Not a game

Sardine on health care reform:

Forget all the talk about the public option for a second and ignore your political consultants who are cautioning you about the imaginary negative repercussions of a “government takeover.” The reality is this debate really isn’t about politics, it’s about health care. It’s not left or right, it’s about all of us.

People need help. They can’t afford their health care bills. People are dying. The crazy health care expenses are hurting businesses. Please don’t turn your back on these people. If you join with the Republicans and block health care reform, you’re basically saying to the American people – go fuck yourselves.

The discussion of health care reform has been endless: we’ve heard about Blue Dogs worried about being tagged as liberal, we’ve heard about CBO scores, we’ve heard about how all of this will affect the career trajectories of various powerful, well-off people. We haven’t heard much about the millions of people who have been bankrupted by health care costs under our current system. We haven’t heard much about the millions of people who have little or no access to health care.

I agree that CBO scores are important and should be discussed. And I understand why politicians’ futures are always a subject of discussion in DC. But can there be *any* discussion of regular human beings’ lives here? I know that everyone who appears on tv or writes for a national paper has a good health care plan already. But don’t they ever wonder what it’s like for other people they pass on the street, for the people who serve them coffee or wait their tables?

I realize that if you’re poor in this country, then everything is your fault. If you take out a loan you shouldn’t have taken out, it’s proof that you’re too much of an idiot to handle money, whereas when rich people are fleeced by Bernie Madoff it’s proof that Madoff is a super-genius monster. If you’re hit by a stray bullet, you were probably in a gang. If you’re sick, it’s because you smoke and you’re overweight. And whatever trouble you have getting a job, it’s all because of your genetically determined low IQ. And if you weren’t poor, overweight, genetically deficient and so on you wouldn’t have trouble getting disqualified because of preconditions and you’d never get scammed by bogus insurance outfits.

But still, even in a society that accepts these myths, shouldn’t there be some concern about 45 million Americans without health insurance?

And I guess I’d ask you this: the politicians and pundits who stand by and watch millions of lives destroyed by our health care system — are they any better than the people who watched that horrible crime in Richmond? I think you know the answer.






106 replies
  1. 1
    Parole Officer Burke says:

    [Typo in last line of post.]

  2. 2
    The Saff says:

    I know that everyone who appears on tv or writes for a national paper has a good health care plan already. But don’t they ever wonder what it’s like for other, poorer people they pass on the street, for the people who serve them coffee or wait their tables?

    As we learned after Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, empathy is a bad thing, at least to the Republicans.

    Honestly, DougJ, you’re right. I try to live my life in a “there but for the grace of cat go I” manner because life is a crap shoot and you never know when the bottom will fall out. We need to reform healthcare in this country because it’s the right thing to do and because so many people are hurting.

  3. 3
    parksideq says:

    @DougJ: THIS

    It’s truly alarming that we forget about the real, human impact this reform (or lack thereof) will have on our fellow citizens. Every member of Congress should be required to read your post.

  4. 4
    Cerberus says:

    Yes, health care is a basic human right and we need more conversation along those lines instead of this bullshit on “costs” and whether or not it’s too liberal or not liberal enough. Health care is a mother fucking human right.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Zifnab says:

    If you join with the Republicans and block health care reform, you’re basically saying to the American people – go fuck yourselves.

    I feel like this article and the last one somehow segway together.

  7. 7
    Cat Lady says:

    This is exactly right DougJ, but why isn’t anyone except Alan Grayson shouting it from the rooftops? It’s such a simple, compelling argument with the advantage of being true. Oh, that’s right – Mika told me again this morning, that everyone was greedy, so it’s nobody’s fault.

    Joe Lieberman needs to be taken out back.

  8. 8
    BR says:

    Someone needs to being saying what Grayson is, I agree, but Grayson is a bit too much of a gasbag for me to take. He needs to learn from Al Franken (speaking of another freshman) on how to drive home important messages without showboating.

  9. 9
    Trinity says:

    This.

  10. 10
    nevsky42 says:

    Wow, what a fucking awesome post. So awesome that I’m wasting a comment space just to write this…

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    Thank you for this, DougJ. This should be published everywhere. Because no, they aren’t any different from those horrible people who stood around and did nothing. They ARE those people standing around doing nothing. In fact, worse – they are actively trying to prevent anything from changing.

  12. 12
    jenniebee says:

    Last week, my brother told me that the dentist advised him to just have one of his teeth removed because his dental plan wouldn’t pay for a crown.

    Twenty years from now, the Brits will be making fun of our dentistry, instead of the other way around. And that’s just sad.

  13. 13
    bemused says:

    The poor get fleeced, it’s their fault, they should have known better.
    The rich get fleeced by Madoff even though they should have been wary that the investment profits were too good to be legit, Madoff gets the sole blame.
    Excellent observation, I’m going to use that.

  14. 14
    Tax Analyst says:

    Excellent post, DougJ. Considering all the BS we have been hearing about how “difficult” or “expensive” or whatever the current hour’s excuse happens to be for “why we just absolutely can’t have a public option” its refreshing to actually hear or read someone approaching health care reform from the perspective of an informed, caring member of the human race.

    It sure beats the hell out of the “Assistance is Futile” meme that spews forth from virtually every Congressional/Senatorial Republican and many of the Blue Dog Democrats, not to mention all the various assorted fat-assed, dipshit members of the punditocracy.

    Thanks.

  15. 15
    anonevent says:

    And BOBs answer to all of this is that we need less regulation and more people sending their money to the insurance companies. And tax cuts. All can be cured by tax cuts.

    We know it’s BS, and that if you’re making no money, tax cuts don’t help. But there are people that live paycheck to paycheck on medicare/medicaid convinced that the $2million they are going to make before they die will be taxed so that they can’t take it to heavengive it to their children. I blame these idiots.

  16. 16
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Very well stated DougJ!

  17. 17
    Not a game says:

    […] DougJ at Balloon Juice, riffing off of another good post by Sardine at Eschaton with a reminder that this health care debate isn’t some abstract political game: I realize that if you’re poor in this country, then everything is your fault. If you take out a loan you shouldn’t have taken out, it’s proof that you’re too much of an idiot to handle money, whereas when rich people are fleeced by Bernie Madoff it’s proof that Madoff is a super-genius monster. If you’re hit by a stray bullet, you were probably in a gang. If you’re sick, it’s because you smoke and you’re overweight. And whatever trouble you have getting a job, it’s all because of your genetically determined low IQ. And if you weren’t poor, overweight, genetically deficient and so on you wouldn’t have trouble getting disqualified because of preconditions and you’d never get scammed by bogus insurance outfits. […]

  18. 18
    Damned at Random says:

    I know how poor people handle health care emergancies- their friends put jars on the counters at local businesses for change and hold yard sales. This is insane. Has any member of Congress begged for spare change from strangers or had a yard sale to raise money for their child’s cancer treatment?

