Patterico's Pontifications

6/25/2009

Obamacare Infomercial: What Were They Thinking?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:14 am



[Posted by Karl]

Seriously. What were they thinking?

The health care “town hall” event at the White House staged by ABCNews was clearly intended as part of Pres. Obama’s week-long PR blitz to bolster the case for health care reform, to be followed today with rallies funded and organized by the Usual Suspects.

ABCNews denied that it was actively assisting this effort, despite running graphics in a font remarkably similar to the Gotham font Obama used throughout the 2008 campaign. But despite the presence of a couple of challenging questioners, the pre-selected questions and general lack of follow-up made for an experience similar to the lame press conference format lefty bloggers like Ezra Klein were decrying yesterday morning, but probably enjoying in primetime. (Even ABC’s online fact-checking was lame, verging on the left-leaning. In contrast, Cato managed to savage Obama’s talking points in real time.)

The upside for Obama in this format is that he was generally able to bob and weave away from the real issues. For example, he talked about increasing the number of primary care doctors without acknowledging this could inflate the health care costs he claims he is trying to contain.

He could deliver his standard talking points about preventative care, even the vast majority of preventative measures reviewed in the health economics literature do not save money.

He could simply assert that “often times we know what makes sense and what doesn’t,” in pushing comparative effectiveness research, despite the fact that it is already killing cancer patients in Britain, to name but one example. (Indeed, no one followed up on his semi-oblique suggestion that America generally needs to move to a culture that disfavors heroic end-of-life care.)

Obama could talk about a proposed government-run plan without addressing the arguments that such a plan would almost inevitably engage in unfair competition. Obama was not asked whether a public plan would be allowed to fail. He was not asked about the Senate bill that would allow a public plan to avoid state regulation. He was not asked about the Lewin Group estimate that as many as 119 million people could be dumped from their current coverage into to the public plan until the Nightline segment, which was likely watched by far fewer people. Obama should doubly thank ABCNews for burying that exchange because — despite the fact that he had to know it was probably coming — it was Aetna CEO Ron Williams, not the Orator-in-Chief, who had the soundbite: “It’s difficult to compete against a player who’s also the person refereeing the game.” (At that link, Jake Tapper also notes that the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that support for a public plan plummets to 37 percent if it would crowd out private insurers. But I digress.)

He got to complain about the Congressional Budget Office’s stubborn refusal to score his imaginary game-changers as actual savings, while refusing to commit to any method of paying for a plan that Obama admitted might cost as much as $2 trillion. As CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller noted again and again and again, throughout the primetime special — and the Nightline addendum — Obama would pretend he was going to address a “challenging question,” or would say that an issue required a “difficult decision,” while avoiding an answer.

But what did Obama really get for all of his dodging? He didn’t take many punches, but he didn’t land any, either. Drew Weston might say that it is smart to avoid wonkery and focus on his three basic principles (however dishonest they may be) — lower costs, freedom to choose and coverage for all Americans. But even if the audience will not remember the details, they will remember (even if subconsciously) whether there were details. Platitudes alone will not address the public skepticism of about the types of fixes being proposed by Obama and the Democrats.

Weston also believes in the power of stories over policy (and there is some merit to that argument). On that front, Obama got to talks about his late grandmother again. But he was also exposed as a rank hypocrite on the issue of seeking extraordinary care for his own family before making it clear that he thinks other people’s families should hurry up and die already:

Jane Sturm told the story of her nearly 100-year-old mother, who was originally denied a pacemaker because of her age. She eventually got one, but only after seeking out another doctor.

“Outside the medical criteria,” Sturm asked, “is there a consideration that can be given for a certain spirit … and quality of life?”

“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on peoples’ spirit,” Obama said.

Obama came off sounding more like one of the evil insurance company execs he wants to drive out of business than the sort of empathetic person he wants to appoint to the federal judiciary.

Pres. Obama’s approach of leaving all of those “difficult decisions” to Congress and refusing to commit to any specifics that might turn out to be unpopular places him in the role of professor, not president. It’s hard to be a leader with no direction. It’s hard to sell a plan when you don’t have a plan. It’s hard to be given hours of ABCNews time and not make any news, but Obama seems to have managed it. ABCNews gave Obama a gift, and he squandered it. The town hall was billed as a “Prescription for America,” but viewers were left with little idea as to what might end up in the bottle.

