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Archive through June 19, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » The Monkey Hole » Wanna know what pisses me off? » Archive through June 19, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Mr_Rabid
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 4:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think what I said below is applicable.

People you pass on the street made those Pintos. They work at the HMO that killed your grandma, and while they could refuse to participate in such a system, that would entail signifigant risk and so they keep working.

The companies that do not commit immoral acts are few and far between. Most of the people reading this work for one of the ones that does bad.

They will go to work tomorrow, and so will I.

The people can control the corporations, just as effectively as they do the government. Simply vote with dollars and refuse to work for dickheads.

It works just as well as government control, which is to say it doesn't.
_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 3:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Yet, our government is often no more than a hired goon for big money.



Too, too true. BUT, that is because we, the people, have allowed it to happen. We keep electing oil millionaires to the White House (OK, "elect" may be too strong a term for Bush Fils...).

I was just pointing out how the distinction is SUPPOSED to work. Since the government has control over the use of force, it must remain under the control of the people. Since private interests are NOT under the control of the pople, they should not be allowed access to the means of physical force.
_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 3:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

We can choose not to use their services, or we can sue them in court.



"Wow, that quote for a kidney translplant is outrageous! I'm taking my business elsewhere! Ack! Grglll...*" [thud]

Ignoring the inevitable issue of monopoly, there are some things, like healthcare, to which the free-enterprise model is not applicable. When a person's life is at stake, they cannot be expected to go bargain-hunting, or to take the time to sue. Just like you can't be expected to call around for quotes for police protection when there is somebody breaking into your house.

We can exert SOME control over businesses, but ultimately, they are accountable to their stockholders, to their bottom line, not to consumers. Their goal is not to satisfy you, and certainly not to make your life better, but to keep you buying. If they can do this by lying to you, manipulating the market, and crushing competators, they will happily do so (cough-Microsoft-cough). If it is more profitable to, for instnace, produce a dangerous product and pay off a few lawsuits than it is to spend the money to make a product safe, they'll do it, and you won't know about it until your Pinto blows up.

With the government, at least, there is SOME direct mechanism by which we can assert control. Granted, half of Americans don't bother, and most don't care enough to pay attention, but the mechanism exists. I CAN exert some direct force on the decisions the government makes, while my ability to exert control on corporations is based entirely on how many dollars I have to spend on their product. The government is bound to keep track of how it is using my money and let me judge for myself what kind of job they are doing, not shred it all and hope nobody notices.
Mr_Rabid
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 3:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

" A government has a monopoly on the socially legitimate means of coersion. "

Yet, our government is often no more than a hired goon for big money.

I don't need, I'm sure, to point out examples of the many times the government has used that coercion on behalf of a corporation automatically and uncritically.
_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 3:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Just because a program is poorly run doesn't mean that the people receiving it's bennifits don't feel some sense of security from the services that are eventually provided.



My point exactly. It isn't perfect, but I'm glad it's there, because I've come a hair's-breadth from having to collect. If I became disabled tomorrow I wouldn't be living in luxury, but I'd be a lot less likely to end up on the street than I would without SSI.

Likewise, universal health care isn't perfect, even in Denmark, but it goes a long way to keep people from falling through the cracks. It certainly does a better job than our present system and, as I've said several times now, it is CHEAPER. How can you argue for a system that provides LESS care for most people at a GREATER cost?


Quote:

I won't get into vouchers here, but I will point out that the freedom of choice goes away when the government runs things.



No it doesn't. You're free to go to a private school if you can afford it, just like you can used Fed Ex instead of the Postal Service, or you can hire private security instead of depending on the police. However, the government provides these services for EVERYONE. When private interests get involved, the unversal availibility goes away.

Do you know why private schools can often provide better education than public ones? Because they don't have to accept everybody. They can limit class sizes and hire fewer teachers for better pay. Likewise, they charge MORE money, per student, than the public schools get in tax money. If private schools were required to accept ALL students, and were being funded with the same amount of tax money, they would have the EXACT same problems public schools are having now.

The voucher solution is essentially saying "there's nothing wrong with schools that couldn't be fixed by taking away their funding". If you want to provide vouchers for additional education, I think that's a fine idea, but only AFTER we have put enough money into public schools that we can be sure they are the best they can be. If there is money left over after that, vouch away.

I refuse to dismiss the idea of public schooling as a failed experiment. Not while we still spend billions on prisons, "drug wars" and Star Wars systems. When we are spending more money on educatng aour children than we are on incarcerating them, when we have put as much money and passion into education as we did into putting a man on the moon, THEN I'll listen to that kind of talk.
_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 2:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Does your being to the left of the Democrats make you a "Left Wing Extremist"?



