Health Insurance Shock and Horror—Bring Out Your Dead Edition

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Monty Python was prescient about health care?

There's been a lot of handwringing in certain media precincts over the fact that some audience members cheered during the Republican candidates debate over a hypothetical in which an employed 30 year-old man who could afford health insurance but who chose not to buy it becomes comatose. Moderator Wolf Blitzer who posed the scenario to Rep. Ron Paul, asked who should pay for his care; or should he just be allowed to die? 

Paul asserted that the young man should take responsbility for himself—so far so good. But Paul basically whiffed the question when he harked back to the good old days when charity hospitals and churches would pay for the medical care of indigents. Well, yes. But as Paul pointed out we now live in "a society in which he expects the government to take care of him." Just so. Paul did note that government overregulation has helped the cost of medical care skyrocket, but in the end Paul said that he wouldn't let the improvident young man die. It's a bit ambiguous whether somehow Paul meant that as physician he would have taken care of the guy, or that the United States is so far gone down the path toward socialized medicine that we can't really disappointment people's expectations that the government will cover unpaid medical care. But never mind. 

The more tough-minded members of the audience might well have been thinking along the lines of American Enterprise Institute health care analyst Tom Miller. In my 2004 article, Mandatory Health Insurance Now!, I asked:

Why not just tell Americans they are responsible for buying their own health insurance from now on? If people couldn't pay for medical care, either through insurance or out of pocket, they wouldn't get it. "After people begin to notice the growing pile of bodies by emergency room entrances," Tom Miller wryly suggests, "they will quickly get the message and go get medical coverage."

In that same article, in response to Miller's observation, University of Pennsylvania health care economist Mark Pauly asserted: 

"Americans don't want to see their neighbor dying bleeding in the street," he says. "Therefore we already make sure that everyone gets some medical care when they need it. The alternative would be a world in which voluntarily uninsured people wore a bracelet that read: 'In case of an accident, do not take me to the nearest hospital. I've made my choice.'"

Given the reaction of some of the debate audience members, Pauly is wrong at least to the extent that some Americans do appear to be willing to let improvident 30 year-olds suffer the consequences of their actions. 

And before y'all go all nuclear on me over the mandatory health insurance proposal; it was offered as a second best alternative to a full-on single payer plan run by the government. As I wrote: 

I want to stress that mandatory health insurance is a second-best proposal. A totally free market system would be preferable; it's just not likely politically. Mandatory health insurance is a way to stop creeping socialization and preserve private medicine.

For more details on Baileycare, see my post, Center for American Progress and the New Republic Endorse Totally Private Baileycare Plan

NEXT: A Jewish Case for Mel Gibson

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  1. perhaps paul meant he’d treat the patient pro bono…cept he never said that

    1. Re: Double Asshole,

      perhaps paul meant he’d treat the patient pro bono…cept he never said that

      But Paul basically whiffed the question when he harked back to the good old days when charity hospitals and churches would pay for the medical care of indigents.

      I guess he DID say that, you lousy piece of shit.

      1. hey sherlock, im stickin up for paul. jeesch

        1. By lying???

          No me ayudes, compadre.

          1. pls provide the quote where paul said directly that he (paul) would treat that 30yr old pro bono.

    2. No, he only said that he’d treated thousands of patients for free in when he was practicing (not exact quote). Implication, how does it work?

  2. Americans don’t want to see their neighbor dying bleeding in the street

    Then they should be perfectly willing to reach into their own pockets to stanch his wounds. Problem solved!

    1. the problem i have is runaway health care costs aren’t caused by emergency visits for gun shot wounds. As a society, we can afford a small individual tax for minor emergencies. So its a “strawman” to say that tea partiers would want uninsured people to die in the streets.

      But dear god, how much money do we spend on uninsured people for treating chronic and terminal diseases. Yes, its tragic that a person without insurance can’t afford 100K worth of chemo treatments, but why does society have to throw piles of money to keep that person alive with the highest possible care? And why keep shoveling billions of dollars at pill companies for the latest “may still kill you in other ways” pharmaceutical magic. And how long does society need to keep a veritable comatose vegetable from physically dying? A fucking line needs to be drawn in the sand and apparently our dysfunctional society can’t do it. Geez, its crazy to think that people are arguing that Paul’s position is radical.

      1. the problem i have is runaway health care costs aren’t caused by emergency visits for gun shot wounds. As a society, we can afford a small individual tax for minor emergencies. So its a “strawman” to say that tea partiers would want uninsured people to die in the streets.

        But dear god, how much money do we spend on uninsured people for treating chronic and terminal diseases. Yes, its tragic that a person without insurance can’t afford 100K worth of chemo treatments, but why does society have to throw piles of money to keep that person alive with the highest possible care? And why keep shoveling billions of dollars at pill companies for the latest “may still kill you in other ways” pharmaceutical magic. And how long does society need to keep a veritable comatose vegetable from physically dying? A fucking line needs to be drawn in the sand and apparently our dysfunctional society can’t do it. Geez, its crazy to think that people are arguing that Paul’s position is radical.

