Movies

Is Michael Moore a Double Agent?

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Moore loser

Reason contributor Todd Seavey, with more on Moore's Sicko, including a novel theory that Moore may be a secret saboteur of his own cause.

By the time it's over we'll have seen Moore unspooling actual Soviet propaganda films to mock American (and in particular, long-ago American Medical Association) fears of socialism and will have seen him gazing appreciatively up at a famous, massive bust of Karl Marx in London. And it's at about this point that if I were, say, Hillary Clinton's point person on how to make voters comfortable with the idea of socializing medicine (and rest assured she has one), I might start to wonder whether Moore is trying to help or sabotage the cause.

Seavey's conclusion: "If Moore had stopped about one third of the way through his film, after sharing some genuinely funny/infuriating tales of insurance bureaucracy gone awry…he might well have had the majority of the audience on his side, even the right-leaning or free-market-oriented viewers. But if he knew when to stop, he wouldn't be Michael Moore, would he?"

For more Todd Seavey, go here.

For Moynihan on Moore, go here.

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  1. I want to live in a world where Michael Moore’s films all loose money.

  2. Has anyone else ever watched Canadian Bacon? Its the only Michael Moore film I found enjoyable. Of course, it was also fiction.

  3. Ahh! I’m so steamed I don’t even know where to start…

  4. I’ve come to the same conclusion for most of his movies. The first half is usually brilliant in bringing a problem to light. Then he gets all self-righteous the second half.

    I did like TV Nation though.

    * I haven’t seen Sicko yet.

  5. I’m not going to be upset if Moore sabotages the idea of socialized medicine; regardless of intent.

  6. The difference between Michael Moore and Reason is that Michael Moore is conscious that he is doing propaganda.

    I think part of the idea is that if the extreme left US position on healthcare moves, then the center will also move to the left. Any actual reforms are likely to come out of this center, so Moore just pulls left for all he’s worth at every ridiculous margin.

    Reason has been exaggerating how bad Cuba is for years. So now Moore is going to exaggerate how great it is. Hopefully those who read Reason and watch Moore films will come away with an opinion somewhere in between, which is probably where the truth lies.

    I think the other part of the idea is that Moore expects audiences to think for themselves and wants them to. The last Moore movie I saw was Bowling For Columbine, and that movie asked a lot more questions than it provided answers, and that was a good thing. A lot of post-9-11 culture is about finding like-minded people, furiously clinging to them, and calling everybody else a “troll.” Even though people still disagree, the act of disagreeing has come to be considered impolite. Memo to the 20 somethings out there: the world didn’t always work like that, and Moore definitely evokes this pre-9-11 world where it wasn’t always “us versus the trolls” or “us versus the wackos” or the classic “I can’t decide whether this dissenting voice is a troll or a wacko.”

    Moore is putting a lot of stuff out there, and he clearly doesn’t expect everybody to agree with all of it. My guess is that Moore prefers a debate on healthcare to a non-debate over a divisive issue (looking at you, John Kerry). My aunt sent me a nice, new WSJ editorial about Republicans talking about free market reforms in US healthcare now. 4 words: “Thank you, Michael Moore.”

  7. This guy may be giving Moore too much credit. Granted, it would be an excellent way of turning people off to the idea of socialized medicine, but at the same time.. he’s really not the spitting image of anything positive, is he? But at the same time, he’s such a whack-job that he comes in just under the amount of ridiculousness required to be a Family Guy joke… maybe that’s just where he needs to be to be stealthly effective.

    Now I’m so confused…

  8. Russ2000, the idea doesn’t really need much help form Moore to be sabotaged.

  9. Dave W, you are such a tro. . .
    A lot of post-9-11 culture is about finding like-minded people, furiously clinging to them, and calling everybody else a “troll.”

    D’oh! You pre-empted me!

  10. Get over yourself, Dave. Group identity, identity politics, and pulling for all you are worth in a given direction are not new.

    Note to the kids. It has always been like this. Beware the guy who puts on his crown of thorns and tries to sell the idea that society as a whole isn’t grown up enough to handle his, ahem, unique perspective. He may be projecting.

    And, sometimes a troll is just a troll.

  11. A lot of post-9-11 culture is about finding like-minded people, furiously clinging to them, and calling everybody else a “troll.”

    I don’t think that applies to H&R. Around here no one has to label anyone as a “troll”. We usually just know who you are by the nonsense that person writes (points to Dave and whispers “troll”).

  12. He may be projecting.

    And, sometimes a troll is just a troll.

    . . . here we have a new twist the classic “I can’t decide whether this dissenting voice is a troll or a wacko.” Cuz its got to be one or the other.

  13. Even though I disagree with his stances on things, and the smug way he presents him, I think that Moore deserves some props for being one of the few people who can make a documentary film that aren’t dry as fuck. Most documentary films out there I have to try really, really hard to pay attention while on any given lazy Sunday I can just pop in Bowling for Columbine and have it play in the background while I clean my room or something

  14. Everyone’s a double agent. Some of them don’t realize it, though.

  15. These posts are barely better than the ones that can be found on You Tube. The magazine’s entitled “Reason.” So why can’t we be reasonable. What’s with all this bickering about who’s a troll. Who cares?

    One thing we can all agree on, the health care system needs to be reformed.

    I think there are some serious reforms we could make short of socializing the whole system.