    This is a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy. The cost of modern media campaigns has eliminated the middle class – much less the disadvantaged – from participation in government. And we are complicit in our poor governance by remaining stubbornly uninformed. The superficial, personality driven media coverage is what we as a society are willing to settle for – there is no market for in depth discussion of the issues because of our collective attention deficit disorder. The MSM doesn’t take us seriously because we don’t take ourselves seriously. And ultimately we get the dysfunctional government that we deserve.

  19. 19
    Cain says:

    @parksideq:

    It’s truly alarming that we forget about the real, human impact this reform (or lack thereof) will have on our fellow citizens. Every member of Congress should be required to read your post.

    How is his any more impactful than Alan Gray emphatically saying that people are dying in the house and calling Republicans on their bullshit? We STILL haven’t gotten anywhere with our own guys. Seriously, someone should interview Lieberman and ask him some pointed questions.

    cain

  20. 20
    ellaesther says:

    Wow. Yes. All I can do is return the favor:

    What DougJ said.

  21. 21
    HRA says:

    I can never forget the day I stood at the pharmacy counter and was told my coverage had denied me my pills. I could buy them for $100 per script. I said no thank you and I was really surprised yet not not as devastated as what I heard was denied right after me. A lady with a preteen girl was denied asthma medicine for her daughter by her carrier. Her price was $80. I will never forget her saying “I can’t afford it.” with her face flushed and trying to explain to her child as she walked away.

    As a mother who had to struggle with some tough illnesses with children that did include juvenile asthma with coverage and even juvenile rheumatoid arthritis without coverage, I know both sides of the experience. Neither one was a walk in the park.

    All of us are victims, some more so than others.

  22. 22
    El Cid says:

    On occasion I am caused to think that our powerful and elite political and media establishment tend to think from the point of view of themselves, their interests, their allies’ interests, their funders’ interests, and that of their peers, and not so much of the vast majority of the nation.

    On such occasions I remind myself that I am a dirty fringe hippie ultra-left liberal prone to stupid conspiracies and I don’t understand that it’s all about high minded stuff I’m too naive to think of.

  23. 23
    Mr Furious says:

    Excellent post, DougJ, and an especially strong, if damning, conclusion.

    Well done.

  24. 24
    Mike in NC says:

    Everybody grab your foam finger and start the chant: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

  25. 25
    Mr Furious says:

    @jenniebee: What fucking good is a dental plan that won’t pay for a crown?

    And I say that as a guy who paid out of pocket for a dental appointment not two hours ago. We did the math and determined that paying OOP for twice a year checkups for me, my wife and my older daughter is (slightly) cheaper than the monthly insurance premium.

    I LOVE gambling against anything going wrong like that. I also love rationalizing that my younger daughter can wait until she has started getting her permanent teeth.

    Why dentistry is for some reason relegated to the sidelines as if it’s strictly cosmetic is beyond me…

  26. 26

    @Violet: Agree with every word of Doug’s post, however like you I would quibble with the last line, these people are HOLDING BACK THE POLICE who are trying to save the girl.

  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    I love you, DougJ. Truly, madly, deeply.

    As someone who recently went to the funeral of a friend who died as a direct result of the health insurance system, I cannot say enough how much I despair for our society. No one cares. No one.

    *Let me amend that a bit. No one who can do anything about it cares. Not really.

  28. 28
    geg6 says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    these people are HOLDING BACK THE POLICE who are trying to save the girl.

    Exactly.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    danimal says:

    Thanks for the reminder, DougJ. It’s not a game; it’s a matter of life or death, prosperity or bankruptcy.

    That’s the one reason I hesitate on the opt out compromise. I think it’s great politics, but it also limits choice for people that can really use a public insurance plan. Sometimes all the tactical maneuvering can be a distraction for all of us. Thanks again.

  31. 31
    marjo says:

    Talked to my mom-in-law on the phone last night. She hasn’t felt well for years with no health care, and neither does her son, in his forties, who lives with her in rural Michigan, where the economy has sucked for a decade at best. He works at a bowling alley. Lately he’s having “kidney pains.” (What does that even mean?) He had foot surgery last year, maybe two surgeries, and god knows what else is wrong with him.

    She’s had leg and back pains for years. Her house is literally falling apart — her bedroom wall needs to be reinforced — and they can’t afford to get help. The barn already partly fell down — at least it’s safer now, she says.

    They’re both depressed. Her son says he owes so much money, he doesn’t know what to do.

    Her other son is married with two kids in Hawaii. I don’t think they’re doing much better. He, too, has had multiple illnesses and injuries — when you don’t have health care, little things become big things, and you live with constant pain.

    My family’s getting by, my health expenses are high, but at least we’re insured. I wish I could help them but I don’t even know where I’d start.

    Did I mention I have a nephew in Virginia, also in his 40s, who had a heart valve replacement because he couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. He is walking around with no teeth in his mouth, waiting for the swelling to go down so he can get full dentures. He could only afford one set, not a temporary set.

    Those fools in Washington have no idea how real people, poor people, average people with no health care, are suffering in this country. It’s like the dark ages here in fly-over land.

  32. 32
    Rock says:

    Most if not all of those uninsured people choose to not have insurance. Often the choice is explicit. But even when it isn’t, they implicitly choose to not have insurance by spending their money on other things and then not being able to afford insurance. Or by choosing not to work hard enough to have the money to afford insurance. This is America, we should not be forcing people to spend their money one way or another.

    And I have in fact had that argument expressed to me to more than one person. It’s impressive to know that much about people you have never met. At least I thought so.

  33. 33
    Shawn in WhowMe says:

    Let me amend that a bit. No one who can do anything about it cares. Not really.

    As long as human societies are organized into haves and have-nots, that will always be the case. The likes of Emma Goldmann, Peter Kropotkin, Karl Marx, Charles Fourier, Bronson Alcott and Thomas More have been telling us this for centuries.

