It is an unnecessarily time-consuming demand to expect anyone to provide you with proof

97594466

I’ve been here in Australia for about six weeks, and if it hasn’t been been piss-steamingly hot, it has instead been dumping cockloads of cold rain on my head. I was shat on by a koala that looked more stoned than I did. I had to go to a cocktail party attended by both Rose Fucking Porteus [Youtube] and Gina Bitchface Rinehart. Thankfully they kept them on opposite sides of the ballroom, pointed Rose at the gin buffet and distracted Gina by waving Fairfax share certificates at her. I went to dinner at Parliament House, all done up in my best soup-and-fish, and got stuck next to Christopher Pyne – the stupid person’s idea of a clever poodle. [Also Youtube]

Now there’s going to be an election. In September. Which will be all the media here will talk about for the rest of my stay.

What a fucking country.

Anyhow, I realised that I have fallen down on my duty to you all. It has been a long time since I last fished a gleaming urinal cake of stupid out of the piss trough they call the Corner, and then held it up for your delectation. Thus, I remedy my fault.

For today’s bagetelle, I thought I might use Obamacare Punishes Smokers: Why not the Promiscuous? By Wesley J. Smith, in which Wesley J. Smith responds to an AP story which reports that health insurers will be able to charge higher premiums to smokers buying individual policies.

Living unhealthy lifestyles has become the new Scarlet Letter. That’s what happens with centralized health care. But once we go down that road, it won’t end there. Smokers today, the obese tomorrow.

This financial stick is entirely political. Notice we never hear experts wanting to “punish” the promiscuous for the cost burden they inflict on the health care system. Yet people who sleep around, like smokers and the obese, cost the rest of us plenty–what with promiscuity leading to sexually transmitted diseases, some cancers, HIV, unwanted pregnancies, mental health issues, etc. Why isn’t what is good for the goose also good for the gander?

That won’t happen because society celebrates promiscuity and the popular culture glamorizes licentious lifestyles the way it once extolled smoking. Consider: Girls. We applaud basketball players who sleep with 20,000 women. We ooh, and ah over Reality TV celebrities, with no talent other than living provocatively before the camera, who sleep around and get very publicly pregnant. We even tend to think something is wrong with virgins who are older than 18.

If we are going to outlaw underwriting, it should apply across the board. But if we are going to punish unhealthy lifestyles with higher insurance premiums, that too should apply across the board. After all, “equality” is the new buzz word, right?

Now, the title had promise and, aside from the fact that Wesley J. Smith and I agree that penalty pricing insurance is wrong, there’s a lot of stupid in there to mock. However, most of it boils down to a smug and slightly sweaty man in his basement typing “hoors” over and over again with one palsied hand. Which is disappointing.

However, let us forge ahead, for today, today it is in the comments that the real gold lies.

In the comments, JohnC posts a pretty good rebuttal of Wesley J. Smith’s contention that centralised healthcare necessarily leads to punishment of unhealthy lifestyles.

JohnC • 4 days ago

“Living unhealthy lifestyles has become the new Scarlet Letter. That’s what happens with centralized health care. But once we go down that road, it won’t end there.”

I know of no evidence for this assertion. Australia and Britain have different kinds of centralized health systems, but neither penalizes people by either differential access or higher payments based on lifestyle. Do you have any examples to support your claim?

A very good question. Now, it may have been better if JohnC had linked to some material comparing healthcare systems, or an article or two about Australia, or even acknowledged that the situation is a little more complex than he painted it. For example, as you can see from the links above, in Australia the proletariat and (surprise!) the insurers would be up for stoning smokers in the street if it saved them a dollar or two, but are being held back, for the moment at least, by a government of allegedly leftist hue.

However, that information on Australia was accessible with a simple google search, and when dealing with wingnuts one must use broad strokes, and the sword, not the scalpel, so all in all JohnC did a pretty good job.

Enter Griffonn.

Griffonn • 2 days ago

Major pet peeve of mine – I hate the “what you’re saying isn’t true until you prove it is true” argument.

It automatically nullifies any argument until and unless the person making the original assertion wastes a lot of time proving something to meet an arbitrary standard of proof (one that the original poster usually exempts himself from).

Instead of two assertions, each carrying equal weight – he says X, you say Y – we now have a situation where you have “corrected” him, and you are implying that if he doesn’t come up with some hard proof he must be guilty of at best ignorance (at worst bad faith).

The problem is that, even if he is right, it’s still an unnecessarily time-consuming demand to expect him to provide whatever standard of proof you decide is acceptable.

Especially given how you haven’t actually proved anything yourself – how do you know Australia and Britain haven’t penalized people by differential access or higher payments based on lifestyle?

