m suspect of any decision made by someone who would classify abortion as health care. Even if the proposed reform was mostly a good and workable idea, I’d be against it because of the inclusion of abortion. One absolute mandate of the justification of the state is to defend innocent life – not take it. While the state has a duty to the common good, properly understood, forcing people to buy health insurance and creating alternative insurance organizations is not mandatory – especially when the state considers abortion health care and a right and starving the infirm to be a private matter. These moral and intellectual faults make for horrible foundation to build “health care” upon. It is easy to see how euthanasia and the disabled could easily become marginalized by these people.

  • Hey, what ever happened to dissent being patriotic?

  • Phillip,

    It’s ok to dissent if you’re an extremist liberal. It’s not ok if you’re an ordinary American.

  • I encourage people on the Left to engage in the fantasy that these eruptions of citizen rage taking place at townhall meetings are simply the work of some grand right-wing conspiracy. Reassure yourselves that all is well, that Obama and the Democrats in Congress are on the right course, and that there is absolutely no chance that in 2010 angry voters will be clambering over each other to register their displeasure at the polls.

  • I seem to remember that just last week at VN they were claiming that conspiracy theories are a characteristic of the right but not the left. Huh.

  • Like Hitler watching the Reichstag.

    It’s a bit early in the day for the sauce, MZ.

  • Art Deco,

    M.Z.’s a teetoler, he drinks only Kool-Ade.

  • Donald,

    There is absolutely no chance of any change™ occurring in 2010.

    For example, ACORN at this time are combing cemetery’s to register new voters in order to prevent change™ from happening.

    They’ve even began discrediting Tea Party protesters as ‘right-wing-tea-baggers’ with Janeane Garofalo leading the cheers.

    What next? Cow-towing to dictatorships that imprison innocent Americans such as the two journalists in North Korea or the three hikers in Iran? So we can be sensitive to our enemies, but damn American voters for voicing their disagreement with government run health care?

  • It was a stupid comment, but let’s not go overboard on the inside baseball jibes.

  • I’m actually enjoying all the comments. True, I’m saddened for our nation and what’s left of the right.

  • Darwin,

    This gentleman’s explanation you may find more persuasive.

  • Consider it community organizing.

  • True, I’m saddened for our nation and what’s left of the right.

    We know, MZ. All those uppity people speaking back to their superiors. They should know better.

  • MZ,

    Not really.

    All,

    My apologies. Resume pummelling.

  • On a side note, I’m amused that some on the progressive side are claiming to be shocked (shocked!) that criticisms voiced at “town hall meetings” are not sufficiently learned from their point of view.

    Does anyone really imagine that getting a bunch of random voters to ask politicians questions about a complex and contentious topic will produce learned questions — or answers for that matter? “Town hall” meetings to discuss anything other than how to run a local town are unlikely to result in deep analysis from either the citizens or the politicians involved. To get upset that it’s not your pat and simplistic arguments being aired seems odd.

  • Are you pawning yourself off Paul as the everyman?

  • MZ:

    Yes, MZ. Clearly walking by the SEIU headquarters every day on my lunch break is finally getting to me.

  • The rift between the common people and the know-it-all’s widens…

  • From the comment MZ linked to:

    “These town hall shut downs have been orchestrated by the same Washington lobbying firm that was behind the tea parties. I assume those of who who don’t depend on Fox know that by now.”

    I rejoice that such a complete misreading of the current situation is what passes for analysis on the Left. Of course the proposals of Obama and the Democrats in Congress can’t really be unpopular with the public; this all has to be orchestrated by a sinister right wing cabal.

  • Hillary Clinton nailed it over 15 years ago as a “vast right-wing conspiracy” Donald.

    Why people are incapable of making up their own minds without help from “others”.

    Frankly, if this is what the White House offers as an objective analysis, then President Obama is in for a real awakening come 2010.

  • Hmmm Republicans lead by 5 points on the Rasmussen generic Congressional ballot:

    “Support for Republican congressional candidates has risen to its highest level in recent years, giving the GOP a five-point lead over Democrats in the latest Congressional Ballot and stretching the out-of-power party’s lead to six weeks in a row.
    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 43% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 38% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.

    Democrats held a six- or seven-point lead on the ballot for the first few weeks of 2009. That began to slip in early February, and from mid-April through June the two political parties were roughly even. Republicans have held a lead on the ballot since the last week in June, the first time they’d been on top in well over a year.

