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Old 04-03-2010, 03:55 PM
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Default Obama's Health Care Plan.

I just thought on putting here a thread to discuss this topic properly since it popped out in "Ignoring won't take us out of the problem".

Although I'm not American, I have to say I'm completely with the reform. The plan is based on our medical system, the Spanish Social Security; and just as I said on the other thread, my mother can afford the expensive breast cancer treatment for just 10 extra euros. I believe that's a great relief for the people who can't get any kind of health insurance.

But that's just a point of view, share yours as well.
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Old 04-03-2010, 04:08 PM
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The only thing I can say about the health care plan comes more from what I do not think about it than what I do think about it. Some froth at the mouth calling this plan "Armageddon," "the end of freedom" and "the beginning of socialism." I just find it funny that this plan resembles the Republican alternative to HillaryCare and RomneyCare more so than any "Democrat/liberal dream plan." And yet it is being treated as if it were! It is not a "government takeover," unless one qualifies government takeovers as being equal to government regulation.

The plan is entirely built around the private insurance industry. There is no "public option." I might have supported a public option depending on implementation, but I wasn't going to say "Down with the healthcare plan!" just because there wasn't one. Sure the government is telling private industry what to do (no turning people away, setting medical loss ratios, creation of high-risk pools), but the government regulating private industry isn't anything new or extraordinary. Arguing that it is excessive regulation is one thing. I will be more than happy to engage in a debate on that. But the whole "socialism/death of liberty" noise, to me, is bunk and avoids discussing the real issues as it plays on emotions (negatively) and little more.

This smells like an ideological issue as well, though. There are some people who think the government has no business operating in this market. I disagree, because I believe efficiency gains can be had. 32 million people are on the "ER" plan. That increases costs for insurance-paying people. We won't know if the benefits outweigh the costs for years, but that's how any large-scale social program works. If you are truly open-minded, even if you absolutely hate this bill, I challenge you to withhold judgment on whether it actually "works" (regardless of whether you believe the bill was "right" or not) for five years. It's true this restructures 1/6 of the economy, but we Americans have this ridiculous notion that everything should happen overnight.
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Old 04-03-2010, 04:35 PM
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Sovereign, The reason why I don't support it is that it will inevitably lead to rationing of care and the decisions will be in the hands of bureaucrats. I hate the insurance companies. My husband and I have had serious problems with them. For the past several years my husband has a condition that needs surgery. It is a necessary surgery. The doctors have written letters to the insurance company, etc about it and yet they denied his surgery TWICE because they thought that one of the aspects of the surgery was cosmetic. No it isn't. Its reconstructive. Totally different. So, now we are starting up the process again. For the third time.

He would have had this problem taken care of years ago if it wasn't for the fact that he didn't have insurance at the time .

I have a special hatred for them. I agree that the system needs to be fixed. It is badly in need of reform. However, I don't know if allowing the government to intrude even further on us is the answer. Some regulation is required. That is fine. I'm just uncomfortable with the government having more say in it. The system is already being run by the lawyers. Why wasn't there anything in the bill (now law) that deals with the very important issue of TORT reform? Enough with frivolous lawsuits. That could help. Instead, medical decisions are made by lawyers and pencil pushers.

I fear that this health care law will lead to rationing. "Socialized" medicine works in smaller countries (sometimes yes, sometimes no). However, the US is a very large country. We have a lot of people in this country and more come in. The system will bankrupt. Look at other programs that the government oversees. Social security: there won't be any left. Medicare? Ouch. VA? Native American health care? Ouch. Look up some of those. Hell, the Post Office is going caput.

Does anyone want to see the medical system end up like the DMV?

This is the fear at least with some others. There is also the serious problem of forcing the young people to buy insurance or else face fines from the IRS. That is unconstitutional.