        The irony is that these decisions WILL be made under socialized systems of care, by “experts”, to control the ever increasing costs. And the Left will support it with a smile.

        1. its not exactly the worst system in the world. But apparently the people of America can’t discuss such a system like mature adults.

          “Killing seniors”
          “Throwing babies out of windows”
          “leaving poor people on the street to die”

          its fucking retarded the rhetoric that bandies about.

      2. This.

        Keep in mind that in the days before mandatory ER treatment laws and Medicaid, the best available treatment for someone with cancer was to call an undertaker and make sure their will was up to date.

        1950s-level medicine is dirt cheap today.

        1. best treatment was to try to cut all the cancer out and hope you got it all and it had not metastasized

      3. The liberals themselves have made this argument when they notice that a great majority of health care costs are incurred in the last 6 months of life. So it’s disingenuous of them to attack Dr. Paul when they themselves basically agree with him.

          1. ::cheers::

            Oops.

  3. “Given the reaction of some of the debate audience members, Pauly is wrong at least to the extent that some Americans do appear to be willing to let improvident 30 year-olds suffer the consequences of their actions.”

    ….because 3 or 4 assholes in a tea party debate audience represent the entire nation.

  4. The alternative would be a world in which voluntarily uninsured people wore a bracelet that read: ‘In case of an accident, do not take me to the nearest hospital. I’ve made my choice.

    This is just false.

    The federal law requiring hospitals to admit all patients to their ER’s regardless of ability to pay only dates back to the Reagan administration.

    It’s not like that was the 19th century or before the fall of Rome or some other date so remote that people should have forgotten it.

    Did people need such bracelets when Reagan was President?

    Were bodies piled up on the lawns of hospitals when Reagan was President?

    I was only a tween then, but my memory is No and No.

    1. And seriously, the cost of emergency care is expensive, but its not “cancer fighting” or “terminal disease pill shoving” expensive.

      If we stopped giving free money to seniors and poor people for terminal care, we could provide free basic preventative care to every person like France does and still be billions ahead in savings.

    2. libtoids would rather the unreimbursed cost of treatment be passed-on to insured patients rather than require insurance for everyone.

      1. It’s neat you don’t know what “insurance” means.

        1. u mean insurance is like a ponzi scheme ?

      2. No.

        I would allow hospitals and providers to decide for themselves if they want to provide charity care.

        Some hospitals would.

        Some hospitals wouldn’t.

        Whining about how that would “pass on the unreimbursed costs” of treatment is like bitching that Microsoft Office is more expensive than it has to be because of the Gates Foundation’s charity work. In other words, moronic.

        1. “Whining about how that would “pass on the unreimbursed costs” of treatment…”

          And wouldn’t government mandates effectively pass on costs as well, through higher taxes and higher treatment costs due to more third party payers? There is no free lunch, and no amount of socialism will ever make that false.

          1. You know, that saying really only holds true for an ultimately pedantic meaning of free.

            Person X owns a garden and grows more food then they’ll ever use. Even though it’s more than they use, they still harvest everything. After taking out what they need, they freely donate the remainder to person Y and ask for no compensation. Isn’t person Y then getting a free lunch?

            1. Only if Y is a total dickhead that cannot be trusted to return a favor in the future.

              1. But that’s my point. Person X gives to person Y completely of their own free will never expecting to get anything in return from person Y. You know, like charity.

                1. Yes but charity isn’t free. Neither is the government. Person X is giving Person Y scarce resources/services. Just because Person X isn’t asking for anything in return doesn’t make the resources of Person Y less scarce.

                  The problem with advocates of government health plans is some of them seem to pretend that these plans will magically make scarcity disappear. Maybe I’m using a straw man here, but even if I am, how is scarcity that the private market distributes worse than scarcity that the government distributes. Is the government really that much more virtuous than private institutions? Remember, these are the people who have always collected taxes by force and waged bloody wars of aggression since the dawn of human civilization — history ain’t exactly on Big Government’s side.

                  Most of the violent deaths of the 20th century were caused by governments, not corporations — and the argument that the “corporations made the governments do it” is BS…take some responsibility and even if a narrow subset of corp interested lobbied for war it’s only because they knew government had the means and willingness to give it to them. Last time I checked you register for the draft with Uncle Sam, not Wal Mart.

    3. The federal law requiring hospitals to admit all patients to their ER’s regardless of ability to pay only dates back to the Reagan administration.

      It’s not like that was the 19th century or before the fall of Rome or some other date so remote that people should have forgotten it.

      Yet a Washington Post columnist thought Ron Paul’s silver dime buying a gallon of gas was an 18th century idea, when the silver dime was minted in 1964.

      And many publications thought we would all die in the streets after every storm without FEMA, which was established in 1979.

      One reporter on Fox even asked Ron Paul how that Capitol building he was standing in front of could have ever been built without the income tax. Ron Paul pointed out that it was built before the income tax was enacted.

      1. “And many publications thought we would all die in the streets after every storm without FEMA, which was established in 1979.”
        _

        >Galvaston 1900 hurricane ~8k dead.
        >Galvaston 2008 (after FEMA) ~80.