    Women who have consistently favored Democrats now prefer the GOP by a 40% to 39% margin. Men continue to favor Republicans over Democrats 47% to 36%.

    Voters not affiliated with either party prefer Republicans two-to-one – 43% to 22%.”

    Well Rasmussen must obviously be in the pay of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Of course that doesn’t explain why NPR shows Republicans ahead on their generic Congressional ballot poll by one point. Even the full mooners of the Left will have some difficulty portraying National Public Radio as in any sense right-wing.

    There is a long way to go of course until November 2010, but this is a crucial time for recruiting candidates and raising war chests, and this type of news gives a big boost to the GOP and a big problem for the Democrats.

  • Oh, I’m sure Toomey’s campaign manager danced a jig around the office when he (or she) saw that clip. PA voters are going to see the sound bite helpfully provided by Arlen “I don’t actually read the bills” Spector over and over in the fall.

    Look, in your own personal life you know you’re a darn fool if you don’t bother to read important documents you put your name to, whether they’re mortgages, leases, wills, insurance policies or what have you. Every responsible adult understands that what’s in the fine print might come back to bite you. And yet we have the surreal spectacle of our lawmakers pushing for a momentous change – and yet they haven’t even read the bill (or else it hasn’t been written yet, so they don’t know the specifics.) And yet we’re just supposed to trust them to do the right thing? This is ridiculous.

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So….What About the Other 10 Million?

Monday, August 3, AD 2009

By this stage in the health care debates, most people are aware that roughly 47 million individuals in America do not have health insurance. And many people are further aware that the 47 million statistic is misleading, because roughly 14 million of these individuals are already eligible for (but have not enrolled in) existing government programs, 9 million have incomes over $75,000 and choose not to purchase private insurance, 3-5 million are only temporarily uninsured between jobs, and roughly 10 million do not have the legal right to reside in the country. In the end, this means roughly 10 million U.S. citizens lack meaningful access to health insurance.  It has been noted elsewhere that insuring these individuals would cost a lot less than the $1 trillion proposal currently under consideration in Congress, and further that it would not require a dramatic (and costly) restructuring of the U.S. health care system.

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11 Responses to So….What About the Other 10 Million?

  • If you could come up with some alternative to ObamaCare that would really stay limited to that ten million or so people in question then I would support it. Even within that ten million, however, there are a lot of people who could afford health care without undergoing serious hardship but who don’t do so because they would rather spend the money on something else (i.e. people who are young and healthy). As to that group my thoughts are similar to those of Megan McArdle: “If you could reasonably afford health insurance by dropping down to a lower-priced cell phone plan and cutting back on your bar tab, you are not a national emergency.”

  • If we’re talking something fairly heavily means-tested, I have nothing in particular against putting something out there to cover that “other ten million”.

    If that could be packaged with means-testing medicare and social security, I’d become downright enthusiastic.

    For me, at least, the big objection is when you start trying to use the predicament of a small number of people to justify putting _everyone_ into some big program.

  • I would suggest a subsidy of some sort, probably tagged on to the earned income tax credit, to allow people who simply can’t afford health insurance to purchase it. I, like Blackadder, do agree with Ms. McArdle however. In my bankruptcy practice I do find quite a few debtors, most without much in the way of medical bills, who have run up high tabs on self phones and drive far more expensive vehicles than I drive, and who could easily afford health insurance but simply prefer to spend their funds in other ways.

  • Health care is a basic human right? Health care is something I’m owed simply by virtue of being a human being? Who’s responsibility is it to see that this “basic” right is not denied to me? Where is that person’s obligation in the natural law? What kind of health care am I owed? What is it’s extent? What does the term even mean?

  • Please delete my brief rant if you think it’s not sufficiently related to, or will only distract from, the point of the post.

