Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Time for Some Idle Speculation

What do you think the Supreme Court is going to do about the health care law?

That’s it. This is your forum today. I look forward to seeing whatever you might have to say.
~ FreeThinke


  1. I think that the SCOTUS will definitely overturn certain portions of ObamaCare.

    It is possible that the SCOTUS will overturn the entire thing! I'm not really sure that complete overturning is a good thing as certain aspects of ObamaCare are much needed reforms. For example, the portion requiring subrogation if someone on Medicare sues (usually over a car accident) and gets a high settlement in civil court: Medicare has to be reimbursed, and I do agree with that measure.

  2. It seems that the decision has been postponed. I missed that news yesterday as company has arrived and we went out for dinner last night.

  3. I think it will be one of those multi-part decisions. Parts will be struck down almost unanimously, while the crux of it could be struck down 5-4.

  4. I hope they strike down the whole thing.

    If they strike down only the mandate the economic consequences might be severe if the rest stays in place.

    If they strike down the etire bill the path is to single payer or a system that isn't such a naked give away to useless insurance companies.

  5. I'm grimly resigned to the probability that The Big Nine will make a patchwork quilt of compromises that dodge dealing with the majority of our people's aversion to socialized medicine, and satisfy no one on either side of the issue.

    There are too many liberals on the high court -- and too many of a certain ethnic-religious persuasion that has always been both vehemently and insidiously at odds with ordinary, everyday, Americans of Anglo-European background -- for the us ever to get a satisfactory decision from them on anything of major concern.

    Like congress the court is so much in the business of trying to placate every conceivable splinter faction they wind up doing nothing of any value whatsoever.

    There may be a few provisions in Obmacare, as AOW suggests, that might be worth keeping, but after the heated arguments we've had here at Western Hero and over at AOW's place -- and I imagine at GeeeeeZ as well -- condemning Obama's Dictatorial Edict implementing his own, personal White House version of The Dream Act, I can't imagine why anyone calling himself a conservative or a libertarian could accept the thuggish, moronic, viciously partisan tactics that forced Obamacare into being against the will of the majority.

    The effects of Obamacre are far more likely to have a profoundly deleterious effect on our society than simply making it official that "illegal aliens," long happily assimilated into the mainstream of American society anyway, should no longer fear a risk of deportation.

    To me the contrast between the two issues is , as they say nowadays, a "no brainer."

    Obamacare is an affront to human dignity and a terrible abuse of the democratic process. The Dream Act (why do we call it that?) seems firmly grounded in high moral principles to me.

    If we're going to start deporting people in large numbers, I'd much prefer us to start with Muslims.

    ~ FreeThinke

  6. Ducky,

    Having tended invalids most of my life since age twelve, I can assure you that the insurance companies are anything but useless.

    Insurance premiums would never have gotten so far out of control if Medicare had never been implemented in the first place.

    When I was a young person, it was still possible for a family of ordinary means to pay for their own medical care out of pocket. One of my uncles was a doctor as were several of my parents' friends and associates, so I know whereof I speak.

    I'm old enough to remember the days when there was no health insurance of any kind whatsoever. Blue Cross was started when I was maybe ten. It was seen as a novelty then, and the cost was negligible.

    Of course you could buy a very nice house in one of the better suburbs in those days for less than 20K too, so the cost of medical care is not the only thing that's gone beyond the pale.

    By the way, before anyone says anything about the quality of medical care not being all that great in the good old days, I hasten to tell you that most of my relatives, many of whom were born in the last quarter of the 19th century, lived well into their eighties and nineties. Three of them actually lived past the age of a hundred. One of those was a survivor of The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. She lived to be 101.

    So, genetics, lifestyle, and this thing we call "character" probably have as much or more to do with good health and longevity than anything government ever has done.

    Healthcare in Britain is piss poor by the way. A couple of married ex-patriates, I know live in London. They are well-to-do, so money is not an issue. They are also Fabian socialists fervently committed to the Internationalist Agenda. HOWEVER, they have discovered a bit late in the game that neither love, party loyalty, or even money can get you the care you need in the UK.