In the US, yeah, pretty much. In Europe I'd be a Liberal Democrat or something of the sort, with plenty of Social Democrats and Socialists and Greens hanging out to the left of me.
_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 2:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

What is the difference between a government and a large corporation?




The two major distinctions are:

1) A government has a monopoly on the socially legitimate means of coersion.

2) A republican government is, at least in theory, under the ultimate control of the people. However out of our control our government may be right now, the means exist to reign it in, if we choose to.
Mr_Rabid
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 1:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

We have been blinded by semantics.

What is the difference between a government and a large corporation? The name?

Both of these have power, are difficult to remove from power, and seek to keep that power.

The only difference I can see is that corporations use the government for help when force becomes neccessary. The only reason for that is that there is a government monopoly on killing or imprisoning people and the corporations aren't allowed to do their own.

Given the fact that so many of our politicians, legislators etc actually sit on the boards of those corporations, or are elected with corporate funds, I think the line is more fictional than not.
Traineraz
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 12:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

The point that I contine to make is that government is corrupt and can't be trusted. Give more power to the government, and you give it also to the big money people who pull the strings.

Hate big corporations? I do too. However we do have power against them. We can choose not to use their services, or we can sue them in court.




. . . and the point that I continue to make, which you seem to conveniently ignore, is that less power to the government means less regulation of corporations, hence more power to corporations, who, in my opinion, are even less accountable.

Tell me, do you think with your prized "minimalist" government, there would be any regulations under which you COULD sue that corporation dumping toxic waste in the stream that flows through your backyard? Remember, it wouldn't be illegal anymore, because the government wouldn't be concerning itself with regulating such things.

Tell me, MD, what exactly do you see as the purpose of government?

I see it as assuring the general welfare and security of the citizenry. That does include things like the military, but also includes health care, education, welfare programs, environmental protection, etc.


BTW, I don't "hate" big corporations any more than I "hate" government. I don't trust either, but feel that government, even if only marginally accountable to the public, is necessary to keep corporations in check.
Mogan_David
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 7:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lordhob,

>"Is it not strange that in countries where a publically funded health service exist, no major political party (left or right) would dare openly suggest the removal of this system"

It's political suicide to suggest dismanteling Social Security. That doens't mean it's not a sham. Just because a program is poorly run doesn't mean that the people receiving it's bennifits don't feel some sense of security from the services that are eventually provided.

Same with public education. It's a very hit and miss proposition in this country. People on the lower end of the economic scale continue to be screwed. God help you if you try to fix it with anything except more money to the already bloated beurocracy. I won't get into vouchers here, but I will point out that the freedom of choice goes away when the government runs things.
Mogan_David
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 7:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Blackjack;

>One of the things that I think is confusing Mogan is his assumption that US Democrats ae somehow "lefties", when, globally speaking, they are a bit right of center. Real "lefties" want nothing to do with the sort of busybodying and paternalism you see in many Democrats.

Oh shit! I must be a "Real Lefty" too.

Does your being to the left of the Democrats make you a "Left Wing Extremist"?
Mogan_David
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 7:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Traineraz

>"In other words,business lobbyists are pressuring your "evil" politicians to do their bidding. This isn't something dreamed up by domineering politicians, but rather by greedy managed-care people who, as we've discussed previously, would prefer that the sick people see a physician's assistant who will misdiagnose so they can wait longer and longer and hopefully DIE before seeing a specialist. "

Personally I see it as government influencing the the medical bodies, but it doesn't matter, the influence goes both ways.

The point that I contine to make is that government is corrupt and can't be trusted. Give more power to the government, and you give it also to the big money people who pull the strings.

Hate big corporations? I do too. However we do have power against them. We can choose not to use their services, or we can sue them in court.

With government you have none of that. Do you wanna opt out of Social Security? How about we sue them for squandering our money? Sorry bub, you can't do that.
_Blackjack
Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 1:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, that's what always gets me. Even the Far Right in Europe support universal health care. Which gves you a real idea of how skewed the US political spectrum is.

One of the things that I think is confusing Mogan is his assumption that US Democrats ae somehow "lefties", when, globally speaking, they are a bit right of center. Real "lefties" want nothing to do with the sort of busybodying and paternalism you see in many Democrats.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 12:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The attitude that introducing a publicly funded health service is somehow going down the road towards a police state is ridiculous. Especially when the same people support the restriction and removal of individual personal rights and freedoms in the cause of 'national security' or to protect the 'moral welfare' of the public. Now the restriction and removal of those rights is exactly what states do when heading down the police-state route.

