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Notes from a liberal friend

A liberal friend of mine, a very well educated man (college professor) and a serious man of Christian faith and progressive politics, has been continually posting short messages about health care reform on his Facebook wall. A sample:

Conservatives like to point out that health care is 1/6th of the American economy. Don't they ever ask themselves why health care was allowed to consume so much of our economy?
We pledge ". . . and justice for all." Justice is that which honors human dignity. It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to adequate health care; therefore, health care reform is a human right and it helps fulfill our pledge to seek justice for all.
Lincoln said that by extending freedom to the slaves we insure freedom for the free. The same principle works with health care. By extending health care to those without it, we insure health care for those who have it. Thousands lose their health coverage each day. We cannot allow this to continue.
Dear God, Please let them [The US House of Representatives] be right for the sake of your justice. As you have said, one of the marks your true followers is that we saw someone sick, and we did our best to help heal them.

I think my friend's position on this issue could be summed up thusly: Private health insurance companies have failed to provide universal coverage, therefore it is the job of the government to step in and do the right thing by guaranteeing health insurance for everyone. In the progressive world, the end -- "justice" -- truly justifies the means. The details don't matter. The process doesn't matter. The cost doesn't matter. After all, how do you put a price on health? And doesn't every every single major choice we make involve weighing a set of odds and choosing one set of sacrifices over another? Government is never going to be perfect, so why let its imperfection prevent it from providing basic human services to the people?

Of course what separates us, as conservatives, from this line of thinking is that we do care about the details and the process and the cost of health care reform. We need only to look at Canada and the UK in order to understand that a new, massive government health care bureaucracy that places a stranglehold on private insurance companies and squeezes doctors and hospitals through ever-increasing regulations and cost controls will ultimately deliver health care services that are significantly diminished in quality from what most Americans are receiving right now.

We also believe that the proposed mandate to force all Americans to obtain health insurance will not result in 100% of Americans being insured, and that private insurance companies will fail to remain profitable under the weight of excessive government regulation. These two inevitable outcomes will eventually spur progressives to propose the solution they've always wanted -- a universal, government-run, single-payer health care system. Such a system may create the illusion of "universal" health benefits but it will not result in "justice for all."

We believe this because no state-run universal health care system anywhere in the world has ever had enough money to pay for all requested medical treatments while simultaneously funding its own enormous bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the "fix" for this imbalance has always been higher taxes, more bureaucrats, and rationed medical treatments. When there's a conflict between the survival of the government bureaucracy and the rights of an individual citizen, the government will always win. And then there is the cost. How do we justify passing on trillions of dollars in new government debt to our children and grandchildren, all for a program that we believe will never achieve its stated goals?

I would also ask, how can a Christian can support a plan that essentially turns the State into a God who holds the power of life and death over its citizens?

While I would readily agree with my friend that our current health care system often falls short in its endeavor to treat everyone fairly, I absolutely cannot go along with what seems to be a common belief among progressives, which is that we need justice now, and we have to do something NOW, and doing "something" is always a better choice than doing "nothing." Of course this is precisely the same false dilemma that progressives traditionally use to sell their ideas -- such-and-such can be reformed if and only if it's done our way; otherwise, we're "doing nothing."

If that is the best reasoning they can come up with, are their reforms really worthwhile?


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Comments (31)

The misguided musings from ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

The misguided musings from the Good Intentions Paving Co., of which your friend is a spokesman.

Michael, "well educated" do... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Michael, "well educated" does not mean that he possesses any "intelligence". I especially like the comment: "It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to adequate health care." This guy has his head buried so far up his ass, I'm surprised he can still breathe.

"It is not possible to live... (Below threshold)
Sharky:

"It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to adequate health care."

Well, there went 90% of the human race that ever lived. So sad that all those billions lacked dignity.

This gentleman is like Prez Barry, sound and fury signifying nothing.