    Now, I don’t agree with Moore’s proposal, but at least he getting a debate going. If all people do, and Libertarians are as guilty of this as anyone, is say, “there’s not a problem,” or “that won’t solve the problem 100″% we are not going to get anywhere. We need to stop calling people trolls and what not and star thinking about the fucking problem. I think Dave had a very intelligent thing to say. The point of this magazine is to get past politics and look at what is reasonable policy and what is not. Reason has done a good job criticizing Moore’s health care plan, or lack there of. But we need to start thinking of what can be done about the problem. Leave the mindless partisanship, mud slinging and ideologies to the Dems and the GOP.

  16. Rob,

    I would respond, but your first paragraph forced me to drink myself into a stupor. I’ll get back to you.

  17. Moore is a dedicated Guardian of the Neckbeard.

  18. Rob –
    That just brought a tear to my eye. How very Kumbaya of you.
    But it’s ridiculous to accuse libertarians of not trying to come up with a solution. It’s pretty obvious what we want so it’s pretty useless to argue policies. Now, if you wanted to talk about “what kind of improvement could we possibly get passed with our giant amount of clout in Washington,” that would be different.
    BTW: Please use a different word than debate. Whenever I hear that word in a national context I think about how Congress “debates” things by getting up in front of everyone else and running their mouths for 15 minutes a piece, not listening to each other, and just spewing garbage. Oh, and then there are the presidential “debates,” where all they do is get up on a stage and talk about themselves… that, unfortunately, is not what a debate is.

  19. One thing we can all agree on, the health care system needs to be reformed.

    Before I collapse on the floor in a puddle of my own bile, I propose that we add someone saying “one thing we can all agree on…” to the list of drinking game triggers.

  20. Sorry, I stopped reading after the weak-assed insult to Moore’s patriotism.

  21. joe, did you cut and paste that?

    I’m just concerned about your carpal tunnels…

  22. crimethink,
    I second that since, as we all know, libertarians can’t agree on much of anything.

  23. It’s pretty obvious what we want so it’s pretty useless to argue policies.

    Is it? Because to me, it seems like the libertarian position on health care is:

    Those who can afford insurance should pay for it themselves and be happy with the choices the market gives you and those who can’t should seek out private charities to help you pay for your health care. And there should be nothing in the tax code to provide incentives to employers to provide insurance.

    Is this a fair representation of the general libertarian position on health care?

  24. Reason has been exaggerating how bad Cuba is for years.

    WTF, over? Reason has doubted Castro’s rosy picture claims, showing examples of where his “all my people are happy, literate and healthy” has been proven false. That is not the same thing as “exaggerating”. But then in this post 9/11 world only trolls and wackos speak the truth, eh?

  25. I disagree!

  26. ChiTom,
    That sums up my stance pretty well, though I might argue that “afford insurance” should be changed to “afford routine health care and catastrophe insurance”. Health insurance as we know and use it is not insurance; it is a deferred payment plan. Insurance should cover shit that you didn’t see coming down the pike, not cleaning your teeth every six months or annual mammograms. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with deferred payment plans, just don’t call it insurance.

  27. Sorry, I stopped reading after the weak-assed insult to Moore’s patriotism.

    You know, if you don’t get past that, you may never ready anything critical of Moore. Not that you’d really be missing anything, mind you.

  28. ChicagoTom,

    Ultimately, I think the libertarian ideal is going to involve several changes from the current system. Doing any of them alone will make the problems worse.

    First, get rid of the gatekeeper status of the AMA. One major reason for high health care costs and reduced availability is a doctor shortage.

    Second, encourage people to pay out of pocket for routine medical services. This is already happening to some extent with Wal-marts and other stores opening up in-store clinics staffed by nurses and phys assts, who can do checkups and take care of common injuries and illnesses for much lower costs than seeing a doctor. (Of course, the AMA is trying to get state legs to shut these clinics down, ostensibly out of concern for patients getting quality care)

    Once you’ve done that, you’ve pretty much removed most people from the health care system, most of the time. The massive costs of high-tech medical equipment and specialized personnel for the rare situations in which they are needed can be financed by catastrophic health insurance which will, like car insurance, only be used to cover major surgeries and whatnot. Such insurance would probably have much lower cost than the all-inclusive insurance policies of today.

  29. The difference between Michael Moore and Reason is that Michael Moore is conscious that he is doing propaganda.

    I think part of the idea is that if the extreme left US position on healthcare moves, then the center will also move to the left. Any actual reforms are likely to come out of this center, so Moore just pulls left for all he’s worth at every ridiculous margin.

    Reason has been exaggerating how bad Cuba is for years. So now Moore is going to exaggerate how great it is. Hopefully those who read Reason and watch Moore films will come away with an opinion somewhere in between, which is probably where the truth lies.

    I think the other part of the idea is that Moore expects audiences to think for themselves and wants them to. The last Moore movie I saw was Bowling For Columbine, and that movie asked a lot more questions than it provided answers, and that was a good thing. A lot of post-9-11 culture is about finding like-minded people, furiously clinging to them, and calling everybody else a “troll.” Even though people still disagree, the act of disagreeing has come to be considered impolite. Memo to the 20 somethings out there: the world didn’t always work like that, and Moore definitely evokes this pre-9-11 world where it wasn’t always “us versus the trolls” or “us versus the wackos” or the classic “I can’t decide whether this dissenting voice is a troll or a wacko.”

    Moore is putting a lot of stuff out there, and he clearly doesn’t expect everybody to agree with all of it. My guess is that Moore prefers a debate on healthcare to a non-debate over a divisive issue (looking at you, John Kerry). My aunt sent me a nice, new WSJ editorial about Republicans talking about free market reforms in US healthcare now. 4 words: “Thank you, Michael Moore.”

    Dave, this is the best post I’ve ever read here. Kudos.

  30. Hopefully those who read Reason and watch Moore films will come away with an opinion somewhere in between, which is probably where the truth lies.