I also don't agree with the government being ever more centralized. The states need to assert their rights more. These are just some of the issues that I find disturbing about the new healthcare law. What do you think?
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Old 04-03-2010, 04:55 PM
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I think there is an extreme fear for anything related to socialism in the US; it looks like something come from Soviet Russia "and communists are the DEVIL blah blah useless ideological chatter blah blah".

Government control is not the kind of Big Brother stuff with cams everywhere and people watching every single act you make. That IS freedom denial. But just paying an extra tax to avoid all the medical insurance stuff is not.

The good thing about the reform (I haven't read it, I'm taking this from personal experience with my own system, so correct me) is that you pay an X amount of money you can easily afford. You forget about the paperwork and you might use in all your lifetime less that what you've given. But an unexpected day you suddenly have a serious disease that needs an expensive treatment, and so the taxes given to the government by millions of people are used for your treatment and you might just pay an extra amount of money.

There are few people needing more money than what they gave to the system so it won't crash (except if of course you just put a 10 dollar tax).

About rationing, I feel that if every state of the US adjusted the plan to its actual needs (so underpopulated ones won't receive the same amount of taxes as the ones with a large population), every state would work as one of those small countries.

Notice please, that you are complaining about two systems, and both deny part of your freedom (you are forced to buy medical insurance or pay taxes to have access to hospitals). Don't just defend ideas because they look pretty or they were defended by great people at a certain moment; have actual and worthy reasons to fight for them. If they're useless at one point, let the rest take over: in this case, it might be equality over freedom.
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Old 04-03-2010, 05:10 PM
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Interesting Zenit. If the system ends up working that way, it might work. I don't know though. I'm skeptical about it. We will just have to wait and see.

As for as how most Americans are when it comes to "socialized" stuff, yeah they can be allergic to it. Many of them think it will be "soviet style" rationing, etc.

I guess we will have to wait and see.
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Old 04-03-2010, 05:16 PM
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Well we're going to have to agree to disagree, rapunzel. I see nothing unconstitutional about the healthcare mandate (strict construction is usually the viewpoint that has a problem with the mandate). There are generally two broad approaches to the Constitution: if it's not specifically prohibited it's allowed, and if it's not specifically allowed it's prohibited. I'm of the former school, not the latter. The latter, taken to its logical (though not practical) extreme would, for example, deny the government any control over the Internet that was not commercial. You might be able to accomplish some things with the "necessary and proper" clause but that's interpretation that I don't know strict-constructionists would permit. Another example is Title IX and gender discrimination laws in general. In Article I, Section 8, there is nothing I can see that says "The government shall prohibit sex discrimination." Attempts to enshrine this in the Constitution died with the ERA. Gender-discrimination protection is not: a tax, duty, excise, borrowing of money, regulating commerce with foreign Nations...[or]...among the several states (except in cases of business that conduct such commerce--by ultra-strict construction small local businesses with dealings in one state would be exempt however they are not), part of the naturalization process, coining money, a standard of weights, punishment for counterfeiting of money, establishing post offices, building roads, copyright, inferior courts, punishment for piracy, punishment for felonies, declaring war, granting letters of marque, a rule about captures on land or sea, raising an army, maintaining a navy, regulating the military, suppressing insurrections, creation of a militia or governing the District of Columbia. Those are the enumerated powers (summarized) directly out of my pocket copy of the Constitution. Yes, I have one. Most political science majors do I foresee many beneficial regulations endangered by an overly-strict view of the Constitution.

The other reason I am of the first school of thought is because I believe the genius of the Constitution lies in its lack of specificity. The Founders couldn't anticipate 200 years' worth of societal and technological change.

I'm perplexed as to why you speak of rationing of care by the government as being a problem as if we don't already have rationing. You said so yourself: "he didn't have insurance at the time." That is free-market rationing. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but the free market says "If you can't afford it, you're not getting it" which is exactly what happened to you. Is the contention that government rationing is worse than private-sector rationing?

