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You people sickatate me

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  • #31
    Re: You people sickatate me

    I'm finally back, but it seems the conversation's advanced quite a bit in my absence. So I just want to make a couple of quick comments before jumping back into the main argument.

    Originally posted by stfram View Post
    Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
    And the issue with rationing in general is a real concern (even if the mammogram thing is a flawed example) - its one of the ways that other countries with national health care keep costs down.
    There's an Asian country (either Singapore or Malaysia) that sensibly requires foreigners working in their country to have health insurance. They pay in, and part of that goes into a Health Savings Account, to pay for whatever the insurance didn't cover.

    Nice thing is, they can keep that money if it isn't spent, it just rolls over to the next year. When they leave the country, they can withdraw the money as well (I think it gains interest as well). The article said some were waling away with 30k after 8-10 year gigs.

    Self-rationing meets self-interest.
    There are Health Savings Accounts here in the U.S., too (just search Google for "bank" and "health savings account"). The last I heard, though, their future's a bit in doubt - they have to be paired with a high deductible health plan, and some readings of the Affordable Care Act would axe them. So, by 2014, its possible there won't be any HSAs in the USA any more.

    (One caveat - I haven't been following that aspect of the debate very closely, so I may well have missed something important).

    Originally posted by Isuzu Inugami View Post
    Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
    And the issue with rationing in general is a real concern (even if the mammogram thing is a flawed example) - its one of the ways that other countries with national health care keep costs down.
    But we ration here as well, by pricing people out of insurance and health care. At least national health care systems are able to ration in an equitable way, as a part of democratic social policy, rather than leaving citizens at the whim of some faceless insurance actuary. . .
    That's one of things I never understood - why advocates of nationalized health care are so willing to trade the "faceless insurance actuary" for a partisan political appointee or a faceless government bureaucrat. I mean, either way, its still a non-medical expert deciding on whether you qualify for an expensive medical treatment. And its easier to sue a corporation (and win) than to sue the government if they deny treatment.

    And actually, the countries with nationalized health care don't ration in an equitable way. Even if you assume that a partisan government could do so, the wealthy/powerful in those countries just fly to places like the U.S. for treatment. So you basically end up with a two-tiered system (again).

    Originally posted by Zhen Ji View Post
    Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
    And on my side, I have a powerful advantage - the possibility that I'm right would horrify a lot of people. A lot of people know someone who's had breast cancer, some of the judges might even be survivors themselves. All I'd have to do is trot out some quotes from people who'd have died without early mammograms (and there were a bunch floating around then), and every judge (or better yet, a lay audience) would have to wonder if they - or someone important to them- would die under the new policy. A threat to one's own life, or the life of a loved one . . . regardless of the "truth" of the issue, that's a pretty devastating appeal to emotion
    And this kind of thinking is the reason there are kids dying of measles in the US. People heard and were shocked to find out that vaccines cause autism. Since almost everyone knows someone with a child dealing with autism, they are avoiding vaccinations and some kids are suffering the consequences.

    While it is fun to win an argument, it is not good to use infromation that will appeal to the emotions of the people or judges, especially when the information is not accurate.
    You missed an important line in that post, actually:

    Still, winning a debate is one thing - the real world is something else.
    Personally, I have very little sympathy for people who refuse to immunize their kids. Even if you buy the argument that immunization can trigger autism, you should still vaccinate your kids. Most of the statistics I've heard about the alleged autism rates are nothing compared to the mortality rates of the diseases in question. So while I respect the fact that those parents are worried about their kids, the trade-off is pretty clear: death is worse than autism, and autism (with vaccination) is less likely than death (without vaccination). In other vaccinating with imperfect vaccines is less risky, with better outcomes (if things go wrong) than if you don't vaccinate.

    Thus I don't really understand the anti-vaccination position. Its one thing to advocate for safer vaccines, another to put your kids at risk by boycotting the whole procedure
    "The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man."

    -William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

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    • #32
      Re: You people sickatate me

      If anyone cares, they're clearing out the NYC OWS protesters out of the park right now (about DAMN time!!). The building where I am right at this moment is right accross the street from Zuccotti Park.

      Can't leave the building because most of the demostrators are blocking our doors.






