POLICY: Up at spot on–The Garden Hose Health Care Brigade

I wanted to call it “Hillary Clinton meets Ann Rand,” but my Spot-on Editor decided that she really liked the notion of privatizing the fire department. So I’m up over there dissing on the The Garden Hose Health Care Brigade.

As ever come back here to comment.

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  1. Stuart I’m giving in to better judgement and responding to such a stupid comment by you about me. I’m assuming you think you’re quoting Thomas Jefferson. Please go to this site and its links for a much more intelligent view of the complete Thomas Jefferson and his views on majority rule.

  2. Peter – Why can’t you at least be honest enough to admit that what you mean by “democracy” is mob rule unencumbered by any protections for the rights of individuals?

  3. “The problem with healthcare is that the people who are least well served by our system have already dropped out politically.”
    “We have a society whose government has a monstrous credibility problem.”
    And who created that and who does it serve?
    Those who control through power and money hate democracy. So how do you control democracy and limit people’s involvement. You create a system where only money can buy access and real participation – voting and writing letters are only the bread crumbs. You reward your contributors with jobs and contracts so that government is largely controlled, not by the most competent, but by party hacks, incompetents and gold diggers. That robs the general public of hope and creates cynicism which leads to non-participation and mistrust. Then all the power brokers have to do is polarize citizens, create fear, and get their base out to win. But the money men don’t really care who wins because they hedge their bets and control both parties with cash.
    I have no illusions about any solution for healthcare, or global warming for that matter. People only focus on the now not on the future, and on me not we. Governments are supposed to balance those human traits, but the money men who control government make more cash on the now and the me. Let’s control global warming with another tax cut.
    The real solution for healthcare will only come from changing how, “this democracy” functions and ultimaely how government works.

  4. Matthew,
    I understand. You’re quite new to the idea of individual rights and the notion of a free society. I suggest starting with “The Fountainhead” (my favorite) and graduating to “Atlas Shrugged” after you have a good grounding.

  5. Stuart’s right, even though he wasn’t able to come to the session (so disappointing), her name is Ayn not Ann. Meanwhile I tried, I really tried to read Atlas Shrugged. Talk about telegraphing your intentions….pity she couldn’t afford an editor.

  6. Maybe you meant “Ayn Rand”?
    If so, I highly suggest her works to the assorted statists here who might learn that other people’s lives and property are not theirs to despose of.

  7. >> Coercion does not a society make.
    > Coercion is what makes a society.
    We have a fundamental disagreement. Love is what makes a society. Coercion is at best a substitute for love and rarely rises to even a tiny fraction of its potential as such.
    > The trick is to use coercion fairly.
    The greater trick is to know in the first place what this means.

  8. 1) Before there were fire departments you had to have fire insurance if you wanted someone to fight your fires. Insured houses typically had a medallion indicating the company and level of coverage.
    As for forcing people to pay for fire services, I have no problem with coercion. Coercion is what makes a society. Without coercion there is no private property. Anyone can steal anything they want. Who is going to stop them without coercion? Whatever uses coercion to stop them, well, that’s the coercive government. The trick is to use coercion fairly.
    (I’d rather see the military privatized. Remember, I could lose my house to a fire in an uninsured neighbors house. I’d be more than glad to pay for the capture of Osama bin Laden, and I’d let those who want us occupying Iraq to pay for that).
    2) Having two upper middle class nieces with tuberculosis, luckily a treatable variant, I think there is much to be said for universal health care. Sure, you can lock yourself in a cellar and hope that vancomycin works, but it is much more intelligent and cost effective to make sure that everyone is screened and treated for tuberculosis.
    If you consider non-infectious diseases like diabetes, you still have the problem of what do you do with the disabled? Do you let them die in the street? How do you deal with the infections they carry? What if they get ornery? It would be much better to does them with insulin and have done with it. I don’t need to roll up my car windows in diabetic neighborhoods.
    3) Laissez faire capitalism has failed and failed and failed again, but it’s backers are like Bart Simpson in Lisa’s intelligence experiment. They keep reaching for the cake and ignoring the electric shocks. It can’t feed people. It can’t innovate. It can’t protect people. I see capitalism as one of the great forces, like fire. For certain applications there is NO substitute. It can be a powerful positive force, but I’m not going to burn my house down because I want to read at night.