  34. 34
    twiffer says:

    @ Damned at Random: actually, this is what conservatives want to happen. communities banding together; people helping each other via charity! see, the government doesn’t need to provide, because people will just band together and hold bake sales and put up websites to beg for money solicit charitable donations! ah, society taking care of its own.

    trust me, that’s an example of a systemic failure that would be leapt upon and spun into a positive example of something entirely different. for while it is great that every so often a small community will rally around a child (or a dog) and give, the circumstances that allow a working family to resort to begging alms to save the life of their kid are horrible. not to mention it only works with kids and dogs, cause they are cute; and only for life theatening conditions.

  35. 35
    BDeevDad says:

    Amen Dougj, Amen!

  36. 36
    Mr Furious says:

    Let me be the latest to request a ban on BoB and his racist horseshit. I’m fucking sick of scrolling past this garbage in any and every thread.

  37. 37
    Will says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Oh, that’s right – Mika told me again this morning, that everyone was greedy, so it’s nobody’s fault.

    She really does trot that line out all the time, doesn’t she? In the midst of discussing the financial meltdown, of course. I can’t count the amount of times I have seen her out of nowhere turn profile to the camera, tilt her head, and say “Aren’t WE ALL to blame?”.

    Um, NO. NO WE’RE NOT ALL TO BLAME.

  38. 38
    ericblair says:

    @bemused: The poor get fleeced, it’s their fault, they should have known better. The rich get fleeced by Madoff even though they should have been wary that the investment profits were too good to be legit, Madoff gets the sole blame.

    Ever since the Reagan Administration, all risk has been systematically, mercilessly, pushed down to the poor and middle class. Replacing defined-benefit pensions with 401ks was part of this, too.

    Look at what happened after our betters blew up the financial system from greed and ego. A lot of people in the financial industry, who had nothing to do with the decisions that brought this about, lost their jobs, some of my neighbors included. The actual perpetrators got to keep their bonuses, and the media had vapors over the possibility that they may have had to suffer too. For how much they like to bleat about the risktakers and brave financial geniuses of Wall Street, these people have the least to worry about when the shit hits the fan.

    If you’re a little person, what happens to you is all your fault. If you’re one of the Chosen, well, everybody makes mistakes and we’ll make you whole again. Promise.

  39. 39
    soonergrunt says:

    But can there be any discussion of regular human beings’ lives here? I know that everyone who appears on tv or writes for a national paper has a good health care plan already. But don’t they ever wonder what it’s like for other people they pass on the street, for the people who serve them coffee or wait their tables?

    No to both, because seeing other people as human beings of value tends to mitigate against conservative beliefs and the inherent selfishness and greed that governs the conservative outlook.
    They are the only real Americans, or real Patriots, or real Working man, or real (insert favorite term here), and everyone else is a fake, a phoney, a con-man out to take from them.
    They are the only real human beings.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    ericblair says:

    @twiffer: trust me, that’s an example of a systemic failure that would be leapt upon and spun into a positive example of something entirely different. for while it is great that every so often a small community will rally around a child (or a dog) and give, the circumstances that allow a working family to resort to begging alms to save the life of their kid are horrible. not to mention it only works with kids and dogs, cause they are cute; and only for life theatening conditions.

    This is about power. Arbitrary charity ensures that the beneficiaries are kept under the thumb of the donors, who can stop donating at any time for any reason. Keeps the beneficiaries in line pretty well. But if we have a government system that provides for people based on need and not whether they’re sufficiently deferential to the powerful, well, that means that they can get Uppity. We wouldn’t want that, would we?

  42. 42
    PeakVT says:

    But can there be any discussion of regular human beings’ lives here?

    No, because the conceptual framework of our public discourse doesn’t allow it, any more than it allows for discussing the wisdom of spending $65B on military intervention per year in a country with a GDP of $22B per year.

  43. 43
    kay says:

    @twiffer:

    @ Damned at Random: actually, this is what conservatives want to happen. communities banding together; people helping each other via charity! see, the government doesn’t need to provide, because people will just band together and hold bake sales and put up websites to beg for money solicit charitable donations! ah, society taking care of its own.

    We have a lot of them here. Kid’s faces on cans: “needs liver transplant” or “cancer treatment”.

    Poor people helped pay for the development of new treatments and therapies, because all health care is elaborate cost-shifting and cost-sharing, and now they can’t afford to access them, but they know they exist. Just not for their kid. It’s cruel.

  44. 44
    Zifnab says:

    @Shawn in WhowMe:

    As long as human societies are organized into haves and have-nots, that will always be the case. The likes of Emma Goldmann, Peter Kropotkin, Karl Marx, Charles Fourier, Bronson Alcott and Thomas More have been telling us this for centuries.

    It would have been swell if they’d figured out a way to share and share alike, equitably. I’d have a lot more respect for the utopianists if they’d bothered to address some of the wonkier details of life. As it stands, I can’t comprehend a world without “have-nots”. They exist almost by definition. If I’ve got it, you don’t.

    The process of socialization is slow and clunky and riddled with grief and corruption and demagoguery. And even when it is in place, it’s only one Bush Presidency away from being completely turned on it’s ear or one Grover Norquist away from being drowned in the bath tube.

  45. 45

    THIS. Also.

    I can’t remember where I saw it, but one of the many photos of the 9/12 Teabagging in DC showed a group of RealAmericans(R) holding an anti-health care reform sign declaring Compassion Should Be Voluntary!

    In other words, screw you uninsured people. You’ll sit there with your hand out and hope I flip you a dime. But if one penny of my tax dollars might go to keeping you alive I’ll scream real loud.

    Because these people are irony magnets, some of them looked old enough for SS benefits & Medicare.

  46. 46
    danimal says:

    @PeakVT: God, I’d love to have a real debate about all that “defense” spending.

  47. 47
    Ailuridae says:

    @ericblair:

    It actually started before the Reagan Administration in the Carter Administration with the removal of the usury laws. The Reagan Administration quickened the pace of the dismantling of the New Deal protections that finally ceased with the failure to privatize Social Security.

    There should be a link in this paragraph and my first paragraph to an interview that Elizabeth Warren did with Bill Maker this spring.

  48. 48
    Will says:

    As good as this piece is, I am depressed after reading it, just being reminded that almost no one else is writing on this issue from this angle.

  49. 49
    BethanyAnne says:

    Fuck you, BoB. I hope someone you love dies in front of you in a fire. Fuck you. Especially if you are a spoof.

  50. 50
    The Moar You Know says:

    But still, even in a society that accepts these myths, shouldn’t there be some concern about 45 million Americans without health insurance?

    AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Since when has American society ever given a shit about the poor unless forced to a the point of a gun?

    And I guess I’d ask you this: the politicians and pundits who stand by and watch millions of lives destroyed by our health care system—are they any better than the people who watched that horrible crime in Richmond? I think you know the answer.

    What, you’re serious? None of the people of Richmond were getting paid to stand there and watch that girl get raped.

  51. 51
    Alan says:

    I remember reading a psychological study published some years back — very controversial in its time — which postulated that something like 1 out of every 3 people in this country meets the clinical definition of sociopathy, a complete inability to empathize with other human beings, although most were high-functioning and able to conceal their sociopathy by, for example, not randomly murdering people who annoy them. The paper went on to note that the characteristics of a high-functioning sociopathy — total ruthlessness, narcissism, a complete disinterest in how their actions affected society as a whole — virtually guaranteed that such individuals would gravitate to the top of whatever social group they belonged to, whether the political world, the corporate world or even the military world.

    That paper was a revelation to me. Every seemingly intractable problem facing this country today suddenly makes sense when you realize that most of our elites are, essentially, inhuman, and the only thing that stops, say, Karl Rove or Bill O’Reilly or Bernie Madoff or Dick Cheney from torturing small animals on a daily basis is the fact that the risk of getting caught and losing their immense personal status outweighs the short rush they would get from casual cruelty. That or, the rush they get from torturing animals is vastly outweighed by the thrill of increasing human misery on a national scale.

  52. 52
    valdivia says:

    great post Doug. Nothing else to say but thank you.

  53. 53
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    It would have been swell if they’d figured out a way to share and share alike, equitably. I’d have a lot more respect for the utopianists if they’d bothered to address some of the wonkier details of life. As it stands, I can’t comprehend a world without “have-nots”.

    Folks like Goldmann, Kropotkin and Alcott didn’t just talk the talk, they walked to walk. But there’s only so much a few enlightened individuals can do. Until the masses start putting their trust in each other instead of their capitalist overlords, it will always be Groundhog Day.

  54. 54
    Julia Grey says:

    I’m sorry to interrupt this serious conversation, but I can’t find out how to actually vote for Little Bitsy. The link ad just takes me to the announcement page, there doesn’t seem to be any way to actually VOTE.

    Can someone help.

  55. 55

    @Julia Grey: Voting is done. She made it to the semifinals and its in the hands of the judges now.

  56. 56
    Karen says:

    “Out of all the idle scheming
    can’t we have something to feel?”

    “In A Station” by Richard Manuel

  57. 57
    Fergus Wooster says:

    Aetna called this morning and said that we have to write a $500 check before they will deliver my daughter’s Synagis shot. The shot is needed to protect her against RSV, a respiratory virus that kills a lot of heart kids during the winter.

    Her January shot will require a $2500 check before delivery, since the deductible will be reset.

    And we’re lucky. It blows my mind that if we were in a cash flow situation more representative of the majority of Americans, we might have to take our chances with RSV.

    But the deficit, and entitlements, and all that. Lieberman, Landrieu, et al and Aetna can DIAF.

  58. 58
    JHF says:

    This is the ONLY developed country on the planet where people suffer and die because they can’t pay. The spectacle of all those old, rich, white guys deciding which morsels to sprinkle on the masses is appalling and disgusting. If this country doesn’t provide health care for its citizens, then fuck it. Just fuck it. Fuck us and the horse we rode in on. We don’t deserve anything more than anarchy, gang rapes, and lunatics on TV.

    Oh, yeah, right….

  59. 59
    Demo Woman says:

    @Julia Grey: November 12th they will announce the four finalists and on Thanksgiving Day they will announce the winner. Fingers crossed.

  60. 60
    Cat Lady says:

    Why haven’t Democrats made more of this moral argument? Obama mentioned it, then nothing except Grayson. Schumer and Boxer and Pelosi and Kerry and Reid should pick up the meme and poke everyone in the eye with it at every opportunity. Every bobblehead would have to get the Lieberdems and Repukes on to make the argument that uninsured Americans just aren’t worthy. It would be great TV, but Democrats just suck at messaging, alas.

  61. 61
    Gus says:

    Roger Ebert’s blog has a nice piece about this very topic titled “Sign the Social Contract.” Worth a read, and worth skimming the comments, as well.

  62. 62
    gex says:

    @Damned at Random: This is the right’s whole vision for the social safety net. This is compassionate conservatism. If you are hard up, you must beg your fellows for help. And they get to sit in judgment of you and your adherence to whatever method they use to honor their God to decide whether you are worthy of having access to the privileges of our society.

  63. 63
    valdivia says:

    OT but here is yet more proof of Reid’s total lack of strategic sense. I have been so calm about HCR for 8 months and now am getting a panic attack, thanks a lot Reid. Way to count votes.

  64. 64
    Sanka says:

    45 million Americans without health insurance…

    Maybe it’s lies like this that turn most Americans off from “healthcare reform”.

  65. 65
    slag says:

    But still, even in a society that accepts these myths, shouldn’t there be some concern about 45 million Americans without health insurance?

    This thread and the last one have a lot in common. They’re the reason why we cannot let the war on empathy succeed.

  66. 66
    Xenos says:

    @Sanka: You manage to lie in your premise, and to lie in your conclusion, and to be dishonest about the linkage between your premise and conclusions.

    That makes for three distinct lies in thirteen words – pretty good work, asshole.

  67. 67
    Raphael says:

    But still, even in a society that accepts these myths, shouldn’t there be some concern about 45 million Americans without health insurance?

    One small objection: Isn’t the 45 million figure overly optimistic? Aren’t there a lot more than 45 millions who don’t really have health insurance, but most of whom mistakenly believe they have health insurance until they actually get sick?

  68. 68
    liberal says:

    @Zifnab:

    I’d have a lot more respect for the utopianists if they’d bothered to address some of the wonkier details of life.

    Actually, the cause of most if not all of poverty is pretty well understood: landowners’ collection (Ricardian) land rent from the landless, for doing absolutely nothing.

    And the solution is pretty well understood: tax land value heavily, and use the proceeds to help fund government.

  69. 69
    linda says:

    USA! USA!…

    Maria Maior’s son is a football-playing, skateboard-riding, Xbox-loving kid whose home reveals all the trappings of domesticity: a cushy sofa, big-screen TV, a framed poster of Brian Urlacher — one of the 12-year-old’s favorite football players. On most evenings, two big dogs curl up on the carpeting.