"Pencil pushers and lawyers" at insurance companies already make healthcare decisions for us. Again, the words you use (assuming I am interpreting them correctly) indicate that you're running into problems with the insurance companies. The argument "healthcare will end up like the DMV" is already true in the private sector, per your own reasoning (necessary surgery as determined by medical professionals is being denied by bureaucrats).

I'm not a huge believer in state's rights or strict-construction interpretations of federalism. That's an ideological construct, though, and there's really no "logical" way to prove it (see the thread on eating meat). I can give you an example of why I'm suspicious of "state's rights" and local control, and no, I'm not going to use Jim Crow.

Give too much control to the states and you get the Texas Textbook massacre. Or No Child Left Behind's race to the bottom. My mom is a teacher (and a Democrat); she hates the law. Every teacher I know does. Every Education/Music Education major I know (I'm in University right now) does too. By giving states the ability to set their own standards, they will use the same types of creative accounting that gave us scandals like Enron in order to look good while doing poorly. I believe Texas got in trouble for holding back anyone who didn't pass a certain test so that the results on certain grade-level tests looked better than the actually were. Did the test scores hold steady or go up? Yes. But was it due to weaker students learning? No.

Free-marketers would argue "the stupid children would get left behind." That is true in theory. However, it makes no mention of how quickly the market would react. In this particular case, my contention is that Texas' standards would quickly propagate to other states. What was hitherto unacceptable would become the new norm, degrading the knowledge of the nation. I believe the market would not "fix" the situation quickly enough. This is what economists call "market failure." In cases where market failure is agreed-upon to exist (such as regulation of certain negative externalities), economists within the Keynesian and Classical schools typically agree the government has a role to play (I'm an economics major too).

I know this is long, but I hope it explains why I interpret the Constitution the way I do (which was the one argument I felt needed some exceptionally detailed discussion).

Figures someone else would post before I finished my mini-textbook chapter

To ZenitYerkes' point: I agree, Americans have this ridiculous reaction to so-called "socialism" and "evil government" but happily take both Social Security and Medicare. This isn't commentary on the solvency of the programs themselves, merely discussion of what I see as an ideological inconsistency. "Souls of Democrats and pocketbooks of Republicans" is the way my professor put it, which translates to "We like the idea of having something to fall into if we hit hard times, but we don't want to pay for it."
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Old 04-03-2010, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovereign View Post
Well we're going to have to agree to disagree, rapunzel.
We probably agree on more than you think.

Quote:
I see nothing unconstitutional about the healthcare mandate (strict construction is usually the viewpoint that has a problem with the mandate).
I guess I am more of a strict constructionist because it is very easy to read all sorts of things into the constitution without them actually being in there.

Quote:
I foresee many beneficial regulations endangered by an overly-strict view of the Constitution.
I understand your point but I also think that the other extreme is also problematic (reading into the constitution stuff that isn't there. There is no place where it says that a person is required to buy health insurance).

Quote:
The other reason I am of the first school of thought is because I believe the genius of the Constitution lies in its lack of specificity. The Founders couldn't anticipate 200 years' worth of societal and technological change.
I understand your point there.

Quote:
I'm perplexed as to why you speak of rationing of care by the government as being a problem as if we don't already have rationing. You said so yourself: "he didn't have insurance at the time." That is free-market rationing.
I don't like either one. I understand what you are saying and I agree with you. I don't want the government nor the insurance companies to "ration".

Quote:
I don't want to sound like a jerk, but the free market says "If you can't afford it, you're not getting it" which is exactly what happened to you. Is the contention that government rationing is worse than private-sector rationing?
I don't like either one. However, if it is between the choice of fighting the government or fighting a silly insurance company, I would choose to fight the insurance company because there is a slim chance of winning. If you are fighting the government, you won't win.