Is it not strange that in countries where a publically funded health service exist, no major political party (left or right) would dare openly suggest the removal of this system as such a suggestion would lead to a massive loss of electoral support. Even Margaret Thatcher would not openly suggest this. Why is this? Why is it so popular where it exists? Beacause the public like it and by and large the sytem works well. Yes people moan about how it needs to improve etc. but next to nobody wants to get rid of it. The gripe the UK public (not exactly a bunch of lefties) have is that the government is not spending enough money on it.

In the UK a government that says it intends to spend more public money on public health (and education) is a government that is trying to appeal to the public. The public view is that since the National Health and Education services are open to all the public, then a government that spends more on these areas is a government that is spending more (of our) money on us.

Hobgoblin
Traineraz
Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 11:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

But . . . but . . . but . . . those "leading physician groups" like the AMA aren't part of the government, they're more or less BUSINESS organizations, doing what they want to do without nasty government interference . . .


Quote:

In fact, the plan was first dreamed up by the Greater New York Hospital Association and backed by the state's 2 senators, both influential legislators on matters concerning national health policy. In addition, Bruce Vladek, administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) that funds and runs Medicare, used to be a health care executive in New York.




Further:


Quote:

In addition, managed care systems are intensifying pressure on US hospitals -- particularly high-cost teaching centres -- to trim inpatient services, expand outpatient programs, increase their reliance on physician assistants and nurse practitioners and restrain their use of costly technology. The results have been dramatic: hospital have merged, occupancy has been reduced, wards have been closed and there has been less demand for specialists.




In other words,business lobbyists are pressuring your "evil" politicians to do their bidding. This isn't something dreamed up by domineering politicians, but rather by greedy managed-care people who, as we've discussed previously, would prefer that the sick people see a physician's assistant who will misdiagnose so they can wait longer and longer and hopefully DIE before seeing a specialist.

A personal example: I had a rotator cuff injury. It started with a bowling injury, but was only a minor inconvenience for a long time (3 years) so I didn't worry about it. I overworked it doing yard work one day and was thereafter in much more pain, so I went to the doctor.

I saw a physician's assistant who prescribed 1800 mg of ibuprofen daily. He thought that it would reduce the inflammation and let it heal. Of course, I'd just been on prednisone for several months for a skin condition, and he realized (when I pressed him) that the prednisone should certainly have relieved inflammation, and finally (when I continued to press him) sent me to an orthopedist. The orthopedist recommended NO drugs, because with them I might not be ABLE to feel pain if I were further injuring myself, but instead several physical therapy exercises. I was also instructed not to do any overhead lifts or bench presses for two months or until the pain was gone, whichever came later. Within four weeks, the problem resolved.

Had I not pushed the PA -- who clearly, according to the orthopedist, didn't know too much about treating such injuries -- who knows how long it would have been before I saw an orthopedist? I could have followed the PA's advice and ended up with a nice surgery-requiring tear instead of an impingement! Granted, rotator cuff injuries are rarely fatal, but if it's such a hassle for something comparatively inexpensive, imagine trying to get care from an HMO for something potentially serious!

That's American business -- not "evil" government -- at work for you.
Mogan_David
Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 10:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Here's a little more from a different website:

3. Physician/provider/nurse availability/supply and demand

A. Access: National predictions based on tight managed care concepts projected in 1995[JAMA] of gluts of 160,000 excess physicians by 2000, of which 135,000 would be specialist was clearly erroneous. The council on Graduate Medical Education [COGME], The Pew Health Commission and The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine all recommended reductions in residency slots and Congress cut training thorough out the country. Because of this strategy, COGME recommended a 50% reduction in training programs from 1994 to the present. It occurred. In 1996, six leading medical groups, including the AMA, the ASSN of American Medical Colleges, approved a consensus statement that characterized the number of physicians trained as "excessive.' The ramifications of those predictions have created disastrous results on physician availability. We now have a shortage of manpower and the recovery will take from 4-5 years at a minimum if efforts were made to rectify the crisis. No effort has been made
Mogan_David
Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 10:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Kite,

You responded to my comment about the left wing politicians believing they can reduce the cost of healthcare by reducing the number of physicians.

<"Yikes, if you really believe a politician from either party would go on television and say that...well you're...nevermind, I don't want to talk about it. Just be careful that you don't get too close to the truth, buddy, the shadow government might send a cloned ninja to give you an anal probe."

Well here you go buddy:
http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/300/cdn_medical_association/cmaj/vol-157/issue-9/1263.htm

Quote from the article:
New York hospitals paid to teach fewer physicians
Milan Korcok

CMAJ 1997;157:1263-4

[ en bref ]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Milan Korcok is a freelance writer living in Lauderdale by the Sea, Fla.

