Obamacare

Sorry, TNR, But Coaxing Single Payer Victory Out of Hobby Lobby Defeat Doesn't Work

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The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn has an interesting post up arguing that the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling suggests that the way to deal with the constitutional and ethical issues raised by Obamacare's contraceptive mandate is to implement —

HobbyLobby
American Life League / Foter / Creative Commons

this will come as a complete surprise to H&R readers so wait for it — single payer!

He notes:

The fundamental problem here is the way the U.S. has decided to provide its new entitlement to health insurance. In many other countries, the government takes on this responsibility directly, by creating its own insurance program or regulating insurers as if they were public utilities…

Health care is full of decisions that raise complicated ethical questions on which, inevitably, religious beliefs can dictate certain views. It's not just whether to use certain forms of contraception. It's also whether to use stem cell therapy, how to treat the end of life, and whether to take blood transfusions. The question is not whether the owners of closely owned corporation have a right to their religious views. Of course they do. The question is whether those views should affect the provision of a public program, enacted in part to promote public health as defined by public health professionals…

It's worth remembering that, strictly speaking, the Obamacare mandate doesn't "force" employers to pay directly for coverage of contraception or any other medical service. The law simply requires that employers bear the burden of medical expenses, broadly defined. They can do so by paying a fee to the government or, if they choose, they can decide to provide insurance on their own. The only caveat is that, if they decide they want to provide insurance, the policies must conform to certain regulations—among them, coverage of so-called essential benefits. And the federal government, relying on the (very sound) judgment of public health professionals, has decided that contraception belongs to that list.

The obvious solution to this dilemma is to take health insurance away from employers altogether… And, over the long run, it's easy enough to imagine a world in which employers were truly out of the health insurance business altogether—a world in which all people got health insurance directly from the government or tightly regulated insurers.

(Emphasis added.)

A few thoughts.

One: By calling Obamacare a "new entitlement" and a "public program" he has basically accepted that the program constitutes a de facto government takeover of one-sixth of the economy, a conclusion that liberals have generally resisted. Leftists, notes Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, have been trying to convince Americans that Obamacare is not a step in the direction of socialized medicine as opponents claim because it uses private insurance and relies on market forces to deliver coverage. Cohn's candor is both refreshing and clarifying, so thanks, Jonathan, for that.

Two: Cohn claims that Obamacare offers employers a choice to provide contraceptive coverage: Either spring for employee insurance that includes all the 20 FDA-approved contraceptives (as opposed to only the 16 that were consistent with Hobby Lobby's religious tenets) or hand the money over to the government to purchase such coverage.

This is bizarre because he is basically inviting even more employers to dump their employees on to Obamacare's exchanges, turning President Obama's promise that "anyone who likes their current insurance can keep it" into even more of a lie.

Furthermore, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act says that the government has to achieve its ends in a way that least burdens religious rights. Cohn is saying because Obamacare gives employers an option to offer contraceptive coverage or pay the government to do so, it is, strictly speaking, not a mandate. OK. Call it a regulation. Or a Buddhist chant. Or whatever. But would re-defining the mandate as something else satisfy RFRA's stipulation?

I don't think so. The mandate, as Justice Alito noted in his ruling, would have cost Hobby Lobby $475 million in annual fines for not including contraceptive coverage (in addition to the cost of providing the rest of insurance.)  And what would Cohn's regulatory option cost?  According to Kaiser Health News, roughly $26 million in penalties plus, presumably, funds to the government to purchase coverage. But, in the process, I'm guessing, it would lose its health care tax exemption — putting it at a considerable disadvantage vis-à-vis its non-religious competitors. (Otherwise, why wouldn't it do it?)*

To paraphrase Justice Alito, if this doesn't burden religious rights, then what does, especially when there is at least one less intrusive way: Make oral contraceptives available over the counter, as I previously argued here?

Three: Cohn contends that replacing Obamacare and its reliance on employer-sponsored coverage toward a Medicare-style single-payer system would avoid such knotty constitutional and ethical issues. Perhaps.

But so would fixing our idiotic tax code and handing individuals who pay out-of-pocket for coverage the same tax exemptions as their employers. Individuals would be able to buy their own coverage with their own money as per their own religious convictions without forcing anyone to violate theirs. Liberals could still keep forcing Americans to play their brother's keeper — as Cohn says we all should be doing — and demanding generous subsidies for those for whom the tax credits are not enough to get "acceptable" coverage.

