John McCain’s Really Bad Health Care Plan

Not much new here. See here and here for good analyses. Basically, McCain takes Bush’s discredited plan and warms it up a little. The idea is to sever the link between employment and health insurance, by giving individuals a $2,500 tax credit and families a $5,000 tax credit to shop around for the best deal they can find on the private insurance market. This will do absolutely nothing to help the uninsured, the underinsured, or both rationed by cost from getting health care– for it is based on the fallacious premise that the problem is over-consumption of heath care, and that if only people felt some price pressures, they would cut back on some spending and bring costs down. And of course, making health care less affordable will increase rationing by cost, and may lower health care spending. But is that the way to go?

As Ezra Klein notes, this is health insurance for people who don’t need health care. It relies on the idea that insurance should be based on actuarial principles, tying cost to individual risk. Therefore the private market (with products like health savings accounts) can be a very good deal to the young and the healthy, but does very little to those in most need of health care. It is a classic example of where the free market simply does not work, and can be highly unethical. Instead of actuarial insurance, we should strive for social insurance, which is basically risk pooling: the young and healthy subsidize the old and sick, secure in the knowledge that they will be taken care of in a similar situation. It’s based on the principle of solidarity. And clearly, it works best when the pool is large, as when provided by the government or large companies. There are clear efficiency gains, and health care is cheaper. And John McCain wants to go in the opposite direction…

It’s interesting that John McCain is so dismissive of “government” care and touts the free market so much– for a man who has benefited from government care for most of his life. Klein:

“[A]side from his awful internment in a Vietnamese prison camp, it is hard to find a day in McCain’s life when he was not sheltered by the government-run health care he now claims to loathe. Born the son of a Navy admiral, he was cared for by Navy physicians during his childhood. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the United States Naval Academy, and the military’s care continued until he retired from the service in 1981. In 1982, he won a seat in Congress, ushering him into the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and in 2001, he qualified for Medicare. When he says, “we have the highest quality of health care in the world in America,” he is speaking as a man who has enjoyed a lifetime of government-run care. “

Plus, as Jon Cohn points out, a fatal flaw in McCain’s approach is how it deals with pre-existing conditions, or the ability of insurance companies to simply deny insurance to high-risk individuals. In fact, McCain not only does not tackle the issue, but could very well make it worse by attacking state-level regulations that force insurance companies to cover certain conditions. The McCain campaign response? Well, if there is a demand for this, the market will provide! I am serious.

It turns out that Elizabeth Edwards has been giving McCain grief on this aspect on his plan, pointing out that neither she nor McCain himself– as cancer survivors– would be able to get insurance in the kind of private market McCain is touting. Clearly irked by the pressure he has been getting on this point, McCain came up with a response, a “Guaranteed Access Plan”, which is basically the same as the “high risk pool” already available in 30 states. Basically, the insurance companies agree to insure high-risk people, in return for a subsidy– but on their terms. As Cohn notes, these plans are often prohibitively expensive, with high deductibles, and force people with pre-existing conditions to wait a while (six months to a year) before they pay for expenses related to that condition.

As a thought experiment, Cohn tries to figure out what it would cost to insure Elizabeth Edwards under the South Carolina plan (North Carolina doesn’t even have one). It would cost her $14,000 a year in insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses, and this is not even accounting for the cancer treatment which would not be covered in the first year (some drugs cost $10,000 a month). Of course, one possible solution is more generous subsidies. But I’m not sure this is what McCain is saying– his campaign is extremely vague on the issue. And anyway, isn’t his plan supposed to be all about the free market? Or are we back in Bushworld of ratcheting up health care spending that goes straight into insurance company profits?

Who has the best healh care plan? Why, it’s everybody’s least favorite candidate, Hillary Clinton!

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  • TeutonicTim

    MM – In all seriousness – why is it the governments responsibility to provide health “insurance” at all?

    The reason a tax credit wouldn’t help the poor and uninsured is because they already don’t owe any federal tax, meaning the government is already helping them by NOT taking their money so that they can spend it on what they need.

  • Karen

    TT, my husband and I together made $99,000. That puts us comfortably in the upper middle class, although I note it’s the first year we’ve ever made that much. Nevertheless, last year Steve was hospitalized for ten days for acute pancreatitis and had his gall bladder removed. The total bill was more than $80,000. Our part was a little more than $5,000. We can pay that, but how many other people could? Also, please note that the choice here is not a Ford or a Buick, but getting the surgery or dying. I happen to think society as a whole is obligated to ensure that its members don’t die for easily avoidable reasons.

  • http://civicsgeeks.blogspot.com Zach

    When our health care system is nationalized, and politics becomes more and more about power to control money, and more and more about power to control other people’s lives, I will enjoy remembering these arguments.

  • Daniel H. Conway

    Mr. Tim,

    Why isn’t it the community’s responsibility to assist the sick? And then, why isn’t it the community’s responsibility to assist in the promotion of health? How does this not fit any concept of promoting the common good?