        1. Oh, I guess correlation really does equal causation. (Hint: that’s sarcasm.)

          1. there’s not even a correlation to the contention that we’d be better-off w/o FEMA

            1. Sure there is. FEMA costs about 6 billion a year in taxed, borrowed, or inflated dollars, and arguably create as many problems as they solve during fiascos like Katrina.

        2. FEMA stopped the hurricane from leveling the city?

        3. “And many publications thought we would all die in the streets after every storm without FEMA, which was established in 1979.”
          _

          >Galvaston 1900 hurricane ~8k dead.
          >Galvaston 2008 (after FEMA) ~80.

          BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

        4. You might have a point if FEMA hadn’t fucked around with Galveston even worse than they did New Orleans. Oh and of course your retarded ass can’t possibly attribute the lower death toll to early warning systems and people actually leaving the fucking island.

        5. You’re right – it had nothing to do with the early warning systems developed in the last 108 years.

  5. I for one would really like to see my neighbors dying bleeding in the street. Preferably from wounds inflicted by my own hands.

  6. But Paul basically whiffed the question when he harked back to the good old days when charity hospitals and churches would pay for the medical care of indigents.

    What he meant and has said before (as he has argued the same thing many times in the past) that just because a person does not have the capacity to pay for medical care does not mean he’s doomed to die, as there have been plenty of charities and other private organizations in the past and present that provided and still provide help.

    1. …and the argument about medical expenses would look alot different if the government got out of the terminal care business. A 20 year old with a gunshot wound costs a hell of alot less than a senior going in for 6 months of chemo.

    2. And if no charity steps up, emergency care is given anyway, and the recipient is stuck with a bill. If they are unable to pay they declare bankruptcy and move on. Credit ruined, health preserved, no government needed.

      1. but the unreimbursed costs get passed-on to other patients as operating expenses & to shareholders as reduced earnings.

        1. —“but the unreimbursed costs get passed-on to other patients as operating expenses & to shareholders as reduced earnings.”—

          As they do in all other businesses, in regards to customers & owners (and employees)

          1. point being the cost for uninsured is paid, just not by the patient which would be corrected by mandatory insurance

  7. You know Paul would let that man die simply to stay ideologically pure. Now can we please discuss this like adults and make healthcare work?

    1. quiet sockpuppet.

    2. You know Paul would let that man die simply to stay ideologically pure. Now can we please discuss this like adults and make healthcare work?

      And the fact that there is no evidence of Paul refusing treatment, shows that you are intellectually dishonest.

    3. no no no. requiring insurance is socialism…but leave my medicare alone!

    4. “You know Paul would let that man die simply to stay ideologically pure.”

      And again Tony, please share this incredible mind reading device you seem to possess.

      The fact is, people die every day, right now! Both the insured die and the uninsured die for a lack of services.

      How about people who can’t obtain organs because the government outlaws paying organ donors (not necessarily advocating this), or because in some socialist healthcare countries, there’s long wait times and rationing of care? Socialized medicine does not magically remove all health problems.

      1. You’re responding to a spoofer. But Paul’s inability to answer the question in a satisfying way speaks to one incontrovertible fact: libertarians cannot offer a free-market way to do healthcare that is not simply barbaric.

        “Socialized medicine” is the only way to do it if you want to make sure people are treated when they fall injured or sick. Assuming you don’t think the death penalty is appropriate punishment for the “crime” of getting sick or injured, the universal insurance scheme follows logically.

        Anything you could offer is trying to fit the square peg of healthcare into the round hole of the free market. It’s not like any service in the market–it’s one people are forced to pay for but that nobody wants to buy if they had a choice.

        1. “It’s not like any service in the market–it’s one people are forced to pay for but that nobody wants to buy if they had a choice.”

          Wrong, unless you take a reductionist approach and argue that almost every service or good qualifies as health care of some sort. For instance, I’m pretty sure people have to buy or provide food, water, shelter, clothes, etc, etc etc, etc etc, etcetc, etc etc, etc etc, etc etc, etc etc, etc

          1. All of those other basic needs have predictable costs, and we subsidize them for the poor anyway. Healthcare’s unpredictability is why we use the insurance model. It makes sense, right? So it only makes more sense to extend that logic to incorporating a universal risk pool to minimize costs for individuals.

            1. Re: Sockpuppet,

              All of those other basic needs have predictable costs[…]

              Why would that be… I’ve got to wonder, wonder.

              cough! *Price system* cough!

              Oh, because of the price system!

              Healthcare’s unpredictability is why we use the insurance model.

              You sure are stupid, sockpuppet. Cars break down unexpectedly as well, yet you can go to Firestone and see prices posted in a chart. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be the same with health care services, except market manipulation by the government.

        2. sorry for confusing you with the spoofer, BTW.

          1. Quite alright. I do work diligently to improve. The development team thinks that the revised “Smug sense of superiority” subroutine will eliminate the need for the real “Tony” entirely.