As Obamacare started running into trouble in Congress, some on the Left — like Stanley Greenberg and Nate Silver — started begging Pres. Obama to get out and sell, sell, sell a government takeover. Ezra Klein argued that Obama should have sat back and waited until Congress pushed as far as it could. Yesterday’s installment of O!TV seems to have accomplished the worst of both worlds, burning some political capital to no concrete purpose.

Update: Is it good news or bad news for Obamacare that the “town hall” got crushed in the overnight ratings?

–Karl

72 Responses to “Obamacare Infomercial: What Were They Thinking?”

  1. The system is not broken. We just have widely expanding health care options and they are expensive. When the perception that health care is a “right” as opposed to a commodity-service like any other, politicians fall over one another to give us those rights.

    Our current system may be flawed, may not get as much care to everyone as we would like, but as Winston Churchill said: “Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms.” Well our health care system is the same.

    One thing though, Churchill also said: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

    I fear we will get the health care system we deserve.

    Joe (dcebbd)

  2. It is the Political System that is broken in this country and the residents of the White House and Congress broke it! What do you propose we do? Wear green until 2012?

    PCD (02f8c1)

  3. This man and his staff appear to be completely tone deaf. There are already rumblings about his “overexposure”. I wholeheartedly support any effort to keep him in front of the cameras, sans TOTUS. His honest answer to how he would go “outside the system” to obtain supplemental medical care for his family in the event of a serious illness exposed him for the hypocrite that he is. Slowly but surely the light of recognition will come on and people will understand what a fraud this clown is. His arrogance will be his downfall, which will hopefully allow our country to right itself and survive.

    Marty Farty (73baad)

  4. The only real solution is to have a two-tiered system. We can have a public plan (better than what we have now), that provides the very basics. But those have to be kept very basic and subsidized at a bare minimum so that people really don’t want to be on it – but instead, would prefer working and getting better coverage. (I know, it’s a pipe dream)

    I wonder how this infomercial will be spun by the left… was this a card well played?

    Corwin (ea9428)

  5. Corwin,

    The current snapshot at Memeorandum suggests the Left doesn’t want to talk about it.

    Karl (49d689)

  6. I took it upon myself to completely ignore this PR stunt, and chose to share a meal with happyfeet instead. Apparently my decision was wise beyond words.

    JD (06f82d)

  7. JD, because I adore happyfeet’s comments, what is he/she like in person – just as charming?

    Dana (8d88ef)

  8. I really would like the gov’t to get completely out of it. So my previous ‘solution’ is based on my expectations that gov’t will win (again) – and take over (or at least part in) anyother industry.

    Here’s an interesting quote from the ABC piece. I’m not sure what The President actually said (verbatim), but this is what ABC wrote:

    Obama said he didn’t understand those advocates of the free market who constantly say the private sector can do things better and are yet worried about this plan.”

    I’m almost at a loss on how to explain this… The free market is, by definition, a market free from government intervention. A public plan (run by the government – as if I had to include that!) competing with the free market is exactly what I’m worried about.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  9. […] at Hot Air on the Obamacare infomercial. He also posts at Patterico’s Ponficifactions. Always love the comments. Also, it looks like a ratings bomb for Obama and […]

    Climate Change Legislation – When Stupid Collides With Dogma | The Substratum (af9967)

  10. My recipe for eliminating all entitlement deficits.

    1) No tax on booz
    2) Legalize drugs
    3) No tax on smokes
    4) Ban condoms
    5) Legalize prostitution

    Within 10 years we will see the median age drop by 10% as people kills themselves off with reckless behavior. Freedom to choose.

    Social Security is solvent.
    Pension Plans are solvent.
    Medicare is solvent.
    More housing available for poor people.
    Quicker turnover of accumulated wealth from savers to debtors.

    So.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  11. #10 … and recipe for solving the non-existent health care crisis

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  12. Comment by HeavenSent — 6/25/2009 @ 11:29 am

    You forgot the elimination of all traffic laws…
    taking the short road to thinning out the gene pool.

    AD - RtR/OS! (438904)

  13. Dana – I can never keep you Dana’s straight so I will answer your question in the following manner. If you are the beautiful Dana, happyfeet is as charming as you are pretty. If you are the wise Dana (not that beautiful and wise are mutually exclusive, but you know what I mean) happyfeet is as charming as you are wise. He is a great guy, which is high praise from me.

    JD (26bc30)

  14. Someone recently posted something about Aldous Huxley’s brave new world.

    I think that book presents an argument that it’s not a good thing at all that Obama’s infomercial got low ratings. People today, at least the ones not outraged by Obama, simply aren’t paying attention to the consequences down the road of such a huge government.