One of the reasons we spend... (Below threshold)
buquet:

One of the reasons we spend so much on healthcare is that WE CAN! We live in a country that provides amazing healthcare products that consumers need and/or want to buy. Many of these things are elective procedues that improve our quality of life in ways that would astound and make envious previous generations of Americans. Our healthcare system, while imperfect, is great because it still operates somewhat on capitalism. Americans still have the freedom to choose where they spend their money and many are choosing healthcare. Do we spend too much? Probably, but there are many ways we can cut costs witout Obamacare's sinister big-government power grab.
We provide a "safety net" in this country and EVERYONE can receive healthcare who needs it. It may not be simple to do sometimes but there is care available to all. Also, many doctors give countless hours of charitable time already to our healthcare system.
There is no such animal as a CHRISTIAN PROGRESSIVE. Progressivism, by its very nature, is anti-CHRIST. Jesus taught HIS followers to be self-sufficient and to help others to become self-sufficient. He also taught us to be compassionate and help those who could not help themselves. He did NOT intend for government to be the source of this compassion. Free will is a paramount tenet of Christianity. Big government control of our lives is most definitely anti-Christ in the extreme.

There is an arrogance inher... (Below threshold)
Burke:

There is an arrogance inherent in your friends messages. He notes that few humans that have come before or alive today have live in dignity. In order to provide this "right", others must loose their rights. Health care providers will have fewer rights. Will we still have the same quality of providers in the future given that they have to agree to surrender their rights? The answer to why costs have gone up is simple. When a good is free, more of it is consumed. Medicade and Medicare increased the price of health care. This program will do the same.

The stupidity of the process is that it has been focused on price not cost. Insurance pays the price of health care. Health care providers incure the costs. If the price is not equal or grate than the costs, you get General Motors. Is Walgreens vindictive when they cut off medicare patients in Washington? No, they just refuse to go out of business for the sake of an insane government program.

Health care, like all markets obeys the laws of supply and demand. Increase the demand the the supply will dwindle and prices will go up. We are not increasing doctors, bringing new cures to market faster, eliminating the cost of excessive lawsuits or any such thing. This bill is aweful. If we first focused on cost containment, then we could focus on providing greater services. Never works the other way around. The quality of our health care will resemble the quality of government provided cheese. Bon appetite.

Everyone who drags out a sl... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Everyone who drags out a slacker who doesn't have health care can find out the slackers have the best health care in the country and it cost them pennies per month. It's called medicaid.
Maybe if people like pigloshi didn't spend so much trying to make a 70 year old body look like a 30 year old the amount spent on medical care wouldn't be so huge. I've got news for her, she looks like crap and there's no help for her. How many billions is spent on elective abortion while thousands are adopting from overseas. Only makes sense to a democrat so more needs to be spent on confinement of democrats for mental health treatment.
The idiot POTUS has ruined both medicaid and medicare with his pie in the sky ideas. Dr's will no longer accept either in most areas and try and get your medications on either of them. Good luck if you are a new customer at a drug store.

A few years ago, one of my ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

A few years ago, one of my neighbors had a heart attack. She was relatively young, never exercised, was overweight, and came from a family with a history of heart problems. She was in a low-paying job (working for a local alt-lifestyle magazine/website), and had zero health insurance and no extra money.

She got multiple bypass surgery, and years of followup treatment. She griped about how much paperwork and how much government BS she had to go through to get Medicaid to pay for it... but it did.

She was complaining about it one night, and I couldn't resist mentioning that now that the government paid for her treatment, she wants everyone else in the country to have the same coverage. Her eyes lit up, and she said, "Yes! Exactly!"

"So you want the rest of us to go through the same horrible BS you went through last year? You hated it, and I got months of lectures about how horrible the government bureaucracy was... do you honestly think it's going to get better when they make the bureaucracy ten times bigger, with no competition...?"

Cirby, I can tell your frie... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

Cirby, I can tell your friend had no answer to your question. My guess is she then changed the subject to George W. Bush.

You can't get a liberal to consider evidence against one of their cherished beliefs. Their belief is more important to them than any mere facts.

Your friend redefines the w... (Below threshold)

Your friend redefines the word "justice," then argues based on the redefinition. Justice means applying the rules of society and law equally. Universal health care fails in this in that it forces some, without choice and under penalty of law, to pay for others.

This is not "reform". It is... (Below threshold)
Buckeye:

This is not "reform". It is takeover pure and simple. My TV has been off two days now because each time I turn it on I hear the same old refrain "and Bush did it too". If this bill passes we will have become a Socialist country no better than Venezuela or Cuba and the Democratic party will have become the Socialist party.

Why should anyone have to p... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Why should anyone have to pay for food or clothing? Aren't these things the most basic of human rights? Did not Jesus say to feed the hungry and clothe the naked? It is the evil corporations that drive up the cost of these goods with branding. Why do we need 20 different brands of corn flakes? The government should take over these industries in order to consolidate them. We could save billions! Why can't they see, God? Why? Let the government help!