        3. Assuming you don’t think the death penalty is appropriate punishment for the “crime” of getting sick or injured, the universal insurance scheme follows logically

          I don’t think that being born a starving African baby is a crime worthy of death, but I don’t think that it’s a state of affairs I am willing to use force against others to solve.

          It’s not like any service in the market–it’s one people are forced to pay for but that nobody wants to buy if they had a choice.

          How rich. If not for biological imperatives, I would not pay money for food, a bed, or a roof over my head. And if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

          You’re basically railing against existence itself, which is stupid, even for you.

          1. Yet you don’t have a leg to stand on since all evidence in the world suggests that my scheme is the cheaper option per capita as well as being the most human.

            It seems that free marketeers would rather pay double for healthcare costs just so the “undeserving” don’t get a handout.

            1. We free market types would like to be able to buy actual “insurance” for major medical catastrophes, without government mandating features and coverages we will never personally need that drive up the cost of the insurance in the first place.

              1. wont need? got tomorrow’s lotto numbers?

            2. It seems that free marketeers would rather pay double for healthcare costs just so the “undeserving” don’t get a handout.

              What free market? Can’t be talking about the U.S.

        4. libertarians cannot offer a free-market way to do healthcare that is not simply barbaric.

          I can.

          The system we have is not remotely free-market, no matter how many schmibertarians will defend it to the death. Subsidies, cartels, and outright bans have dramatically shaped how healthcare is paid for, and how it is provided. There are a number of alternative ways of paying for and providing healthcare: mutual societies, fraternal societies, catastrophe insurance, lodge practice, and unlicensed medicine. All of these are market solutions, done from the bottom up. However, most of them are either illegal or were subsidized out of existence.

          You simply can’t look at the system we have and say, “Hey, market failure!” The market failures are actually policy failures (or successes, if you’re an insurance company). But you could be forgiven for inferring it from libertarian defenses of the status quo.

          1. Excellent post with many good points, except that I don’t know of any libertarians who think that healthcare in the US operates in a free market, or that it did pre-Obamacare.

            That it is not is often one of the first things that comes up in these discussions. If it’s not, it will eventually come up.

            If I wanted to say something snarky about apologists for the stus quo, I would have written something like “If you think that healthcare in the US is a free market, you’re not a true libertarion.” 🙂

            1. Excellent post with many good points, except that I don’t know of any libertarians who think that healthcare in the US operates in a free market, or that it did pre-Obamacare.

              There’s a lot of bipolar libertarian rhetoric about healthcare. On one hand, they defend our system as the best in the world (which it isn’t) and credit our market for it. On the other, they decry our system as overly government-regulated whenever its persistent failures are brought up. Well, which is it? Do we have a free-market system producing the best healthcare in the world, or do we have a poor system crushed under the heavy hand of government regulation? We can’t have it both ways.

              1. You can say that the elements of freedom produce the good parts and that the government is holding it back from being even better.

          2. You simply can’t look at the system we have and say, “Hey, market failure!” The market failures are actually policy failures (or successes, if you’re an insurance company). But you could be forgiven for inferring it from libertarian defenses of the status quo.

            Quite true. Many libertarians are guilty of arguing from the perspective that our system derived from “free market” organization, which is anything from the truth.

        5. Re: Sockpuppet,

          libertarians cannot offer a free-market way to do healthcare that is not simply barbaric.

          An obvious and clumsy lie. You simply equate “having to pay for it” with “barbaric.” You’re such the simple-minded dolt.

          “Socialized medicine” is the only way to do it if you want to make sure people are treated when they fall injured or sick[…]

          … six to nine months after.

          Nothing barbaric about being in a waiting list and not evenbeing allowed to pay for care yourself. Nah.

        6. “You’re responding to a spoofer. But Paul’s inability to answer the question in a satisfying way speaks to one incontrovertible fact: libertarians cannot offer a free-market way to do healthcare that is not simply barbaric.”

          That’s enough from you, now please let the adults discuss the issue.

    5. I’d also like to remind you Tony that Ron is getting slammed in some conservative publications for allowing people the ability to re-import drugs from Canada and Mexico, where the prices are cheaper.

      1. It is my understanding that Canadian drugs are not cheaper, they are just partially subsidized by Canadian tax dollars.
        TANSTAAFL.

        1. No, actually, they’re prices are set by the government with the treat that the goverment will simply have them made as generics if the drug companies don’t cooperate.

          So they’re not being subsidised by Canadian tax dollars, theyre being subsidised by American consumer dollars

          1. “they’re” should be “their”

            1. What about “treat”?

          2. Drug manufacturers are being cheated out of government-enforced monopoly power that never should’ve existed in the first place? Cry me a river.

            1. Some people believe that innovation would grind to a halt without patent protection. Others disagree and I cannot say for certainty which of them is right.

              In my post, I was speaking of the real world, not the one you want to live in.

  8. dear god, how much money do we spend on uninsured people for treating chronic and terminal diseases. Yes, its tragic that a person without insurance can’t afford 100K worth of chemo treatments, but why does society have to throw piles of money to keep that person alive with the highest possible care?