Quote:
"Pencil pushers and lawyers" at insurance companies already make healthcare decisions for us. Again, the words you use (assuming I am interpreting them correctly) indicate that you're running into problems with the insurance companies. The argument "healthcare will end up like the DMV" is already true in the private sector, per your own reasoning (necessary surgery as determined by medical professionals is being denied by bureaucrats).
I agree. Like I said before, I think that the system is in grave need of reform. Its just that I am skeptical that allowing the government to have more control is the answer.

Quote:
I'm not a huge believer in state's rights or strict-construction interpretations of federalism. That's an ideological construct, though, and there's really no "logical" way to prove it (see the thread on eating meat). I can give you an example of why I'm suspicious of "state's rights" and local control, and no, I'm not going to use Jim Crow.
I have a problem with to much overcentralization either of government or private corporations.

Quote:
Give too much control to the states and you get the Texas Textbook massacre. Or No Child Left Behind's race to the bottom.
I agree that those two were stupid. The states can be just as bad. This is an extreme example though.

Quote:
My mom is a teacher (and a Democrat); she hates the law. Every teacher I know does. Every Education/Music Education major I know (I'm in University right now) does too. By giving states the ability to set their own standards, they will use the same types of creative accounting that gave us scandals like Enron in order to look good while doing poorly.
I totally agree. That is another system that is shot: the Education system.


Quote:
I believe Texas got in trouble for holding back anyone who didn't pass a certain test so that the results on certain grade-level tests looked better than the actually were. Did the test scores hold steady or go up? Yes. But was it due to weaker students learning? No.
That is bad .


Quote:
Free-marketers would argue "the stupid children would get left behind." That is true in theory. However, it makes no mention of how quickly the market would react. In this particular case, my contention is that Texas' standards would quickly propagate to other states. What was hitherto unacceptable would become the new norm, degrading the knowledge of the nation.
Sadly, as you know, the knowledge of the Nation is at abysmal levels.


Quote:
I believe the market would not "fix" the situation quickly enough. This is what economists call "market failure." In cases where market failure is agreed-upon to exist (such as regulation of certain negative externalities), economists within the Keynesian and Classical schools typically agree the government has a role to play (I'm an economics major too).
I'm in between on this. I'm not totally free-market and not totally on the socialist side either. Since I don't have an extensive knowledge of economics I probably can't state a decent argument for the economic side of things .


Quote:
I know this is long, but I hope it explains why I interpret the Constitution the way I do (which was the one argument I felt needed some exceptionally detailed discussion).
No problem. It is helpful. I still remain skeptical about it. I have heard some alarming stuff about the law (specifically the conscience clause, etc). I might have got wrong information. I just know there are a lot of scared people out there and there are a ton who are against it. We will just have to wait and see I guess.
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Old 04-03-2010, 05:56 PM
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I don't want to sound like a jerk, but the free market says "If you can't afford it, you're not getting it" which is exactly what happened to you. Is the contention that government rationing is worse than private-sector rationing?
You don't sound like a jerk here. You have expressed what I have felt about the insurance company for a while. I don't hate much of anything but I admit that I have a special hatred in my heart for the insurance companies. They have robbed my husband and I. I won't go into details into the specific problem but they are robbers. Pure and Simple. I just fear that the government will be worse .
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Old 04-03-2010, 06:03 PM
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In my opinion, I doubt America will ever get a full Universal Health Care system like in other parts of the world (like Europe). I am surprised It has gotten this far to be honest. Being in the UK, I am looking at this from an outsider's perspective.

It seems that anything that happens in the US, the question people ask is "What about me?" and that their first concern is themselves and not that of concern for the greater good of the country. Now don't get me wrong, I am not calling everyone in America self-centered, just that in places like Europe, even the most self-centered, egotistical people still have a little part of them that think of the greater good of their nation.