    They will be spoonfed beggars. Basically what the democrats cleverly did to the underclass welfare recipients who could have emerged from the desegregation as the best America has to offer and instead are voting for next month’s cheese.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  15. Joe: Since you love quoting Churchill, recall that his country started its national health care program in the immediate aftermath of World War II devastation when the country was in financial ruins. It was a value judgment, that if they can ask people to die in war, they can provide them health coverage so they’re not dying in peace-time for lack of money.

    Honestly, I don’t think many people outside conservatives looking for attacking points even watched the town hall. A bill is coming, this year, for the reason Chris Matthews stated: The people who want it will compromise, the people who don’t want it will get beaten.

    Polls show strong majority support for some kind of fix and even strong majority support for a public option. People are worried about how to pay for it — but they want a change. I think the resisters’ sole victory may be to get the public option stripped, but I wouldn’t even count on that.

    As for the rest, the devil is in the details.

    HeavenSent: One would have to be truly clueless or heartless to say there is no “health care crisis.” Which are you?

    Myron (98529a)

  16. I heard it suggested on the radio this morning that we all ask our Senators and Congresspeople one “yes or no” question. Will you give up the medical coverage currently provided to you and replace it with whatever it is you create for the rest of us? I wonder how many would even be willing to answer the question.

    jwarner (0a2a75)

  17. jwarner (No. 16): I agree with asking them that question. They have a Cadillac plan and its for life, even if they’re only in for one-term. Americans deserve the same. Our lives are just as important as theirs, and we put them there.

    Myron (98529a)

  18. Myron,

    One would have to be truly a pedophile or an animal abuser to call it a “health care crisis” when it’s really a health insurance crisis at most since the care is available. Which are you?

    (see what I did there? How do you like dishonest rhetorical BS now?)

    Stashiu3 (ed6467)

  19. LOL, it’s a crisis why?

    Because we need a crisis to exploit.

    There’s no crisis at all. There’s an imperfect system, of course. About to be less perfect.

    Myron can cite polls all day, but will probably overlook those that show that the vast majority of people are against what Obama is specifically proposing. They are OK with some kind of reforms, but what Obama is doing they are against. And will be even more against if they have to live with it.

    The GOP is very wise to not comprimise at all. Let the Democrats own this like they own the Stimulus and the Economy. They will try to spread the blame around for the largess they are profiting from, but will fail.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  20. Myron, why do Americans deserve a ‘cadillac’ plan?

    Because it’s nicer?

    Do all americans deserve gold paved streets and ferraris?

    Americans deserve to keep as much of their money as they want to do with as they please. A lot of Americans don’t need health insurance and don’t want it. They make good decisions and are willing to take the risk of self insuring. The idea that they deserve to have that taken away is laughable.

    Just another ‘you deserve a free lunch’ lie.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  21. All I’m going to say about the Obamacare Infomercial getting crushed in the ratings is this:

    We should be praising Mark Sanford for having the exquisite taste in South American women that all of us red-blooded American men should have. Thanks for taking the bullet, Mark!

    Brad S (9f6740)

  22. #12, no I would not do anything like that. Suspension of traffic laws will kill responsible as well as irresponsible.

    Granting freedoms which provide asymetric outcomes to the public is a bad idea. That is guilty people hurting innocent people by exercising their freedom is not good.

    What I propose allows for symmetry of outcomes. You want to smoke, great. You want to have unprotected sex in a bathhouse, great. You bear the responsibility for it.

    I think the general rule of thumb is one man’s freedom should not equal another man’s burden — for this we need laws. Speeding and traffic laws are a good example of proper Gov.t intervention. Taxing cigarettes to change preferences is not.

    Anyway, OT.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  23. #19, unfortunately their are lots of Republicans who neither believe in freedom to choose nor capitalism. They are Pro-Bama RINOs. These RINOs will create a “they agreed to” scenario in 2012 by going along with Obamacare in one of its forms..

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  24. Juan: With what hard-working Americans pay in local, state and federal taxes, I would hardly call access to free or affordable health care a “free lunch.” You have been totally bamboozled,dude. They got your mind. Meanwhile, the people selling you this have A+ health care, b/c they managed to trick enough people to elect them to Congress. Are they better than you?

    Myron (98529a)

  25. Heavensent is right about the traffic laws. I would love to see a repeal of seat belt and helmet laws, though.

    He leads to another point about health care:

    what about idiots? Why should I have to pay for some idiot with AIDS? AIDS is almost always preventable. A lot of cancers are preventable. Heart disease is largely preventable.