    Thank you.

  9. Americans don’t want to see their neighbor dying bleeding in the street

    Then they should think twice about turning government guns on their other neighbors and threatening to shoot them if they don’t pay up.

  10. But if government doesn’t do it nobody will do it.

    I distinctly remember having to step over dead bodies in the ER pre-Reagan.
    They were everywhere.

    My first job was stacking dead bodies behind the hospital like cord wood. I supplemented my income by picking their pockets.

    Oh how I miss the good ‘ol days.

    1. My first job was stacking dead bodies behind the hospital like cord wood.

      Somebody’s read The Stand.

      1. My first job was stacking dead bodies behind the hospital like cord wood.

        Our first job was getting up off the stack and attempting to devour the living!

        Oh, Hi Tony!

  11. Americans don’t want to see their neighbor dying bleeding in the street

    Unless it’s in Pima County and part of the war on drugs.

  12. I supplemented my income by picking their pockets.

    You abstained from pulling their gold-filled teeth?

    I am disappoint.

    1. You think people who died because they were too poor for medical care could afford gold fillings, or any dental care for that matter?

      1. You’ve obviously never have been to a southern inner city.

  13. Consider this:

    Let us suppose a “home handyman” contrives to remove his thumb with his table saw.

    He rushes off to the emergency room; rather than locking the door and letting him bleed to death on the sidewalk, the staff stop the bleeding and sew up the wound. They do not, however, rush him into the operating room and work in shifts to reattach the thumb and reconnect the nerves in an heroic attempt to restore full function.

    Has he been “harmed”?

    1. i don’t even think we need to make that decision as the cost of small appendage reattachment is doubtfully a difficult or complex procedure, but the lost of his thumb may be a career damaging loss. Maybe he gets billed a couple thousand dollars. I think that could be extracted from him in payments. 100k in chemo for an 80 year old woman will never be.

      1. Apparently, a case like that was in M Moore’s travesty Sicko. Apparently some guy cut the tips of two fingers off with a power saw.

        He was able to raise $12K to pay to have one reattached, the estimate for the other was $65K.

        The inclusion of this in the film had its desired affect. The libeals who trooped to the film talked about the outrage of it all.

        What no one was prepared to produce though was an example of a similar case where a socialized system like England or Canada would have sprung for reattaching even the $12K digit.

        Keep in mind here, these were fingertips, not whole fingers and not thumbs (which would seriously affect the life of a carpenter). Only a few hospitals are equipped to do this kind of surgery and every $65K spent on repairing a relatively minor thing as this is $65K that is not available to spend on potentially more socially (a subjective construct, I know) valuable treatment.

        The advocates of socialized medicine will constantly say “cost should never be considered when it comes to healthcare.” But without infinite sums of money cost has to be considered.

        And the administrations of single payer government health schemes make decisions based on cost all the time. And occassionally someone dies. Is it a consequence of the decision, or just bad luck?

        One last thought. Insurance against accidents of this type is relatively cheap.

        1. Another thought on the cost considerations of bureacrats.

          I can readily image some health authority functionary authorizing the reattachment of the thumb of a carpenter while vetoing the same for a computer programmer.

          And the decision would have nothing to do with compassion. Just the cold hard calculus that a thumbless carpenter would be more likely to end up on the dole sucking up even greater amounts of cash while the career of a computer programmer without a thumb would be largely unaffected.

          The notion that statists advocate anything out of compassion is nonsense.

          1. Idon’tthinkit’sfairtoassumethatacomputerprogrammercanfunctionwithonlyonethumb!

            1. Presumably one can use either thumb on the spacebar. I normally use only my left.

              1. ButIamhopelesslyrighthanded.

                1. Take it up with the health authority. 🙂

        2. A thumb might be worth that. Not sure of any other individual fingers though

      2. From Surgery.com
        “Normal results may not seem encouraging. It must be considered that this is a major trauma and a highly complicated and intricate surgical repair. Generally, a normal result usually includes good nerve recovery; approximately 50% of normal for active range of joint motion; cold intolerance (usually reversed in about two years); and acceptable cosmetic results.”

        It will run a bit more than a couple grand.

        Finger loss is fairly common among men who do carpentry/wood working. Most of them return to work and get the nickname “Stumpy”. It will run a bit more than a couple grand.

        1. I know a guy who got his hand severed at the risk in a construction accident.

          It took over a year and many surgeries but he eventually got the full use of the hand back. You could hardly even see the scar.

          He and the hand had to be flown from Pensacola to Jacksonville to be reunited. Apparently One of the hospitals in Jax has one of the worldclass doctors that do this. As i said above, they’re rare.

          1. Dammit;

            “…severed at the wrist…”

        2. When I travelled to Moscow on business, the grey-beard engineers that we met with were all missing at least part of one digit.

          1. Ironworkers were notorious for missing fingers.

            It came from sticking their fingers into bolt holes and then having the piece slip. Inspite of it being a big deal to try to get apprentices to learn not to do it, it seems like almost every old ironworker is missing a finger or two.