    The scene could be lifted from any suburban subdivision — except that it’s located not in a den, but in a storage unit.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/.....7162.story

  70. 70
    liberal says:

    @Gus:

    Roger Ebert’s blog has a nice piece about this very topic titled “Sign the Social Contract.”

    I tire of the “social contract” stuff. While I don’t disagree with it myself, it’s vulnerable to right-wing libertarian counterarguments.

    The point really should be that, as currently constituted, government distributes wealth upwards. Aside from the recent scandal of the Fed and Treasury making equity and debtholders of financial corporations whole, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars—surely an implicit net upward transfer of wealth—government allows landowners to extort wealth from the (relatively) landless in exchange for no useful contribution to production.

    I’ll listen to the Right piss and moan about “welfare” for the less fortunate when they acknowledge that government stuffs economic rent into the pockets of the not-so deserving, to the tune of 10% to 20% of GDP/yr.

  71. 71
    Cat Lady says:

    @Raphael:

    And those that think they have insurance but are too thin, too fat, too ..raped(!), and so on and so on and so on…

  72. 72
    liberal says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Until the masses start putting their trust in each other instead of their capitalist overlords, it will always be Groundhog Day.

    The problem isn’t “true” capitalists per se, but rather rent-collecting parasites.

    Better to listen to Henry George than Karl Marx.

  73. 73
    liberal says:

    @Ailuridae:

    It actually started before the Reagan Administration in the Carter Administration with the removal of the usury laws.

    Lots of things started in the Carter admin that are credited to Reagan. My favs are (a) building of massive “defense” (aka wasteful military) spending, and (b) luring the USSR into Afghanistan.

  74. 74
    liberal says:

    @PeakVT:

    …any more than it allows for discussing the wisdom of spending $65B on military intervention per year in a country with a GDP of $22B per year.

    I hadn’t seen that teh awesome factoid.

  75. 75
    liberal says:

    @ericblair:

    If you’re a little person, what happens to you is all your fault. If you’re one of the Chosen, well, everybody makes mistakes and we’ll make you whole again. Promise.

    This is what really pisses me off.

    Happened in, I think, the Dominican Republic a few years ago: some big bank or fund failed, and the government bailed it out because lots of rich folks lost money. Was going to really impoverish the government and affect the average Dominican for the worse. Even though the guvmint wasn’t at all required to do the bailout.

    I remembered thinking, “Well, things are f*cked up here, but at least they’re not that f*cked up.”

    Little did I know I’d be handing over money, indirectly or directly, to all those rich assholes on Wall St, and their bondholders.

  76. 76
    Zifnab says:

    @liberal: And that wipes out Medicare fraud how now? Cleans up the police departments? Keeps public assistance from turning into corporate welfare? Provides superior administration to under performing public schools?

    This isn’t a money game. Jacking up property taxes doesn’t make the bureaucratic problems go away. Medicare Part C and D, the Iraq and Afghan Wars, No Child Left Behind… none of these Bush Era nightmares were simply products of a low tax rate.

    In order to sustain a big socialist government, you need a degree of government infrastructure that the 1800s socialists failed to adequately tackle. Otherwise, you just end up with Animal Farm – where the government becomes the de facto land owner and sweeps in and eats all your apples.

  77. 77
    Rock says:

    All right, let’s do this again the formatting I tried for, but failed to use:

    [glibertarian]Most if not all of those uninsured people choose to not have insurance. Often the choice is explicit. But even when it isn’t, they implicitly choose to not have insurance by spending their money on other things and then not being able to afford insurance. Or by choosing not to work hard enough to have the money to afford insurance. This is America, we should not be forcing people to spend their money one way or another.[\glibertarian]

    And I have in fact had that argument expressed to me to more than one person. It’s impressive to know that much about people you have never met. At least I thought so.

    Too late for me not to look like a jackass but the blockquoted stuff is the response I’ve heard to people being uninsured. It’s not what I think.

  78. 78
    Zifnab says:

    @liberal: And that wipes out Medicare fraud how now? Cleans up the police departments? Keeps public assistance from turning into corporate welfare? Provides superior administration to under performing public schools?

    This isn’t a money game. Jacking up property taxes doesn’t make the bureaucratic problems go away. Medicare Part C and D, the Iraq and Afghan Wars, No Child Left Behind… none of these Bush Era nightmares were simply products of a low tax rate.

    In order to sustain a big soci alist government, you need a degree of government infrastructure that the 1800s soci alists failed to adequately tackle. Otherwise, you just end up with Animal Farm – where the government becomes the de facto land owner and sweeps in and eats all your apples.

  79. 79
    Zifnab says:

    @Rock: Private insurance is a rip-off. That’s the best angle I’ve seen it tackled. We live in a market with no good options. Saying, “oh the market will provide” only works when you can point to a start-up that offers a viable alternative.

    The truth is that those who go insured are buying bad product, and are no more savvy than those who go without. It’s like getting offered meat covered in salmonella or no meat, then being chastised for suffering a protein deficiency.

    Once you get a glibertarian to acknowledge that even his own insurance will almost assuredly toss him to the wolves at the first opportunity, he gets decidedly less glib.

  80. 80
    Jen R says:

    @Mr Furious:

    Let me be the latest to request a ban on BoB and his racist horseshit. I’m fucking sick of scrolling past this garbage in any and every thread.

    Hear, hear. I don’t care if he’s a spoof. What, is that supposed to make his constant racism funny?

  81. 81
    eemom says:

    Beautiful post. Hideous reality.

    I think about this all the time, actually, when I listen to the lying liars spewing their toxic bullshit as you describe — and who, just as you say, will never have to worry about health care for themselves or their families — that underneath all the bullshit is the very simple fact that it is UNACCEPTABLE for people in this so called “great country” to suffer and die because they can’t pay for doctors or medicine.

    Guess I’m naive, but I do wonder how these fuckers can look at themselves in the mirror and not see that. And I do sincerely hope that there is a very hot hell in which they will all someday rot.

  82. 82
    soonergrunt says:

    @Zifnab:

    Once you get a glibertarian to acknowledge that even his own insurance will almost assuredly toss him to the wolves at the first opportunity, he gets decidedly less glib.

    This is damn-near impossible to do, as it requires some level of introspection and self-honesty on the part of said glibertarian. You’ll get that pony first.