    I don’t mind if someone lives their life willing to get sick or injured in order to enjoy things they like, but I don’t like paying for them.

    That’s why I haven’t had health insurance for years… I pay for my own checkups and medical bills and come out way ahead of where I would under a tax supported ‘free health care’ or with private insurance.

    People like me: who exercise, eat right, and are careful, come out way ahead by not having insurance. If some catastrophic illness came up, most insurers would have a max lifetime payout anyway. Now, Obama will force me to pay for the public plan through tax hikes. Because it’s some kind of tragedy that I didn’t want to have any insurance.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  26. Joe: Since you love quoting Churchill, recall that his country started its national health care program in the immediate aftermath of World War II devastation when the country was in financial ruins. It was a value judgment, that if they can ask people to die in war, they can provide them health coverage so they’re not dying in peace-time for lack of money.

    Do you know anything about the history of Britain and its health care ? Britain had virtually no care for the poor before the war, sort of like Mexico does now. When the East End was evacuated in the Blitz, middle class people were horrified at the circumstances of the slum children who had never used toilets, let alone immunizations.

    We had a system of good big city hospitals and clinics that did a very good job of caring for the poor and not so poor. They were ravaged by the Great Society because Johnson was determined to provide “private care” for the poor. As a result, Medicaid would not pay for care in the LA County Hospital. The MediCal recipients got run through MediCal mills and the good physicians would not accept MediCal. Many of us cared for them but did not submit bills and did not put our names on the list of providers.

    I made the mistake, when I first started in practice, of signing up as a MediCal provider. My waiting room filled up with women who wanted their varicose veins injected. MediCal paid six dollars for that treatment and paid it about 18 months later. We quickly dropped the MediCal list.

    I think we should have reform and favor a plan like that in France. What we will get from Obama, if he gets something passed, will not resemble France or anything else that makes economic sense. Canada wrecked their attempt at single payer with politics. Obama will do the same. Medicare is now driving physicians away and we might actually get a market system, at least for doctors, if we leave it alone. Hospital accounting is still screwed up but anything the Democrats do will look like the housing bubble.

    You think they will figure out how to decide what unnecessary care is. Do you know the history of Oregon and its attempt to rank treatment by cost-effectiveness ? They had a governor (Democrat) who was an ER doc. I used to know him. Well meaning guy. They decided that they would rank treatment by cost-benefit analysis. When they came out with their list by rank, what do you think was the highest priority of the Medicaid system in Oregon ?

    It was treatment of the common cold. They had to go back and redo the software. That’s what we’ll get. If you think that is a joke, that is exactly what has happened in Canada. They decided to give priority to the “worried well” so they pay for all GP visits but not for neurosurgery or heart surgery. That is the exact opposite of what insurance is supposed to do. Routine office care should be paid out of pocket. Insurance should be for the big things that are uncommon. But the Canadian Parliament chose what the voters wanted. The Democrats will, too. It’s already started with Medicare.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  27. Myron’s argument seems to be that since Congressmen have a health plan that nobody else can afford, everybody should have a health plan that no one can afford.

    A simpler and cheaper solution would be to put Congressmen on a Kaiser health plan for life, and let them pay for a more expensive one out of their own pockets.

    Steverino (69d941)

  28. Myron,

    They aren’t bamboozling anyone. You simply don’t get it. Congressmen are far underpaid, not overpaid, which is why the only people willing to go into that line of work are those who already are very rich or will use their congressional office to become rich.

    this is just stupid class warfare and a non sequiter at any rate.

    You don’t think their health care is too nice… you just think I should pay for EVERYone to have that level of health care.

    Congressmen and judges should earn a high salary and have term limits. It should be designed for the average citizen, not the billionares.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  29. OK, Myron – here’s an obvious question for you, you should have no trouble at all in answering it immediately:

    – how are we going to pay for this “Cadillac” plan? Please be specific, since Obama and his minions are obfuscating their arses off during this entire charade.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  30. Myron, Steverino got you there.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  31. “With what hard-working Americans pay in local, state and federal taxes, I would hardly call access to free or affordable health care a “free lunch.”

    That’s the whole point, though–the health care you cite is neither free nor affordable. Expanding government coverage of more people will not make it more so. Someone has to pay for it.