But giving patients some modicum of control of their health care dollars would also unleash market forces to lower soaring costs without resorting to price controls or rationing (and the first one who says markets ration too — just by price — will have to pay for my nose job!) or lopping off five years from the life of cancer patients or creating a giant Rube Goldberg contraption to manage all the perverse incentives of single-payer.

I understand — though disagree — with the liberal end of universal coverage. But what I've never understood is why they want to employ the least efficient and most heavy-handed means that violate the Constitution and erode freedoms to achieve it.

(For more on "repealing and replacing" Obamacare with a free market system that contains tax parity for individuals, deals with the pre-existing condition issue and other liberal objections, read this excellent National Journal piece by Jim Capretta and Robert Moffit.)

* This section has been reworded for clarity

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  1. Well, he does get one sentence right:

    The obvious solution to this dilemma is to take health insurance away from employers altogether

    Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) his solution goes in the complete opposite direction of what the solution should be.

    1. The liberal solution to every problem…if a proposed solution doesn’t work, always double down.

    2. He is right actually: health insurance should be taken away from employers. It simply shouldn’t be given to government. Instead, it should simply be privatized, and any tax breaks should go to individuals.

  2. “…a world in which all people got health insurance directly from the government.”

    Like the VA system?

    1. Anyone that doesn’t see this eventual outcome is not paying attention.

      1. They don’t care. Seriously. Single payer isn’t about quality of service. It’s about removing immoral profits from the delivery of health care. It is immoral for rich people who run insurance corporations to make profits off of the sick. It’s better that government run health care, because then profits don’t go to rich people and corporations. Even if the quality of service is worse.

        1. It’s about removing immoral profits from the delivery of health care.

          Wrong. It’s about control.

          1. For the politicians, yes. But for leftist voters, it’s all about envy and taking profits away from rich corporations.

            1. Repeat after me: “Why can’t it be both?!?”

              1. to paraphrase the old Reese’s commercial:

                – you got gov’t control on my profit envy.
                – you got profit envy in my gov’t control.

        2. Kind of like Obama’s response when asked about the capital gains tax rate. It doesn’t matter whether the tax increase raises revenue or improves economic outcomes; it’s just necessary to be fair.

    2. Of course not because the new Bureau of National Health would be run by the bets and brightest, ivy grads all, people like Cohn, Klein and Yglesias; not knuckle dragging military neanderthals.

      1. He never advocated lowering the income tax rate to be fair.

    3. You’re not supposed to notice that. In fact, I don’t know the goodthink on that, except that it must be Bush’s fault.

    4. The problem with the health insurance system is that it isn’t run entirely by people whose compensation is linked to simplistic and easily juked performance statistics. What could possibly go wrong if insurance executives got paid more for every dollar they don’t spend on health care?

      1. Don’t worry. They’re busy building easily juked performance statistics into the payment scheme for medicare. I am certain that basing payments on statistic measures of quality and performance will not cause physicians and hospitals to focus on those measures while ignoring actual quality and anything not measured. I’m also certain that no doctor or hospital will report false or massaged statistics to get higher payments.

      2. Quality might go down and people would move to other insurers.

    5. Just needs more money and better managers right?

  3. People just don’t want to believe that there is a thing called scarcity. Too many people think that by turning over the economy to the government, scarcity will suddenly disappear. All turning aspects (or all) of the economy to the government merely replaces the chain of command of who gets to dictate to the individual what they’re going to get and how far back in line they have to stand to get it. And it disengages any value judgments by the individual which may put them in a better position. We are going full steam ahead into the individual crushing reality of “from each according to his ability, to each according to their need”, a philosophy which completely abandons the notion of scarcity and individualism.

    1. A post-scarcity economy is right around the corner. This is what many of my prog Facebook friends actually believe.

      1. +1 Roddenberry

        1. Well, if it’s going to be like that, I’m going to cross-over the replicators with the transporters and run me off a few Troi’s and maybe an Uhura or two. A Nurse Chapel now and a again. The beauty of it is I will install a reverse button, so where ever the replicating material comes from goes back again after I’m done.