If you look at other countries that have Universal Health care, it has generally happened after some sort of uprising. Looking at the UK, the first act of Universal Health care was the National Insurance Act of 1911 but What spurred this on? The general, working-class public off the country were getting restless with the rich, powerful people in charge of the country at the time and were banding together and threatening the people in power (See: The Formation of The Labour Party). In attempt to quell this, the government passed many acts to show that it cared for the people. It did this as it was becoming afraid of the people, whereas in the US, the public are afraid of the Government. I think this needs to shift before any major changes (like Universal Health care can really take shape).
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Old 04-03-2010, 06:52 PM
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rapunzel, vastly to your credit, you are open to discussing this plan without flying into the hyper-rhetorical cow excrement that comes from many on both sides. Specific examples include the left who says we're all going to be bending over for the insurance companies with this plan (even though in reality it takes power away from them) and the right who claims this is one step toward Soviet Russia.

I'd almost say I trust the government more than the private sector, if only because the government is theoretically accountable to the people, not just shareholders who (absent any level of social activism) are concerned about the next dividend payout and nothing more. Sure, politicians are sometimes self-interested jerks, but it's easier to harness that than to hammer on the closed door of an insurance company (in my view, at least).

As to the strict-construction versus interpretation debate: there's no place that says the government has the right to enforce child labor laws either, unless the corporation employing such labor engages in commerce that crosses state lines ("among the several states") or operates internationally ("with foreign Nations"). It seems what people will say is "too much" depends more on ideology or belief systems than anything else. The point I'm trying to make is that for every incident one says the government is "doing something that's not expressly written in," I believe I can make a claim of the government "stepping in" that most people would agree with and find beneficial. It doesn't make you wrong, nor me right, it just raises the question of how much interpretation a person is going to accept. By the strictest definition of strict construction, almost no one is actually a strict constructionist. The question is where to draw the line. I personally believe a health insurance mandate isn't over the line.

Here's the economic reasoning for a mandate (regardless of constitutional discussions): the cheapest people to insure are the ones at the lowest risk of disease (young people like myself). The concept of insurance is that when the risk is spread over many people, everyone paying in offsets the incidents where there needs to be a payout. The fewer people that need payouts, the lower premiums can be. The more healthy people you place in the pool, the lower the statistical likelihood of requiring a payout (even if you only move the risk by decimal points, it counts).

This is a nice concept but right now it doesn't work very well because many of those whose presence would most benefit the system cannot afford and/or choose not to carry insurance. The mandate helps to alleviate both problems by offering subsidies. Overall, the more people you have in the pool, the better.

Right now, my parents pay $39/mo for "high deductible" (or catastrophic) insurance for me since my dad was laid off and it costs more than it's worth to put me on my mom's plan. Let's say I move to buy my own (comprehensive) coverage in the future. The government says I have to buy insurance. It costs $200/mo (wild guess) but since I'm still a student (and thus potentially considered at the federal poverty threshold) Uncle Sam gives me 66% of my insurance costs back. An effective price of $66/mo makes me more likely to purchase this insurance.

Now for the stick part. By not carrying health insurance, technically you are a risk to all of society. If you end up in a situation where you need medical care, you will go to an ER since they cannot refuse anyone. This probably costs more to the insurance-paying and tax-paying public than your insurance would have cost you. If it doesn't, this logic won't work, but usually people who run up big bills at the ER (and thus are the ones with the big costs) have huge medical issues that are expensive to treat because they were allowed to fester. By taxing you for the risk you create, the government is forcing you to internalize (accept the cost) of the risk you are creating by not carrying insurance.

I agree tort reform is needed. I have two close friends whose parents work as a hospice nurse and doctor respectively. They both complain of having to "shotgun" tests out of fear of lawsuits. The economic logic is this: $10,000 of tests that find nothing to avoid a $1 million lawsuit which would come if the tests had not been done and a problem was missed, plus legal costs. Easy choice. The caveat is that this falls back on the insurance company (and the public).