    The man involved has had a serious operation he needs postponed SEVENTEEN times under the most trying of circumstances. He and his wife (friends since high school) are now thinking about returning to the good ol' USA after thirty-odd years abroad.

    Why is that, you ask?

    Because they'd like to survive long enough to enjoy the blessings of great old age. In Britain, if you're over sixty, the government wants you to die ASAP -- especially if you get ill.

    So be careful what you wish for, Ducky. You just might get it.

    ~ FreeThinke

  7. FT,
    One of those was a survivor of The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

    That's amazing! Did she write about it?


    As you rightly point out, health insurance is not useless. Mr. AOW took out his private policy on June 1, 2009; he had the brain hemorrhage on September 15, 2009. The bill, at the BlueCross discount rate because we used in-network providers, was nearly $200,000. BlueCross picked up all but about $8000 (after the $5000 maximum out-of-pocket deductible).

    Of course, we have always had health insurance in this household. Over the years, our employers and we have paid in nearly $1 million.

    I do fault the health insurance companies for trying to "dump" Mr. AOW's care onto inferior facilities after he didn't meet certain benchmarks and, later, to try to force me to leave him in the nursing home. However, I knew the appeals process, had a cousin who knew "the lingo," and enlisted the threat of the family retrainer, and the health insurance company lost.

  8. Duck,
    I am familiar with the advantages of the single-payer system.


    the tsunami of aging Baby Boomers would make the single-payer system inordinately difficult to make it practical now.

    We've got a big mess coming, and ObamaCare didn't address that particular mess but rather exacerbates the mess.

  9. "Did she write about it?

    No. Unfortunately, she was not a writer. She married my mother's eldest brother. They had three daughters. He was a chiropractor, but much more interested in music. He was a good cellist who had played in "pit" orchestras in New York, and was a member of a string quartet who entertained passengers on board one or two of the great luxury liners.

    After he met my aunt, who came from a well-to-do family of Italian bakers, he had to promise to settle down, or her father wouldn't let her marry him. So, he went to school and became a chiropractor.

    She was interviewed on her 92nd birthday by ABC Evening News in New York as the oldest living survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. She loved being in the limelight, and truly enjoyed her fifteen minutes of fame.

    She and every one of my family elders HATED Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and despite her narrow escape from a gruesome death, she never believed the government should interfere in any way with private business.

    She was one of the merriest people I've ever known -- always smiling, always laughing, never complaining.

    She was also the BEST COOK this world has ever known. Sunday dinners at her place were like dying and going to heaven.

    ~ FT

  10. 6-3 and they toss the entire package.


  11. You call it socialized medicine. Let me point out that the issue here is health insurance and NOT government ownership of the means of health care delivery.

    The fact that the right makes this mistake so often leads me to believe they are simply blinded by the word and haven't bothered to think about this issue.

  12. When I was a young person, it was still possible for a family of ordinary means to pay for their own medical care out of pocket.


    Yeah, I had a lot of medical problems as a kid. My knees had to be reconstructed a couple times.

    Dad had an affordable policy with Blue Cross but of course back then they were NON PROFIT(I believe Germany stills follows the non profit model).

    No other industrialized nation employs this asinine for profit system we have in America.

  13. Funny Freethinker, a good friend of mine is British and he was over here when his son needed a specialist in internal medicine and got one immediately. Probably saved his life, something that would not have happened to a poor patient in our rationed system. But your mileage may vay.

  14. I should revise the statement, AOW. Private for profit insurers serve no purpose.
    They merely consume part of the health insurance dollar in profit which provides no service.

  15. FT,

    She was interviewed on her 92nd birthday by ABC Evening News in New York as the oldest living survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

    Hey! I think that I saw that interview!

  16. Ducky,

    I respectfully ask you please to address me by my proper name. I am FreeThinke, not Freethinker. There is no "r" at the end of my name.

    It may be a small point, but since you have done it persistently since we first encountered one another, I can only assume one of two things: Either you cannot read, or you misaddress me as a childish mark of disrespect.