          I’ll run off a Guinan every once in a while – those floors aren’t going to scrub themselves.

          1. nice. Now I have the Parker Lewis Can’t Loose episode where he has Picard & Guinan dolls kiss stuck in my head.

            Kiss me, Whoopi

    2. “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

      ? Thomas Sowell

      1. Nice.

      2. Excellent. To progs “scarcity” means “scarity of demand, envy and division”. And they are doing a great job of solving the scarcity problem.

    3. Scarcity may exist now, but I’m sure the government will get around to legislating it out of existence in due time.

    4. “Opportunity costs” are just nefarious propaganda invented by Paul Ryan so he can throw more grandmas out of their wheelchairs.

      1. “”Opportunity costs” are just nefarious propaganda invented by Paul Ryan so he can throw more grandmas out of their wheelchairs.”

        No, no, no. Opportunity costs are nefarious propaganda invented by the KOCH brothers and Paul Ryan is just another paid KOCH minion.

      2. You can’t see opportunity costs, therefore they don’t exist.

        1. Yeah, they’re like molecules. SHOW me one.

    5. People had this ideotic belief that health care would be less expensive if you took the profits out of the system.
      They think that “profits” are just added cost on an already efficient system.

      They have no understanding of how profits work to incentivize efficiency, and without them the system would be vastly less efficient and more expensive.

      1. Without profit, there is no system. No one does anything that does not profit them in some way.

  4. The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn has an interesting post up…

    I disagree. It isn’t interesting in the slightest. Dull, boring, predictable, boring, unoriginal, boring… not that it doesn’t deserve to be critiqued, it certainly does.

    However, considering the source, the post is exactly what I expected.

    ?a world in which all people got health insurance directly from the government or tightly regulated insurers.

    Childish drivel.

    1. Isn’t that exactly the world we have right now?

      1. Shhh, don’t tell Cohn.

  5. Single payer is unAmerican.

  6. We may not have single-payer yet but we have single-obeyer, and it upsets progressive-minded reformers when that power is not all encompassing. How dare people have different opinions on what is acceptable in their own affairs. Screw your morality, it’s substandard anyway.

    1. If you like your religious objection, you can keep it… to yourself.

    2. “single-obeyer”. Nice. I’m stealing that.

    3. We’ll get to single payer when there is just one sucker left to pay taxes.

  7. “erode freedoms to achieve it.”

    Feature, not bug.

  8. Control freaks who are upset that the Supreme Court won’t let them control people suggest the solution is more control? How predictable.

    Come on Clinton, run on single payer in 2016, make my day (I do not live in America so I may be a bit of a sadist at this point).

  9. But what I’ve never understood is why they want to employ the least efficient and most heavy-handed means that violate the Constitution and erode freedoms to achieve it.

    Come on, Shikha. Surely you’re not *that* naive.

    1. The wide-eyed naivete about the capabilities and intentions of our ruling class lies at the heart of the complaints about cosmotarians.

    2. Dammit, you beat me to this!

      1. Finally. A handle that indicates that someone other than me watches one of, if not the funniest, shows on adult swim.

        1. What show is that?

          1. RICK AND MORTY, BITCHES!!

            1. Best quote from the pilot after Morty shoots off an alien’s leg: “Uhh, Rick! I don’t think they’re robots!” “It’s a figure of speech, Morty! They’re bureaucrats, I have no respect for them. Just keep shooting!” HAHAHAHAHAHA

              1. Seems like there are some other great anti-government lines like “you wanted to be safe from the government, so you became a stupid government.”

                Rick Sanchez as Libertarian anti-hero. Thoughts?

                1. Definitely get that vibe from him. Although I’m unclear if this is intentional libertarian themes thrown in from the writes who (just might!!) lean libertarian, or if it’s thrown in as a way of showing that those with anti-government views are comparable to an alcoholic, but brilliant, scientist. I’m okay with either.

                  1. Holy shit, how the exchange between R&M over the use of the word “retarded!” LMAO!

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOBoKxEcVAA

                    This is why I love the show.

                    1. Oh that was gold. Had everyone in my house cracking up when we saw it.

        2. There’s a funny show on Adult Swim?

          1. Yes, Rick and Morty. All episodes from the first season are available on YouTube. One of the creators is Dan Harmon, from that (also quite funny) show Community.