    You mean there’s someone else?

    Anyway, nice piece, Mr. Seavey. You don’t usually see someone concern-trolling until halfway down a comment thread.

  31. I didn’t post that previous comment. Stop spoofing me. But I would happily give Dave W. oral sex if I ever met him.

  32. WTF, over? Reason has doubted Castro’s rosy picture claims, showing examples of where his “all my people are happy, literate and healthy” has been proven false. That is not the same thing as “exaggerating”. But then in this post 9/11 world only trolls and wackos speak the truth, eh?

    Moore cherry picks a nice place in Cuba and shows us that. It is his propaganda.

    OTOH, dogeater cherry picks a sob story:
    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/120588.html
    That is his Fonzaganda.

    Two sides of the same coin. Call it exaggerating, call it selectivity in choosing anecdotes, call it propaganda, call it what you will. Just don’t kid yourself about the kind of info you are getting.

  33. Now, as many of you have noted, I’ve done my best over the last few days to avoid “trolling” type posts and fashion my comments in a less antagonistic manner.

    The above spoofing indicates that it makes no difference, I guess.

  34. Dan,
    I appreciate your efforts over the last few days.

  35. Oh, and then there are the presidential “debates,” where all they do is get up on a stage and talk about themselves… that, unfortunately, is not what a debate is.

    Talk about themselves? No way, that is sooooo last millennium.

    They just raise their hands to yes-or-no questions nowadays…

  36. Dan T, which one is the spoof?

  37. The one where I complimented Dave’s post was legit, the one where I offered him, uh, services was not.

    That’s assuming you were legitimately asking.

    (If not: very funny.)

  38. “Dan T, which one is the spoof?”

    The one with the goatee.

  39. Warren
    I want to live in a world where Michael Moore’s films all loose money.

    Me too; hopefully Moore’s films will continue to loose peoples’ money out of their pockets and into movie theatres to continue encouraging the making of these type of movies!

    joe classified this post correctly as a concern troll. The term dates from the period before the Iraq war : people who were too vehemently against the war were reminded by concern trolls that they were hurting their own cause by acting too angry and immoderate.

  40. Here’s a question about Moore – regardless of whether or you like him or not, can his films really be called “propaganda”? Doesn’t something need to originate from an official or at least authoritative source to be propaganda?

    Moore’s work is probably better described as polemical.

  41. That sums up my stance pretty well, though I might argue that “afford insurance” should be changed to “afford routine health care and catastrophe insurance”

    SO what about non-routine, non-catastrophic health issues? I had my ACL replaced this year after I blew it out playing a pickup game of basketball. I didn’t NEED it replaced. (I am not an athlete or anything). I was able to get around with only a minor inconvenience. Should that be an out of pocket cost for me? It is neither routine nor catastrophic. Out of pocet would have cost me over 20K.

    What about things like having children? Routine? Catastrophic?

    Once you’ve done that, you’ve pretty much removed most people from the health care system, most of the time

    I just don’t think this is true. In fact, it seems to me, that the routine stuff is the stuff that people don’t do enough of. Doctors are constantly harping on the fat that people don’t get enough routine stuff done to detect illness early.

    There is a large amount of people who need some kind of coverage for non-routine non catastrophic / life threatening events. Things like broken bones, outpatient surgeries, — basically accidents that happen or non-life threatening chronic conditions. Who pays for that and how?

    And even the routine stuff. If I am poor, I can’t afford a couple hunder dollars for lab work to test my blood and urine and cholesteral etc. What do I do then? Hope that I can find a charity to pay for my routine stuff?? Or just go without and wait for the catastrophic event?

  42. Dan,

    Actually, I too have noticed the improved quality of your posts. Personally, I have been pleased enough overlook the fact that you have not turned in your essay on time.

    Rather than returning to your old ways, I suggest you complain to Radley Balko about them – he takes a very dim view of spoofing and will discipline the miscreants.

  43. Dan, if you don’t like people spoofing you, you can always move to another board’s comments section where the moderating is more to your liking.

  44. SO what about non-routine, non-catastrophic health issues? I had my ACL replaced this year after I blew it out playing a pickup game of basketball. I didn’t NEED it replaced. (I am not an athlete or anything). I was able to get around with only a minor inconvenience. Should that be an out of pocket cost for me? It is neither routine nor catastrophic. Out of pocet would have cost me over 20K.

    I imagine that would have depended on what kind of insurance policy you would have gotten. You would pay more for more coverage and smaller deductables/co-pay fees. You’d pay less for less coverage and higher copays.

    Insurance companies companies could dictate (through policy contracts) regular check up periods etc… in order to cover the preventative health care costs because (if preventative care is truly effective) the savings would go right towards their bottom line.

    And I think the idea is that as soon as you remove bariers for entry into the market, those hundreds of dollars would turn into tens of dollars.

  45. Dan, if you don’t like people spoofing you, you can always move to another board’s comments section where the moderating is more to your liking.

    Ha! That is true.

    Or I could change my handle, making my posts more difficult to recognize.

  46. ChiTom
    With your previous post where you outlined what you thought the libertarian position on healthcare was, I think that’s pretty much correct.

    You seem to forget that prices aren’t stable, and that part of what keeps prices high is the ability of SOMEONE to pay the high price (whether it’s government, or insurance, or whatever), regulations, and the like. People would have to change the way they acted and spent money to accomodate the new circumstance.

  47. People so bothered by dissenting opinions that they have to play dirty tricks like that are beneath contempt.

    But since I’m feeling generous today, asswipe, I’ll do you a favor, and feel contempt for you.