    Is seems to be the community’s responsibility to assure one of safe roads, safe buildings, bridges, highways, and the promotion of certain businesses by providing tax breaks at many levels of our community (local, state, federal).

    It seems to be a particular skin crawling feature for conservatives in a cultural sense, that lacks grounding in economics.

    The question that needs to be asked is why is it a responsibility of a business to provide health care to its employees?

  • TeutonicTim

    Karen – My wife and I work and make OK money. I suppose we could be considered comfortably upper middle class as well. This thanksgiving my wife had a DVT in her leg that could have killed her. She was hospitalized for 2 days, and off of work for 2 weeks. She’s been injecting blood thinners twice a day, with a prescription that costs 1800 dollars per two week supply for the past 6 months, and will continue to do so for the next 3 or 4 months. On top of all this we are expecting our first child. We’ve had to pay a good chunk of money in co-pays, prescription costs, hospitalization costs, etc. We could pay it but how many others could? It was a life or death situation, and the hospital would have treated her regardless. We would have had to find a way to pay for the prescription regardless, even if it meant massive debt. If we incurred massive debt and couldn’t take it, there are bankruptcy laws, and a start over. Not ideal, but then again what is?

    Who should I propose should have to pay? Who would you propose should have to pay?

  • http://civilizationoflove.wordpress.com Katerina Ivanovna

    I will enjoy remembering these arguments.

    Ohh… I don’t need to remember anything. I can tell you right now how nationalized healthcare works. Back home we had the two-tier healthcare system and keep in mind this was a third-world country, and I went to the public hospital’s ER several times because of all the broken bones I’ve had and I loved it… didn’t have to wait at all. Medicine was cheap or even free. Doctors actually talked to you for more than 5 minutes. It was a heck of a lot better than what I’ve had to go through here in the U.S. for two broken ankles among many other visits. Nobody is saying that it’s a perfect system, but it’s MUCH better than what we have right now.

    Karen, you’re absolutely right… Again, this discussion is like the one on free market. Economics is supposed to serve man and not the other way around. When there are people dying for the sake of maintaining an economic principle, you’ve got to take a step back and ask the questions that matter and understand that the person stands at the center of it all, not some economic theories.

  • TeutonicTim

    Mr. Daniel – I never said it wasn’t the “community’s” responsibility to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves.

    One cannot equate community with government.

    It’s not a business’s responsibility to provide health care to it’s employees. That’s why it’s called a “benefit”. If they want qualified and quality workers, they offer incentives for employees to work at that place of employment.

  • Matt K

    Building a system based on “solidarity” where the young and healthy pay for the care of the weak and strong would be a disaster in an individualistic, “get-what’s-mine” culture like that of the United States today. In a society where people grow up with the expectation of their children and grandchildren caring for them in their own homes, this might work, because people feel a connection to those who will pay for them in their old age, and would not wish to overburden them. But when those younger folks who will pay for one’s elderly infirmity are nothing but strangers, and one has been raised not to value others in and of themselves, there is no reason for them not to behave recklessly and unhealthily, with the rationale that “The government will pay for it!”

    There might be some incentive to be heathy in so far as one wants to look good and feel good, but people on the whole in our society are far too focused on instant gratification to think about what might happen to their bodies even 10 years down the road. Witness the modern diabetic epidemic.

  • http://civilizationoflove.wordpress.com Katerina Ivanovna

    and more and more about power to control other people’s lives,

    I’ll take that any day over having to choose between being healthy or sick or choose the same for my children.

  • http://civilizationoflove.wordpress.com Katerina Ivanovna

    If we incurred massive debt and couldn’t take it, there are bankruptcy laws, and a start over. Not ideal, but then again what is?

    Wow.

  • TeutonicTim

    Wow.

    Beats debtors prison, doesn’t it? How is that not a just situation? It offers those who cannot pay their debts a way out of the situation and a fresh start at some point.

  • TeutonicTim

    In a society where people grow up with the expectation of their children and grandchildren caring for them in their own homes, this might work, because people feel a connection to those who will pay for them in their old age, and would not wish to overburden them.

    And this example share what exactly with universal, government run “healthcare”?

    To me the care of the elderly should fall to the family, as it has for most of history. Exactly where the government should enter into this is beyond me apparently…

  • TeutonicTim

    and more and more about power to control other people’s lives,

    I’ll take that any day over having to choose between being healthy or sick or choose the same for my children.

    “When the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse, there is an end of liberty. “

  • TeutonicTim

    Oops, I forgot one more written by some 18th century protestant white male:

    “They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety,
    deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  • Morning’s Minion

    Tim: because health care is a basic human right and the market is incapable of providing it. What more do you want?

  • http://discalcedyooper.wordpress.com M.Z. Forrest

    TeutonicTim,

    Let me first extend my prayers for your wife, you, and your coming child. The Lord is Good in bringing you a child soon, and he is a comforter as your wife heals.