© Milan Korcok
------------------------------------------------------------------------
In brief

In order to reduce the number of physicians being trained in the US, teaching hospitals in New York are going to be paid not to train residents. Participating hospitals will cut the number of residents they train by up to 25%, but for a time will be paid as if they are still teaching a full complement of trainees. Up to 400 residency positions will be cut annually under the plan.
_Blackjack
Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 9:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The obvious answer is to pit government and business against each other whenever possible, so that they expend as much energy as possible tying to fuck each other over, instead of us.
Traineraz
Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 12:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

{SHRUG}
Bunnylebowski
Posted on Monday, June 17, 2002 - 9:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

ERrrgg, I find myself agreeing with trainerAZ. Can't argue with any of that.
Good thing for the law, otherwise there would be gay men in Georgia! There's already black people! What are we gonna do???
Hmmm, maybe Enron, Martin Marietta, GE, Con Edison, Lockheed Martin, and Halliburton will come to our rescue...
I'm sure they'll use all those tax breaks to make the environment better and build better schools and achieve world peace, right?
Just like Ayn Rand said...
_Blackjack
Posted on Monday, June 17, 2002 - 8:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Aside from Medicaid, they already have access to healthcare at any emergency room in the country.



Not for day-to-day healthcare they don't. They only get treatment when they are in emergent situations, which means you end up paying more, tax-wise, to cover their medical costs than if you'd been footing the bill for them to prevent the disease in the first place.

I'm not making this up. It is being done in EVERY industrialized nation on earth except here and (I think) South Africa. Of course their are faults with the system, but a lot less than there are with the system in the US today.


Quote:

Why not try to help the poor improve their station in life?



You mean by keeping them from dying from preventable illneses? Or from having to bankrupt themselves if they have an accident or chronic illness? Funny, that's exactly what I'm saying.


Quote:

Their helthcare is delayed, and more people die rather than run up a large bill treating their illness.



You are aware that this is already standard operating procedure among the major managed care providers, right? That your insurance company makes receiving benefits difficult enough that a economical number of people will either give up or die before the get paid? That there have been several court cases which have established that this has been done deliberately?

"Dollar votes" don't work when somebody's life is on the line. You aren't going to go shopping for new insurance if they quote too high a price for our chemotherapy. You CAN'T, in most cases, because the other providers won't take you if you've already been diagnosed.

Have you ever had to pay for your own health insurance? I have. I had to, because I have a chronic illness, and if I don't maintain CONSTANT coverage, they can refuse to cover me for a year on account of a pre-existing condition.

Anyway, mediocre coverage (which is to say, I couldn't pick my own doctors, I had to get approval to see a specialist, and the mental-health benefits were limited) ran me about $350 a month. Add to that another $180/month for prescriptions (which the insurance refused to cover because the drugs which actually worked for me weren't in their formulary) and I was paying almost as much for healthcare as I was for rent.
_Blackjack
Posted on Monday, June 17, 2002 - 8:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Japan isn't allowed to have a fucking military!



Hey Dumbass, yes they are. It is limited in its size and structure by their constitution, basically treating like a form of civil service, but they have one. However, I have little doubt that, if the restrictions were lifted, Japan would be in no hurry to waste its tax dollars on a gigantic bloated military infrastructure, because, in the modern world, it is not needed and, one might argue, makes one a target.

I mean, who the hell do you think they sent out to fight Godzilla all those times.
_Blackjack
Posted on Monday, June 17, 2002 - 7:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

When the government can dictate how and when a person can recieve treatment for an illness they have another means for making life and death decisions for individuals in the populations that they are supposed to serve.



Nobody is advocating such a thing. Nobody is saying the government gets to dictate who gets healthcare any more than they do now. All I am asking for is that, in addition to the healtcare options which ALREADY exist, there is healthcare made availible at minimal cost to all people.
Traineraz
Posted on Monday, June 17, 2002 - 7:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Since when are unelected multinational corporations better stewards than quasi-elected government officials? When GE dumps PCBs into the Hudson River, then tries every bit of legal wrangling to shirk responsibility? When Enron buys up generating capacity and withholds it to jack up prices, causing energy shortages? Wow, I REALLY trust THEM!

Since when do "conservatives," who push for prayer in schools, government mandates on who screws whom, how people can dress, what music they can listen to, what drugs are acceptable, and the like, ask for LESS government?? They only want LESS government when it comes to their MONEY, not when it comes to social control.

If "conservatives" think it's appropriate for the government to be looking into your BEDROOM, of all places, to see who you FUCK, then they are certainly the ones pushing for the POLICE STATE you so fear.

Hardwick vs. State of Georgia. Supreme Court decided that a gay man's constitutional rights were not violated when he was arrested for having sex with another man in his own home. (Police were searching under a warrant for other, non-sexual activities.)

THERE is your POLICE STATE.
Perruche_Verte
Posted on Monday, June 17, 2002 - 7:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Let 'em come. We'll get that national health plan one way or another.

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