  83. 83
    trollhattan says:

    I realize that if you’re poor in this country, then everything is your fault. If you take out a loan you shouldn’t have taken out, it’s proof that you’re too much of an idiot to handle money, whereas when rich people are fleeced by Bernie Madoff it’s proof that Madoff is a super-genius monster. If you’re hit by a stray bullet, you were probably in a gang. If you’re sick, it’s because you smoke and you’re overweight. And whatever trouble you have getting a job, it’s all because of your genetically determined low IQ. And if you weren’t poor, overweight, genetically deficient and so on you wouldn’t have trouble getting disqualified because of preconditions and you’d never get scammed by bogus insurance outfits.

    Neither I nor an infinite mob of typewriter-equipped simians would ever come up with a distillation as spot-on as this. Also.

  84. 84
    Ailuridae says:

    @liberal:

    This. I like Carter as a former POTUS but think he’s often romanticized a little by the progressive community at large. Carter also deregulated the airline industry which had all sorts of negative long term consequences and has cost the US government far more in bailouts and bankruptcies than it saved in fares.

  85. 85
    Chi-city says:

    This post makes me sad. It sums up the reality that life isn’t always fair. I think the question is should medical care, medical emergencies, medical bills, be in the same bucket with all the other crap that can turn your life upside down……loss of jobs, wars, illness, divorce, etc. Or should we as a society, as a government by the people, decide that health care should not be one of those items.

  86. 86

    Makes me sad, yes. Here is my unrealistic plan to deal with the pie-in-the-sky, I-can’t-be-bothered-with-reality Congresspeople so that they can actually see how ‘real Americans’ live. It goes like this:

    If they are against sockulist medicine, they give up their healthcare. If they think people without insurance are covered because they can just go to the ER, they, themselves, can have the same ‘coverage’.

    For one month, let them work at Mickey D’s or WalMart and deal with life living from paycheck to paycheck. Let them volunteer at a shelter or a soup kitchen once a week. Be a Big Brother or a Big Sister. Get to know REAL people, for fuck’s sake. In other words, let them get the fuck out of their DC bubble.

    I would say the same for our media elite, but I think they are beyond help.

  87. 87
    Bob K says:

    The reality is this debate really isn’t about politics, it’s about health care. It’s not left or right, it’s about all of us.

    The sad thing is it’s not about “We the People” it’s about the bottom line of the Health Insurance Industry” – they have the lobbyist dollars to frame the legislation the way they want – Time to take away their Anti-Trust exemption? Seems only fair.

    http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200909/091709a.html

  88. 88
    celticdragon says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    @Violet: Agree with every word of Doug’s post, however like you I would quibble with the last line, these people are HOLDING BACK THE POLICE who are trying to save the girl.

    Exactly.

  89. 89
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Doug, you are exactly right. You have basically described what I consider to be the moral underpinnings of an American liberal.

    I am not a socialist. I love capitalism. I make money from capitalism that keeps my family in socks.

    AND ALSO, I believe that it is morally corrupt to watch some one grow sick and die and do nothing about it.

    I don’t think they are mutually exclusive things, and I hope that one day we can have a country that is both pro-growth AND capable of basic humanity.

  90. 90
    Greed is Good says:

    NOT A GAME – most assuredly, and most especially not to these people.

    http://sickforprofit.com/ceos/

  91. 91
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    the politicians and pundits who stand by and watch millions of lives destroyed by our health care system—are they any better than the people who watched that horrible crime in Richmond?

    Holy shit, you mean we’re going to have to throw all of THEM in jail for life, too? Goddamn. Quick, someone send the Balloon Juice Jail Construction Bill of 2009 to the CBO to be scored. Oh, and cancel that sushi takeout order I just phoned in. Nothing but ramen for me from now on.

  92. 92
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @Chi-city: I think the question is should medical care, medical emergencies, medical bills, be in the same bucket with all the other crap that can turn your life upside down……loss of jobs, wars, illness, divorce, etc. Or should we as a society, as a government by the people, decide that health care should not be one of those items.

    Well, since I seem to be among the few resident greedmongers here, let me engage this question. Because I do largely agree that it’s at or near the bottom line of the matter: is healthcare a right?

    The question I’d ask you to ponder is this: Is it even up to us as a society to “decide that health care should not be one of those items”? Because, while I do appreciate the sentiment, I don’t think it is.

    And that’s because, no matter how we decide they’re best structured and financed, healthcare goods and services are and always will be available only in finite supply.

    Cutting away at all the crap, it’s because we forget that fact — and it is a fact — that prices have spiraled out of control. It’s because Canadians and Brits forget that fact that they suffer from shortages. As much as we like to think that our system and theirs are night and day, I think they’re two sides of the same coin. And that coin is made of fool’s gold — we all basically look at healthcare as a right.

    The primary difference is that we’ve chosen inflation as our poison and they’ve chosen queues.

    Those things which we all do universally recognize as rights — speech, assembly, religion, etc. — are either abstract concepts which are inherently infinite or otherwise limited only by our own choices (ie, we may have the right to keep and bear arms, but we don’t have the right to the arms we’re entitled to keep…we have to furnish those ourselves).

    So, because doctors, nurses, hospital beds, operating rooms, ambulances, imaging systems, pharmaceuticals, etc. etc. are necessarily of limited and finite supply, we couldn’t genuinely enjoy them as “rights” even if we all got together and decided we wanted to.

    Because somebody’s going to have to be denied the use of these things — and, thus, have a claim that their rights had been violated.

    Every time I see a story out of the UK about how people — insured people — aren’t able to gain access to needed care in a reasonable timeframe, my first reaction isn’t so much to say “See….is this what you want here?!?” but to wonder “Is there actually such a thing as truly ‘universal healthcare'”?

    I don’t think there is.

  93. 93
    geg6 says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    The problem with your premise is that it is a false equivalence. I have relatives in the UK and the stories of people not getting care due to waiting periods make them laugh. They are not wealthy; they are solidly middle class. And none of them ever waited for health care a day in their lives. And even if they did, at least they have a damn good chance of getting it and not going bankrupt from the experience. They treat it as a right. We treat it as a commodity. My friend who died as a direct result of being denied health insurance didn’t think he had a right to it. His choices were bankrupt your family forever or die. That was it.

  94. 94
    RW_Gadfly says:

    geg6: I have relatives in the UK and the stories of people not getting care due to waiting periods make them laugh.

    Look, this is not some bogus bogeyman made up by the opponents of public healthcare using anecdotal evidence.