    FWIW, if universal coverage is really the goal, then I think the best way to achieve that is to make it affordable for everyone. Because of the way our economy works, the only way this is really possible is through competition and deregulation. This is obviously a very general prescription, but it’s all I’m really capable of:)

  • Well, there seems to be general agreement (Zach excepted) that an expansion of government-provided health care is desirable here (even if not the best of all possible solutions). Apologies for the caricature in the post if that’s how it came across. I have a few more thoughts I’ll throw out just to be contrary:

    BA – Since we agree on the larger point here, I suppose it’s just quibbling, but I think Ms. McArdle’s ‘unsympathetic recipient’ illustration is somewhat beside the point, both because a hypothetical (or actual) ‘sympathetic recipient’ could just as easily be produced, and because over and under-inclusiveness are a necessary consequence of every expansion or reduction in government services. The relevant question to my mind is: “what is the best way to serve the common good here?” A substantial over-inclusiveness problem obviously harms the common good because it is a wasteful use of resources, but we don’t have evidence of substantially over-inclusive public health care benefits with regard to these individuals. If anything, the data suggests we have the opposite problem.

    DC – I think we’re in basic agreement. It still amazes me that Social security and Medicaid aren’t means-tested. Everyone seems to agree it should be done, but politicians in both parties seem to be terrified of the political consequences. At some point, hopefully, sanity will prevail, but I’m not holding my breath. As they say in finance, the market (and politicians) can stay irrational longer than you (or the government) can stay solvent.

    Zach – I left your comments undisturbed (although you are certainly free as a contributor to modify or delete them if you would like). I think your underlying concern about the ambiguities of rights language has some validity, particularly when the ‘right’ involved is, more properly speaking, a duty imposed on other citizens that evolves and takes different forms as a society becomes more prosperous. Nevertheless, it seems clear to me that the underlying concept of the preferential option for the poor is soundly rooted in the teachings of the Church throughout the centuries and the Gospels.

  • I think it would be best to forego this until the banking system is arighted and the public sector deficit extinguished. For flusher times, i’ll offer the following suggestions; those of you more sophisticated about the technics of tax collection and accounting and who have consulted some academic literature on insurance and medical economics can tell me where I have gone astray:

    1. Equalitarian tax reform:

    a. Abolition of property taxes and general sales taxes.

    b. Generous use of tolls and fees on public services.

    c. Conversion of corporate taxes to a flat rate on net profits, without deductions exemptions allowances, &c.

    d. Abolition of the current portfolio of payroll taxes

    e. Replacement of estate taxes with a tax on gifts and bequests received over and above a lifetime deductable. The deductable should be calculated such that these sort of taxes are limited to about 4% of the population with serious assets.

    f. Establishment of a policy that imposts and excises are to be used as instruments of trade negotiations and to change relative prices and induce ‘substitution effects’, not raise revenue. This can be done by distributing the receivables on a roughly per capita basis as a credit against one’s income tax liability.

    g. Define ‘capital gains’ as any increase over and above the increase in the GNP deflator since the base year.

    h. Rely on completely unadorned income taxes for about nine-tenths of public revenue. Calculate them as follows:

    (r x income in cash and kind from ALL sources) – (sum of credits)
    [a dollar value credit for yourself and each dependant]

    Fix the rate and the dollar value of the various credits such that revenues meet expenditures and that about 20% or 25% of the public pays no taxes but receives a net rebate. The net rebate for each head of household would, however, be constrained by a ceiling calculated as a percentage of his earned income; the ceiling could be relaxed for the elderly and disabled.

    2. Scrap public subsidies and provision for commodities for which household expenditures are regular, predictable, and subject to adjustment for amenity (food, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, etc). Turn interstitial social services (the Office for the Aging, the midnight basketball, &c. over to philanthropies).

    3. Incorporate philanthropic foundations to assume ownership and management of all public hospitals, clinics, and homes. Members of the foundation would include those on the attending lists of the hospitals, donors, members of the local chapters of the American Legion and the VFW, those on tribal rolls, &c.

    4. Gradually discontinue state funding of medical research, bar that in the realm of public health.

    5. Consider removing the adjudication of malpractice claims to administrative tribunals who issue awards from a stereotyped compensation schedule, derived from a state fund collected from an annual assessment on practitioners.

    6. Systematize extant schemes in place for extending services to undesirable loci by creating an ROTC-like program for medical students and residents at the end of which they would put in five years with the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, accepting deployments to Indian reservations, &c.

    7. Enforced savings: each family would have two bequeathable savings accounts, one devoted to medical care and the other devoted to custodial care. The state would make a flat monthly assessment of one’s income with a portion destined for each account. One would be permitted to draw on one or the other to pay for care, and would be permitted each quarter to withdraw for use at one’s discretion any amount over legislated minimum balances. (These minimum balances I would think be fairly high).