  48. Please ignore my previous posts in this thread. I was forced to write them. AT GUNPOINT!

  49. ChicagoTom said what I was just about to say, in that that model doesn’t cover the majority of ailments I’ve had, which are almost all orthopedic in nature. And the amount and promptness of treatment for those problems can range widely depending out what the doctor thinks you “deserve.” Right now I have a nagging knee problem and I couldn’t get a physical therapy appointment for 5 weeks because it wasn’t considered urgent enough. Apparently not being able to walk more than 2 blocks isn’t considered a problem. Meanwhile I’ve complained, and another doctor ordered an MRI- took 1 1/2 weeks to schedule, and won’t get to any results for 1-2 *more* weeks. Way to go guys! Every day my problem gets worse, in the time they’ve delayed I’ve now developed a hip problem from compensating. I’ve sure a little arthoscopy would have fixed everything, but by the time they’re done “treating” me they’re going to have to give me a hip replacement.

    I guess my point after all the rambling is that doctors in combination with administrators aren’t nevessarily good determiners of “catastrophic”

  50. “Reason has been exaggerating how bad Cuba is for years.”

    Care to site specific examples?

  51. People so bothered by dissenting opinions that they have to launch frequent ad hominem attacks are beneath contempt.

    Oh, wait…

  52. A lot of Cubans in my neck of the woods will be celebrating Castro’s eventual death with riotous music and dancing and alcohol, but I’m saving my energy for Moore’s demise. It will be a great day for America. If only he could time it for July 4th. This one.

  53. I imagine that would have depended on what kind of insurance policy you would have gotten. You would pay more for more coverage and smaller deductables/co-pay fees. You’d pay less for less coverage and higher copays.

    So if I am low income and can only afford catasrophic coverage — then I pay out of pocket for anything that isn’t catastrophic and or I do without?

    And I think the idea is that as soon as you remove bariers for entry into the market, those hundreds of dollars would turn into tens of dollars.

    Barriers for entry by whom? Insurers? Doctors? Hospitals?

    More doctors would mean potentially lower costs office visits and potentially lower costs for the surgeons and anesthesiologists, etc, but lab work is sent out somewhere so that is a fixed cost to the doctor. Facility fees are also are set by the hosptital Is there a shortage of labs with equipment to analyze your blood etc? Is there a shortage of hospitals?

    You seem to forget that prices aren’t stable, and that part of what keeps prices high is the ability of SOMEONE to pay the high price (whether it’s government, or insurance, or whatever), regulations, and the like. People would have to change the way they acted and spent money to accomodate the new circumstance.

    Reinmoose, I am not forgetting anything, I am merely trying to understand how the libertarian position would play out in the real world.

    I am giving specific examples that I see and I am wondering how it would play out, but all I seem to be getting in response are platitudes about how the current system effects things.

    Unless it really is as simple as:
    If I am poor, and can’t afford the coverage that would cover non-catastophic and non preventive inidents my choices are do without or become a deadbeat and not pay and have my credit ruined and collectors after me?

  54. SO what about non-routine, non-catastrophic health issues? I had my ACL replaced this year after I blew it out playing a pickup game of basketball. I didn’t NEED it replaced. (I am not an athlete or anything). I was able to get around with only a minor inconvenience.

    In that case, ChicagoTom, you can be pretty sure you wouldn’t have been able to get it done at all in a socialized medicine system.

    Everybody getting everything they want for free isn’t an option. The setup I roughly outline above isn’t going to make everyone’s life perfect, but neither will anything else.

  55. If I am poor, and can’t afford the coverage that would cover non-catastophic and non preventive inidents my choices are do without or become a deadbeat and not pay and have my credit ruined and collectors after me?

    Is that really any different from the general libertarian position on poverty?

  56. I don’t think there is any “solution” for our current healthcare system that won’t make things worse than our current system. It’s arguably the most effective healthcare in the world and the costs reflect that.

  57. There is a fourth option ChicagoTom…appeal to charity for help.

  58. I don’t think there is any “solution” for our current healthcare system that won’t make things worse than our current system. It’s arguably the most effective healthcare in the world and the costs reflect that.

    With all due respect, I don’t think the US system is considered by many as being the best in the world.

    At least according to the WHO, it’s France. The US is rated somewhere in the 30’s.

  59. Another thing that gets lost in this debate is that the best health care that was available 50 years ago can be had today for bargain basement prices. Lack of access to all the latest and greatest medical services isn’t going to result in mass casualties. If it did, we wouldn’t have survived till now.

  60. Dan T,

    Don’t they also say that Ethiopia is a better place for a child to grow up than the US? Questions of good/better/best are among the easiest to fudge for those who have an agenda.

    I’ll trust the judgement of the people who come to the US from other countries to have their medical services done, thank you very much.

  61. Reinmoose, I am not forgetting anything, I am merely trying to understand how the libertarian position would play out in the real world.

    I am giving specific examples that I see and I am wondering how it would play out, but all I seem to be getting in response are platitudes about how the current system effects things.

    ChiTom, no you aren’t. You’re being accusatory by selecting a specific example where you can see there being a problem, not taking price change possibilities into account, not comparring it to the alternative (or the current situation).. you’re basically TRYING to get someone to say “OH, we don’t care about the *)(*#$ poor, and socialized medicine is the only way to make sure everyone is treated fairly”

  62. Unless it really is as simple as:
    If I am poor, and can’t afford the coverage that would cover non-catastophic and non preventive inidents my choices are do without or become a deadbeat and not pay and have my credit ruined and collectors after me?

    Welcome to the world of socialized medicine. Except, you don’t have the second option.