        3. I’m sure it depends on your definition of success. 20% range of motion is probably still better than a missing digit.

          Why do people bother to ask if you kept the appendage on ice if there’s unlikely to be any surgeons that can do it?

          1. As long as the finger can still register the sensation of stroking a nipple, you don’t need a lot of motion in the finger itself.

  14. the square peg of healthcare into the round hole of the free market.

    There’s your trouble.

    1. Not a big enough hammer?

      1. I recommend nuclear weapons to get rid of this round hole. Roundness is unmutual.

  15. There was a case locally about 2 or 3 years ago. A 30-something couple with a small business (that was doing well) had chosen not to buy health insurance because it was so expensive. They had a house, multiple vehicles, multiple ATVs, and lots of other toys around the house.

    One of the kids got lukemia. There was a serious of “benefits” were held to raise funds so the kid could get treament.

    Almost no one complained about the stupidity of the parents. I would have let the parents die a miserable death, but it’s a lot harder to punish a 12-year-old because his parents are idiots.

    1. Imagine that, the community outside of government actually pitched in and SOLVED A PROBLEM! Wow, what a concept! I thought only government ever solved problems!

      1. Before Medicare people could get help from charity.
        The purpose of government charity is not to fill a need, but to take the shame out of begging.

      2. Kind of like that video of the citizens on the street lifting the car so an other citizen dragged the motorcyclist out from under. I’m glad the government funded that “how to lift a car” program back about 5 years, because without it, that motorcyclist would have died. BTW why was it that the only guy standing there watching the lifting happen to be a cop? And then when the guy was safely away from the car, the cop took control by telling everybody to get back. Great.

        1. The cop was on the radio getting help.

          Then he joined in and helped lift the car (he was pushing just above the rear wheel in the video)

          The only guy who seemed to be goldbricking was the driver, who apparently was in shock and standing there in a daze.

          In reality there is nothing to criticize. Boo hoo for us internet know-it-alls, but kudos to the people who were there.

    2. I would have donated, but not until I knew that they had sold off their toys, and downsized their house and lifestyle generally.

      Until that happens, you’re just subsidizing their cushy life, not their kid’s treatment.

      1. People have to make hard decisions. What a novel concept.

        1. But Tony says I shouldn’t have to make hard decisions that affect my lifestyle.

      2. I didn’t donate, because the parents didn’t repudiate their lifestyle. As far as I know, the kid got treated.

    3. Is this even a problem? Quick search shows that in 2007 the total number of childhood cancer cases is about 10,000.

      http://www.cancer.gov/cancerto…..ildhood#r1

      you’d probably be better off just raising funds for those who get sick — b/c it looks like it’s incredibly rare.

      1. Low-probability, high-consequence events are exactly what insurance is supposed to cover. Most houses don’t burn down, but when they do it’s catestrophic for the family. So you buy insurance.

        Childhood cancer is also low-probability, but catestrophic. So major medical insurace is the answer (if it hasn’t been legislated out of existence).

        This particular family had the means to buy insurance, but chose not to. Private charity managed to mitigate their stupidity.

        1. I’m wondering if those turds bothered to get insurance after that.

          Soon, presuming that the individual mandate is struck down, everyone will be able live as these schmucks did, the life of Riley, only getting insurance when something bad happens.

          What? Moral hazard? Never heard of it.

          1. I’m sure that buying family coverage when you have a kid with lukemia get so much cheaper than it was before…..

    4. There are numerous children’s charity hospitals. If a sick kid doesn’t get treated, it is usually because the parents didn’t seek the help or were trying to kill the kid.

    5. I wouldn’t have donated, but I would have bought their ATV for an inflated price.

  16. “It happens sometimes. People just explode; natural causes.”

  17. Part of me would be happy to leave the people on this comment board bleeding to death in the street whether they had health insurance or not.

    Daily, I try to overcome that part of me and answer to my better angels.

    1. I stand in awe of your wonderful nature and self-control. You really are special.

      1. Yes, deep down, I’m just that good.

        1. Now that is a “Smug sense of superiority” subroutine!!

      2. You really are special.

        short bus and all

    2. Wow. Like thank you soooo much for not listening to the little red devil on your shoulder. You should be given like a Nobel Peace prize or something.

  18. Blitzer asked “are you saying that society should just let him die?”

    Why is everyone assuming that SOCIETY = Government?

    Society should not let him die and the federal government should not be involved with the incident in anyway.

    1. cuz soceity does equal governemtn

      1. Only in your communist mind.

      2. ^morz spoof failz^

    2. u think that corproationz are going to pay for it

      lolz

      1. Re: Double Asshole,

        u think that corproationz are going to pay for it

        No. Why should they?

        1. ur responding to a spoofer

  19. Mandatory health insurance is a way to stop creeping socialization and preserve private medicine.

    Slavery is freedom, eh Mr. Bailey? We need a war to preserve the peace? A five-year plan so people don’t starve?

  20. Until that happens, you’re just subsidizing their cushy life, not their kid’s treatment.

    Exactly.