Proof is a leftist time-wasting device. All assertions are equal, and should not be subjected to an arbitrary standard of truth.

A nugget of purest, lemon-scented, damply-dripping wingnuttery.

Watch it gleam.

[Alice Springs Country – Albert Namatjira]

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

27 replies
  1. 1
    Violet says:

    From the first comment:

    Australia and Britain have different kinds of centralized health systems, but neither penalizes people by either differential access or higher payments based on lifestyle. Do you have any examples to support your claim?

    The British are mulling over a proposal to penalize obese people who are prescribed exercise but refuse to exercise.

  2. 2
    Betty Cracker says:

    It has been a long time since I last fished a gleaming urinal cake of stupid out of the piss trough they call the Corner, and then held it up for your delectation.

    I love that sentence so much I want to marry it.

  3. 3
    Maude says:

    I do hope, Sarah that a cute rescuer helped you with the floods.
    Anything to negate Obamacare. Great post, Sarah, thank you.
    The scrolls in Timbuktu are safe.

  4. 4
    Gindy51 says:

    If they are going to start pulling this they should go whole hog and charge per person for health insurance. A family like the Duggers, with fuck knows how many spawn, pays the same amount for health insurance as I do with one child.

  5. 5
    TenguPhule says:

    As we all know, proof has a liberal bias.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    “What is truth?” I have a vague recollection that someone, once upon a time, asked that question– but didn’t stay for an answer.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    Sarah are you really there to buy up rights to all that shale oil?

  8. 8
    Mike G says:

    In authoritarian wingnutland, “truth” is determined by who is saying it, not librul “facts” and “evidence”.

    If you’re a wingnut-certified authority figure then it must be true, if you’re a dirty hippie then it must be wrong. Onward to the 14th century.

  9. 9
    maven says:

    Sarah my dear. Do be careful. I saw on the news that the seas down under are very frothy……Keep the gin covered.

  10. 10
    brantl says:

    @Violet: What the hell is wrong with penalizing people for engaging in unhealthy, purely volitional behavior? If people smoke, bill them. If they overeat, and won’t excercise, and actually have the time to do it, bill them. I’m 55, I have to excercise to keep my cholesterol down. Oh, well. I excercise.

  11. 11
    Gypsy howell says:

    Maybe we should charge a huge ginormous premium for gun ownership too. I could get on board for that.

  12. 12
    liberalrob says:

    What the hell is wrong with penalizing people for engaging in unhealthy, purely volitional behavior?

    Umm…

    Reaction to the plan seems to be leaning on the negative side. British Medical Association GP committee chairman Dr Lawrence Buckman told the BBC that the plans were “some of the silliest things I’ve heard in a long time”.

    “When I was first told about this I thought it was a joke,” Dr Buckman said.

    Alex Thomson, chief executive think-tank Localis believes that the concept simply wouldn’t work. “Even if you check into the pool how will they know if you just sit and have a latte in the café instead?” Thomson told the Telegraph.

    Finally, over at the New Statesman, Martha Gill points to some analysis that explains why punishing fat people just doesn’t work.

    “Part of the problem is that a great deal of those who have problems with their weight are not cheerfully waiting for sufficient motivation to become thinner,” Gill writes. “They are unhappy with their size already, which can make the problem worse – compulsive eating is a common reaction to stress.”

    Sometimes it helps to, you know, read the linked article.

  13. 13
    McJulie says:

    I hate the “what you’re saying isn’t true until you prove it is true” argument.

    I believe that the typical right winger is considerably lower in functional intelligence than the typical liberal.

    By their own logic, I don’t have to prove this statement. I also don’t have to prove the existence of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, precognition, alien-human hybrids, lizard people disguised as heads of state, or ghosts.

    Also, I resent the hell out of right wingers implying that only the “promiscuous” need to worry about reproductive health issues. Monogamy prevents pregnancy how, exactly?

  14. 14
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Wesley J. Smith and I agree that penalty pricing insurance is wrong,

    Don’t private insurers already do this in theory by providing discounts for non-smokers, etc.?

    I wonder if this same principle would extend to gun owners? Is there a statistically significant/measureable risk of injury/death to a gun owner versus a non-gun owner? Is it enough that non-gun owners should be rewarded with lower rates?

  15. 15
    El Cid says:

    It is the standard assumption that conservatives get to throw at you whatever anecdote occurs to them or whichever summary pronouncement of How Things Work their sources bleated at them, and then it is your job as a librul to take their enigmatic broadcast and do whatever it is they think you need to do to disprove what they just said.