      Danny

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      • #33
        Re: You people sickatate me

        Originally posted by Daniel Perales View Post
        Can't leave the building because most of the demostrators are blocking our doors.
        If you see Ketchup Hitler, tell her I said hi.

        (She's the gir...er, the Female Bodied person from the Stephen Colbert OWS interview.)

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        • #34
          Re: You people sickatate me

          There's a media blackout for the OWS stuff currently so even if they return to protest, you won't be able to hear about it from most regular media sources A few reporters have been arrested for violating the blackout.
          Figure Enthusiast
          Moderator: Comics, Movies, General Anime, Off-topic, Gaming Goodness

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          • #35
            Re: You people sickatate me

            Originally posted by Gatts View Post
            There's a media blackout for the OWS stuff currently so even if they return to protest, you won't be able to hear about it from most regular media sources.
            The words "Media Blackout" imply an agreement between the police and media to keep a bad situation from getting worse. That isn't happening here, as the cops are just arresting reporters that they happen to run into...

            Which is a major First Amendment issue in and of itself. I don't have sympathy for the OWS (their 1st amendment rights do not allow them to terrorize local businesses into supporting them, or causing financial harm to business that happen to have the bad luck of having a location near their campouts), but certainly do in regards to the reporters covering the clearings.

            Not to mention the promises of violence (burning down Macy's with molotov cocktails was mentioned) that are supposed to happen on Thursday. No reporter worth his salt is gonna stay away from covering something like that.

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            • #36
              Re: You people sickatate me

              Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
              That's one of things I never understood - why advocates of nationalized health care are so willing to trade the "faceless insurance actuary" for a partisan political appointee or a faceless government bureaucrat.
              See, what I find incomprehensible is why anyone would want someone whose first loyalty must be to their corporate profits making these choices.

              I mean, either way, its still a non-medical expert deciding on whether you qualify for an expensive medical treatment.
              I don't think that follows, actually. It would be very easy to legislate that medical professionals be involved in these judgements.

              And its easier to sue a corporation (and win) than to sue the government if they deny treatment.
              The prospect of trying to sue a well-lawered insurance company is pretty damn daunting when healthy, much less when seriously ill. I'd much rather contact my representative with a good sob story so they can kick some ass in the system--that sort of thing works more often than you might think.
              Avatar: Trixie is appalled by whatever I just said.

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              • #37
                Re: You people sickatate me

                Originally posted by stfram View Post
                Which is a major First Amendment issue in and of itself.
                I do find it funny that people scream "FIRST AMENDMENT!!!!" when someone gets fired for speaking their mind, but don't really have a problem with reporters getting arrested for attempting to cover a news event. It's like people don't understand what free speech means. You can't be arrested for saying your afraid of Muslims, but that doesn't mean your job needs to continue to employ you.
                Figure Enthusiast
                Moderator: Comics, Movies, General Anime, Off-topic, Gaming Goodness

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                • #38
                  Re: You people sickatate me

                  Originally posted by Gatts View Post
                  Originally posted by stfram View Post
                  Which is a major First Amendment issue in and of itself.
                  I do find it funny that people scream "FIRST AMENDMENT!!!!" when someone gets fired for speaking their mind, but don't really have a problem with reporters getting arrested for attempting to cover a news event. It's like people don't understand what free speech means. You can't be arrested for saying your afraid of Muslims, but that doesn't mean your job needs to continue to employ you.
                  Ah,the Juan Williams incident. For those of you who don't follow the drama of political commentary (or were able to - mercifully - block it out), Juan Williams is a political commentator who worked for both Fox News and NPR (National Public Radio). After he made some comments about Muslims and airplanes on Fox, NPR fired him, and publically suggested that he was mentally ill.

                  Personally, I don't think the Juan Williams incident was so much a First Amendment issue as an indictment on the way news gets dumbed down for mass consumption, and whether the current media does a good job of doing so without political bias. If you actually saw or heard the Juan Williams clip (which I can't find anymore), he said something along the lines of:

                  When I see Muslims in traditional garb get on an airplane with me, I feel fear for a moment . . .
                  Which is what NPR fired him over (although some conservatives argue that the fact he said it on Fox News was the final straw), and that's the quote that most of the media picked up when describing the story. What they missed is the second half of the quote:

                  . . . and then I remember, half a century ago, white people were saying the same thing about people who looked like me . . .
                  Putting the two pieces together, Juan Williams' comments are plea not to judge people based on their appearances - which is exactly what most parents try and teach their kids.