The argument from trial lawyers is that we "need to sock it to bad hospitals and doctors." Bad doctors exist. Just like teachers who cheat, soldiers who do things like Abu Gharib, accountants who cook the books and others who bring dishonor to their profession, these people need to be punished. However, very few would go through hell and back (med school, residency) to blow it. And a bad hospital, that is highly unlikely. Highly unlikely that a whole hospital would become corrupted and un-salvageable. Hospitals are millions in investment. I just don't see a "hospital conspiracy" lasting too long, and if one does exist it will be plainly obvious. More on this later. Many medical mistakes are simple human error that, while regrettable, speak to the problem with medicine in this country. Doctors have too many patients and are worked too hard. There are not enough general practitioners/surgeons, and too many specialists. 90%+ of medical students last year went into specialized fields because that is where the money is. It only makes sense, given the cost of medical school.

So here's my plan to address the problems I just outlined above:
Capping lawsuit damages except in cases where a "medical grand jury" finds that sufficient evidence exists to justify a higher cap or no cap at all. This would address "drive the bad ones completely out of business." These juries would consist of nine people. Three laypersons (like you and me). Three doctors (most likely from the same or similar field as the doctor who stands accused). Three "health law experts" (could be trial lawyers, hospital legal attaches, insurance company attorneys etc). No ties, since there are nine. But each party (citizens, doctors, law-professionals) is equally represented.

Creation of scholarships, tax breaks and other rewards for those who commit to a certain period of general practice after med school. This would enable doctors to see fewer patients overall, lowering their stress levels and their likelihood of making mistakes. My friend whose mom is a doctor is in private practice. They will only accept a certain number of patients. End of story. Excepting medical emergencies involving immediate family of current patients, they will not take on more than their decided capacity. This has kept mistakes low.

Enable doctors to create "suit-proof" contracts with patients who are then charged a lower rate. Sign a contract or similar waiving your right to sue under specific circumstances (say, you won't sue for mistakes made during routine physicals). You've just lowered the doctor's risk since without the contract you can technically sue for a screwup anywhere. You chose to sign the contract, so if something does happen, you took the risk. Ideally, contracts for riskier procedures would have a set payout (rather than an unpredictable, most likely million-dollar award from a jury) should something go wrong.

Enable doctors to report recalcitrant patients to their insurance company. Again referencing my friend's mom's practice, if one of the doctors finds that despite prescribing Medicine X, you are not following the prescription properly (and thus it is not working), you are given a certain amount of time to "clean up your act" or you are asked to find medical services elsewhere. Many "medical errors" are "patient-side" (not following doctor's orders because "I feel fine" or similar). If you know so much, Mr./Mrs. I-Feel-So-Great, why did you go to the doctor in the first place? Enabling doctors to nail these people through their insurance would reduce risk (since not following a doctor's orders increases risk something might not work).

As to the state's rights discussion: I believe the "extreme examples" do enough damage to wash out benefits of state control on these issues. It's "one person threw a paper airplane so the whole class gets detention" type of thing.

I hope I addressed everything. If I didn't, it's probably my fault for starting such a big discussion in the first place.
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:00 PM
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I will admit, I don't know much about how the American will be done, but having free healthcare here, I have to say, for all its flaws (the current government have messed up the NHS' funding and it's too full of bureaucracy), it's a great thing. I was always amazed how the world's most powerful nation would let people die if they couldn't afford healthcare.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:46 PM
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Sovereign, thank you for taking the time to answer all my points. I like your plan. I just wish it was the one that passed the House instead of what we possibly have on our hands. I'm still skeptical about the government due to the fact that they don't seem to remember that it is the people that they work for. I think that to many of them are drunk on their own power and as a result have become very corrupted. I'd like to see most of them get kicked out of office.

You are right about the medical situation. It is just as much the patient's responsibility as it is the doctor's. IF the patient isn't taking their medication, etc then problems will happen. My dad is a PA (physician's assistant). He sees this sort of thing all the time sadly .