    As to bankruptcy and generally indigency, this is no way to fund a health care system. Justice is violated when the hospital and doctors are not paid. That both still provide care in their mercy is a good thing even though parts are mandated by law. However, no doctor or hospital can provide care if they don’t get paid. In many of our inner cities hospitals are being closed because of this.

  • Morning’s Minion

    Sorry, Tim, but if you are appealing to history for a minimalist argument for the role of government, then we can pretty much question everything. Education? End public funding. The military? Let’s go back to privately-funded militias, shall we?

  • TeutonicTim

    M.Z. – Thank you.

    I also agree with what you said. I’m not presenting bankruptcy as a solution, only that it’s not the end of the world for someone to have massive medical bills, like some propose.

  • TeutonicTim

    “Sorry, Tim, but if you are appealing to history for a minimalist argument for the role of government, then we can pretty much question everything. Education? End public funding. The military? Let’s go back to privately-funded militias, shall we?”

    Nice try, but no dice. Appealing to the history of this country, the government does have a role.

    “Section 8 – Powers of Congress

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

  • TeutonicTim

    I see military in there, but no education, no “healthcare”…

    Keep in mind, I’m basing this “proof” in the context of the United States. That subjects in other countries are under social medicine doesn’t have any bearing here.

  • Matt K

    Teutonic Tim, I think that in such a society people would generally be more disposed to behave responsibly. I don’t trust my fellow Americans, I work with a bunch of salespeople and I see every day how unscrupulous people in general are, and how far they will go to maximize their own financial benefit even though they are comfortably well-off.

    M.Z., you raise a good point about inner-city hospitals. This is the reason that some oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants: that the inner-city hospitals are strained enough, and if we give the destitute illegals “papers” those hospitals will completely collapse. I however am of the opinion that the number of people stiffing hospitals would not significantly increase, but I’m not well-versed in the workings of said hospitals.

  • TeutonicTim

    “I think that in such a society people would generally be more disposed to behave responsibly. I don’t trust my fellow Americans, I work with a bunch of salespeople and I see every day how unscrupulous people in general are, and how far they will go to maximize their own financial benefit even though they are comfortably well-off.”

    Disposing people to behaving responsibly reduces problems for everyone because it removes the incentive to behave irresponsibly in any facet of life and take advantage of others.

  • TeutonicTim

    Speaking of which, I don’t see any provisions here for “Creating a health care plan”. Do you?

    “Section 1 – The President

    The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

    (The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not lie an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two-thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice-President.) (This clause in parentheses was superseded by the 12th Amendment.)

    The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    (In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.) (This clause in parentheses has been modified by the 20th and 25th Amendments.)

    The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

    Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Section 2 – Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments

    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

    He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

    The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

    Section 3 – State of the Union, Convening Congress

    He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

    Section 4 – Disqualification

    The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

  • http://civilizationoflove.wordpress.com Katerina Ivanovna

    TeutonicTim,

    In your arguments, you keep putting liberty over people. In other words, from what I read, for you it is more important to maintain “liberty” or “freedom” (whatever that is supposed to mean in reality) than to ensure that people can live their lives with dignity and by that I mean people living healthy lives and with the ability to sustain their families. You can’t live with dignity if you can’t provide for your family. What kind of responsible parent would even consider bankruptcy as a viable solution when he/she is only trying to ensure that his/her family is healthy? You’re not making any sense and I couldn’t think you would put your wife and new child through that.

    At the end of the day, this “freedom” you speak of is completely false, because to have people subject to the greed of others (i.e. insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies) and to put people’s lives on the line for it is nothing less than slavery. That is not freedom… at least not in my book.

  • Michael Enright

    MM–

    As someone who has had, and still somewhat has, a bias against public funding of most things, I think cutting public funding of the millitary would be a very good idea. Standing armies are a danger to our freedom and operate in a terroristic fashion. We don’t need to be spending our money on that. Roads could be privatized too. Also, eventually we should move to replace government provision of goods with communities voluntarily providing for these goods such as education. I have heard in one diocese, I believe Witchitaw, free education has been provided to all Catholic children–so its not nessarily impossible.

  • TeutonicTim

    “You’re not making any sense and I couldn’t think you would put your wife and new child through that.”

    You’re right on that. I do the best I can being responsible with the gifts I am given. I will do my part, pay for what I need to pay for, and maintain my position as head of my family. I just wish that those would take away my earnings from my wife and child would rely on others to do their part themselves as much as they want to take the fruit of me doing my part.

    I still don’t think you understand that not wishing to fund government programs does not equate to not caring about people.

  • Morning’s Minion

    Tim,

    What point are you trying to make by quoting positivist documents? I’m talking about whether it is right or not. I merely pointed out that the “government hasn’t historically done it” argument holds no water.