So, Mr Laprairie, you post ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

So, Mr Laprairie, you post 4 snippets from a friend in favor of healthcare reform, and by disposing of those 4 snippets you imagine that you have refuted "the liberal argument?"

At the very least, you should invite your (imaginary?) friend to post a long piece here and THEN try to answer him.

That's only, of course, if you want a fair debate. If you just want to declare victory, by all means, let matters rest.

"That's only, of course, if... (Below threshold)
914:

"That's only, of course, if you want a fair debate. If you just want to declare victory, by all means, let matters rest."

No Bruce, we want to debate just like Barry, BEHIND CLOSED FUCKIN DOORS!! There is no argument that you are wrong.

I'm sorry to have to tell y... (Below threshold)
alanstorm:

I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but your friend is an idiot. Well-educated, whatever THAT means, but an idiot. Here's a good summation as to why:

http://pajamasmedia.com/zombie/2010/03/20/why-america-hates-universal-health-care-the-real-reason/

actually, burcie, those 4 "... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

actually, burcie, those 4 "snippets" ARE the ObamaCare.

- Health Care costs are rising
- Health Care is a RIGHT!
- A mythical number are losing their Health Care EVERY DAY!!
- It's unfair that some have it and some don't...and un-charitable

And so they craft a MASSIVE restructuring of America:
- adding MASSIVE costs to through endless government agencies
- inventing a new "Right!" out of thin air
- establishing Post-Office quality "health care"
- and ulitmately giving the Government unfettered access to EVERY aspect of ALL the financial and medical information on all Americans (except, of course, the ruling elite)

Welcome, Comrades, the People's Republik of Amerika. Work will set you free!

"It is not possible to l... (Below threshold)

"It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to adequate health care; therefore, health care reform is a human right"

A 'right' is something I have a right to, such as life and liberty.

This is the strongest moral argument the left has in the debate. If it is valid then logically, so is;

It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to adequate food; therefore, food is a human 'right'.

It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to shelter; therefore, shelter is a human right.

It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to education; therefore, education is a human right.

It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to an adequate job, that pays a comfortable living wage; therefore, having a job with good pay is a human right.

It is not possible to live a dignified human life without a high quality of life; therefore, a high quality of life is a human right.

Where does it end? It ends with more 'moochers' than producers and then the whole thing falls apart.

Why is that true? Human nature. If I have an unalienable 'right' to these things, then my very existence makes them my due. I don't have to do anything to earn it or maintain it, human dignity makes them my 'rights'.

Therefore that is true regardless of whether I work or not...after all, they're my 'rights', in which case, why should I work?

If it's my right to food, shelter, health care, education and a 'high quality of life'...as my 'right', I don't have to do anything to secure them, I have a right to them!

Here's the brutal truth progressives don't want to accept; the poor you will always have with you or we shall all be poor.

You see the point is that y... (Below threshold)
jim m:

You see the point is that you have a right to life but not a dignified life.

People have a right to live. Dignity comes from how one bears the struggle one faces. I can be dirt poor but have great dignity. I can be an uber rich celebrity and have none. In fact hat dichotomy is often observed in real life.

Dignity is something you give yourself. It comes from inside. The fact that a lib would append the notion of dignity to a list of rights indicates that he thinks that it is something that is bestowed upon someone. That sleazy, drug addicted movie stars can go out and buy it (but somehow never seem to bother) but that janitors cannot afford.

That view is an elitist snobbish view and comes from contempt of those who have lower status, whether that be lower educational or financial or social status. It assumes that people of lower status have no dignity.

I have seen far more janitors with great dignity than I have seem university professors or wealthy businessmen, celebrities, or politicians. People who work for a living generally have dignity. It comes from pride in having accomplished something worthwhile. People who are idle all day generally have none, but spend their days criticizing those who have something to do.

He also taught us to be ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

He also taught us to be compassionate and help those who could not help themselves.

There is a big difference between 'could not' and 'would not'.

Dear God, Please let the... (Below threshold)

Dear God, Please let them [The US House of Representatives] be right for the sake of your justice. As you have said, one of the marks your true followers is that we saw someone sick, and we did our best to help heal them.

sigh.