        3. I just binged watched the first season AGAIN last week! Harmon’s other series is truly genius.

          Speaking of Harmon, did you see that Community has been picked up by Yahoo for a sixth season? Darkest Time Line avoided!

  10. “From each, according to his ability, to ME.”

    We should just put that on our money, instead of “e pluribus unum”.

  11. Single-payer legal care. Because there’s not one lawyer anywhere in the country who does anything worth more than minimum wage.

    1. Unlike health care, legal counsel actually is a right highlighted in the Constitution. It’s telling that the far left doesn’t push for single payer for legal costs.

      1. And alienate their huge donor pool in the contingency fee tort bar?

  12. Does Cohn really think the feds are competent to set-up and run a single payer system? The feds aren’t capable of administering the most basic services. These progressives are living in a fever dream – a make believe world if they just wish hard enough it will happen.

    1. Oh they know that single payer would be a mess. But it would be us, not the rich, running it. I mean, we are government and government is us. That’s what “We the People” means. It’s just not moral that rich corporations are profiting off of health care. It’s time for government, which is the people, to take control and take those profits away from the rich.

      1. Progressives need to get a majority of the American population to buy into their argument, and after the failure of the roll-out of Ocare, that doesn’t seem likely.

        Cohen and his ilk really should focus their mad skills on analyzing and coming up with solutions to incrementally improving the functionality of Ocare. Instead they’re already moving on to the next self-created travesty.

      2. Single payer doesn’t remove profits from the system. The payee is still able to profit from the payor. Well, if the pay is shitty enough, they won’t and then the system collapses.

    2. They almost got that website thingy working. Surely they are ready to manage all medical care now.

  13. The question is whether those views should affect the provision of a public program, enacted in part to promote public health as defined by public health professionals

    Would anybody accept this argument if the ethical views related to child abuse, sexism, racism, or similarly despised ethical issues? This argument only makes sense if you assume that the ethical views of the minority have no priority beyond the right of the dissenters to state them. They have a right to state your beliefs, but apparently not to live by them or see them enacted in how they interact with other people.

    The primary argument in favor of more government provision of health insurance and health care is that there is an ethical duty to reduce poverty, illness, and unhappiness. So what he’s really saying is that those who believe they have an ethical duty to dictate provision of health care can enforce their beliefs on people who believe they have an ethical duty not to endorse abortifacients or contraceptives.

  14. Where is Weigel to tell us OCare is a free market solution?

  15. HAHAHAHAHA /inhale HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Sorry. Carry on.

  16. You never know but you have to be one hell of an optimistic leftist to think that after the IRS and VA scandals and the unfolding complete failure of Obamacare, that America is now ready for single payer when it hasn’t ever been before.

    It is perhaps true, but I would submit that leftists don’t even believe that. You know they don’t believe it because they are not defending Obamacare by arguing for single payer. They are defending Obamacare by appealing to authority and saying it is the law and thus can never be changed.

    Going forward we are not going to get single payer, at least not in the near term. But I am not sure how we are going to fix Obamacare. The Republicans cannot repeal or even reform that monstrosity on their own. It will have to be a bipartisan effort. The Republicans won’t do it on their own if for no other reason they would make the same mistake the Democrats made in passing it and make themselves responsible for the entire health system. The problem is that the Democrats have painted themselves into such a corner defending Obama, I don’t know how they are going to ever admit the truth that this thing is a giant failure and agree to fix it.

    1. Sometimes laws just…fall apart.. like immigration laws. They’re still on the books but not enforced. Obama keeps pushing back the implementation of the employer mandate. Wanna bet it never gets fully implemented?

      1. But you still need to unfuck the individual market. I give it 50 50 on the employer mandate. If it were up to the Democrats in Congress, no way does it ever get implemented. But, never underestimate how stupid and self centered Obama is. I really don’t think he cares about the rest of the Democratic Party. He wants his legacy. He might implement it even though doing so would doom the Democrats in 2016.

        1. It’s never going to get unfucked. Fucked-up is now our permanent status quo – like immigration law and enforcement. Solutions will come from the local/state level and from individual innovations that by-pass the system. That’s the future. We’re becoming like a shitty European country (think Italy) were laws are enacted and on the books but are widely disregarded and black markets thrive. In other words, the feds are losing legitimacy.