    As for this:

    "a good friend of mine is British and he was over here when his son needed a specialist in internal medicine and got one immediately. Probably saved his life, something that would not have happened to a poor patient in our rationed system. But your mileage may vay."

    You seem to contradict yourself in that first sentence. You appear to say the boy got the medical attention he needed immediately when visiting the United States, and then go on to say he couldn't have gotten it "with our rationed system."

    What did you really mean? Your words make no sense as written.

    Your last sentence is unintelligible. Again I ask what did you want to say?

    ~ FreeThinke

  17. Ten hours later, and still no response from Canardo.

    So much for attempting to participate in a dialogue with honest give and take!

    However, we will always reman open to that possibility -- however remote. We wouldn't want to miss it in case it ever arrives, would we?

    My hope is to foster conversation without throwing brickbats at one another.

    Hope springs eternal ... at least I hope it does.

    ~ FT

  18. FT, I don't know :) We may find out Friday, because big news if it's bad usually pops out Friday after market hours so as to not jack the market so much.

    But I will say that it's very disturbing that every ruling that has a significant impact on America and its liberties always seem to come down 5 to 4.

    One more libtard on the SC, and we're - well you know.

  19. Yessir, Kid,

    The court has become almost totally politicized.

    Not good for the country.

    It might be all right if only the conservatives were every bit as partisan and bigoted as the liberals, but they try to play fair, which always seems to give the liberals the advantage.

    Or am I just deluding myself?

    ~ FreeThinke

  20. FT, ALmost missed your comment as -said earlier- I almost always blindly delete anything tagged as anon without reading.

    I'm glad you've created your ID, you have important things to say.

    Anyway, Partisan. YES! My God, we are in a war between socialism and capitalism.

    the word bipartisan should be stricken from the dictionary. Why should capitalists entertain socialists on ANY level and vice-versa ???

    It's absurd.

    Time to pick a side folks !!

  21. freethinke, I imagine Ducky missed the 't' off 'there' in the phrase 'over there', which was confusingly rendered 'over here'.


  22. I'm sure you're right, Jez, but I have to give Canardo a hard time, since he thrives on acrimonious opposition. He'd be terribly disappointed if I were too pleasant and accommodating.

    By the way, since I made derogatory remarks about the National Healthcare system in your great country based on what I have heard from Americans I know who have lived there half their adult lives –– and from British acquaintances I've met here in the states –– I'd love to get input from you on the subject.

    I picture you as someone, perhaps in his late thirties, well-educated according to the lights and intellectual fashions of your time, with a kind heart but a decided preference for statistical, factual knowledge over anything gained through perception or intuition. I see you as "anti-Romantic." I imagine you also to be lean and fit -- as most men in Britain seemed to be when I spent time there in the late seventies and early eighties. Am I even faintly close to the truth?

    I never did so much walking in my life as I did when visiting England, and because London was such a beautiful, incredibly stimulating place to my American eyes, I felt the whole time as though I had wings on my heels. I doubt if I've ever felt more energetic before or since.

    All of which is a roundabout way of saying I imagine the average Brit is probably a good deal healthier and more fit than the average American, so maybe you don't need as much medical attention as we do. Or is that just poppycock?

    As an older person, who has spent too much time tending and coping with invalids, I don't tend to confer a godlike status on physicians and medical facilities as most tend to do. There is a lot doctors can do to help, but there is a great deal more about which they can do practically nothing.

    I accept my mortality. Eventually, I will have to die like everyone else. No doctor, no amount of money, and certainly no form of government intervention will be able to prevent that from happening when the time comes. So I choose not to worry about it.

    ~ FreeThinke

  23. The NHS is pretty good, especially the business end. The quality of surgery etc. is high. Admin tasks can be painful (setting up appointments etc.).
    In general, I note that surveys report far greater dissatisfaction with the NHS as a whole than it does dissatisfaction with the responder's own direct experience of it; ie the NHS' reputation (courtesy of the media) is generally poorer than what people actually experience when they come to use it.

    As a contractor the NHS can be difficult to work with in some ways. The bureaucracy certainly is a challenge.