  63. I’ll trust the judgement of the people who come to the US from other countries to have their medical services done, thank you very much.

    So why do the people who do not come to the US to get health care done not count?

    What about the Americans who go overseas instead of staying here for medical services?

  64. Dan T,

    Not everyone in other countries can afford to travel here. The fact that many of those who can, do, says something.

    And I would be very surprised if a significant number of Americans went to other countries expressly to have medical care done. Indeed, in most social medicine countries, wouldn’t that not be allowed?

  65. ChiTom, no you aren’t. You’re being accusatory by selecting a specific example where you can see there being a problem, not taking price change possibilities into account, not comparring it to the alternative (or the current situation).. you’re basically TRYING to get someone to say “OH, we don’t care about the *)(*#$ poor, and socialized medicine is the only way to make sure everyone is treated fairly”

    No I am not. Where have I accused anyone of anything. *YOU* are being accusatory and avoiding explaining how real examples would be handled by replying with platitudes. You are assuming I have an agenda. I just want to know how things would be handled in your world. What’s so fucking difficult ?

    I am asking how a large segment of situations would be handled. Im not playing a gotcha game, I am generally curious as to how the libertarian solution handles the cases that arent at the fringes (non catastrophic and non preventive/routine).

    Unless of course the libertarian system does in fact not care about the poor or those without the means to afford a plan that covers non catastrophic and non preventive/routine. If so say so — that isn’t gotcha, that’s trying to get an honest answer.

  66. Unless of course the libertarian system does in fact not care about the poor or those without the means to afford a plan that covers non catastrophic and non preventive/routine. If so say so — that isn’t gotcha, that’s trying to get an honest answer.

    If “care” means “provide a government run social service”, I believe that is 100% correct. Classical liberalism is about maximizing opportunities for outcomes, not for specifically maximizing individual outcomes.

  67. How many here who bitch about socialized medicine have actually lived under it?

    I have. 12 years in Japan, 2 years in the U.K.

    And given the hassle I’ve had with even GETTING insurance in the US, let alone the hassle of getting any damn provider to pay out stuff that they promised in the contract to pay for and then when push comes to shove, try to reneg by shoving everything under “prior condition”…..

    …I’ll take socialized medicine, thank you very much. I may have to wait a bit longer to get specialized treatment, but at least I’m not going to have to threaten a lawsuit for every payment.

    Libertarians seem to be damn quiet about the bugs in the present system, I note.

  68. In that case, ChicagoTom, you can be pretty sure you wouldn’t have been able to get it done at all in a socialized medicine system.

    Because you say so? Many other places that have socialized medicine cover these types of things routinely so I dunno why it would be different here.

    There is a fourth option ChicagoTom…appeal to charity for help..

    MP,

    I mentioned that in my original post. And if that fails or isn’t available then what?

  69. OK, ChiTom. How would a single payer system provide for all the medical care that everyone wanted, including non-catastrophic, but nonetheless expensive care, in a prompt manner, without going bankrupt after two days?

  70. If “care” means “provide a government run social service”, I believe that is 100% correct. Classical liberalism is about maximizing opportunities for outcomes, not for specifically maximizing individual outcomes.

    Care means care. Treatment provided by a competent physician. Nowhere am I saying the government should run things or anything more.

    It’s really very simple. If the gov’t isn’t involved, and I can’t afford coverage or I can only afford bare bones coverage for something catasrophic, what do I do when I have an accident or need outpatient medical treatment?

    Live life with my ailment until I can save enough to get treatment or hope some charity will find my cause worth assisting?

    If people are gonna keep responding with snark about socialized medicine then don’t bother responding. I am honestly curious about what the libertarian solution is. If it’s “those who have the means get care and those who don’t have the means, don’t get care” — then say that too.

  71. And if that fails or isn’t available then what?

    I thought I stated that clearly before, but I believe that the libertarian position for “then what” is “You’re SOL, pal.”

    And that’s true for whatever service/product the person in question is trying to obtain (healthcare/food/shelter/Nintendo/whatever).

  72. “Libertarians seem to be damn quiet about the bugs in the present system, I note.”
    They have to be, because they can’t have a solution due to their dogma. The most market based system in the economically developed world has these obvious bugs. They believe the market never does wrong, and even if it did any non-market solution would make things worse. So they are really stuck here. All they can do is argue as long and hard as possible that we really don’t have the problems we do, or not to the extent we think we do. People are not buying it, and it makes them very nervous. Even a schmuck like Moore can point out our systems flaws, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. How, oh how, can these flaws exist in the most market based system in the economically developed world? It must be Satan…

  73. Care means care. Treatment provided by a competent physician. Nowhere am I saying the government should run things or anything more.Sorry for not being clearer…I equate anything that is funded via taxes, whether its a simple direct transfer or a full fledged service arm as “government run”.

  74. Dan T,

    Not everyone in other countries can afford to travel here. The fact that many of those who can, do, says something.

    What do you think the percentage is? There are plenty of people in Europe with the money to fly to America. Do you really think most of them do?


    And I would be very surprised if a significant number of Americans went to other countries expressly to have medical care done. Indeed, in most social medicine countries, wouldn’t that not be allowed?

    I don’t think a significant number of Americans do, but I have read that “medical tourism” is a growing business in places such as Singapore, and some of those tourists are Americans as procedures often cost a fraction of what they do here.

  75. Libertarians seem to be damn quiet about the bugs in the present system, I note.

    That’s total BS, BTW.

  76. ChiTom, you’re asking for a solution to a problem without a solution.

    Competent medical care is a scarce resource. I believe there are aspects of our system that make it scarcer than it could be, but it will never be unlimited.