    1. You still haven’t succumbed to the pull of threading 😉

      1. His strength shames me.

  21. This kind of baloney is the reason that Reason is increasingly seen as a neocon/neoliberal magazine rather than a libertarian one. There is absolutely no reason that churches, and other private charitable organizations cannot take on the role of paying for the care of those who can’t afford health insurance. It sure would be a better use of church funds than the current spending spree on mega churches with espresso bars, bowling alleys, gymnasiums, and funding “missionary” travel to countries that have been more fully Christianized than America for centuries.

    1. Yes.

      Society is not government.

      1. but churches are? bet that splits libertarians

        1. Re: Double Asshole,

          but churches are [society]? bet that splits libertarians

          You’re becoming increasingly stupid, Double Asshole. Your non sequitur/question relays that fact.

          1. Does Obamacare cover Troll-repellent?

          2. “There is absolutely no reason that churches, and other private charitable organizations cannot take on the role of paying for the care of those who can’t afford health insurance.”
            _

            pls try to keep up

    2. This kind of baloney

      Lebanon? German? Mortadella?

    3. Chilli: I did write: A totally free market system would be preferable….

      And that would of course include charity care.

      1. According to Tony, charities are not free market. One of his more brain dead arguments, as I recall. 😉

    4. Well except for your Reason bash ^this^.

      It’s fucking disgusting here in Texas the size and scope of these fucking megachurches. And I’m a Catholic, not exactly known for their quaint country chapels.

  22. More generally speaking, yes, Python has predicted everything. In five hundred years, they will be viewed the same as Nostradamus in the popular imagination. Partially for raw predictive power, partially due to the approval of the King, who will form the basis of a new religion in 2200.

  23. Mandatory health insurance is a way to stop creeping socialization and preserve private medicine.

    And how has that worked out?

    The US’s current corporatist health care system has produced a situation where monopoly, centralization, and regulation cause all the problems and the “free market” takes all the blame. And yeah, Obamacare is shit, but that does not mean libertarians have to acquiesce to such an awful second-best option.

    We should be shouting the need for a radical market-oriented shakeup of health care from the rooftops, not hemming and hawing over which statist fucktrap is marginally less worse.

  24. “Let’em Die”

    I am glad you are not attributing the “let’em die” quote to Paul as many others are in the media are. If you will pardon the pun, Paul is “dead” right on this. I will try and expand for you if I can on what many people believe who support Paul.

    I am sure we all hope and agree, that those shouting from the audience, “whose affiliations we can not know,” do not themselves find a need for the kind of help and compassion someday our hypothetical 30 year old needs.

    This issue is not complicated it has only been made so by special interest. And yes, government bureaucracies are special interests too! Their job is to sustain or grow themselves and maintain their own jobs.

    Rhetoric aside, we all know the hypothetical man here will get treatment if for no other reason than the compassion of our great doctors and their own Hippocratic Oath. That has always been the way in America. Americans are a compassionate people already.

    Now the question defining how these costs should be paid for?
    Re-empowering our religious and other private charities through tax incentives provided to their donors is the simple answer. It is a free market approach that creates all the benefits of free market checks and balances. You create accountability here where there is little in government bureaucracy, especially one as large as to deal with this challenge nation wide. Charities get donors by doing good work and good work attracts “tax incented” donors to give support. As a culture we need to get back to looking to ourselves and our neighbors rather than putting faith in a far off federal government to handle challenges that are literally right in front of us locally.

    Localization should be reflected in the urging of our States to take back jurisdiction on issues that can be dealt with creatively at the state level. Empowering all 50 states & 1000’s of communities nationwide to solve these important issues we will create innovation that would be sought modified and perfected throughout the nation just as is done in any true free market. The benefits are undeniable and give us all the greatest opportunity to participate in real compassion in our country.

    Today a group of people lifted a burning car from a man and saved his life. People saw the need banded together and helped their neighbor the concept is the same. Where would that man be if they all just waited for the government to solve that? How successful would they have been and in the end what would it have cost?
    Those people created direct action to a problem in front of them in their community. They created a positive and successful outcome and it cost only the compassion in there hearts to do it. I’ll bet it made them feel good too!!!

    We can do this America! He may not be slick, but he is correct about many of these things and seldom gets his full message out through the corrupt media. Do not let the media machine be judge and jury on Ron Paul. Take back your liberty and your country.

    Here is an article on media consolidation from 2004 by Ted Turner ?
    My Beef With Big Media http://www.washingtonmonthly.c…..urner.html
    I do not support all Turner’s politics but, commend him as a great American entrepreneur in writing this article after selling to Time Warner.
    The MSM achieved power by successfully lobbing for changes allowing mass consolidation. Ron Paul threatens this. Other candidates and the president supported this consolidation and are beholden to one corporation or the other. Therefore, you will most likely never hear ideas like this discussed in open debate. “Now more than ever liberty needs advocates.” With the American free press, an essential part of a successful democracy, all but dead, we must all be vigilant now.