  • TeutonicTim

    “At the end of the day, this “freedom” you speak of is completely false, because to have people subject to the greed of others (i.e. insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies) and to put people’s lives on the line for it is nothing less than slavery. That is not freedom… at least not in my book.”

    Let me correct you:

    At the end of the day, this “freedom” I speak of is completely false, because to have people subject to the greed of government is nothing less than slavery. That is not freedom… at least not in my book”

  • TeutonicTim

    I’m pointing out that the government is not empowered to do anything about the “issue” you’re speaking of.

    Giving care to those who need it is right. I’m not arguing against that.

    Forcing others through government taxation, is not right. I am arguing against that. Just because it is natural for you to rely on your government masters doesn’t make it right.

  • Chase

    Since Benedict XVI recently gave such an impassioned defense of the Universal Delcaration of Human Rights, I thought I’d include an appropriate article:

    Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

    Sounds to me very much like the work Msgr. John Ryan did in “A Living Wage,” building off Revum Novarum et al.

  • TeutonicTim

    Which is why someone can go to an emergency room and get care. Duh.

    Notice the absence of the Pope saying that the government should provide those things.

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    TeutonicTim,

    Who do you think the pope was then referencing as to secure these rights–Santa Claus?

  • TeutonicTim

    Why not private groups, like Churches?

    Worked before throughout history. Where do you think Hospitals came from?

  • TeutonicTim

    It’s amazing how well trained you people are.

  • Morning’s Minion

    Brilliant. Tim is now proposing a system of ER health care, which must be the single most inefficient way I can think of to do it. A decent health care system could be based on primary care, with a personal relationship between doctor and patient– and despite what many Americans think, this is more common under single payer as the doctor no longer has to do battle with inusrance companies and can focus on his patient as a human being.

  • Karen

    Tim, what do you think of state governments providing single – payer health care, like Massachuetts does?

    And I have to tell you from second – hand experience, bankruptcy is only slightly better than debtors’ prison. Please note the differences between personal bankruptcy and corporate bankruptcy law, for one thing.

    And finally, I think taxes should pay for a basic level of health care, just like they pay for roads, schools, parks, and the other stuff that makes civilization.

  • TeutonicTim
  • TeutonicTim

    MM – You completely don’t get it. I wasn’t proposing any system. I was making note that if someone needs care, they get it.

  • Liam

    Insurance for risk management, along with negotiable instruments to make capital liquid, is part of a fully functioning capitalist economic system. But insurance is primarily a risk management tool, not a profit tool, though obviously managing risks affects profits. That’s why insurance is an unusual enterprise, and helps explain why, for the common good, it is important to incentivize insurers to use the broadest risk pools possible.

    McCain’s plan, however, encourages insurers to skim the healthy off from the unhealthy, fundamentally contradicting the role of insurance for the purpose of maximizing insurer profits at public expense (because ultimately the costs of caring for the unhealthy are socialized out of the insurance pool). So it does not represent a healthy capitalist approach, despite its surface appeals in that general direction.

    It is essential to try to broaden the insurance pools we use for health insurance.

  • TeutonicTim

    Karen – You mean the Massachusetts plan that leaves hundreds of thousands uninsured, is hundreds of millions short of funds, and is heavily subsidized by the federal government? Sounds like it falls short of all the promises put forth by cheerleaders of such a system.

  • Policraticus

    It’s amazing how well trained you people are.

    Right, because we’re the ones cutting and pasting the Constitution in a discussion on 21st century health care in America while making dubious and vague references to unnamed moments in history. Unless you have a real argument, I recommend bowing out here…you’re way out of your league.

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    Question here

    In the United States we have individual states that have more GNP than many countries. Have you thought of trying to make the argument for individual state health care coming directly out of state coffers. If not why not.

    We have a huge Catholic Hospital system. Have we Catholics thought how we can use that to help the poor and the needy or are we just ready for Big Daddy Federal Govt to do it. have been Catholic for now quite a long time and I wondering what exactly makes a Catholic hospital different.

  • TeutonicTim

    “Right, because we’re the ones cutting and pasting the Constitution in a discussion on 21st century health care in America while making dubious and vague references to unnamed moments in history. Unless you have a real argument, I recommend bowing out here…you’re way out of your league.”

    And what “league” would that be? The league of people who ignore the legal limits set forth by the construction of our country? The league of people that somehow thinks those limits don’t apply because it’s the 21st century? The league of people who look to the federal government for everything? The league of people who do all of the above while pretending that the Church says to?

  • TeutonicTim

    Besides, maybe you should read what I pasted. I’d mail you my hardcopy, but I doubt you’d read it anyway.

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    I wil stand up for Teutonic tim for a sec

    I am a Conservative and a Republican bit very much for a safety net and people not dying for goodness sake because they do not have insurance. I want something that works

    Tim putting all that Const messiness up there is not some frugal exercise in copying and pasting. The Federal Govt is in the end a Govt or limited and specific powers. I hear people aying health care is a right!!! That the federal govt should provide it. However I cannot but see the irony that many of these same people proclaming this hate the “Nation State” and that many have proclaimed on other threads that we should go back to more a regional and yes even cultural/ regional form of Govt. What is it? You can;t have both.

