Uncategorized

GOP to Uninsured: Drop Dead

“We are now contemplating, Heaven save the mark, a bill that would tax the well for the benefit of the ill.”

No, that’s not Senate Minority Leader John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh or any of the other usual suspects complaining about the cost of health care reform. Rather, it’s the beginning of an editorial in the Aug. 15, 1949 issue of The New York State Journal of Medicine denouncing attempts to provide every American with health insurance. Sure, 90 percent were uninsured then, versus around 15 percent, today. But what’s amazing is the way the overheated arguments by conservatives have changed hardly at all in six decades, as evidenced by an op-ed in the July 15, 2009 Wall Street Journal entitled “Universal Health Care Isn’t Worth Our Freedom.”

Here’s the August, 1949 New York State Journal:

Any experienced general practitioner will agree that what keeps the great majority of people well is the fact that they can’t afford to be ill. That is a harsh, stern dictum and we readily admit that under it a certain number of cases of early tuberculosis and cancer, for example, may go undetected. Is it not better that a few such should perish rather than that the majority of the population should be encouraged on every occasion to run sniveling to the doctor? That in order to get their money’s worth they should be sick at every available opportunity? They will find out in time that the services they think they get for nothing ­– but which the whole people of the United States would pay for – are also worth nothing.

And here’s Dr. Thomas Szasz from the July 15, 2009 Wall Street Journal:

The idea that every life is infinitely precious and therefore everyone deserves the same kind of optimal medical care is a fine religious sentiment and moral ideal. As political and economic policy, it is vainglorious delusion. Rich and educated people not only receive better goods and services in all areas of life than do poor and uneducated people, they also tend to take better care of themselves and their possessions, which in turn leads to better health….We must stop talking about “health care” as if it were some kind of collective public service, like fire protection, provided equally to everyone who needs it….If we persevere in our quixotic quest for a fetishized medical equality we will sacrifice personal freedom as its price. We will become the voluntary slaves of a “compassionate” government that will provide the same low quality health care to everyone.

Of course, there’s been some progress. Six decades ago, the kind of views expressed by Szasz and the New York Journal represented the medical mainstream. Today, even the most troglodyte are not suggesting the repeal of Medicare and Medicaid.

On the other hand, in those “pre-spin” days so long ago the health-insurance-for-all opponents of the past were forthright about the consequences of their principles for others. Today’s conservative fulminators prefer to forego mentioning the 20,000 preventable deaths each year – about 55 people each and every day – among those without insurance coverage.

The other great difference sixty years has made is the racial and ethnic composition of the uninsured. The uninsured today are disproportionately minority. Nearly one in four (36 percent) are Hispanic, 22 percent are black, 17 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders and just 13 percent white. The impact of those figures is clear. While nearly one third of Texans have no health insurance, the Republicans who dominate its Congressional delegation have shown no particular urgency to address a problem primarily affecting low-income Hispanics. (Fifty-eight 58 percent of the uninsured in the state are Hispanic, according to Kaiser Family Foundation figures.)

It’s important to remember that none of the Republican presidential candidates in either the primary or general election presented a serious plan to cover all the uninsured, nor have any of the Congressional GOP critics of Obama’s plan done so. In other words, the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans on universal access to health care, then, is not a difference on government should help accomplish this goal but whether the goal itself is worth pursuing.

Put differently, for those Americans who can’t afford medical care (or are afraid that they won’t be able to in the future), the GOP has a clear reply: drop dead.

More by this author:

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

17
Leave a Reply

17 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
Henry massingaleHeidenHopeKaz VorpalJoe S.Alan Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Henry massingale
Guest

This time President Obama is right, By asking GOP and the Republican Party to share ideas of how to help those who are sick, this is why he got elected in the first place, it show that he cares and is more concerned about what the people think about him then, GOP and the Republican Party thinks… This Health Care Reform will not work until a job force is put into action, I would ask all who voted for President Obama or did not, to cast a vote to approve this Job Act Concept of Obama s and order GOP… Read more »

HeidenHope
Guest
HeidenHope

I have no insurance. I cannot find a doctor who will accept me as a patient, even though I am willing and able to pay UP FRONT. That is just flat wrong. I am being denied healthcare because I do not have insurance. That is the ONLY reason. Now, even IF I got insurance, my issue would be considered pre-existing and therefore I would be out of luck again. The whole healthcare system has gotten totally warped and it needs to be straightened out. Now.

Kaz Vorpal
Guest

I meant to post the URL for the data above…note that it has footnotes, but that the data is all stuff you can easily verify from mainstream sources, yourself:
http://butnowyouknow.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/who-are-the-47-million-uninsured/

Kaz Vorpal
Guest

The very “The Uninsured” spin is a contextual lie, in the first place. It implies that: (A) Everyone needs health insurance that covers their normal, predictable health care. (B) The people who don’t have it are people who are deprived and need to be saved. We’ll start with B first: The “forty million uninsured” (or whatever number some huckster is spouting) largely consists of: 9,000,000 Millionaires 27,000,000 people who make more than $50,000 per year, but choose not to get insurance 22,000,000 Young adults who can afford insurance, but choose not to 14,000,000 People who can already get medicaid, but… Read more »

Joe S.
Guest
Joe S.