                  Where the problems crop up is that the story (and his firing) become all about the first part of the quote. That's the part that NPR allegedly fired him over, and implied that he was mentally ill (which was stupid - it opened them up to a libel suit). And all of the journalists the next day wrote or talked about Juan Williams and his infamous quote, about how he was afraid of Muslims.

                  But that's arguably slander, not a First Amendment issue. The First Amendment aspect comes into play because NPR fired him over allegedly making bigoted comments on another media outlet, even though they were taken wildly out of context. And his job is to be a media commentator - thus (people argue) NPR was trying to stiffle free speech (and that of other commentators via a "chilling effect") but firing for making a controversial comment.

                  My personal complaint (other than the fact that this actually got news coverage for multiple days) focuses more on the fact that so much of the coverage was driven by the media reporting on itself. Rather than a discussion on the limits of free speech, and whether NPR was trying to stiffle any expression of ideas (even just to refute them) that its management disapproved, all of the coverage was about Juan Williams and his "controversial quote about Muslims". And for those of us who were paying attention, it was clear that most of of the media personalities covering clearly hadn't seen the clip, or even really knew what Juan Williams had said. They were covering it because other people in the media were covering it, and they didn't want to be left out, even though they didn't really have anything to add. The whole thing became a house of mirrors, an echo chamber virtually devoid of facts.

                  And why, you may ask, do I care enough about this to write so much about Juan Williams v. NPR? I don't - but its relevant to other concerns. Its the media's job to cover important issues - that often cover material at the post-doc level or beyond - and make it accessible to the general public. And that means dumbing it down to a high school level of complexity - so information has to be cut out.

                  The question becomes - does the media we have do so responsibly? In other words, does the media (whether traditional or new, conservative or "main stream") do a good, fair job? And increasing, I don't think it does. Fox, for examply, almost always looks at things through a Republican and/or conservative lens - and when it does try to get a Democratic/liberal opinion, it tends to get . . . less than competent ones (anyone remember "Colmes", Hannity's old partner?) MSNBC is the same with the liberal and Democratic viewpoints. And there are just so many news articles (both traditional and online) that parrot the Democratic talking point about the number of cases "Obamacare" advocates have won, without mentioning that the opponents keep winning the "big" ones (FL and VA) . . . do these journalists not realize that the legal system doesn't work that way? Or are they deliberately slanting their coverage?

                  For those who aren't convinced, consider the following two headlines:
                  Republicans Accuse White House of Compromising National Security
                  vs.
                  White House Pressures General to Change Testimony to Benefit Political Donor
                  They have a very different feel to them, don't they? One implies the usual Democrats v. Republican stuff, the other that political cronyism might be in play - and they're both from the same story. The whole Solyndra mess has kind of buried it, but an issue was raised about whether a new national wireless broadband system (LightSquared) would interfere with current GPS technology. And in testimony before Congress, the general assigned to look into the issue concluded that it would - but that the rough draft of his report (sent to the White House for comments) came back dramatically rewritten, burying his conclusion and making it ambiguous.

                  Now its quite possible that the general was playing politics himself, but its still a fairly serious issue - GPS is important to a lot more people than just the military, and the military has valid concerns (i.e. guided missles, for example). But the "mainstream" and liberal-leaning aspects of the media ran with the first headline, "Republicans Accuse" . . . while conservative journalists ran with the second "General testifies . . ."

                  And no, conservatives aren't innocent - they play almost exactly the same games. But it really does us all a disservice. After all, "everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own 'facts'", and such flawed (or deliberately biased) efforts cheat us all out of a chance to really understand what is happening in the world. And that's no way to run a democracy (or even a republic)
                  Last edited by One Vorlon; 11-18-2011, 01:23 AM.
                  "The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man."

                  -William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: You people sickatate me

                    I know I've said it before, but this is really a fun thread - I haven't had a good, principled argument like these in ages. Thanks for starting this thread, H.R.PuffnStuff, and to everyone else who's weighing in.