    IS HEalth Care a right? What does that mean? Do people realize that if it is a “right” that we have unelected members of the Supreme Court deciding what that right means? Maybe it is a right in the natural law sense. However people should think and offer a framework of how this “right” will work in our very diverse country

    I want to to see every American not be hurt because of their non ability to have inadequate insurance. But the semonization of each side in this debate gets old

  • Morning’s Minion

    Jh– it is a basic human right in Catholic social teaching. What the American Supreme Court thinks is entirely irrelevant.

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    M.M

    I am sory but what the Supreme Court thinks is revelant. I know it awfully troublesome but the Supreme Court generally can not make uo rights out of thin air. That is up for the we the People to do or to be more precise to make sure they are incorporated in the Const.

    With all do respect to the Catholic Social teaching the right to health care is not in it currently. One will find that if one wishes to have rights established by judicial fiat in a democracy that the flip side is they can be taken away just as fast by Judicial fiat. All by people that are largely unaccountable.

    ALso as I stated earlier what about the states? You know this whole Federalism thing. WHat is to prevent this “right” in being enshrined into State law and thus being closer to the people and this more accountable.

    I am often curious why when issues like this are discussed it is on the federal level. THe states and our Federal/State sytem of governace is not een engaged.

  • http://contrapauli.blogspot.com Pauli

    One cannot equate community with government.

    And especially not the US Federal Government.

  • Policraticus

    Once again, TeutonicTim, no substance and no argument. Copying and pasting text or contriving caricatures of your interlocutors doesn’t fly (I await the witty response).

  • http://contrapauli.blogspot.com Pauli

    If we finally ever are allowed to cross state lines for underwriting we’ll see the price drop. The insurance business is ugly and it’s ugly because of non-market barriers. The only way to derail the gravy train is to deregulate.

    If we go with a “single-payer” plan the biggest losers will be the Canadians who rely on an efficient system down south of the border so they can get prompt treatment. Lines of Americans waiting for treatment will not be welcoming. Jerry Springer, call your cameraman.

  • http://civicsgeeks.blogspot.com Zach

    Katerina,

    Why did you move here if you enjoyed your healthcare so much?

    The political, economic and religious freedoms we enjoy in the United States are rare and precarious. I will be sad when they are all gone. People so easily give up freedom for what they perceive as security. (I mean here freedom in the political sense, i.e. freedom from servitude and tyranny)

    Hobbes was right about a few things, I guess.

  • Michael Enright

    MM–

    Can you cite specific passages of specific documents to show that health care is a right, and while your at it, what exactly a “right” means.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    In the United States we have individual states that have more GNP than many countries. Have you thought of trying to make the argument for individual state health care coming directly out of state coffers. If not why not.

    This is essentially what exists here in Canada. Each province has its own health care plan which it funds through provincial taxes, with some assistance from the federal government.

    The league of people who ignore the legal limits set forth by the construction of our country? The league of people that somehow thinks those limits don’t apply because it’s the 21st century?

    Amazing how you treat the foundational documents of the united states of america as if they were scripture. Sola scriptura, eh?

    However I cannot but see the irony that many of these same people proclaming this hate the “Nation State” and that many have proclaimed on other threads that we should go back to more a regional and yes even cultural/ regional form of Govt. What is it? You can;t have both.

    There is no irony. I’m an anarchist (on the left, though, not a “libertarian”), and opposition to the nation-state is part of my politics. But that said, as a communitarian anarchist I do think that persons in community have a responsibility toward one another (mutual aid and all that) that should be reflected in the community’s life and organization, and this includes health care. From an anarchist perspective this would be controlled by the people themselves; actual government “of the people” as opposed to the externalization of “the state.” Governments, whether they are real governments of the people (as anarchism envisions) or externalized “states” do have a responsibility for taking care of the community. The problem is not that government is involved in something that should be “private.” The problem is that the state is externalized and oppressive. As we have to live in reality, within the systems that actually exist, there are pragmatic as well as deeply moral reasons why u.s. citizens should be in favor of universal health care: it helps us take care of one another, as persons. The “hands off,” privatized approach to medicine, despite superficial appearances, is not closer to the communitarian anarchist ideal of a stateless society (that is, a society that is really a community). So no, no irony at all. You seem to have profoundly misunderstood what opposition to the nation-state is about, at least from a communitarian anarchist perspective.

    I am sory but what the Supreme Court thinks is revelant.

    Of course it’s relevant in that it is the “supreme law of the land.” But what MM is saying is that for Christians, it is not the “supreme” law at all, and it is not flawless.

    If we go with a “single-payer” plan the biggest losers will be the Canadians who rely on an efficient system down south of the border so they can get prompt treatment. Lines of Americans waiting for treatment will not be welcoming. Jerry Springer, call your cameraman.