    8. Public insurance:

    a. Each state government defines by legislation a standard insurance contract. The contract would provide for the re-imbursement of providers once the individual has exhausted the contents of his savings account (or exhausted the legislated minimum balance, whichever is lesser). The state government would divide the territory of the state into catchments on which demographic information would be available and with regard to which insurers could do their own research. The state would then assemble qualified insurers every few years to submit sealed bids to be the insurer for the catchment. Low bid wins, and the state government acts as the bag man for the insurance company in question, collecting the community premium by assessing a surcharge of a certain percentage on the state income tax bill of each family in the catchment.

    b. The state government would do the same for the provision of insurance for custodial care.

    c. The federal government would enact a parallel plans much like the above to cover medical benefits and custodial care of certain clientele (e.g. military families and others in itinerant occupations) and those who have moved into a state in the last three years.

    9. Grandfather clauses:

    The federal government would add balances to the medical and custodial savings of the elderly, the disabled, and in-theater war veterans for some decades to hold harmless people whose financial planning was dependent on a certain benefits configuration.

    10. Private insurance could be purchased at the discretion of the head of household to supplement or supplant benefits in the state’s standard contract. He still has to pay his surcharges, though.

    11. State insurance funds derived from assessments on private insurers, to compensate hospitals for emergency care delivered to patients who use insurers with which that particular hospital does not do business.

    12. Philanthropy of the formal and informal sort.

  • On McArdle’s unsympathetic recipient — if one was willing to come up with some reasonable means-testing and stick to it, I think that could mostly alleviate that problem. Assign a subsidy or possibly public coverage ala Medicare to those in that ten million, but only to those who meet a certain threshold of need.

    If people don’t have the stomach to leave those who can cover themselves but refuse to out in the cold, one could allow them use of the same program as those who meet the means test, but then dun them for payment via the IRS.

    Now, I’ll say, I’m not crazy about public subsidies (for people or enterprise) in general, but I think given the society we find ourselves in at this time we’re probably stuck with using that as a way out of certain problem. I admire groups like the Amish who accept neither social security nor medicare nor insurance because they believe in relying on one another — but we clearly don’t have that kind of community cohesion so there’s no point in cutting our legs out from under us based on the ideal.

  • I do not care for subsidies for private goods, either. What is (among other things) characteristic of medical care, custodial care, and legal counsel is that over the course of your life you suffer somewhat unpredictable spikes in your demand for these services. If we are being admonished to place the interests of the poor front-and-center it ought be acknowledged that the information deficits in the purchase of these sorts of services tend to be more acute the more impecunious the recipient and that trouble with time horizons is inversely correllated with income. Legal counsel and common schooling are also a facility for taking your place as a citizen and common schooling and mass transit are a facility for entering the workforce. Ergo, there is a case to be made for redistribution taking the form of common provision of a modest selection of purchasable services. What is mad about our current welfare system is that policy is generally to subsidize the purchase of frequently replenished goods of which consumption varies according to consideration of amenity. We can ‘pay’ for the collective consumption of certain services in part by erasing the unnecessary subsidies as well as certain baleful income transfer programs (TANF, for example), as well as targeting the role of public agencies in heath to public health measures and the provision of care, not to academic pork barrel. Concern about ‘cost control’ is somewhat misplaced. What should concern us is that public expenditure not be put on autopilot, which we can accomplish by adjusting a deductable upward every few years in order to maintain the committment of the state in the realm of medical and custodial care somewhere in the neighborhood of 8% of GDP.

  • John,

    Nevertheless, it seems clear to me that the underlying concept of the preferential option for the poor is soundly rooted in the teachings of the Church throughout the centuries and the Gospels.

    Does the preferential option for the poor entail a right to health care? What does the option entail? I don’t believe this has ever been spelled out in any specifics in terms of policies. I think it means political leaders and leaders of communities should consider the poor in all that they do.

  • Based on Darwin’s estimate of $4-6K for 1yr of insurance, I’d think that we could just buy ordinary insurance for those folks at a cost of $50B/yr. (And I assume that merely adding those people to medicaid would be less expensive than $5K/yr.)