We'll see how it goes. I have a few friends who are very alarmist about the new healthcare law. They fear the US becoming like the USSR or Nazi Germany. I think they are exaggerating but I know there is a lot of fear out there.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:21 PM
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My biggest concern with term limits (which seems to me to be close to "kick them all out") is the influence of the "special interests" we all love to decry. While I believe the jury is still out on the impact of term limits, at least one essay (I'm not going to write a senior thesis here--I've already done two) suggests the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor D. Dryer
Term Limits Effect on Lobbying. Respondents believed that the passage of term limits significantly increased the influence lobbyists had on the legislative process [emphasis mine]. With members of the legislature only in office for a set period of time, they felt the members no longer developed expertise in a given subject area. Additionally, members commonly run for various other offices at the state or federal level and when they change jobs, they often take their staff members with them. The lobbyists felt this left them as the “institutional memory” around the capitol, which gives them a significant amount of influence. Consequently, lobbyists believe that term limits have increased both their access to and influence with legislators.
Source: http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcon...t=trevor_dryer

This is not to imply a single work "proves" that term limits are dangerous, but it does show there exists a body of academic work which believes term limits could have detrimental effects.

A discussion of
the merits and demerits of term limits can be found in the introduction and first chapter of the book "Institutional change in American politics: the case of term limits" which is partially available on Google Books (and fully available through an order at your local library).

Forcing everyone out of office at once (through a Constitutional amendment, since the Supreme Court ruled that states may not impose term limits on Federal officeholders since the Constitution does not specify term limits) would destroy the institutional memory of the Federal legislature. A less legally-dense summary is available on Wikipedia.

The crux is "kick them out" makes a great bumper-sticker, but I'm markedly less sure about the policy implications of such a move. Though we love to "hate the system" I've been "pulled into" several "systems" (a State Senator's office, Student Government, Senior Patrol Leader in my troop going in reverse-chronological-order) and I've come to find that there are indeed ideology-free, legitimate reasons for some of those policies which I loved to rage at while part of "the masses."

The Federal (and State) governments are much larger and more complex than any organization I've been involved in, and I suspect that for every foolish policy or rule, there exists an equal number of those which everyone might not like, but actually benefit us as a whole.

I am much less suspicious of the government than I am of private industry in many cases. Private industry loves to mock the government for being inefficient "because they don't have to make a profit." It is precisely the obsession with (short-term) profits that is the greatest weakness of the private sector. Due to Wall Street expectations, companies have engaged in deceitful, deceptive, and I would also argue immoral, behavior to pump up returns in the short run rather than focusing on long-run growth. The idea of accepting lower, but still profitable, returns in exchange for doing good for society seems to have vanished from some parts of corporate America. So has the concept of "keep the company running profitably 20 years from now" (I would look at the American automakers here, who pigged out on SUVs while ignoring the fact that oil is a finite resource whose price is destined to rise until it becomes unaffordable, effectively meaning we are "out of oil").

The fear surrounding this new law is justified, and not. What is justified is asking questions of "what was done, how was it done, and how will it matter to me?" What is not justified are these overhyped discussions of fascism, communism and socialism. Just as I scoffed at my liberal friends for saying the Bush "free speech zones" were a "step toward fascism" I have equal disdain for conservatives making similar arguments. It's a childish, immature way of thinking: When "the other party" is in power, they're destroying our country, ignoring the people and turning us into [insert name of big bad historical reference here].

Politicians, to some extent, are mere reflections of what their most vocal and influential constituents are asking them to be. If we accept the premise politicians will do almost anything to be re-elected, they will have to vote the way their constituents would want at least some of the time. Often (especially with gerrymandered House districts), the extreme views of a politician reflect the extremism of those who would "primary" them (from the left or right extreme) for being insufficiently ideological. If every politician were principaled enough to "take it for the team" and tell the extremists of both stripes to get lost, almost no one would be re-elected. The Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, MoveOn.org and AFL-CIO (plus their noisy kin) would see to that!