    The average cost of Medicare per enrollee is about $10,000. The average cost per enrollee for private plans is about $4,000. How is adding more people onto a Medicare-style plan, especially with the baby boomers getting older, going to reduce the cost of healthcare, improve its quality, and save taxpayers money? This is why Obama and the Democrats are turning to desperate measures like proposing a tax on health benefits that the ridiculed when McCain brought it up during the election. Their whole premise behind how this will be paid for is based on the presumption that money will appear magically out of thin air.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  32. At least Myron is admitting that Obama’s plan of cutting of old ladies from pacemakers is not what the people deserve for all their tax dollars.

    I think. At least that doesn’t seem like A+ care to me.

    We all know that the plan Obama will foist on us is not as good as these examples libs trot out.

    And we also know that, at present tax rates already, we deserve far more than Obama is producing. The idea of spending more tax dollars is just out of the question, Myron seems to be claiming. Instead, we should take all the bailout money, all the Acorn money, all the grants to schools for bullshit studies… we should not waste all that money.

    My preference would be to just give everyone a tax cut, and if I want insurance (I don’t), I can spend it as I please.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  33. A lot of cancers are preventable.

    Much as I hate to disagree with you, Juan – but that’s an inaccurate statement. Not even close, you could postulate.

    People like me: who exercise, eat right, and are careful, come out way ahead by not having insurance. If some catastrophic illness came up, most insurers would have a max lifetime payout anyway

    Again, respectfully I must disagree. I was rated among the top 10% of my age group when I was approved for a catastrophic insurance plan via a private insurance provider, and afterward was diagnosed with a cancer that usually has a 5 – year life expectancy of less than 30%. If I hadn’t been fortunate enough to get that insurance in time I’d be bankrupt by now, and most likely in deep financial trouble, and probably divorced as well. You can do all the “right” things as much as you like, but in many cases it doesn’t mean sh-t in the end. Additionally, we cannot expect the desperately poor among us to even do all of those “right” things, primarily because they may not have the monetary resources in the first place. I support the French system that Mike’s outlined previously here, with a basic, no – frills public insurance plan at nominal cost that everyone must have, that way the entire insurance risk pool will truly be leveled.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  34. The talking points remain the same. It is a crisis! Our poll tells us people want something done! Now! We won!

    JD (51cca5)

  35. “…You want to smoke, great. You want to have unprotected sex in a bathhouse, great. You bear the responsibility for it…”

    But, with traffic laws, we don’t take that approach. We require everyone to wear a seat-belt, and all motorcyclists (in most states) to wear helmets, so that their health-care costs will be minimized in the case of an accident when they lack sufficient medical coverage.
    Your philosophy (which I would support BTW) is that if you don’t wear a seat-belt, or use a helmet, and are involved in an accident and don’t have insurance, the State would decline to treat you (or at least those aspects of your injuries that are the result of your lack of caution in the use of safety devices). Did I get that right?

    So, should the State decline to cover health-care for people who defy good nutrition? Or abjure excercise? Or take harmful chemical substances?
    Better yet, why should the State be doing any of this since it requires a large bureaucracy to set, and enforce, the rules?
    Just make everyone responsible for their own health-care?
    Oh, we can’t have that, smacks too much of Freedom & Liberty.

    AD - RtR/OS! (438904)

  36. Jackie Onassis, as she was dying from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, said “Why did I do all those pushup ?”

    Obesity and smoking contribute to cancer but most cancers are random mutations and cannot be prevented. We are seeing a shift in the type of cancer as stomach and lung, both smoking related, become less common. Pancreatic and prostate are becoming more common. Breast cancer is rising because women delay childbearing. The highest incidence of breast cancer used to be in nuns (25% risk) but there aren’t many anymore.

    Anal and cervical cancer (Farrah died today) are rising because of promiscuity in young girls (and gays for anal) because they are caused by papilloma virus. Few of these are preventable.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  37. Routine office care should be paid out of pocket. Insurance should be for the big things that are uncommon.

    That’s just such basic common sense that for anyone (eg, typical politicians of the left and their supporters) to not understand it defies belief.

    As for the notion of a healthcare crisis (or “crisis”), one does exist in Southern California, in that low-income people who are “undocumented” have been swamping the emergency rooms of various hospitals, seeking treatment and getting care without paying for it.

    In effect, the Los Angeles area, among other places in the US, already is a quasi-socialized system, where the underprivileged can check in and check out, no questions asked. The cost of their treatment either is sent straight to the government and, in turn, the taxpayer, or the medical system has to just suck it in and be pro-bono do-gooders.