    As I stated above, everyone getting everything they want for free isn’t an option. Any health care system is going to have to determine who gets what they want and who doesn’t. That determination can be made by a bunch of bureaucrats looking at stacks of files, or it can be made by the care seeker deciding what they can and can’t afford. But make no mistake about it, that determination must and will be made.

    I don’t see how you get off lambasting libertarians for not having a specific method of making sure people get all the care they want, while refusing to offer a solution of your own (and disassociating yourself from the major attempt at a solution in socialized medicine).

  77. OK, ChiTom. How would a single payer system provide for all the medical care that everyone wanted, including non-catastrophic, but nonetheless expensive care, in a prompt manner, without going bankrupt after two days?

    crimethink,

    I honestly don’t know. I am not advocating anything here I am just trying to get a feel for what the options are to try and shape an opinion on what the best option would be.

    Off the top of my head though, I would imagine that in a single payer system there would have to also be regulation of the costs, limit the profit margins that providers could make and divert some tax revenue towards the system and maybe some new taxes.

    I suppose that a tax burden would be more palatable to business if it frees them up from having to provide insurance themselves — assuming the tax is less than what they are currently paying in premiums and if increases in that tax is controlled.

    But honestly, I don’t really know how / if would work. I am not advocating anything. I am just trying to get a feel for the options that exist.

  78. I equate anything that is funded via taxes, whether its a simple direct transfer or a full fledged service arm as “government run”.

    Please show me where I said anything should be funded via taxes or government run. Please show me how you interpret “what is the libertarian solution” to “I think health care should be funded via taxes”

    I thought I stated that clearly before, but I believe that the libertarian position for “then what” is “You’re SOL, pal.”

    And that’s fair. I’m not passing judgment.

    And that’s true for whatever service/product the person in question is trying to obtain (healthcare/food/shelter/Nintendo/whatever).

    Although I don’t really equate Nintendo with healtcare and food.

  79. “They have to be, because they can’t have a solution due to their dogma. The most market based system in the economically developed world has these obvious bugs. They believe the market never does wrong, and even if it did any non-market solution would make things worse.”

    Or perhaps it is more like we know there are problems for Americans that largely relate to people called ‘the British’ and ‘Canadians’ who glory in their price capped systems while handing out the goodies we are paying for.

  80. ChiTom
    Again, it’s not a libertarian “system.” That’s an inaccurate way of looking at it because the “system” would be not having a system.
    Nobody can honestly give you an answer for your extremely specific scenerio because there are so many variables that would change, and it would differ for people in different geographic locations. You seem to have latched on to the concept of neither-catastrophic-nor-routine treatment, yet nobody would be able to truely tell you how people would behave, and if they did, they’re probably wrong.
    Sorry I accused you of being disingenuous, but it certainly comes across that way.

  81. I don’t see how you get off lambasting libertarians for not having a specific method of making sure people get all the care they want, while refusing to offer a solution of your own (and disassociating yourself from the major attempt at a solution in socialized medicine).

    I never lambasted anyone for anything other than answering my questions with misdirection and references to socialized medicine. Socialized medicine has nothing at all to do with libertarians telling me how they would setup things if they could.

    Please point me to the post where I lambasted anyone for not having a solution to give everyone whatever they want and a pony.

    Are you talking to voices in your head??

  82. grumpy realist,

    Fair enough, but I don’t think you can say that libertarians have been quiet about the bugs in the present system. Almost all the libertarian-minded writers or posters I’ve read have admitted that the US system is screwed up and needs reform — what kind of reform is where it becomes contentious.

    Dave W,

    A lot of post-9-11 culture is about finding like-minded people, furiously clinging to them, and calling everybody else a “troll.” Even though people still disagree, the act of disagreeing has come to be considered impolite. Memo to the 20 somethings out there: the world didn’t always work like that, and Moore definitely evokes this pre-9-11 world where it wasn’t always “us versus the trolls” or “us versus the wackos” or the classic “I can’t decide whether this dissenting voice is a troll or a wacko.”

    Bullshit. I’ll ignore your condescending “memo to the 20 somethings out there,” and just say go look at Michael Moore’s response to his critics on his website. Anyone who dared question the veracity of Bowling For Columbine was labeled a “wacko” or a “gun-nut.” Never mind that the movie was riddled with dubious claims and some outright lies. The whole scene with Charlton Heston is revolting. Moore putting on his sad face and waving the picture of a dead girl at Heston, asking him to apologize for something he didn’t even do — that is, hold an NRA rally in Flint in response to the girl’s death. It never happened, although Moore would like us to think so in order to pull that stunt with Heston. I’m not even a fan of Charlton Heston, but that was just beyond the pale. Do you think maybe Moore could have engaged him in a serious debate about guns? Of course not. He had to weasel his way into the man’s house and then make him look like a lying sack of shit for his movie, when it was Moore who was making things up.
    And I’m a libertarian-leaning person surrounded by knee-jerk liberals. Some of them are my best friends. Two of them are my parents. I don’t consider any of them trolls or wackos or anything else. Nor do I consider joe, Dan T, or other less-libertarian minded people on this blog trolls or wackos. In fact, I think joe is consistently one of the best posters on here, regardless of whether I agree with him or not.
    I don’t consider you a troll or a wacko either, but I’m leaning towards ‘arrogant prick.’

  83. Please show me where I said anything should be funded via taxes or government run. Please show me how you interpret “what is the libertarian solution” to “I think health care should be funded via taxes”

    If it’s not funded by taxes, and not funded by individual care seekers, where does the funding come from? Faerie dust?