    Do the American people really care if Goldman Sachs let’s General Electric (Obama/Biden) or Halliburton (Bush/Cheney “insert Perry or Romney here”) run the place this time? I guess that’s yet to be seen. But, I can tell you many of us traditionally Non-politicals are fed up with losing the essence of our great country to communists and carpetbaggers alike.
    Ron Paul is offering an alternative to the corporatist model that Eisenhower warned of, and has all but taken over already. A vanished free press has left us with the left and right media outlets complicit in keeping Paul’s message from a waiting public.
    If not Ron Paul we will surely end up with Clint Webb as president. So you must continue spread the word, educate your busy family, friends, and neighbors to spend an “honest hour” looking at Paul and convey the importance of Ron Paul getting that republican slot. Switch parties if you have to?

    “First they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    -Gandhi-
    They are beginning to fight? Make no mistake this is a fight for your very freedom and the fate of American liberty.
    The Government has too much, does too much, and in our high tech world now, knows far too much about the lives of private citizens and we are paying for it all…
    This can not stand it is not necessary and the temptation for corruption is far too great.
    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    – Ben Franklin ?
    Peace!

    1. Will Obamacare cover being crushed by a wall of text?

      1. LOL… Awesome, sorry. Let me know if you need to get dug out I am trained in avalanche rescue…
        Cheers!

  25. Does anyone know if the Shriner’s Hospitals are subsidized in any way? I know it is at least partly a charity but don’t know if they get any Gov’t money. I know they provide free or low cost treatment to children. The treatment is specialized to some specific areas but is still an example of a way to get treatment for the poor.

    1. There is never a charge to the patient, parent or any third party for any service or medical treatment received at the hospitals, and no U.S. government funding of any kind is sought or accepted for any medical care or services provided at Shriners Hospitals.

      Source: http://accashriners.com/gen_hospital.asp

      They have a $10 billion endowment to run their hospitals.

      1. Thanks. I saw the information on the endowment but was not sure about the other. I am a little to busy right now to do a good internet search.

  26. Mandotory health insurance is a reaction by the medical establishment to medical tourism. I don’t carry insurance, not because I don’t expect to be treated but because I think I can get a better deal for treatment then insurance costs me.

    For example, I can get insurance with a 20% co-pay for $6,000 a year. Heart bypass surgery can cost $100,000. That would be $20,000 out of pocket. I can get the same surgery in India in a thoroughly modern hospital with Indian doctors all of whom used to practice in America for $12,000. So, carrying insurance wouldn’t even save me money if I have an expensive operation.

    The only real risk I am carrying is emergency room care. I would buy insurance for just that if I could find it but I can’t.

    1. “The only real risk I am carrying is emergency room care. I would buy insurance for just that if I could find it but I can’t.”

      You can buy major medical insurance for hospitalization. It’s cheap by comparison and you can add on riders for drugs, cancer etc.

    2. You are absolutely RIGHT!!!

      What is the purpose of insurance if only works to an extent and then….you have to take them to court.

      GET RID OF INSURANCE.

      Those of you that want a TRUE free market solution for healthcare have to agree with me. You’ll NEVER control cost with Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. People have to pay for their OWN

      As for the Poor, disabled, and elderly, if they have NO MONEY, they can go to government run MAYO clinics where every individual is a salaried employed payed for by the TAX PAYER. AND, to protect the FREE MARKET, you can deny anyone who is NOT disabled, elderly, or poor from going there.

  27. Sometimes I have health insurance and sometimes I don’t. It’s not that I don’t want to be covered in the case of an emergency but just circumstance. Not having medical insurance has never prevented me from receiving excellent medical care; it just costs me more money when the bill comes. No emergency room or doctor has ever turned me away from Hawaii to New York.

  28. Give me healthcare and creeping socialism any day.

    1. This sums it up.

      For all the talk about concern for the poor, it’s really about moochers like this who just plain don’t want to pay their medical bills.

  29. You might ask why ObamaCare mandates a full fledged health insurance plan that covers all health care instead of mere major medical/catastrophic plans, which are considerably cheaper and guard against precisely the circumstances you fear.

    We don’t need insurance to cover “health care.” We need insurance to cover catastrophic, statistically small likelihood events. People that are chronically sick don’t need insurance, they need health care. Society confuses the two when they are not the same. Government is to blame.

    1. I take it back

      YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT…Matt Butler,

      EVERYBODY does not need routine health insurance. Catastrophic plans (that actually pay out when you have a catastrophic illness without the BULLSHIT) is what we need.

      We should make a regulation saying that Catastrophic claims MUST BE HONORED…no matter what. Just like Life Insurance is today (after two years).

      I have a life insurance policy. I’m in the 3rd yr of a 20yr term. They have to pay out NO MATTER WHAT.

      Catastrophic policies should be the same.

    2. I’m for UNIVERSAL CATASTROPHIC Health Insurance…not Routine health insurance

  30. One point to remember is that our current system has made it virtually impossible to buy insurance. We are pretty much forced to buy a medical plan instead.

    If we were able to buy insurance, at the cost of insurance, many more people could afford it.

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