    I'm a little younger and less fit than you suppose. I don't consider myself anti-romantic, maybe I emphasise data and evidence as a counter to general society, which in my opinion dismisses statistics etc. too readily. I can see how I'd come across as less romantic than I actually am.
    For example, I certainly don't see why anyone would put greater trust into "alternative medicine" when the only difference between it and proper medicine is that medicine has been tested, ie there is rational basis to our trust of it.

    The great advantage of data, evidence and statistics, is you have the best chance of noticing when you're talking bollocks.

    I think it's true, the American population is less healthy than the British, but not by a very wide margin. Our obesity statistics are catching up. I think you probably smoke less.

    What you do have a lot more of, though, is guns. I believe you are more violent.

    In terms of public fitness, most of the differences are in the extremes, ie most of the difference is accounted for by our most obese percentiles, not in the middle.

    I accept mortality, I don't accept sub-standard treatment of the injured and diseased on the basis of ability to pay. Although I am not myself poor, many of my reasons are selfish. It would do me no good to live in a society which permitted suffering on this basis. The means of achieving universal coverage is secondary, but I don't think a publicly owned service is a particularly terrible idea. I eagerly note that the UK and USA exist on different scales. I wouldn't glibly advocate a Europe-wide public health service, for example.

  24. Jez, the NHS is good? How do you feel about this?

    "The European Medicines Agency is investigating whether Roche failed to report tens of thousands of adverse events in connection with its various drugs, including 15,161 patients deaths. The probe comes after UK regulators identified deficiencies in reporting adverse events after conducting recently review procedures and was actually part of a coordinate European program to inspect safety reporting systems in the pharmaceutical industry, according to the EMA."

    Full article

    Why didn't the NHS notice 15,161 patient deaths associated with a Roche produced drug ?

    I also read that because of budgetary concerns, the NHS would soon have to cut Quality of Life care and scale all the way back to only treating urgent care patients. So, no new knees for example. I don't think that policy has actually been implemented yet, but have you heard of it and what do you think about it?

  25. Jez part 2. Guns? I read a report by the UK Government on its own website that stated that "1 in 3 youths carry a gun or knife in the UK" How can you defend an anti-gun policy?

    As far as the USA goes, virtually every mass murder that has taken place in the last 40 years has been in gun free zones.

    If you think the US government can keep guns from criminals, please explain why after 40 years of the war on drugs, any 13 yr old can get any drug they want 7 days a week.

    Anti-gun people are pathetic.

    Police describe gun free zones as criminal enterprise zones. Nest time you're in a McDonalds, or out to the park when some freak decides to come there and kill most of the people he comes in contact with, just ask him to wait for the police to show up as you dial 911. Might do you some good. Maybe not.

  26. Jez, part 3. No one in the US, not even illegal aliens has been denied emergency health care. If they come to a ER they have to be taken care of.

    Do they always get the best care?
    Does everyone drive a Bentley?

    Probably not, but neither does the NHS provide the 'best care'. Last time I was in England in 1990 you are assigned a physician and you have no choice of who to go to. Still that way? In the US, you have -currently- a lot of choices. I like that a lot.

  27. Thanks, Kid. Did you know, however, that Jez is British?

    I thought his answer to my question was very polite, restrained, non-partisan and non-ideological. It was refreshing to see someone admit there are things abut the system that still leave much to be desired.

    Jez admitted, for instance, that dealing with the healthcare bureaucracy in the UK is often challenging and very trying.

    Our system is far from perfect -- and certain to get far far worse under Obamacare -- but you are certainly right in saying that because of the Hall-Burton Act -- or is it the Hill Burton Act? -- no one acn be turned way from an emergency room in the USA.

    I was statistically poor much of my adult life, yet somehow I managed to pay for health insurance on my own with no help from anyone. I made it a top priority, budgeted intelligently and lived well anyway, but then I've never demanded a lust for all the latest, "hottest" items in clothes, cars, appliances, TV's, computers, or vacation spots. I've lived within my means, even when I had no more than 10K a year -- not so very long ago.