    Seems to me variations of Obamacare will merely formalize, institutionalize and, most importantly, greatly expand this situation in places like LA. Therefore, expect more people to start glomming onto and scamming the system, and the average Joe Schmoe to be paying larger amounts to keep the whole contraption continuously afloat, like a juggling act in which more and more balls are thrown into the air.

    Mark (411533)

  38. “It’s hard to be a leader with no direction. It’s hard to sell a plan when you don’t have a plan.

    And yet, that is the Empty Suit(tm).

    SPQR (72771e)

  39. Mike,

    HPV transmission isn’t preventable?

    Otherwise, yours was an interesting comment.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  40. Is it good news or bad news for Obamacare that the “town hall” got crushed in the overnight ratings?

    Opposite spin:

    It was ABC’s “best 10pm audience in six weeks.”

    And the repeat at 11:30pm topped Conan and Letterman.

    That said, it was tepid content. It’s not really a “town hall” when everyone at the outset concurs (by show of hands) with the premise that there is an urgent need for a vast overhaul.

    steve (c8e4e6)

  41. dmac,

    it’s really easy to see why you’re wrong about coming ahead without insurance.

    Insurance companies make a profit.

    Sorry, but I have come out way ahead in health care costs and don’t want to be forced to pay for it. That’s my business until Obama gets in the way.

    Many medical studies are bull, I might add. What used to be a good idea is now a horrible idea and vice versa. Cancer isn’t preventable? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, but AIDS and heart disease… real expensive killers, are completely controllable by normal people.

    If you sincerely believe that a healthy smart eating exercising person isn’t going to have lower health care costs, you’re quite mistaken.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  42. Billie May would have done better.

    SPQR (72771e)

  43. By the way, pointing out that some cancers are not preventable is not in any way a rebuttal of anything I said.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  44. Juan, for the purposes of national policy, the concrete issue is that it is extraordinarily expensive – actually virtually impossible – to convert significant numbers of people into “healthy smart eating exercising” people.

    SPQR (72771e)

  45. I said “If you sincerely believe that a healthy smart eating exercising person isn’t going to have lower health care costs, you’re quite mistaken.”

    I should add: doesn’t do drugs, smoke, or drink excessively, drives a safe care safely, and has good hygiene. Hell, dental hygiene alone is a huge cost saver.

    And beyond that, what if I want to smoke or eat steak? Or put my hands in dirty motor oil (cancer causing)? People who do those things can decide to insure and pay for their lifestyle. Or we can have mama government come on in and charge us all the same. When that happens, people who eat steak too much are actually harming their neighbor. Why set things up like that?

    Let people control their own risks and pay for their own risks. I am far less likely to have an expensive medical condition than the guy living next door to me (and awesome guy). Why should I pay the same as him?

    Juan (bd4b30)

  46. SPQR, now that’s a very interesting point.

    I want to be sure we’re on the same page: you’re saying that it’s not possible to convince people to be healthy in their choices?

    i don’t care! Let them be unhealthy. If they want to have lots of fatty steak and smokes and are aware of expensive health problems, that is their God given right!

    If you mean it’s too expensive for people to eat healthy and exercise, well, I just flat disagree.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  47. Juan, I’m saying that it is not possible to get the US population to modify their lifestyle choices in significant numbers with any reasonable amount of expenditure.

    That means that any healthcare “reform” that counts on savings based on such “preventative” care is a fraud. And anyone at all knowledgable of the issues knows that its fraudulent.

    SPQR (72771e)

  48. And you are quite right, SPQR.

    I guess I agree with you so much that I am inventing a controversy.

    But it’s fundamentally about freedom. Why should the government even care about someone’s dinner plate or exercise regimen?

    Of course, I will personally care very much what is on my neighbor’s plate if I’m paying his medical bills. And I’m not that kind of person typically. you already realize this, but all sorts of nannies will use this as a tool to take our preferences away from us.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  49. HPV transmission isn’t preventable?

    There is an HPV immunization that is being recommended for young girls before they are exposed. How effective it is has never been proven. So far a theory.

    If you mean it’s too expensive for people to eat healthy and exercise, well, I just flat disagree.

    Comment by Juan

    Juan, I don’t think that’s the issue. We have a large underclass that has terrible health outcomes. It’s a bit like gun violence. If you eliminate the urban underclass from the gun deaths, the US has a lower rate of violence than Europe.

    Most of those statistics that are quoted by single payer advocates are actually indications of the underclass.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  50. Mike, I wasn’t talking about the vaccine. How is HPV transmitted? If you can control that, it’s preventable, right? not to mention you can get a check of the virus regularly and take measures to prepare yourself for cervical cancer, I believe.