    Oh please. I live in Canada. You are buying into a myth. I ask Canadians about health care all the time. They have no complaints, save a “little bit of waiting” they say. When I ask them how long, it’s typically the same wait times we have in the u.s., and although they mention it, they really do not feel inconvenienced by it.

  • SB

    A shorter version of Michael I’s last comment: “I oppose the government’s very existence; but it’s also consistent for me to want to make the government larger.” Right; and triangles are round.

  • http://civilizationoflove.wordpress.com Katerina Ivanovna

    Why did you move here if you enjoyed your healthcare so much?

    Because the U.S. doesn’t have enough engineers to meet the demand for them, so they hired my dad to come and work here.

  • Morning’s Minion

    Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church:

    “The demands of the common good are dependent on the social conditions of each historical period and are strictly connected to respect for and the integral promotion of the person and his fundamental rights[349]. These demands concern above all the commitment to peace, the organization of the State’s powers, a sound juridical system, the protection of the environment, and the provision of essential services to all, some of which are at the same time human rights: food, housing, work, education and access to culture, transportation, basic health care, the freedom of communication and expression, and the protection of religious freedom.” (166)

    “The principle of the universal destination of goods requires that the poor, the marginalized and in all cases those whose living conditions interfere with their proper growth should be the focus of particular concern. To this end, the preferential option for the poor should be reaffirmed in all its force[384]. “This is an option, or a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness. It affects the life of each Christian inasmuch as he or she seeks to imitate the life of Christ, but it applies equally to our social responsibilities and hence to our manner of living, and to the logical decisions to be made concerning the ownership and use of goods. Today, furthermore, given the worldwide dimension which the social question has assumed, this love of preference for the poor, and the decisions which it inspires in us, cannot but embrace the immense multitudes of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without health care and, above all, those without hope of a better future.: (182)

  • Morning’s Minion

    JH:

    I am arguing from the point of view of Catholic social teaching, which I believe to be truth grounded in the natural law. Why do you keep coming back to the US Supreme Court? Frankly, it surprises me to see so much sola scriptura constitutionalism being touted in these corners. And no, the Supreme Court does not “make up rights” and neither does the mob (“we the people”) in your language– these rights are based on the eternal law of God and etched in human reason.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    A shorter version of Michael I’s last comment: “I oppose the government’s very existence; but it’s also consistent for me to want to make the government larger.” Right; and triangles are round.

    It’s clear from what I wrote that I oppose the state, not “governments.”

    Tip: read what people actually write and then comment on that.

  • SB

    Hmm, not too hard. Just a matter of semantics, really. Shorter version of Michael I’s last comment: “I oppose the very existence of the externalized state, but it’s consistent for me to want to give that externalized state more power, money, and authority, as long as it’s for left-wing ends.”

  • TeutonicTim

    “Once again, TeutonicTim, no substance and no argument. Copying and pasting text or contriving caricatures of your interlocutors doesn’t fly (I await the witty response).”

    What exactly are you saying? What exactly is your substance? What exactly is your point?

    I’m sorry that you aren’t able to realize that your master plan of having the government take over your life just isn’t within the derived power of our Federal Government. It might fly in Canada because their government has the power. If you really want it, focus your efforts on making an amendment. What else do you need to know?

  • TeutonicTim

    “I am arguing from the point of view of Catholic social teaching, which I believe to be truth grounded in the natural law. Why do you keep coming back to the US Supreme Court? Frankly, it surprises me to see so much sola scriptura constitutionalism being touted in these corners. And no, the Supreme Court does not “make up rights” and neither does the mob (”we the people”) in your language– these rights are based on the eternal law of God and etched in human reason.”

    You still have never come up with a reason that the single payer needs to be the government!

    Why can’t the single payer be the Catholic Church? The Catholic Church has more members than the U.S. has citizens. The Catholic Church holds that health care is a right, but never said it had to be provided for be the government. The Catholic Church used to run hospitals and would treat anyone who needed it. Why can’t that happen now?

    Why must you look to the government for solutions that we can provide as Catholics?

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    It’s could only be reduced to “semantics” if you can’t grasp the distinctions.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    The Catholic Church used to run hospitals and would treat anyone who needed it. Why can’t that happen now?

    So you are against welfare programs but are perfectly fine with it if the Catholic Church were to do it? If the Catholic Church provided free health care for every single citizen of the united states, you would have no problem with that? You would exclude no one?

    Didn’t Benedict remind us that the Church is not primarily a social service agency?

  • http://discalcedyooper.wordpress.com M.Z. Forrest

    We can’t keep some parishes open. Many of the catholic schools are inaccessible to parishioners due to cost. But somehow, the Catholic Church is supposed to be able to run a health care system predicated on providing charitable care?

    It won’t happen in this country. The obligations of voluntary association are too weak and unenforcable by law to support such a thing.