    Don't mean to sound like a self-righteous prig, but it is absolutely amazing how well you can live, if don't have your heart set on possessing all the bells and whistles, most of which are meretricious and unsatisfying anyway.

    Exercising thrift can be downright thrilling. Liberating not oppressive at all.. What a joy it is to realize you're actually beating the odds, because of a determined oddball policy of your own choosing!

    There's nothing ore satisfying than taking charge of your own life, charting your own course, and not letting yourself be led around by the nose to feel you must pursue the asinine products Big Advertising is determined to make you feel you cannot live without, and still hope to call yourself human.

    I'm proud to say I've been highly resistant to brainwashing and mass hypnosis all my life, thank God.

    I must have been born with a peculiar sort of sixth sense, because I can detect the odor of bullshit, even when it comes in a hermetically-sealed package covered with roses, gardenias and orange blossoms.

    I was wise to the enemedia long before Watergate. I knew instinctively that we were being had, and I hated it then as much as I hate it now.

    Unfortunately too large a segment of the populace has been systematically conditioned over many decades to think it just adores the odor, color, texture –– and TASTE –– of shit.

    Look up "Edward Bernays" if you don't immediately see what I mean.

    ~ FreeThinke

  28. FT, I immediately recognized Jez is British. I find it odd that the British defend the NHS system as I have talked to other Brits who do so, find it sadly lacking as I do any government managed health system, so I find it frustrating. I think maybe they don't understand what a good health system is.

    I was also born poor, never asked anyone for anything and never received anything from anyone that i didn't work for.

    I also have no interest in yachts or mansions.

    Congratulations on your self-responsible lifestyle. I share it.

    Here's the way I think of your final comments. I think kids the last couple generations or more grow up thinking Mom and Dad are in charge and provide the 'truth' in their lives. Then soon after entering the school system they look at the teachers and regard them as the holders of the truth. When they leave the school system, they for some reason need replacements for the holders of the 'truth' and they unfortunately choose the media. A collection of communist imbeciles who scrapped by in college, if that, with a major in "Communications" the least respected major in university besides absurdities like French poetry of English literature or Liberal Arts.

    No where along this path did they lean the fairly easy art of Critical Thought, and are now trapped like plankton on the surface of the sea of BS.

  29. Ok that first bit looks confusing. I'm saying All Brits tend to defend an inferior health system, that I've talked to.

  30. Kid
    1) The Roche case is a pharmacy regulation matter, it would be identical in a fully private system. This isn't within the NHS' pervue. Note that your article does not say that Roche's failure to comply with regulations caused 15 thousand patient deaths.

    2) Of course nobody likes that, even if the restrictions only apply locally. Dare I say that the tories are doing a lot of damage in the name of austerity?

    3) do you mean http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/may/18/ukcrime1 ?
    "One in three young people living in cities thinks it is acceptable to carry a knife in self-defence".

    Or do you mean http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/one-third-of-children-admit-to-carrying-a-gun-or-knife-1638512.html
    "Seventeen per cent of 11- to 16-year-olds reported carrying a penknife and 15 per cent said they had carried a ball-bearing gun in the past year. One in 20 boasted of having carried a flick knife.
    Almost half of the boys and one in six girls admitted carrying a knife or a gun. One in 20 said they had carried an airgun; 3 per cent had carried a "real" gun."

    Are these the sorts of weapons you had in mind? Also NB kids often lie to surveys.

    Your next points escape me. It looks like a non-sequitur about drugs to answer a point I never made about gun control, followed by an ad hominem against anti-gun folks, I assume you mean to include me but, again, I never made that gun control point that you're not answering properly.

    How does any of this apply to the point that I actually did make? (I admit I didn't properly research it, it was mere opinion). Are you claiming that Americans carry fewer guns than Brits, or that American society is less violent than British?

    4) Good, I'm pleased that the poor are not denied emergency care in the US, as far as that goes. How far is that? Maybe I'd want it to go further.

    5) My opinion of the NHS stands. It is based on my, my family's and my friends' experiences which have been good. That's all anecdote of course. It's possible that we all got lucky, and the papers give a fairer picture. (except that in surveys, most people give a positive report of their own encounters in the NHS, even if their impression of the NHS as a whole is negative; and newspapers are generally not trust-worthy).