    According to this story,

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/10/business/moneywatch/main5230656.shtml

    the reform plan will cost $90-100B/yr over the next ten years. According to the same story, we could make up that amount either by raising taxes for individuals making over $280,000 and families with income over $350,000 or by taxing employer provided health insurance as income. I think that either of these would be fair ways to pay the tab for the extra 10M uninsured.

    QUESTION: What is the source of the 10M figure? I’ve seen George Will’s column…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/19/AR2009061902334.html

    but that gives 9.7M illegals and 9.1 over $75K income, for a total of 18.8M not to include so far.
    Then he says that there are AS MANY AS 14M who are already eligible (which implies that there are likely <14M) and that there are many who are uninsured for 6 months or less (but states no figure). He ends up suggesting that there may be 20M remaining, not 10M. In other words he is sure that at least 25.7M can be excluded. That would mean that the figure for the already eligible plus the 6 monthers may add up to as little as 6.9M Moreover, his starting figure was 45.7M and not 47M, which would mean adding a possible 1.3M

    To me, that implies that there may be as many as 21.3M chronically uninsured, unless there is another source for the 14M which does not use it as an upper limit and another source for the 3-5M figure. (Daylightsmark gives no sources, and the 3-5M seems to come from there.)

    The two sources of funding I mentioned above, when combined, would still accommodate the larger estimate of uninsured.

Canada Has Its Own Health Care Debate

Monday, August 3, AD 2009

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. John Stossel is an anomaly:  he is a libertarian in a profession, journalism, dominated by liberal democrats.  Here is a column he wrote which summarizes the video, which spent quite a bit of time discussing the shortcomings of Canadian health care.

The experience of Canada under national health care is intriguing.  A battle is raging over the net with opponents of ObamaCare pointing out its shortcomings and proponents rallying to the defense of  the Canadian system.  One often overlooked feature is the role of private medical clinics in Canada.   Recently such clinics have been made legal based upon a Canadian Supreme Court decision and are becoming increasingly popular.  A good article on the subject is here Here is another article on the clinics.

I found this quote from the last article linked to curious.

“It’s obviously extra billing and queue jumping,” says David Eggen, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “If this goes on unregulated, it’ll spread like wildfire and we can see it, even in a recession, starting to expand here in Alberta.”

Now why would these clinics spread like wildfire if the Canadians are as enamored of their national health care system as the proponents of ObamaCare say they are?  Here is a story from 2006 on the subject which appeared in that notorious right-wing rag The New York Times.   As we debate changing our health care system to something approaching that of the Canadian system, we should also understand that there is a debate in Canada about broadening the availability of private pay health care.

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5 Responses to Canada Has Its Own Health Care Debate

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  • But..but..you’re just pointing out the inefficiencies and poor care because you’re already against government control of health care. Just like when you railed against GovMed because it will cover abortion and most likely euthanasia. These are small things, the important thing is that we have the honorable and intelligent people in congress give everyone free health care. Where’s the hope, people?!?

  • I also found this interesting. I wonder why this is happening?

    “While proponents of private clinics say they will shorten waiting lists and quicken service at public institutions, critics warn that they will drain the public system of doctors and nurses. Canada has a national doctor shortage already, with 1.4 million people in the province of Ontario alone without the services of a family doctor.

    “If anesthetists go to work in a private clinic,” Manitoba’s health minister, Tim Sale, argued recently, “the work that they were doing in the public sector is spread among fewer and fewer people.”

    But most Canadians agree that current wait times are not acceptable.

    The median wait time between a referral by a family doctor and an appointment with a specialist has increased to 8.3 weeks last year from 3.7 weeks in 1993, according to a recent study by The Fraser Institute, a conservative research group. Meanwhile the median wait between an appointment with a specialist and treatment has increased to 9.4 weeks from 5.6 weeks over the same period.

    Average wait times between referral by a family doctor and treatment range from 5.5 weeks for oncology to 40 weeks for orthopedic surgery, according to the study.”

  • Rick,
    You invoke the virtue of Hope in the same paragraph you call Abortion and Euthanasia “small things”. In our creators eyes abortion is the modern day Holocaust. Hope is the virtue that makes the Christian Crave for the Kingdom of God and to place his trust in the promises of Jesus to get us there. Your insensitivity, to the point of trivialization, of the dignity of life clearly reflects your lack of Hope. Whenever a virtue whether Hope, Charity, Justice, etc are invoked without regard for it’s origin in divinity you have Nothing.