    Now, the hand wringing about how poor people don’t exercise and eat garbage is based on reality, I realize, but it’s also not what I’m talking about.

    I was not a rich man when I started eating well. I just cared about my health enough to read up on it and think about what I was doing. that’s PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, my friend. Some people are just irresonsible and lazy. They work a dead end job, and then rush home to catch some braindead TV show. All along they are eating processed food that the TV (and corn farmers) tells them to buy. That’s poor personal responsibility, but I honor their freedom to make bad choices.

    Why should I pay for their healthcare? Let them live their lives however they want! It’s not my place to look down on them until I have to pay for their mistakes.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  51. HPV is transmitted by sexual contact. Cervical cancer and anal cancer are caused by it, or at least associated with it. Anal cancer used to be very rare, then they had an outbreak in San Francisco in the 70s in gay men. It has similar epidemiology to cervical cancer in women and both have HPV genetic material in the cancer.

    Diet is very much an ethnic matter. The Mexican immigrants have affect obesity rates, especially in children. Blacks have high rates of hypertension and prostate cancer. Some Indian tribes have 100% gallstones.

    I have quite a bit about epidemiology and cancer in my book. There are some astonishing studies in Africa, especially cancer of the liver and esophagus. In Asia, liver cancer rates are high, probably because of liver flukes and other parasites.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  52. Michael Jackson dies today. A sad, sad day for everyone.

    The Emperor (1b037c)

  53. I think HeavenSent has a pretty good plan.
    I have to admit it’s good strategy by Obama’s handlers to have everyone talking about health care while Nan is speeding cap-and-trade legislation through the House.

    J Pazzesco (8bf00a)

  54. Juan, your ignorance about cancer is only exceeded by your smugness and arrogance. Why do I have the feeling that if you suddenly fell ill and were facing a half million in unpaid medical bills that you’d be the first one screaming about the gov’t bailing your sorry arse out?

    They work a dead end job, and then rush home to catch some braindead TV show. All along they are eating processed food that the TV (and corn farmers) tells them to buy. That’s poor personal responsibility, but I honor their freedom to make bad choices

    Thank you, Dr. Goebbels!

    Dmac (f7884d)

  55. Diet is very much an ethnic matter. The Mexican immigrants have affect obesity rates, especially in children. Blacks have high rates of hypertension and prostate cancer. Some Indian tribes have 100% gallstones.

    Not according to Dr. Goebbels – he wants all of these disgusting “undesirables” to be taken down to the nearest riverbed and summarily drowned.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  56. It’s really a crapshoot, Dmac. I’ll bet Juan knows that. There are folks who “do everything right” who get struck down (Cathy Seipp, never a smoker, getting lung cancer, comes to mind). Other people live with very poor habits until their 80s or later (Winston Churchill?).

    It’s superstitious, I know, but we all need to thank whatever for our good luck… Some people know that better than most.

    I am so delighted, Dmac, for your continued health. You know what the other side of the equation looks like.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  57. Of course I understand that I could be hit int he head by an anvil dropped from the sky. Hell, I work in the field of criminal law. I could just plain get sick from a cough on the street.

    But I manage that risk by saving money. When I’m old enough that it makes sense, I may very well get insurance, or I might not.

    My point is that I have handled my situation myself… it’s not some kind of tragedy that I don’t have insurance.

    Most people who get insurance would be better off not getting it. that’s just a plain fact proven by the fact that insurance companies make a profit (which I do not begrudge them). for some, women and unhealthy people, insurance is pretty smart. For a healthy young man? It’s really not a good deal in many cases.

    But anyway, it should be my choice.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  58. Juan, you might be interested in this story. What is smart for a healthy young man is a $2500 deductible policy that will cost about $200 per month. You probably spend that on lattes.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  59. I was not a rich man when I started eating well.

    Moreover, a lot of the so-called comfort (and also cruddy) foods found on the shelves of a typical grocery store cost more money than they’re worth. So, if anything, the average budget-restricted person can save some dollars per month by forgoing his or her tendency to pick up crap — or certainly load up the shopping cart with way too much junk — at the market.

    I remember originally believing that extremely processed white breads were popular with certain consumers because they cost less than the non-ultra-synthetic versions of bread. Then I made an effort to specifically note the price of a loaf of Wonderbread or Weber and was astounded that it actually was priced higher than other brands.