    Good grief, the NHS has even had to implement a program called “End waiting, Change Lives” with a target providing service no more than 18 weeks after referral. Here’s their own brief description of it:

    When you see End waiting, change lives stamped on leaflets, brochures and websites you will be reading about 18 weeks, the programme to redesign services and clinical pathways so that none of us have to wait more than 18 weeks between referral and treatment for non-urgent conditions. (Patients with urgent conditions, such as cancer and heart disease, will be seen and receive treatment more quickly).

    How successful have they been? I don’t really know. But the mere fact that they even had to create such a program (not to mention that they consider 18 weeks a reasonable target for most treatments) should say a lot to those who are skeptical about the shortage-related problems they’ve long been experiencing.

    Or, if you want a slightly more entertaining report, I always love pointing people to the NYT’s story a few years ago highlighting how Brits have resorted to pulling their own teeth rather than await an open spot on a dentist’s chair.

    Let’s not pretend that the Brits don’t have wait times and various other problems that generally accompany supply shortages. They do, they’re well-documented, and even the NHS doesn’t deny it.

    It’s also largely beside the point I was making.

  95. 95
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @geg6: “They treat it as a right. We treat it as a commodity.”

    I don’t really think we do treat it as a commodity. I think we also treat it like a right, we just don’t really like to say that out loud.

    Let’s put it this way: if we didn’t look at it as a right, we’d never be having the public debate we’re having about it. You think we’d ever have a similar debate about airline tickets?

    The whole “Healthcare is a right, not a commodity” thing is just an empty platitude. And I really hate platitudes, especially meaningless ones.

    Nothing we can ever do — nothing the Brits can ever do — can ever turn something scarce (like healthcare) into something infinite. And nothing that isn’t infinite (or, at least, sufficiently abundant to meet any and all demands) can ever truly be a right.

    The reason for that is simple: if something does only exist in finite supply, then there will necessarily come times where it will have to be denied to people who A) are entitled to it, and B) are demanding it.

    Because that is the case, then we either need to be prepared to regularly engage in wholesale denial of peoples’ rights or otherwise come to grips with reality and stop considering it a right.

  96. 96
    geg6 says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    How is 18 weeks worse than the 6 months I’ve had to wait to get into my OB/GYN’s office? Or to get a mammogram?

    Sorry, but 18 weeks sounds pretty good to me. And I can tell you that none of my family has EVER waited that long for anything over there other than for elective procedures.

    People’s lives are being denied. Do I have to mention again that I just went to a funeral for someone who died because he couldn’t afford to pay for his care? I have a sister who has a female condition. She hasn’t been to a doctor in 10 years because she can’t afford it. I don’t know what rarified world you live in, but that doesn’t sound like people who think they have a right to live, let alone get healthcare.

  97. 97
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @geg6: How is 18 weeks worse than the 6 months I’ve had to wait to get into my OB/GYN’s office? Or to get a mammogram?

    Sorry, but 18 weeks sounds pretty good to me.

    Heh….OK. But it’s hardly the sort of thing that most people in Drive-Thru-ville, USA are going to be so sanguine about.

    And that’s precisely the point. Whatever your personal experiences, on a grand scale our waiting times are significantly shorter than either the UK’s or Canada’s are.

    Again, this is not something I’m making up or exaggerating. It’s a very real problem. And, also, (once again) it’s beside the point that I’m making.

    If your argument rests on Americans being satisfied with 18 week waiting times for healthcare service, then you shouldn’t be surprised that you’re running into problems getting this through.

  98. 98
    danimal says:

    @RW_Gadfly: For the 573rd time, the health care reform that is under debate and has passed five congressional committees already is not a socialized medicine plan like the ones in Canada or the UK.

    BTW, I wish it were; private insurance companies are a terrible waste of valuable resources.

  99. 99
    Karen says:

    On Monday I found out that Aetna has changed from a calendar year to a contract year. So the $3600 ($1,200 extra with the $2400 because I get an injectible) I paid out of my pocket now has to be paid again two months earlier than I planned. Still, no matter what is covered, I know I’m lucky. Even though the premium went up and and my job is making us pay for the increase and will no longer cover the dental I still have to be thankful. The dental chosen by my office is Guardian that has a $1,000 calendar year limit. I get several root canals a year of the effect an auto-immune disease has on my teeth so that calendar year limit is useless for me.

    Because I have a “pre-existing condition” and have to pay for all fees on my own finding dental insurance coverage for an individual is close to impossible and I will have to look at dental plans which is not the same thing. Most dental plans are found through insurance brokers so I am not holding my breath. Tomorrow I will have to call my endodentist and tell them that the two part root canal they were doing will not have any coverage for the second part of it.

    For a long time I’ve felt that compassion was a lost attitude in this country and that Conservative Christianity just didn’t care. But this year I realized that Doug J is absolutely right. Conservative Christianity thinks that the poor deserve to be poor as if it was G-d’s plan for that. A religious caste system.

    Remember when people used to work at soup kitchens, giving back for the success they gained? Now giving back is for losers. Everyone has to be out for themselves because no one is there for them. Is it any wonder that life is so cheap? What’s the difference between insurance companies leaving people to die and someone being killed for sneakers?

    I’ll tell you what. One of them is sanctioned.

  100. 100
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @RW_Gadfly: For the 573rd time, the health care reform that is under debate and has passed five congressional committees already is not a socialized medicine plan like the ones in Canada or the UK.

    BTW, I wish it were; private insurance companies are a terrible waste of valuable resources.

    The public option was intentionally designed to lead to a single-payer healthcare system. Here’s a snippet from TAPPED’s history of the public option:

    One key player was Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America’s Future. Hickey took UC Berkley health care expert Jacob Hacker’s idea for “a new public insurance pool modeled after Medicare” and went around to the community of single-payer advocates, making the case that this limited “public option” was the best they could hope for. Ideally, it would someday magically turn into single-payer. And then Hickey went to all the presidential candidates, acknowledging that politically, they couldn’t support single-payer, but that the “public option” would attract a real progressive constituency.

    And here’s Dr. Hacker himself on such a prospect:

    “Someone told me this was a Trojan horse for single-payer. Well, it’s not a Trojan horse, right? It’s just right there. I’m telling you. We’re going to get there, over time, slowly, but we’ll move away from reliance on employer-based health insurance as we should, but we’ll do it in a way that we’re not going to frighten people into thinking they’re going to lose their private insurance.