  • Sorry, Ray. I was being sarcastic and mocking a type of argument that is offered by some in these parts. The really sad thing about it is that I didn’t need to take much creative license to do it. Nevertheless, I should have written something at the end to indicate that I was being snarky.

How to Get There from Here

Tuesday, July 28, AD 2009

There’s been much discussion of late about what other country’s health care apparatus the US should consider emulating, and in such discussions France is often mentioned. Now, all cheerful ribbing against the French aside, their health care system is not nearly as “socialized” or nearly as afflicted by treatment denials and waiting lists as those of the UK or Canada. It is also rather more like the system that the US already has, in that it is a hybrid public/private system, though in their case there is a guaranteed base level of coverage everyone has through the government (funded via a hefty payroll tax — not unlike Medicare) which most people supplement with private coverage. Most doctors are in private practice, and 25% do not even accept the public plan, just as some practices in the US do not accept Medicare. However, everyone does have that minimum level of coverage, and the French spend a lower percentage of their GDP on health care than the US (11% versus 16%) which when you take into account that France’s GDP per capita is a good deal smaller than that of the US (which is the polite, economist way of saying it’s a poorer country) works out to the US spending about twice as many dollars per person on health care, while still not having universal coverage.

So what are we waiting for? Why don’t we go enact the French system here right now? Why doesn’t Obama put on a jaunty beret, dangle a cigarette coolly from the corner of his mouth, hoist a glass of wine, and just say, “Oui, nous pouvons.”

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9 Responses to How to Get There from Here

  • Well done Darwin,

    Many factors in health care. One is physician salaries as pointed out in other posts. Many factors in physican salaries as you point out including the high cost of medical school and indirect malpractice costs. If those aren’t addressed while cutting physician salaries, problems will most certainly follow.

  • Dear God… someone finally stopped talking about British and Canadian health care and realized that are quite a number of schemes to reach universal coverage and single-payer systems aside (I don’t feel like having that go-round), France is a pretty good model.

    Moreover, I think if we attacked education (costs) and provided greater assistance to medical students (not just with public funds), we could slightly lessen doctor salaries — as health care costs go down and depending on their specialty.

  • And by ‘lessen’ I don’t mean put caps on it via legislation.

  • Related to this but in a more general sense: I think that dealing with a situation like this (in which it becomes necessary to drive a group of people’s income down for the common good) the impersonal nature of markets is generally more socially acceptable than government action. I don’t think anyone would tolerate reducing doctor pay 30-40% by fiat, even when they generally make a lot of money. But creating the conditions for it to gradually reduce due to market pressure doesn’t have the same antagonistic edge.

    Just had to get the market plug in. 🙂

  • 30 – 40% again seems not to take into account malpractice costs let alone medical school. Maybe your figures take into account malpractice costs. But if not, using your figures, a specialist in the US averages 230k vs 149k in France. Subtract the average 55k for malpractice and you get a difference of 175 vs 149. Excluding medical school costs you’re now talking about a 14% difference, not 30 – 40.

    What’s the average malpractic attorney’s pay?

  • Actually just Googled it. In 2006 it was 100k.

  • I guess, I’m not sure how stuff like malpractice insurance is usually accounted for. Do doctors always have to pay it out of pocket (thus out of their personal pay) or is it often payed by their practice as a business expense?

    Either way, significantly reducing the malpractice lottery would have a salient effect on health care prices — not just in allowing for health care providers to charge less, but also reducing the number of extra procedures which are done for tail covering purposes rather than medical effect.

  • Depends on the practice. Those that are stand alone pay out of their own pocket. Those in large practices or hospital based practices get it paid for. But that will be considered part of compensation and usually salaries are lower to reflect that. Either way, there is a cost to income from malpractice premiums.

  • The cost of malpractice insurance is inflated by insurance companies, just as insurance companies inflate the cost of medical insurance. But the big issue is that usa doctors and hospitals do not like to be held accountable for their bad medical practices and poor outcomes. Their private for profit medicine ranks 37th in outcomes compared to other countries, which rank muych better using national health programs. Malpractice costs would clearly go down if usa outcome rankings improved. The fact that france ranks number one, having the best outcomes, while paying their doctors much less, is all just a further indictment of our private medical system in the usa.