I don’t think the conservative clamor over healthcare is really about healthcare. Conservatives are scared at what is happening to America, and they haven’t had a way to express their fear since Obama was elected. The healthcare townhalls are the first time they could get the attention they want and show just how angry and afraid they are.
So don’t bother trying to communicate with them (they really aren’t looking for answers about healthcare). We should spend all of our energy getting the word to independents about what is in the proposed healthcare reform so they can make informed decisions.

Alan
Guest
Alan

Steve S: Rhetoric about welfare queens went out with Reagan in the 1980’s. They never found any, despite the clamor. In the interests of full disclosure, I am a personal friend of Michael. And by the way, it is Michael, not Mike, not Mikey, not Mickey. Maybe if you weren’t condescending, your arguments might inspire some validity. I work for a company of four employees, all over 50, and all with chronic, serious health problems. Try to get coverage for a group like ours. Not affordable coverage, but coverage. Group coverage won’t go below 6 employees. And individual coverage is… Read more »

Susanna Holt
Guest
Susanna Holt

I KNOW ALL ABOUT NATIONAL HEALTHCARE! – IT’S A JOY!!!! And as a wealthy individual, I can vouch that it did not take away from our way of life in UK. Au contraire, it gave us freedom from fear, always! The government never decided whether or not we required a heart transplant, believe me, it was the doctor! We carried catastrophic insurance for serious injury, minimal expense, but for countless doctor visits such as cuts, stitches, accidents, mammograms, blood checks etc… it was superb. Not perfect, but isn’t occasional human failing inevitable as humans. And believe me, care was just… Read more »

Cody
Guest
Cody

The economic truth.. Health care, as all services, are rationed. Its an economic fact. If you let the free market dictate, it will be rationed by price. If you let the gov’t dictate, it will be rationed by a bureaucracy. There are limited resources and unlimited wants/needs. The reason prices are increasing is that there is excess demand with to few resources. So the answer is: a. Get more doctors/nurses/hospitals – over supply always drives down prices (look at the current housing market) b. Have less patients – less demand creates over supply of doctors/nurses/hospitals and drives down prices. So… Read more »

Hoby
Guest
Hoby

President Obama should argue that lack of access to public health care is a public health hazard. The Obama health care plan offers Americans a basic civil service – access to medical care. The government offers the citizen other civil services such as the police force which few Americans would dare to see privatized, for fear that greed lead to abuse of power and unequal protection. Also the sewer systems; a public health initiative. So we entrust our public health and security to government already and few complain.Under this plan, any American suffering from anything from a heart murmur to… Read more »

Steve S
Guest
Steve S

Michael The Miller’s Son says: “That is not political; it is ethical and moral.” Are you serious Mikey? Really? Are you serious? “Political?” – Handouts and freebies always get out the vote. How about first, all ‘uninsured’ give up their BlackBerry’s, their cable TV, their Internet connections, their Escalade payments, their daily Grande Latte’s, etc. etc. Then take the balance and exclude anyone who has not paid $200 in federal taxes in the last 18 months. Then exclude anyone with a BMI of 32+ Then drug test the rest. (The above should be very easy to ascertain given today’s information… Read more »

Nate
Guest
Nate

“Today, even the most troglodytes are not suggesting the repeal of Medicare and Medicaid.” Who is really the troglodyte, the GOP for daring to put out there that the darling of socialism is a failure and not sustainable or the liberals who will follow the entire nation to ruin before admitting they promised more then they can deliver. The self righteous indignation of people such as your self always amasses me. You hold yourself up as being so much better then those with conservative ideological beliefs; but what have you really done? Medicaid is the worst health plan in America.… Read more »

Nate
Guest
Nate

“Karen, healthcare is rationed currently; by ability to pay.” And that Fred is the difference between freedom and oppression. When care is rationed by ability to pay that means at my will I can exchange my labor to pay for my care. When it is rationed by politicians those life decisions are no longer in my hands. Since liberals first started proposing the destruction of our healthcare systems and economy in 1906; Americans have always chosen freedom. How many times do we have to tell you no? Michael 20,000 deaths in NOTHING compared to what Democrat’s public housing did to… Read more »

Deron S.
Guest

Those 20,000 preventable deaths are dwarfed by the deaths and spending that result from obesity and preventable chronic conditions. I’m not seeing much about that coming from Washington right now. Not very pragmatic in my view, but it makes everyone feel good. Covering the uninsured is far more politically popular than addressing costs, because the majority of the public does not understand what the cost drivers are. Attacking the cost drivers means pissing someone off, and it’s not easy to get re-elected when you do that. Hence, we will have expensive healthcare (and very busy PCPs) for the forseeable future.

Michael Millenson
Guest
Michael Millenson

My post does not attack the Republicans for how they want to cover the uninsured. It attacks the GOP for not putting forth a plan that would cover the uninsured and not, historically, caring. That is not political; it is ethical and moral. There are Republicans who are deeply disappointed with their own party for that stance. That doesn’t make them Democrats, it makes them Republicans with a conscience. Among the 20,000 who die each year because of lack of health insurance are Democrats, Republicans and independents. Republicans and Democrats of good will can disagree on how to address the… Read more »

Deron S.
Guest

I read the post and thought to myself “How is Keith Olbermann finding the time to post on THCB?” Then I scrolled back up and realized it was Michael. If the goal was to further expose healthcare reform to the divisiveness of politics, something which has stalled reform for decades, you have probably succeeded.