    That’s a pretty telling commentary, wouldn’t you say? We’ll move away from employer-based health insurance…but without frightening people into thinking that we are.

    As Robert Samuelson said in his latest:

    In one study that assumed widespread eligibility, the Lewin Group estimated that 103 million people — half the number with private insurance — would switch to the public plan. Private insurance might become a specialty product.

    Many would say: Whoopee! Get rid of the sinister insurers. Bring on a government single-payer system. But if that’s the agenda, why not debate it directly?

    I think we could both agree that we should be debating it directly, since it really is the intention.

  101. 101

    @marjo:

    Haven’t read the rest of the comments but THIS. The US is supposed to be the most powerful country on the planet and yet its citizens are suffering untold horrors on a daily basis because its government is too damn complacent to do something about it. The US has become a third world country when it comes to health care. I hope all the right wingers are proud.

  102. 102

    @geg6:

    Bless you. That is what I would have said, given the chance. Health care is a RIGHT god dammnit, it is not something you figure into the budget like socks and coffee. When a great deal of people in your country have to choose between health care and eating, then guess what, your fucking country is fucked up. Why do people not get this?

  103. 103

    @RW_Gadfly:

    You Sir are full of shit. Recently I tried to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for one of our personal injury clients, the person was given an appointment twelve weeks hence. Ya want to talk about waiting times now asshole?

  104. 104
    gelfling545 says:

    I sometimes wish there were a “last judgment” as so many of these good “Christian” people who are willing to let others die to save themselves a few dollars seem to believe. It would please me to think of them trying to explain their actions to a supreme being. For everyone who dies for lack of proper care, those who have obstructed rather than assisted in trying to find a solution bear a share of the guilt.

  105. 105

    […] What DougJ at Balloon Juice said: I agree that CBO scores are important and should be discussed. And I understand why politicians’ futures are always a subject of discussion in DC. But can there be any discussion of regular human beings’ lives here? I know that everyone who appears on tv or writes for a national paper has a good health care plan already. But don’t they ever wonder what it’s like for other people they pass on the street, for the people who serve them coffee or wait their tables? […]

  106. 106
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @Litlebitdifrnt: Health care is a RIGHT god dammnit, it is not something you figure into the budget like socks and coffee.

    I’m sorry, but it isn’t a right — and that’s not because stingy, heartless people like me are standing here unwilling to allow it to be. It’s because, as I’ve described in detail above, it consists of scarce and finite resources.

    And that inherently means that — all price considerations and such aside — demand for these resources will outstrip the supply of them available at any given time.

    As such, there has to be some method of allocation. And, just like emergency room triage, queues for a roller coaster, oversubscription on a mobile phone tower, or any other method of allocation, that necessarily means that some will get what they want when they want it and others will either have to wait or be denied service altogether.

    In fact, a key component of the current reform deals with the sensitive area of end-of-life care. As generally critical as I am of the reforms under consideration, I salute the president for having the gonads to speak to this. Because a heavy concentration of all healthcare dollars are spent here. And healthcare analysts on both sides of the ideological divide agree that costs will never be reined in without addressing this in some fashion.

    Impolitic as it is to say, what that means in real terms is that people who are dying will end up being denied services that they may ask for — specifically because of somebody else’s arbitrary cost/benefit analysis, done within the confines of these limitations I’m describing.

    Now, if healthcare truly is a right, as you say, then how in the world could we justify the denial of a requested service? How do we square that? You have a right to healthcare….but only to the extent that what you want (or even need) is deemed cost-effective?

    As wonderful as it would be to not have to deal with these pesky limitations, they’re not there because somebody wants them to be there.

    You Sir are full of shit. Recently I tried to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for one of our personal injury clients, the person was given an appointment twelve weeks hence.

    Sigh. For one thing, I am not an apologist for or supporter of our healthcare status quo. Some of you seem to be talking as if I am.

    Just because I oppose this brand of reform doesn’t mean I oppose reform entirely. As I said to Tax Analyst in another thread: let’s not get caught up in the false choice that we either pursue the sorts of reforms that are in Congress OR otherwise stick with the status quo.

    But, on the question of average wait times, the point is that both British and Canadian average wait times for services are significantly higher than they are here. They do that to control costs.

    We, on the other hand, have chosen to endure the higher prices in lieu of such inconvenience.

    Neither of these alternatives strike me as terribly desirable — which is why I favor a healthcare finance system like Singapore’s Medisave (Google it). It doesn’t suffer nearly as bad from either the inflation we’ve had or the shortage problems that the UK and Canada have.

    And, as a result of the contained costs, the country enjoys virtually universal health coverage in a public/private hybrid model.

    Ya want to talk about waiting times now asshole?

    I appreciate that it can be difficult to talk about such an emotional matter with somebody who has a different perspective than you do.

    But I’m no less aware of and sympathetic to the gut-wrenching realities that color this issue than you are. You don’t have a monopoly on caring, Litle.

    I’ve been nothing but respectful towards all posters here — fully appreciating that I’m in a distinct minority.

    If you want to have a frank, substantive, adult discussion with somebody who doesn’t simply mirror your own worldview, I’ll gladly oblige.

    But if you just want to emote with outraged invective at the audacity of anybody who dares dissent, then I’ll pass. I’ve got much better ways to waste my time. ;)

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] What DougJ at Balloon Juice said: I agree that CBO scores are important and should be discussed. And I understand why politicians’ futures are always a subject of discussion in DC. But can there be any discussion of regular human beings’ lives here? I know that everyone who appears on tv or writes for a national paper has a good health care plan already. But don’t they ever wonder what it’s like for other people they pass on the street, for the people who serve them coffee or wait their tables? […]

  2. Not a game says:

    […] DougJ at Balloon Juice, riffing off of another good post by Sardine at Eschaton with a reminder that this health care debate isn’t some abstract political game: I realize that if you’re poor in this country, then everything is your fault. If you take out a loan you shouldn’t have taken out, it’s proof that you’re too much of an idiot to handle money, whereas when rich people are fleeced by Bernie Madoff it’s proof that Madoff is a super-genius monster. If you’re hit by a stray bullet, you were probably in a gang. If you’re sick, it’s because you smoke and you’re overweight. And whatever trouble you have getting a job, it’s all because of your genetically determined low IQ. And if you weren’t poor, overweight, genetically deficient and so on you wouldn’t have trouble getting disqualified because of preconditions and you’d never get scammed by bogus insurance outfits. […]

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