          1. ^THIS.

            Progressives were explicit about wanting to be more like Europe. This is what we got.

        2. The republicans could ‘fix’ it with a few ‘simple’ tweaks.

          1) Allow true catastrophic insurance.

          2) Make HSAs a part of it.

          3) Create a universal waiver for the individual mandate – that effectively kills it.

          4) Use the ‘risk corridors’ that are already in the law to deal with the adverse selection efffects of guaranteed issue without a mandate.

          5) Eliminate the new bureaucracies created by Obamacare.

          6) Move the tax deduction from the business level to the personal level. This may require a ‘sweetener’ to happen – such as giving everyone a standard deduction.

          1. The republicans could ‘fix’ it with a few ‘simple’ tweaks.

            Or just repeal it.

          2. Start with item 6. Slip in a tax deduction for everyone to purchase their own health insurance that matches the employer deduction. Not just for self-employed people, for everyone.

            Bill it as a gift to middle-class Americans struggling to afford unsubsidized ObamaCare plans. it would amount to a 20% discount on insurance for many people in that tax bracket.

        3. The thing is that under the ACA, the individual market is effectively a group plan anyway. So there is no benefit (from their perspective) to keeping people on employer-based plans.

          Other than maybe sticking it to big business for the fun of it or something. Based on the idiotic premise that the cost will come out of “profits” and not employees salaries.

          My bet is it will get repealed for businesses with under 1000 workers. They won’t want to antagonize “mom and pop” small businesses.

    2. I think many of the Republicans in D.C. don’t want to repeal ObamaCare because they like the power they will have once they achieve a majority. This current batch is not interested in liberty and smaller government.

      1. That is not true. Power to do what? The Republicans in DC would be hesitant to get rid of Obamacare because right now they have a completely free ride. Since the Democrats passed the thing without a single Republican vote, they completely own the resulting disaster. If the Republicans fix it, they just assume responsibility for any failures that result from a fix and let the Democrats off the hook for the disaster they created. So why fix it?

        That is what is going on.

        1. power to carve out coverage and goodies for their bases hobbie horses. Much like the Dems and their birth control nonsense.

          1. They don’t have that power. Once they do anything to change Obamacare, they will own the entire thing. They are not going to carve out shit because doing so would require passing some kind of Obamacare fix and allowing the media and the Democrats to portray the whole thing as bi-partisan or “the Republican reformed Obamacare”.

            1. John I’m just saying what I think Stickler Meeseeks having said that I can’t put it past the republicans to not do anything monumentally stupid at this point.

              1. *means

                1. Is that not a universal constant?

          2. That is whats been posited in some circles anyway since they have the power to define what a health insurance policy is.

            1. I am sure they would love to do that, but the political reality is going to make that very hard. If there is one lesson from Obamacare that even the Republicans are smart enough to learn it is that you don’t pass huge reforms without some votes from the other side.

              1. “even the Republicans are smart enough to learn”

                Yeah, not buying that either of these two corrupt gangs are capable of learning anything.

        2. Why couldn’t they scrap the whole thing and revert back to the exact private system we had the day before Obamacare became law?

          1. because it to big to fail.

          2. That is what I say. But to do that would require the Democrats admitting Obama was an idiot and a failure as President. Yeah, that is pretty obvious to any rational person. But have you talked to many Democrats lately? They are just not big on thinking these days.

            1. It’s certain that Dems would be seriously butthurt over a repeal but that’s kind of a feature. If the Republicans take the Senate and the WH in 2016 and don’t repeal it they now own it. Saying that “the shit was here when I moved in” isn’t a reason for not getting rid of the shit. As a bonus, repealing Obamacare as a huge mistake is almost as good as having impeached Obama.

        3. I beg to differ. What has Boehner and McConnell really done about Berry-Care? What is there plan? Have you heard it? Have they gutted its funding, which the House has power to do? No, they attacked the guys out there actually fighting to do something about–Cruz, Lee and Paul.

          In fact, establishment Republicans have been walking back their earlier rhetoric about repealing it. Now, they say it’s here to stay. Oh sure, maybe they will trim a little around the edges, but they have already declared that there are major portions of this shit sandwich that they are willing to eat.