    You must be prepared to prove every point in under 30 seconds with complete and utter references to every single source of data and how it was verified on any topic imaginable, such as ‘how wars start’, or ‘the effects of all labor unions on U.S. and world history including any and every example of alleged malfeasance or negative impact presented, and so forth.

  16. 16
    waratah says:

    Thank you Sara, my favorite artist.

  17. 17
    red dog says:

    Sarah,that was the most disjointed group of words I have seen in a long time. Your dealing with Aussies, who are seldom real serious, must have pushed you over the edge. I know they are different cause I’ve been married to one for many years.

  18. 18
    daverave says:

    I believe that smokers and the obese are already paying much higher rates for life insurance… so the difference with health insurance is? Discuss.

  19. 19
    Larv says:

    We even tend to think something is wrong with virgins who are older than 18.

    Hmmm, I wonder why Wesley is upset about that? Is it possible that he’s…older than 18?

  20. 20
    TG Chicago says:

    @Mike G:

    In authoritarian wingnutland, “truth” is determined by who is saying it, not librul “facts” and “evidence”.

    Well said!

  21. 21
    mtraven says:

    @Larv: Well, he’s married to the execrable Debra Saunders, whose column in the SF Chronicle made it so easy to let my subscription lapse a decade ago…and whose wikipedia page trumpets that “she was the first to break the story about the comic and trading card series Foreskin Man”…now that’s a resume-builder.

  22. 22
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @El Cid:

    It is the standard assumption that conservatives get to throw at you whatever anecdote occurs to them or whichever summary pronouncement of How Things Work their sources bleated at them, and then it is your job as a librul to take their enigmatic broadcast and do whatever it is they think you need to do to disprove what they just said.

    Indeed. I just had to deal with one wingnut (type Dermatobia hominis firearmanus wank wank wank) who didn’t cite his sources, and when I pressed, eventually gave up something that was ultimately based on a Freeper post.

    And then, when examined, proved to support my case because he was confusing violent crime with gun homicides (if violent crime has increased in Australia over the period, but, after a gun ban, murders and gun homicides have decreased, what does this suggest about the gun ban?)

  23. 23
    Leah A says:

    @brantl:

    The best reason I know not to handle health issues by raising premiums is that it doesn’t work. All that happens is that the chronically ill never get health care until they feel so sick they have to go to an ER, the most expensive way to treat any kind of illness.

    In fact, recent studies have shown that the so-called Super-Utilizers of emergency room care, most of whom suffer from various chronic conditions, many of them the result of lack of knowledge and isolation from health resources, can be helped by offering them services outside of the ER setting.

    Atul Gawande, the doctor who writes all those fantastic articles about current health research for the New Yorker, had an article exactly about this subject. Unfortunately, the only link I can offer is to a summary of the article, which is behind a subscriber wall, but here goes anyway.

    Here are two other articles about the same topic, no paywallon <a href="http://www.healthpolicysolutio.....uot;either of them, and both of them explain why it is so much more economical while offering better healthcare outcomes to base solutions on what works, and not what “seems” fair.

  24. 24
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    I’ve been here in Australia for about six weeks, and if it hasn’t been been piss-steamingly hot, it has instead been dumping cockloads of cold rain on my head.

    I apologise for the weather, but at least we are doing something about it. We’ve got a Carbon Tax, for which the current government will be flayed alive at the polls in September (to my great regret).

    For those who don’t know, Christopher Pyne is rather like an antipodean Lindsey Graham, but without the southern charm, or indeed any charm at all. He is from Adelaide, the serial murder capital of Australia, where he fits in perfectly.

    It’s a pity you couldn’t get Lang Hancock’s girls together. Since they each others anti-particle, they would have mutually annihilated and thus Australia would have been saved from years of horror.

  25. 25
    different-church-lady says:

    Of course, everyone seems to have completely lost the thread, as usual. The point never started off as punishing smokers. The point was to try to get rid of cigarettes and the tobacco companies that were pushing them.

    And now it’s all become, “Hey, let’s use punitive measures to address anything we think is unhealthy because being unhealthy is a vice.” And everyone on both ends of the spectrum is buying into it.

  26. 26
    Groucho48 says:

    My understanding is that Obamacare just puts a cap on how much extra in premiums insurance companies can charge folks with various pre-existing conditions. It doesn’t suddenly allow the insurance companies to do things they hadn’t been allowed to before.

  27. 27
    brantl says:

    @liberalrob: Sometimes, it helps, you know, if you read what I actually said. I think they need to get people to stop smoking. Tax cigarettes to the moon, to pay for the cancer treatment and the stop-smoking programs (which ought to be free to the people in them). Make real programs, that help the people that need the help. But don’t let willing bad behavior be an out.

Comments are closed.