  • TeutonicTim

    “So you are against welfare programs but are perfectly fine with it if the Catholic Church were to do it? If the Catholic Church provided free health care for every single citizen of the united states, you would have no problem with that? You would exclude no one?

    Didn’t Benedict remind us that the Church is not primarily a social service agency?

    Yes. Yes. No. No.

    If some private person or organization would step up and provide free or subsidized health care to every person in the U.S. I would have no problem with that. They are free to make that decision. That would not constitute an abuse of government power.

    So what if he did. He didn’t then say that the government is supposed to. It’s a logical stretch to say that because something is not the Church’s primary purpose that it then does not provide social services. I give money every week to our Church and to others to support social services. Think man, Think.

  • TeutonicTim

    Let me rewrite that:

    So you are against welfare programs but are perfectly fine with it if the Catholic Church were to do it?
    YES. In fact, as a Catholic, I’d donate my own money happily to help out.

    If the Catholic Church provided free health care for every single citizen of the united states, you would have no problem with that?
    NO.

    You would exclude no one?
    NO (unless it just wasn’t possible.)

  • TeutonicTim

    “We can’t keep some parishes open. Many of the catholic schools are inaccessible to parishioners due to cost. But somehow, the Catholic Church is supposed to be able to run a health care system predicated on providing charitable care?

    It won’t happen in this country. The obligations of voluntary association are too weak and unenforcable by law to support such a thing.

    Maybe if the Catholic Church restarted it’s large charitable efforts, instead of its members looking to the federal government for everything, it would be a good advertisement for the Church.

    You can’t build(rebuild) something great in a day. Pushing unconstitutional shortcut solutions with dangerous unintended consequences is not something we need to do.

  • TeutonicTim

    The obligations of voluntary association are too weak and unenforcable by law to support such a thing.”

    So the solution is involuntary association? That sounds fun.

  • http://discalcedyooper.wordpress.com M.Z. Forrest

    TeutonicTim,

    Would you consider the State taking 5% of your income and giving it to your registered parish an act consistent with voluntary association or an act consistent with involutary association? I would call it the former. You could never do it in this country though.

  • TeutonicTim

    M.Z. I would consider that involuntary unless I checked a box on a form saying the “state” could do so. Besides, everyone knows that if the state took 5% from me, the parish would see a fraction of that.

    I guess I don’t understand the role that the state would need to play in that scenario.

  • SB

    It’s could only be reduced to “semantics” if you can’t grasp the distinctions.

    Well, I think I grasp the distinctions. But even if I don’t, it’s better than not being able to grasp the law of non-contradiction.

  • http://discalcedyooper.wordpress.com M.Z. Forrest

    I don’t know where you get the everyone knows part. For argument’s sake, assume the parish receives 99.7% of what is collected. Does your answer change?

  • SB

    Just kidding, I know you’re smart enough to grasp that law. It’s just that your run-of-the-mill left-wing principles (nothing wrong with that) take precedence over the affectation of being an “anarchist.”

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    It’s just that your run-of-the-mill left-wing principles (nothing wrong with that) take precedence over the affectation of being an “anarchist.”

    On the contrary, my Christian personalist commitments in the here and now take precedence over whatever ideals I may have.

    Essentially you’re saying that, because I am an anarchist, I should settle for the present system of privatized health care rather than settle for social insurance because the the latter involves the state, and the former supposedly does not. The fact is, both are settling for something other than the anarchist ideal. Social insurance, however, at least assures that persons are cared for in the here and now. The entire anarchist vision (at least the communitarian version) is a moral vision based on communities that care for persons.

  • TeutonicTim

    “I don’t know where you get the everyone knows part. For argument’s sake, assume the parish receives 99.7% of what is collected. Does your answer change?”

    Nope. The part you picked on was just an example of what happens to money the “state” takes. The answer stood on its own.

  • SB

    Michael, the state is involved in health care somewhat, but if you support nationalized health care, then you necessarily want the state to be much more involved in health care, both in terms of financing and regulation. That may be a very good thing, but the one thing that it does NOT do is bring us any closer to an “anarchist” society.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    Anarchists oppose not only the state, but capitalism and domination in all its forms. The present system is capitalist, which preserved by the military state. Socialized insurance would not take us any further away from the anarchist ideal. Insofar as anarchism is oriented to the dignity and freedom of persons, a system which takes care of persons would be closer to anarchist ideals.

  • SB

    Anarchists oppose not only the state, but capitalism and domination in all its forms.

    Then the self-contradiction is inherent. It’s impossible to get rid of “capitalism” without some serious state intervention (akin to Soviet Russia). Without a massive state, there are going to be acts of capitalism between consenting adults.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    Then the self-contradiction is inherent. It’s impossible to get rid of “capitalism” without some serious state intervention (akin to Soviet Russia). Without a massive state, there are going to be acts of capitalism between consenting adults.