    Mark (411533)

  60. The only significant cost savings available in a government run health plan is to cut down on the cost of end-of-life care.

    Ie., once you look terminal, quit spending money on you.

    Its the only area where there are large amounts of money available. And Obama is already hinting at that approach. Rationing of care is already on the agenda.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  61. It was ABC’s “best 10pm audience in six weeks.”

    And the repeat at 11:30pm topped Conan and Letterman.

    Hey steve, how come you didn’t include the bit of info at your link that abc’s Obamamercial was in last place at the 10pm slot?

    bonhomme (8b73ba)

  62. Hey steve, how come you didn’t include the bit of info at your link that abc’s Obamamercial was in last place at the 10pm slot?

    Hey bonhomme, because it was reported and linked in the thread.

    It’s surrebuttal.

    steve (1e0cef)

  63. “Most people who get insurance would be better off not getting it. that’s just a plain fact proven by the fact that insurance companies make a profit (which I do not begrudge them).”

    Juan – It’s just a plain fact that insurance companies do not always make money. They can misprice their risks and lose money just as you can underestimate your risk of have a serious illness or injury for which you are uninsured. There are plenty of insurance companies in receivership. Check with your state department of insurance if you don’t believe me. They depend on the law of large numbers to price products such as health insurance, where all insured will not become seriously ill in any given year. Actuarially, younger, healthier insureds subsidize the coverage of older, less healthy insureds in group plans.

    What I want to know is what kind of club is Obama going to use to force doctors and other providers to participate in any government plan if it is offered rather than opting out.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  64. Alright, alright… that’s true daleyrocks.

    But theoretically, insurance companies are out to make a buck (good for them!) and are betting that you will use less service than they are paid for.

    They even think hard about how much you are likely to need and charge you more.

    Nothing wrong with that… and of course, some (most) are willing to forgo the high liklihood of losing a bet like that in order to get peace of mind.

    No problem. They should have that choice. I want that choice. Obama will be taking my tax money and therefore completely screw up how this should work because it is apparently a tragedy that I chose to self insure.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  65. Juan – It is comes as a suprise to many that some insurance companies actually operate at an underwriting loss, but are able to be profitable due to investment incomes from the premium payments. In these cases, payouts + expenses actually exceed collected premiums.

    JD (848a9f)

  66. Juan – I am not disagreeing with you, just you naive characterizations of how insurance companies operate. People such as yourself who choose to self insure often only decide it is worth buying insurance after they develop some health condition which makes it more difficult or expensive for them to obtain at that point. Also, as varios insurance groups have already told President Obama, one of the only ways they can cut premiums is to ensure the broadest participation in the program, e.g., force inclusion of the young and healthy to offset the adverse experience of the older and infirm.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  67. The usual operating principle of young people who choose not to buy health insurance is to declare bankruptcy if they lose their bet with statistics. That works because people like me will take care of them for free if they get badly injured or seriously ill. I spent one Memorial Day holiday (1986) with a guy who was walking on the railroad tracks listening to his SONY Walkman.

    The train came and he wound up in my operating room. After 68 units of blood and several hours, he made it. His brother brought him to the office for his postop visit and I learned they had a yard care business. I told him he could repay me for saving his life by mowing my lawn for a year.

    No, he said. They were too busy.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  68. Hello out there in Right-Wing land. The Big “O” and his Chicago buddies has facked you out!

    While all of you are jumping up and down and ranting on about the possibility of the nataionization of health care the Cap & Trade bill is about to sneek out of the House.

    Worry about the here and now.

    OldGeezer (996c34)

  69. That ABC spooned so openly with BHO on this has done more harm to BHO’s agenda than if they had merely stuck with their slightly more subtle love affair of the past. Nobody watched because the fact that they did it at all said everything that needed to be heard. It’s so damaging, I wonder if ABC is actually trying to undercut him now.

    starboardhelm (94c0da)

  70. Juan, if you’re still reading this, I looked at my responses to your posts and realized that I over – reacted to them, and I apologize for my comments. While I still think your naivete’ is apparent, my fervent hope is that you don’t find yourself bereft of a safety net if you suddenly find yourself in dire medical straits.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  71. I wasn’t offended!

    Hahaha. No problem.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  72. […] comprehensive, and eye-opening—just what we need to cut through the Left’s spin and the media propaganda on the joys of socialization before they demolish health care on our side of the border. Posted […]

    Must-See Video: Steven Crowder Exposes CanadaCare « Calvin Freiburger Online (2b7e85)


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