    6) "best" is a silly standard, any idiot with money could spend more, he'll get deminishing returns but his care would get better.

    6) It depends where you live, I think you have to choose a surgery (not a specific physician) sufficiently nearby your home. I had a handful to choose between last time I moved. I spent maybe 5 seconds on the decision.

    7) "I think maybe they don't understand what a good health system is."
    It's possible that we have different priorities. Our systems' problems are opposite, eg. maybe GPs take a bit of persuasion to get treatment on the NHS, but on the other hand perverse incentives in America encourage medically pointless procedures and tests, which are not only costly but could be slightly harmful. You shouldn't have a recreational MRI scan, for example. Your population is in general more medicated than ours, I think. (pure conjecture) If it's true, maybe patient choice contributes to that. Michael Jackson had lots of choice. Maybe you don't consider over-medication and pointless testing to be important.

    8) It's strange that you've only met Brits who defend the NHS, I hear no end of whingers. I feel in the minority with my pro- stance.

    9) Only idiots disrespect literature degrees, in my opinion. I envy people who studied it, I think it's a path to something approaching wisdom. What are your thoughts, Freethinke? Is it absurd to study poetry? Even in French?

  31. Kid

    Ok, here's my thought. several years ago, Pfizer was sued and the plaintiff awarded a muilti-billion $ judgement due to one person committing suicide whilst on a anti-depressent drug. The drug was also taken off the market. I don't think a drug company would survive a 15k death rate even in testing stages in the US. And I do think state that the US outcome goes too far in the other direction. Read: heath care being sued out of practical existence.

    No, I believe it was this site - http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/crime-justice/index.html, but it was a couple years ago and I don't find it on there now. If not, it was a gov.uk website and simply states that 1 in 3 youths carry a gun or knife. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I mentioned it for comparison perspective.
    US More violent? Could be. Much larger population, and my main point on this subject is mass murder happens in gun free zones. I think people should be encouraged to take gun classes and own a gun.

    Ok, Sorry, probably came on too strong there. It is a subject that gets a lot of press here and is one of the main liberal conservative polarization subjects and one that is close to my heart because of the obvious damage gun control can have.

    Actually they get care for whatever they think ails them, not just ER

    Ok, it was 1990 and I did ask are things still the same.


    Big subject actually. 1st, based on doctor interviews, over treatment is directly related in the vast majority of cases to fear of malpractice lawsuits. My earlier point about self serving lawyers suing the HC system back to the stone age.
    2nd - Over treatment? Many would agree with the instances in older age groups. In brief, the impression is that medical science and current lifestyle has raised the average life expectancy to the point that people are developing disease not seen in such volume when life expectancy was lower. Using insurance for the most part, people with cancers for example go through numerous surgeries that do not add much to their life or quality of life

    Yes, that's interesting but it is my experience

    Didn't make my point very well. I don't disrespect any degree. I disrespect people who get a literature degree then present themselves as something they are not.

    Example: Keith Olberman says he is from an Ivy League school. He went to the agriculture division. If he wants to tell us about how cows turn grass into milk, OK. If he wants to come off as a political analyst or all things analyst, Not Ok.

    Major level news presenters are commonly intellectual idiots in the US. Many people regard them as truth giving geniuses. Drives me nuts.

    Kids are majoring in literature or liberal arts, and asking why they aren't finding jobs for 80k a year or at all for that matter.

    In general, sorry for making some assumptions about you. I was a little jazzed up from the constant spew of liberal misdirection, lying, childish ranting and all things political or polarizing all the time that we get in the news or just in general from the entire media.

  32. Kid, thanks very much.

    I don't think subjects of drugs trials can sue for side-effects if they were willing participants, they'll have signed a disclaimer. Also, those 15k deaths have not been attributed to the drugs. I don't know what drugs or illnesses were involved, but if the illness is terminal or strikes in old age then in a large trial, many patients / subjects would die even if the drug were effective and safe.



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