'Dear God, Please let them [The US House of Representatives] be smarter than the tens of millions of people they supposedly represent that oppose what they are doing for the sake of your wish that socialism be the law of the land (as I understand is the case according to Minister Pelosi). As you have said, one of the marks your true followers is that we saw someone sick, and we did our best to force someone else to take care of them using the most inefficient methods known to man - except when they are too sick and not worth saving or when their treatment is not "cost effective".'

As you have said, one of th... (Below threshold)
Trump:

As you have said, one of the marks your true followers is that we saw someone sick, and we did our best to help heal them.

...... Your friend is a worthless idiot and an unserious Christian with more faith in idealogy than religion.

Otherwise he would know that passages like these refer to volunteerism, using our free will to do these things, not using the power of the state to coerce everyone into doing it.

Cut bait on this loser.

There are a cpl of points... (Below threshold)
corwin:

There are a cpl of points I'd like to make. (And hope you pass them along.)First, the claim it's "0allowed " to consume 16%. I tend not to tell people how to spend their money.As a doc, I'm often astonished by the underlieing assumption Americans have:I can be young forever- or at least a very long time. it requires no effort on my part. Just some pills.Maybe a litle Bo Tox or Viagra in 30 years or so.
Secondly, I doubt your friend is in one of the more intellectual weighted fields. These kinds of fuzzy statements don't inspire a rigorous approach to tough questions .

It seems your friend starts... (Below threshold)

It seems your friend starts out every platitude by defining things the way he wants them to be. Well, I reject his definitions and insist that the "conversation" not begin until we *agree* on the definitions of such things as "justice."
It certainly isn't "justice" to take money from one person at gunpoint (i.e. taxes) to pay from someone else's care.

A right is something inhere... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

A right is something inherent (God-given, if you will) and doesn't require 2500 pages and thousands of new IRS agents to procure.

Don't they ever... (Below threshold)
Don't they ever ask themselves why health care was allowed to consume so much of our economy?
I see corwin already addressed this, but it grabbed my attention too.

"Allowed," he says. That's the nucleus of what we're up against, the idea that the spending decisions of every individual, and the investment decisions of every business small and large, are subject to being allowed by some central power with the moral authority to overrule anything Michael's liberal friend disagrees with.

Ultimately it comes down to the expectation that the morality such centralized decisionmaking will impose, will be the same as "mine," "me" in all cases being whichever liberal dupe is supporting totalitarianism at the moment.

It was in the futile hope of educating such idiots that Orwell wrote his two most famous works, Animal Farm and 1984. The only morality that the State ever imposes is that of the ruling individual -- in Nazi Germany it was Hitler; in WW2 Russia it was Stalin; in North Korea it is Kim Jong-il. Everybody else is out of luck.

Let's address those 4 state... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Let's address those 4 statements directly

Conservatives like to point out that health care is 1/6th of the American economy. Don't they ever ask themselves why health care was allowed to consume so much of our economy?

The liberal lie to this is that health care spending is unproductive. In hat sense all service sector spending is unproductive. If you look at the Bureau of Economic Analysis you won't find any line under GDP that is health are. It is good and services. The Healthcare industry produces goods (medical devices, equipment, disposables, drugs etc) that are used here and exported through out the world. We are the world's foremost innovators in devices and equipment. In the small industry of blood collection the top 3 US companies control well over 90% of he world wide industry. In diagnostic instruments the % is somewhat less, but still enormously lopsided.

Libs hate to acknowledge that healthcare includes things like machines and drugs that we export throughout the world.

Healthcare is 1/6th of he economy because it is a vital and growing part of the economy and it contributes significantly to our foreign trade.

Yes costs for health care here are growing, but that is both a factor of cost of goods manufactured increasing as well as the cost of runaway tort law that every lib considers sacred. There is no disagreement that malpractice tort reform is necessary to reduce the cost of health care. I wonder why Obamacare does nothing about that. I assume it's because once they nationalize he whole thing it will be illegal to sue the government.

We pledge ". . . and justice for all." Justice is that which honors human dignity. It is not possible to live a dignified human life without access to adequate health care; therefore, health care reform is a human right and it helps fulfill our pledge to seek justice for all.

I addressed the dignified life BS before. We have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without Life and liberty we cannot do anything. We have the right to choose whether health insurance is necessary to pursue happiness. We have the right to fail in our pursuits. Libs think that we have the right to succeed and if we do not then the government has the responsibility to make up for our lack of success. Just like Obama telling Joe the Plumber that he wants to spread the wealth around. Steal from those who have success and give to those who have failed or more likely never tried.
Lincoln said that by extending freedom to the slaves we insure freedom for the free. The same principle works with health care. By extending health care to those without it, we insure health care for those who have it. Thousands lose their health coverage each day. We cannot allow this to continue.