    Non-capitalist relations occur and exist all over the place, regardless of what the state has to say about it. We are able to “get rid” of capitalism simply by making other arrangements. You are very modernist in the faith you place in statecraft.

    “The state is a relationship between human beings, a way by which people relate to one another; and one destroys it by entering into other relationships, by behaving differently to one another.” – Gustav Landauer

  • SB

    Yes, non-capitalist relations occur, but that’s logically irrelevant. The point is that if you want to GET RID of capitalism, there are an awfully large number of private firms, private exchanges, etc., that you’d have to stamp out somehow. Doing that on a voluntary basis? Impossible. You might as well have a political philosophy that assumes people are going to shrink to 1 micron tall and all live inside a thimble, thus preserving the environment.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    Difficult? Sure. Impossible? I don’t know. Capitalism hasn’t always existed. It doesn’t necessarily have to exist in the present or in the future.

  • TeutonicTim

    “The present system is capitalist, which preserved by the military state.

    I think you forgot your tinfoil hat today or something.

  • TeutonicTim

    The fact is, both are settling for something other than the anarchist ideal.

    Then why settle for one over another? You say socialism at least assures people are cared for here and now. If you really think that is the case with socialist countries and socialisms past, then you really need to rethink that.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    You say socialism at least assures people are cared for here and now.

    I said insuring that all people have health care assures people are cared for. “Socialized medicine” in one form or another seems to do that better than medicine for profit.

    If you really think that is the case with socialist countries and socialisms past, then you really need to rethink that.

    I didn’t say ANYTHING about “socialisms past.” Stop putting words in my mouth. It seems like you are entirely unable to hold a conversation without misrepresenting people.

  • TeutonicTim

    I didn’t say you said that. You made an assertion based on the properties of how “insuring everyone” would work:

    “Social insurance, however, at least assures that persons are cared for in the here and now.”

    You cannot make such an assertion unless you think you understand how the “system” works. You cannot understand how such a “system” works, unless you look at how other places have implemented said “system”in the REAL world. YOU called it social insurance, not me. I pointed out the inevitable course of implementing incremental socialism, you got angry. Actually it seems you are a very angry person…

    Who is misrepresenting what, Mr. Iafrate.

  • TeutonicTim

    Oh – what exactly assures people who get “insured” get “cared for”. Heck, I’ll write an insurance policy that says everyone will cared for. Doesn’t mean it will happen.

    In fact, there are hundreds of thousands in Massachusetts who would question you on that as well…

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    Oh brother.

    You cannot make such an assertion unless you think you understand how the “system” works. You cannot understand how such a “system” works, unless you look at how other places have implemented said “system”in the REAL world. YOU called it social insurance, not me.

    There are a variety of ways such a “system” could work, and I’m not about to set out a plan for you as to how it would work. There are plenty of past models, and plenty of models that have no been implemented. There is no “inevitable course” attached to “incremental socialism.” There is not even one kind of socialism.

    I’m not, generally, an angry person but I do get angry about disregard for the dignity of human persons, and folks like you who are apologists for a system of death. Insofar as you defend the current system, you make me angry. I must also point out that this system can only survive through lies and a willingness of buy the lie. This explains why you are so intent on misreading your opponents. You need to keep the lie going.

    Have a nice day, Timmy. And keep studying. You need to know your enemy better if you are going to uphold the death-dealing status quo.

  • TeutonicTim

    I’m not, generally, an angry person but I do get angry about disregard for the dignity of human persons, and folks like you who are apologists for a system of death. Insofar as you defend the current system, you make me angry.

    When have I defended the “system”? “System of death?” You make me laugh.

    I also find it hilarious – MM should come in here and call you a Calvinist for bringing out the US vs. THEM attitude!

  • Alyosha

    Teutonic Tim,

    How did you let the ‘system’ make you think so little of the worth of yourself and your wife? Your “earning power’ is not the ultimate basis of your dignity.

    You are a very sad case.

  • TeutonicTim

    Man.

    How do you think so little of your self and your family that you need the government to take care of you? Do you not have any dignity of your own, that you need to defer to any shred of power? Why not give it up to God and leave the government out of it.

    Quit projecting your complex on me.

    Besides, the only reason I mentioned my wife was because Karen wanted to try to use the emotional angle. I let you all know that no matter who you are you will have problems, complications, and issues. You will also have blessings, the ability to work hard, and to be responsible.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    Alyosha – Clearly, Tim is a bitter individualist. So far from the spirit of Catholicism.

  • TeutonicTim

    Clearly Michael is a bitter statist, though he calls himself an anarchist.

    Notice how he ignores using actual charity to help others. He’s too hungry for control to allow for that.

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    Heh. A “bitter statist.” You certainly know the terminology that might “get to me,” but you are also clueless.

  • TeutonicTim

    Ditto Michael J.

    See, the anger issues again…

  • http://www.catholicanarchy.org Michael J. Iafrate

    Sooo angry. Hope you’re having a blessed and holy Saturday, Tim.

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