  9. Lynn writes:
    > Better yet private subscriber fire departments.
    > They show up and fight fires at the homes/businesses
    > of folks who have paid for their fire fighting
    > services.
    This is the way rural volunteer fire departments have worked for decades, and in some places they still work this way. Where I grew up, when you paid your annual fire department membership dues you’d get a license-plate looking tag to nail on a fencepost by the road so the firefighters could see it if (God forbid!) their services might be wanted. If someone hadn’t paid, they might try to save your life, but never your property. You could lose all your buildings, livestock, hay, whatever. They would prevent the fire from spreading out of the immediate area or off the property, but that’s all.
    Granted, for reasons of likely externalities, this arrangement works better in a rural area than in an urban area, but coercion does not a society make. I say the rural landowners demonstrated more of the social virtues by this arrangement than howsoever many grumbling urban property owners do by paying a tax bill to avoid jail. And I say that healthcare is much, much more often like firefighting than it is like (say) police protection. It makes far more sense to coerce participation in a public sewer system under the ruberic of “public health” than it ever will to treat cancer.
    This is not an argument that there must never be a government-mandated social insurance model for healthcare, but it is certainly an argument that it is not necessary, strictly speaking. And if we begin to fund healthcare with a tax, that does not prove that we have become a society rather than a collection of radically autonomous economic units. The degree to which we have become a society will be measured by the amount of grumbling about what the undeserving get that the deserving pay for.

  10. You’ve got it, Mathew. A crucial insight. A massive educational challenge awaits the next President, and that should be how we decide who it is. Who is the best teacher? The problem with healthcare is that the people who are least well served by our system have already dropped out politically. There aren’t a lot of votes or political campaign contributions to be had by meeting their needs. DId you know, for example, that 40% of people aged 18-26 are not even registered to vote? The Jeffersonian mistrust of government is rampant right now, and the younger you are, the less trust. Katrina reinforced it- a comprehensive failure at all levels of government to help people struggling with an authentic emergency. It is not that we don’t have a society, Peter. We have a society whose government has a monstrous credibility problem. When Democracy Corps asked a random sample of potential VOTERS whether they viewed government as a positive force in peoples’ lives or whether it prevented them from getting ahead, “prevented them from getting ahead” won 57%-29%, a huge problem not only for the Democrats but for all of us. And given that, people with resources or power will FIRST ask, is the government, which never gets anything right, going to screw up my life, and they will stop things, like health reform, that threaten to do so.

  11. Better yet private subscriber fire departments. They show up and fight fires at the homes/businesses of folks who have paid for their fire fighting services. So the homeowner has to prove they have fire coverage before receiving a drop of water. Of course the private fire companies can just let the house burn if you’ve lost your proof of subscription. We all know private bureaucracies are so much more efficient and effective than gov’t one. Yep works for me, as the fires rage over the ridge. Imagine what homeowners insurance would cost. Excellent analogy. Matthew you are an “evil” genius keep up the good fight.

  12. Getting the uninsured covered is going to be used as a facade by those (AMA) really opposed to any larger structural reform that will lower costs and improve care for the rest of the population. Supporters of universal single pay better be careful who they climb into the political bed with. The AMA can stand in front of the cameras with crocodile tears while hiding their real concern – income protection for their members.
    Getting the unisured off the debate table for providers will give us many more years of dealing with the major structural faults in the system discussed on this blog all the time, and which really creates the uninsured in the first place. Typical doctor training, deal with the symptoms not the cause.
    Matthew, I like the fire department analogy. It tells me that this country only looks on itself as an economy, not as a society.