Hence, I contend to place all of the blame on politicians (which is another great bumper-sticker) ignores the fact that in a democracy, even one as corrupt (according to some) as ours, we the people are sometimes we the problem. Despite the fact that we (rapunzel and I) have agreed on many more items than I initially anticipated we would, and I think we've both advanced our understanding of both "the other side" and the issue at hand, many common folk are not willing to do this. They wall themselves into their Rachel Maddow or Glenn Beck and refuse to accept anything that contradicts their views. As I said before, these people's choice of politician reflects the closed-mindedness of the more ideological voters who turn out in primary elections.

I honestly believe the extremism started both with politicians and with voters (pols trying to outdo each other, voters blasting pols for being insufficiently committed to "the cause"). How to solve it, I do not know. You can't force someone to believe something they don't want to believe. Even if that belief is helping to undermine the civic discourse in this country.
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Last edited by Sovereign; 04-05-2010 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:30 PM
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For me, had I grown up with this plan I would think nothing of it. However, having come from the opposite end I oppose it completely. This is just eating more of our money, putting us further into debt etc. I personally do not like that I will have to pay so that bums can get free healthcare when they are not working themselves (yes I know this is not everyone). There are a few positives but also many negatives of this.

I like this quote from a friend lol, "A health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed... by a country that's broke. What could possibly go wrong?"
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunny View Post
For me, had I grown up with this plan I would think nothing of it. However, having come from the opposite end I oppose it completely. This is just eating more of our money, putting us further into debt etc. I personally do not like that I will have to pay so that bums can get free healthcare when they are not working themselves (yes I know this is not everyone). There are a few positives but also many negatives of this.
There are many "money-eating" policies we continue to pursue for various reasons. I find the hypocrisy stunning (not from you but from other groups that attack the health plan due to cost) when dealing with people who didn't object to borrowing to pay for the war in Iraq, borrowing to pay for the war in Afghanistan and the "Bush tax cuts" that were never fully-funded to begin with because that "trillion dollar surplus" discussed back in 2000 was purely hypothetical and assumed both the continuation of Clinton-esque policies and sustained growth of the economy. Now they're shrieking about borrowing to pay for healthcare? I'd rather borrow for that than for a war we know was based on a lie (Iraq) and a war that we're not quite sure how to win (Afghanistan). I supported Afghanistan because that's where the baddies were. I didn't buy the "Al-Qaeda in Iraq" deal.

Here's the "Obama" budget. The three largest categories are Social Security, Defense and Income Security. Before anyone goes blasting Income Security as "welfare for bums," take a look at what's in that category. It includes: unemployment ("welfare"), Supplemental Security Income (have a feeling it might be related to Social Security, not sure), military retirement, food stamps (more "welfare"), Federal retirement for civilians, the cost of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, TANF, Making Work Pay and many smaller categories. The fourth biggest category is Medicare. The fifth and sixth are Health (Medicaid) and Net Interest. Trying to "balance" the budget without touching these top six is bailing water with a thimble. Try to touch Social Security or Medicare and you get uninformed "Teabaggers" yelling about "get the government out of my Medicare." You also get angry AARP members bleating about Social Security cuts. Touch the Defense budget and the hawks/neo-cons are all over you for "hating our troops," "weakening defense" and "letting us fall behind other countries."

In short, yes this proposal is expensive, but to me it's worth more than weapons we don't need. If efficiency gains are actually realized out of this healthcare bill (get people off the ER plan) Medicaid and Medicare costs could drop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunny
I like this quote from a friend lol, "A health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed... by a country that's broke. What could possibly go wrong?"
Funny, but doesn't even address the policy (bumpersticker, albeit a long one). To use this in jest makes me chuckle. To use it in a formal argument is ad hominem (and tu quoque). I can do the same thing (paraphrased): I can't wait until everyone has healthcare and education, but the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.
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