  84. Please show me where I said anything should be funded via taxes or government run. Please show me how you interpret “what is the libertarian solution” to “I think health care should be funded via taxes”

    I never said you did. I said IF “care” = X and then expounded the definition of a possible X.

    You then defined “care” more explicitly. And I reduced it to the simplest answer. Yes, in libertopia, if you don’t have the resources, you don’t get the goods, regardless of what the goods are.

    And yes, some people would forgo shelter for Nintendo. I don’t assume priorities.

  85. Nobody can honestly give you an answer for your extremely specific scenerio because there are so many variables that would change, and it would differ for people in different geographic locations. You seem to have latched on to the concept of neither-catastrophic-nor-routine treatment, yet nobody would be able to truely tell you how people would behave, and if they did, they’re probably wrong.

    I guess I just don’t see what all those variables have to do with things. Maybe you can give me specifics.

    I am not asking how people will behave, it’s a question of what choices are available to someone who has an accident if they aren’t lower income.

  86. I am not asking how people will behave, it’s a question of what choices are available to someone who has an accident if they aren’t ARE lower income

    There, fixed that for me.

    Yes, in libertopia, if you don’t have the resources, you don’t get the goods, regardless of what the goods are.

    Fair enough.

    Would it be fair of me to assume this as the general libertarian position?

    Any objections?

  87. I don’t have a lot of time to explain because I have to go, but…

    Suppose for a moment that you’re a doctor. Now suppose that the government stops paying for you to treat people. You want to keep your job, right? And you want to continue to treat people, right? So your office has got to accomodate people who previously were paid for by the government in order to maintain the same number of clients. In order to do that you have to do what? Lower prices, even if it’s on an able-to-pay basis. Your office will come up with some way to fill the gaps where people willing to pay your regular prices aren’t making appointments because it costs you less to treat someone for 1/2 hour for $30 than it does to not treat anyone at all for that 1/2 hour.

    Just one small itsy bitsy flash of a scenerio, but really, I do have to go now.

  88. ChicagoTom,

    If you won’t admit your support for socialized medicine, I won’t admit my support for telling the poor tough shit (if that truly is my opinion).

  89. If you won’t admit your support for socialized medicine, I won’t admit my support for telling the poor tough shit (if that truly is my opinion).

    crimethink,

    that’s not fair. I don’t support it. I really don’t have my mind made up. It’s an option and I don’t hate it, but I don’t think all the options are on the table.

    I agree with many of the objections to socialized medicine. I don’t like the idea of rationing, or of being denied cutting edge care for cost reasons, or having the government making medical decisions for me.

    But so far, that still seems like a better option than basically telling the poor “hey sucks to be poor”.

    Rationed care is better than no care. Now maybe I am wrong and the alternative to rationed care isn’t “no care”. That is what I am trying pull out of people. What are the other alternatives that people envision and are they more attractive.

    I also don’t think it’s valid to pretend that “well we don’t know what people are gonna do and how the market will react but let’s let the market play it out on its own” is a viable approach to the health care problems we face. That’s too much risk for those with the lease means.

  90. crimethink: Figure out how you’re gonna get the AMA to give up their monopoly and then we’ll talk. You know and I know and everyone else does too that it will never happen.

    Until then, I throw what little resources I have behind politicians for socialized medicine. If the bastards won’t give up their stranglehold on the system, we’ll drag em kicking and screaming into socialized medicine.

    Grumpy Realist: see the point about the AMA control of the supply of doctors to realize that currently we aren’t in a free market system.

  91. I’m fairly young and healthy, thus my belief that I will stay this way forever, so health care policy is not really my forte. However, what’s so bad about some kind of means tested program? I don’t want to have to pay for Bill Gates’ health care but I’ll pony up some dough for the low-income kid with cancer. So, you get sick, you apply to whatever agency for assistance, they assess your situation, and they either pay or don’t. Please spot the flaws in this (of which I’m sure there are many).

  92. you get sick, you apply to whatever agency for assistance, they assess your situation, and they either pay or don’t.

    The said agency, will attempt to gather more and more power and grow in size until its administration budget outweighs the actual payouts made.

  93. Dan T. —

    I haven’t been able to visit H&R so much this week, but from what I’ve seen of your recent posts, they are much more worth reading now. They may not provoke as many instant sputtery responses (which I know can be gratfiying in its own antisocial way), but they are more likely to make a person stop and think.

    I think whoever is spoofing Dan T. ought to lay off now, on pain of Balkonization.

  94. On another matter entirely …

    Sorry, I stopped paying attention to Michael Moore as soon as he started spouting weak-assed anti-American propaganda. 🙂

  95. I really feel like Michael Moore’s best work that scene in “Fahrenheit 911” where he suicide bombs Team America headquarters.

  96. Wait, that wasn’t F9/11… sorry.

  97. ChicagoTom,

    I’m pretty sure this is an exhaustive listing of the funding options:

    1. The government pays for everyone’s health care out of tax revenue. (=socialized medicine)
    2. People who can afford it voluntarily pay for health care for the poor. (=charity)
    3. Individuals pay for their own health care. (=if you can’t pay you’re SOL)

    Now, we can have a system that mixes these sources, and indeed that’s how I’d characterize our current system, but if you take social med and charity off the table, you’re not left with much of a choice.