This is BS. By extending healthcare to those that cannot pay we actually reduce the amount of healthcare available. The difference is that freedom really is free and healthcare costs money. Healthcare relies upon limited resources. Libs think that if we extend it to everyone then the magic healthcare pool will expand to accommodate everyone;s needs. They also think that they can reduce what is spent on healthcare and that it will still magically expand to serve millions more people. I suppose they also think that healthcare workers should be doing what they do for free. Don't laugh at that. I have encountered many people at the hospital who seem to think that if you are a nurse or other healthcare worker that you should be doing your job for free. After all health care is a not for profit industry that means that the workers should be donating their time.
Dear God, Please let them [The US House of Representatives] be right for the sake of your justice. As you have said, one of the marks your true followers is that we saw someone sick, and we did our best to help heal them.

Did you know that before medicare and medicaid that more indigent people got healthcare than today? Doctors used to give out far more treatment as charity than they did afterward. there are two reasons: 1) the programs taught doctors to demand payment from even the poorest of patients whereas before the physician culture had taught them to treat the needy and not ask for pay; and 2) Government rules actually restricted them from giving treatment away for free.

Our health care system cost... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

Our health care system costs what it does because it is the best the world has ever seen. It is run by the some of the smartest people in the world and its technology is the most advanced in the world. Of course its going to cost money.

The claim that this legislation can "reduce" the cost of health care should have been more vigorously attacked from the beginning. So far, Barry has said that his great plan will reduce costs by 1) eliminating unnecessary tonsillectomies, 2) preventing foot amputations, 3) reducing duplicative testing by use of email.

There's also the fallacious claim that money will be saved by reducing or eliminating the 3% profit margin of the insurance companies. Barry plans on doing this by use of another government medical program, when he admits that Medicare and Medicaid lose "hundreds of billions" to fraud and abuse. It's so easy to steal money from those programs that the Mob is in on the scam. One wonders why Barry hasn't managed to bring the fraud and abuse under control, or even try. What a joke.

I'm surprised this was prin... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm surprised this was printed on the op-ed page of the NYT's.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/opinion/21holtz-eakin.html

This is written so simply, even Bruce should be able to understand it.

Barry thinks like the typic... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Barry thinks like the typical lib. Cost is just what you pay. Barry sees controlling costs as reducing what the government pays for healthcare and if that does actually cover what it costs to provide that healthcare then screw the hospital/doctor/healthcare worker who gets shorted! So some hospital workers lose their jobs? So what? They can go on the new improved unemployment.

After all it's all the government's money. What you take home costs the government because they don't receive it in taxes. Healthcare spending costs the government both as an employer and that it is money that is given to something other than government.

There is nothing in the bill to actually control costs. There is nothing to reduce the burden of government regulation (in fact increased regulation will actually increase costs). There is nothing to reduce the costs of abusive malpractice cases.

SO in reality Obama will let the tort lawyers go wild. He will put increased regulatory demands on Hospitals and doctors to report their activities and justify their treatments. They will require increased regulatory hurdles to get new products to market. Those products would either improve outcome or reduce cost of treatment. New product development will dry up as there won't be the pay off at the end to justify producing something new.

This will kill healthcare jobs, manufacturing jobs, construction jobs and jobs in trades. Tell 1/6th of the economy that there will be no jobs, no raises in the foreseeable future. See how many people go into that area as a profession.

What is dignified about get... (Below threshold)
Speller:

What is dignified about getting an abortion?

Will it not affect the dignity of pro-Life people to be forced to pay for other people's abortions?

This ObamaCare bill isn't dignified.
It will strip taxpayers of their liberty to choose a health insurance plan that fits their needs.

Where is the dignity in having a faceless bureaucrat dictate whether or not and when an American can get a health procedure?

Michael, if your friend knows what the word dignity even means, how can he be associated with such a dishonorable group as the Democrats?

Is there dignity without honor?
No.

The private enterprise syst... (Below threshold)
FatBaldnSassy:

The private enterprise system has also failed to make us all millionaires. Let's just have the government print up some dough and let the professors hand it out.

I'm digging this, Michael. ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

I'm digging this, Michael. Good post!




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