                    Originally posted by Isuzu Inugami View Post
                    Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                    That's one of things I never understood - why advocates of nationalized health care are so willing to trade the "faceless insurance actuary" for a partisan political appointee or a faceless government bureaucrat.
                    See, what I find incomprehensible is why anyone would want someone whose first loyalty must be to their corporate profits making these choices. . .
                    So . . . does that mean you also want to take the doctors out of the decision making, too? After all, they're not working for free - they have to support themselves and their families (and maybe a nice vacation home in Hawaii . . . ).

                    Or, flip it around - does that mean you don't want the patients making the decisions, either? After all, they have a financial interest in not paying more than they have to - so they may decline certain tests, ask for generics instead of brand name drugs, decide against an extremely expensive procedure (with a high failure rate) . . . In the interest of maintaining a patient's health, should the doctor be able to overrule the patient's wishes? And then charge the patient anyway, for treatment they didn't want (or tried to decline)?

                    Okay, okay, I being a bit (reflexively) argumentative here, and I understand your point. But I do see a potential role for the "faceless corporate actuary" here. Ideally, decisions would be purely between a doctor and the patient - and that's how it is when the patient is paying for it out of pocket. But when you have to rely on funds pooled from others (i.e. your insurance), someone has to represent the group interest, "I don't care that Procedure X will let you live for another 10 minutes - its costs fifty million dollars. Do you know how many kids we can vaccinate with that? Or how many lives we could save with cheaper procedures? I'm sorry, but you can't drain the pool of money like that." Now its perfectly reasonable to ask whether the insurance companies are, in fact, handling the pool of insurance money responsibly - but if you look at how the U.S. and state governments handle their budgets, do you really want them anywhere near that pool of money?

                    Originally posted by Betenoire
                    Originally posted by Isuzu Inugami View Post
                    Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                    I mean, either way, its still a non-medical expert deciding on whether you qualify for an expensive medical treatment.
                    I don't think that follows, actually. It would be very easy to legislate that medical professionals be involved in these judgements.
                    Interesting in theory, not what is currently happening now however with the govt. healthcare that exists. What happens is the govt tells doctors what they can charge for certain things, which varies but often can turn out to be a loss to the doctors. You may not have noticed if you don't use Medicare or Medicaid or know anyone on them, but those on those programs have been facing a crunch in certain markets as doctors have been limiting the number of these types of new patients that they will take on as they don't want to deal with the issues. Now maybe if all docs have to deal with it they will cope, or maybe they will leave the practice & the most talented people who otherwise might have become docs will choose to travel to another profession.

                    The bean counters are the ones who will win, regardless of if they bring doctors on the panel as the final end of the budget often is the key factor.
                    Other nations, with far more nationalized health care plans than "Obamacare", can also deny treatment outright, or limit the number of procedures they'll pay a doctor for (in essence, saying he's only allowed to treat X number of patients in a year) - just look at the statistics for Britain's NIH. Patients in America can get treated far more quickly (assuming they -or their insurance - can pay for it).

                    Hmm . . . and looking back over the thread, it seems like I've been overly critical, tearing down ideas without offering any of my own. So I'm going to pony some of the ideas I personally support for reforming health care - feel free to tear them down, if you like. First, I'd like to require doctors and hospitals to post their prices for routine procedures up front. Not only will that allow people to comparison shop (hopefully bringing down prices), but it might encourage people from poor/homeless backgrounds to get needed medical help. In my experience, both groups are usually able to afford things like routine medical expenses (an annual check up, getting a broken bone set, etc.) - its the sticker shock that gets them, when the bill is presented at the end and they have no idea how much (or little it will be).

                    On a more dramatic note, I'd like to split up health insurance into two distinct aspects: discount plans and reimbursement plans, rather than leave them all mixed together (as they currently are). Classic health insurance both negotiates with doctors and hospitals for discounts, and pays for treatment (either directly to the doctors or indirectly to the patients).