  98. Your first link advocates getting rid of a TAX EXCEPTION, which is kind of a tax raise. That’s a libertarian solution? WTF…This confused article then admits that this policy would exacerbate the problem in ways (people would have to opt for higher deductibles, oh boy) that would hopefully make them tighter on spending for health care, thus making our overall spending less and more efficient. Since the major attack on our health care system is the number of non or undercovered it is hard to see how this will help things.
    Gotta love the second one: mandatory private insurance (those insurance companies have been so good to us, and efficient, let’s give them the subsidy of a lifetime) + good old health savings accounts (English: not enough people today can afford to buy health insurance, so we will mandate these same people buy it, and we will allow them to save for that purpose [snap, we ALREADY can do that!]). Again, MANDATING we all buy private insurance is hardly libertarian, is it?
    THird article (same as second). Fourth: the uninsured are not that bad off.
    So crimethink, you can take that screw you and invert it buddy.

  99. he’s such a whack-job that he comes in just under the amount of ridiculousness required to be a Family Guy joke…

    You mean like this

  100. On his NBC TV show Moore already compared the treatement of someon with a broken leg (simulated by an actor) in the USA, Canada, and Cuba, with Cuba coming out on top. IIRC Canada actually came out worse than the USA by most criteria in the comparison, so it’s not like he’s a Canadophile.

  101. However, what’s so bad about some kind of means tested program? I don’t want to have to pay for Bill Gates’ health care but I’ll pony up some dough for the low-income kid with cancer.

    I’m with you. Don’t really give a crap that it’s not a pure libertarian solution. It’s reasonable, and leaves most of us to mind our own business.

  102. Your first link advocates getting rid of a TAX EXCEPTION, which is kind of a tax raise. That’s a libertarian solution? WTF.

    Yes, in soundbite world, libertarians are simplistically antitax.

    When you sit down and listen to the actual policy discussions that libertarians have, one of the things we decry is the convoluted nature of current tax law, where the government is trying to use taxes to get people to buy the things that the government wants them to buy.

    For example, the mortgage interest deduction sort of encourages people to buy a home, but mostly encourages people to buy MORTGAGES, which are less ambiguously good.

    The tax exemption for health insurance, as well as the general corporate trend of offering health insurance as part of overall compensation, is largely a result of obscure 1960s labor law – especially wage controls. There were, for bog knows what reason, government controls on wages, much like price controls (assuming I’m picking up the history correctly – I’m not an expert here).

    Companies needed to hire people and recruit people, but couldn’t legally offer them more money. They faced a dilemma. How do you recruit better people than your competitors when you have a legal cap on salary? The solution they started offering perqs, like company cars and health insurance. So the companies that were doing this lobbied to get a deduction for health insurance, and suddenly we had an insurance company paying the middle class’s medical bills, and a middle class thinking that that was the way it was supposed to be. My medical problems are somebody else’s responsibility to pay for.

    The tax code changes are what libertarians call a ‘market distorting tax’. They make people spend money in ways that they wouldn’t spend it in a tax-neutral environment. This is not free-market thought.

    So yeah, libertarians can support ending narrowly targetted tax exemptions which would result in an increased tax bill, if it would reduce a distortion to the market. Because a good deal of the dramatic rise in health costs is the result of perverse incentives which are not solely the result of government tax policy, but are at the very least exacerbated by it.

  103. I’m glad libertarians are on board in using tax policy to guide the market. I’ve got a host of issues I’m ready to apply that thinking to!
    Besides, it doesn’t make much sense, does it? So the government subsidizes health care with a tax deduction. Because it is subsidized we buy it in unthinking ways driving up the costs. But in the other nations we are speaking of they completely subsidize the entire costs, yet their total spending is less than ours… Now how is the former minor subsidy driving up costs more than a major, complete one? Even if one buys the premise, indeed sepcially if one buys the premise (that people will spend more and with abandon the “freer” something is), then this should not happen.
    Employer “provided” health care is anything but free. My wife and I pay 350 dollars a month for our family plan, and we pay 20 bucks per prescription and 30 dollars per co-pay, along with something like 50-100 for an emergency room visit (the step-son broke his arm last year). We, like most folks, only go to the doctor when we are sick, because we like 30 dollars and 50-100 dollars in our pockets more than we like the pleasure of sitting in a waiting room for hours. If health care were even more expensive to us, and most middle class families, we would still go as much as we do, we’d just be in horrific debt most of the time (of course, if it were not included in our compensation packages we would make a heck of a lot more money).
    Even if this worked it would just deal with the problem that our market based system’s high costs and inefficiency (take that von Mises), not the two most cited problems: under and non coverage. Face it, a market would never give people equal access to care and they would always leave a chunk of people with no access at all (markets don’t do that, think houses). Only government can close that gap (think police protection, which everyone gets ‘equally’ [in theory], if we had private police like some libertarian nuts advocate we would have some people with great protection, others struggling to get adequate protection and many who would have none).

  104. (think police protection, which everyone gets ‘equally’ [in theory]

    And, as we all know, the reality is miles away from that theory. As I said above, I’m on board for means-tested health care assistance, but I think it unlikely the poor will ever have equal health care. Being poor is always gonna suck, by definition.

  105. Michael Moore is a businessman serving a niche market. To beleive anything about him beyond that is foolishness.

    And TV Nation was pig shit. It was such a pile of strawmen every week I was amazed televisions didn’t spontaneously combust across the country. Shame on anyone who liked that stinking pile.

  106. I’m glad libertarians are on board in using tax policy to guide the market. I’ve got a host of issues I’m ready to apply that thinking to!

    I think you should read the words I wrote again. I don’t think they meant what you think they meant.

  107. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  108. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  109. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  110. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  111. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  112. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  113. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  114. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  115. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

  116. Radley,

    Someone is clearly making a habit of posting under my name, it’s obviously the same person, and it would be a good idea for you to do something about it.

    Before I start doing shit like this.

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