          Oh, and let’s not forget who saved this damn law by rewriting it: John Roberts. Establishment, George Bush nominated, Republican.

          If you think that establishment Republicans aren’t just as much in on the game as the dems, you’re deluding yourself.

    3. Step 1. End the employer mandate and tax incentives.

      Step 2. Wait for everyone to get dumped onto the exchanges.

      Step 3. Deregulate the exchanges and repeal the individual mandate.

      1. ^This is really the only way it works.

      2. Allow insurance to be sold across state lines.

        1. Wow. You mean use the commerce clause as it was intended?

  17. “The question is whether those views should affect the provision of a public program, enacted in part to promote public health as defined by public health professionals”

    What about a program succinctly characterized as, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough”?

  18. Part of me wishes the Democrats would get their wish of single payer but have it be single payer as administered by Rick Santorum. It never occurs to them that anyone could ever shove all of this government power they love so much up their ass. You want a contraception mandate? Great, with that comes mandatory gay reformation treatment bible study as preventative health care to teach you to live the good clean life.

    1. The thing is that I’ve never seen any indication that Santorum would want to impose conversion therapy for gays. It’s just necessary for the purposes of moral equivalence to assume he’s the exact mirror image of progs.

      1. I haven’t either. But, it was hyperbole to make my point. And I wasn’t clear. I don’t mean mandated conversion therapy, I mean mandated coverage for such. And discounts for those who attend bible study on the basis that they are better risks.

        1. Sure, but if a single employee wants something which is covered by the regulation, the employer has to provide it. Ergo it’s mandated.

          Yes, certainly wave the Santorum specter in front of progs to show the logical consequences of their principles. *They* can’t defend their ideas by defending Santorum!

    2. Name any government program and it will be poorly administered by Republicans. That’s what they do. So it’s two separate arguments: whether the policy is good on the merits, and whether we can keep Republicans’ incompetent, looting hands off of it.

      1. Yes, elect Democrats so that the government can be administered competently!

      2. Name any government program and it will be poorly administered

        There you go.

          1. It’s ok, if we repeat it often enough, maybe it will one day sink in.

      3. haha that’s right Tony which is why we shouldn’t have any or severely limit all programs lest the republicans take control after all we can never know when they will pull a fast one like Bush and Cheney in 2000.

      4. Name any government program and it will be poorly administered.

      5. Wow. What brilliant and subtle insight. Agencies and programs fail to achieve the promised results because Democrats don’t have permanent control.

        The only thing standing in the way of our perfectly functioning administrative state is the failure to keep TOP.MEN. in power.

        Jesus, Tony, you really are a little fascist.

      6. Yeah Tony. We need a Democratic Administration so we can have well run government programs like the VA, HHS and the IRS.

        Do you even listen to yourself? Here is a hint, the public now considers Obama to be more incompetent than Bush at anytime in his administration. This really isn’t the right time to be posting the standard “Democrats know how to make the government work” talking points. Save those and go back to “but what about the women” ones.

        1. I’m not interested in your selective appreciation of public opinion. My point is simply that there’s always the threat of incompetent nutjobs getting in power and screwing things up. It’s a price of democracy (or any other system, really). Apart from any other considerations of the merits of programs, that is always a potential threat to good governance. And yes I place the blame squarely at the feet of Republicans, who are not, you might have noticed, lining up to pass appropriations to make the VA work better. In fact, they’ve made no secret of their governing strategy: make every effort to make government work as poorly as possible, whether in or out of power, and then reap the rewards as people are convinced that they’re correct about how government can’t do anything right. It’s nihilistic, cynical, and causes people to die in large numbers, but it kind of works for them. Not that public opinion, which you newly find valid, is exactly swinging their way.

          1. My point is simply that there’s always the threat of incompetent nutjobs getting in power and screwing things up.

            The beauty of the free market, as opposed to government, is that when incompetent nutjobs screw things up they go out of business and disappear.

            1. My point is simply that there’s always the threat of incompetent nutjobs getting in power and screwing things up.

              Funny, that’s our point, too.

              Only we don’t think its a “threat”. We think it its a “given”.