                    What I'd like to do is split the two apart. So Blue Cross, for example, might offer people a chance to buy directly into their discount arrangement (20% off X-rays at Hospital C, a flat 15% off at Doctor Y, $2 antibiotics at pharmacy Z, MRIs capped at $30 "in network". . .). It would be purely discounts (no money paid out), and thus should be fairly cheap. Think of it as the insurance equivalent of the Barnes & Noble loyalty card.

                    Then, people could buy a reimbursement plan on top of that, if they want. And that's where your traditional copayment, and deductible, and maximum lifetime payout would be - what most people think of (contemporary) insurance as.

                    Now its not a perfect solution - people with Discount-Only plans would still be in trouble when it comes to some horrific disease or accident (since they have to pay everything out of pocket). But the Discount-Only plans should be cheap enough that it would be plausible for virtually everyone to afford them - insurance companies have them already set up to keep their own costs down, so it be a relatively flat low fee (maybe not as good as the $10 or $20 discount cards at book stores) - certainly far cheaper than current plans which require you to buy into the reimbursement have to get the discounts. And - as anyone who's looked at the "what they billed, what we actually paid" part of an insurance statement knows - the insurance companies get some serious discounts (sometimes as much as 80-90% off)
                    "The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man."

                    -William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

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                    • #40
                      Re: You people sickatate me

                      Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                      Juan Williams
                      I'm not arguing whether he should have been fired or not. I'm just saying that one is a First Amendment case and one is a freedom of employment case. I guess it would have been better to say "firing someone for comparing the President to Hitler on national TV because he played golf with the Speaker of the House is not a First Amendment case". Maybe that would have pleased you more?
                      Figure Enthusiast
                      Moderator: Comics, Movies, General Anime, Off-topic, Gaming Goodness

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                      • #41
                        Re: You people sickatate me

                        Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                        Fox, for examply, almost always looks at things through a Republican and/or conservative lens - and when it does try to get a Democratic/liberal opinion, it tends to get . . . less than competent ones (anyone remember "Colmes", Hannity's old partner?)
                        You mean Alan Colmes, the self-professed moderate who kept pointing out that he voted for Rudy Guliani but mostly just kept his mouth shut? Yeah, I guess that would be "liberal" to Fox News.

                        Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                        MSNBC is the same with the liberal and Democratic viewpoints.
                        Speaking as someone who is not a big fan of televised media in general (I prefer to read my news) especially from the U.S.* (the way news is presented is too aggressive-- flashy graphics, intense music, fucking holograms**-- just give me information and bugger off) I find the equivalency arguement less and less convincing as time passes. What MSNBC does is like T-Ball, it's really cute, but Fox News plays in the major-fucking-league. It might seem similar at a glance but the two are just not equivalent. Though he no longer works for MSNBC, Keith Olbermann arguably helped start the network's "liberal-to-Fox's-conservative" slant but when he says he's not the equivalent of Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly, he is absolutely right. If the Republican candidate (can we just say Mitt Romney?) wins in 2012, I seriously doubt Olbermann will be breaking out chalkboards and finding conspiracies to try and convince his audience they're being lead to slaughter.

                        Basically, your earlier statement of "The question becomes - does the media we have do so responsibly? In other words, does the media (whether traditional or new, conservative or "main stream") do a good, fair job? And increasing, I don't think it does" is correct. If nothing else we have common ground there. But Fox News is the worst, and it's not even close. The tactics MSNBC have been using for the last several years are laughable, because you can't win against Fox News by competing on the playing field that network created. There is no possible way you can beat Fox News by playing into the network's own narrative. I've no doubt people at Fox jumped for joy when MSNBC decided to sell itself as a direct counterweight.

                        *In case anyone was curious, Canadian news is nothing special and I don't tend to watch it, but for different reasons; it's embarassing. There's this incessant need for all news outlets to find "the Canadian perspective" to every friggin news story outside of the country and it makes me wish I had a turtle shell so I could crawl inside of it.

                        **I'd critisize CNN more, but the network is so irrelevent it's not really worth it. Whether you tend to agree with him or not, Jon Stewart calling CNN a "lazy susan of rotating bullshit" was nothing short of spot-on.
                        "Pledge $1000 or more: I will yell your name really loud while I chase a duck."
                        -My Collection
                        --[plug] I review and blog about anime at Akemi's Anime World [/plug]

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