            2. In theory, if not practice.

              1. In theory, if not practice.

                No Tony. In practice. You see, unlike government, businesses require people to voluntarily purchase their products, else they go out of business. So if they are so incompetent that they can’t produce goods and services that people are willing to voluntarily purchase, then they go out of business. That’s how the free market works.

                When government screws things up, it can just raise taxes. It never goes out of business because it doesn’t have to rely on people voluntarily paying. It forces them to pay for things, even if the people neither want nor need them. They’ve got to pay anyway.

                1. Governments are replaceable every 2 and 4 years in events called elections. That’s as accountable as it gets. I understand that this too is more in theory than in practice. But I’ve seen too many incompetent people stumble their way to the top in the private sector to accept that your claim is anything but theory either.

                  1. Governments are replaceable every 2 and 4 years in events called elections. That’s as accountable as it gets.

                    No, Tony. The piles of legislation and regulation are not replaced. The massive unaccountable bureaucracies are not replaced. Only a few figureheads are replaced. That’s not replacing government, nor is it accountable in the slightest.

                  2. Imagine if you were allowed to change what you eat for dinner every two to four years.

          2. Don’t you hate the Republicans’ cynical plan of making the VA mistreat veterans?

            And even more cynical is how the Tea Party managed to trick the IRS into harassing them, in order to promote their antigovernment talking points.

          3. The point is Tony that the government by any objective standard functions worse under Obama than even under Bush. Was the Bush IRS targeting political opponents and losing emails? Did the Bush VA have secret waiting lists? I am pretty sure the Bush people could build a proper website. How many ambassadors died under Bush because they were left in a war zone without security?

            And DOD was MUCH more functional under Bush than Obama. Sorry but five years of complete incompetent leadership. If you want to claim competence, you shouldn’t have nominated a community organizer who wasn’t qualified to manage a McDonalds.

            1. Was it that you were in a coma during the Bush years, or did you attend Glenn Beck U’s reeducation camp?

            2. When will either of you understand that bureaucratic inefficiencies are not effected by which party occupies the White House?

          4. And yes I place the blame squarely at the feet of Republicans, who are not, you might have noticed, lining up to pass appropriations to make the VA work better.

            Because spending vast sums of other people’s money on a broken system will improve that system.

            You’re a riot.

          5. So there it is. Tony understands the need for limited govt very well, but prefers to have his team with unlimited power forever, the rest of us impoverished and in chains.

            Fascist piece of shit.

      7. VA…oops, that led to a bunch of dead Americans vets.

        IRS…oops, that led to the systematic targeting of American citizens’ first amendment rights.

        Providing basic security to staff in foreign countries, you know, like Benghazi, where a bunch of Americans were killed due to Barry’s policy and Hillary’s incompetence and Barry et al. blamed it on a video.

        You sure you want to play this game?

        1. Or the Obamacare website.

      8. Sure, just look at California to see how wonderfully Democrat-administered programs work out!

        1. Or Detroit.

          1. Come on, everyone knows Detroit’s problems are the result of Rethuglican, Tea-Bagger, unregulated free-market policies in place there for the last 50 years. (This is what proggies like Tony actually believe.)

      9. Like the VA system?

  19. Let’s just be clear. The true libertarian version of healthcare is “pay out of pocket or fuck off and die.” So criticize all you want, but we’re operating from two separate moral premises. One defensible, one psychopathic.

    Leftists, notes Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon, have been trying to convince Americans that Obamacare is not a step in the direction of socialized medicine as opponents claim because it uses private insurance and relies on market forces to deliver coverage.

    Liberals have not hidden their support for socialized medicine, but rather have expressed dissatisfaction that this law doesn’t go far enough in that direction. Nobody’s trying to pull one over on you. If your premise is that we should have universal coverage, it’s hard to think of a more market-based approach. If your premise is that healthcare should be a luxury of those who can afford it, then you’re not really in any position to judge.

    1. False premise so the rest is bullshit.

      1. So what do you want to have subsidized? Or are you talking about the charity fairy?

        1. Fuck-off and burn your straw man somewhere else.

          Just a hint, but starting a “conversation” by calling your opponents psychopaths isn’t really conducive to a really debate.

          1. To the left, having a “conversation” about any political issue means shutting up and nodding your head in agreement with everything they say.

          2. One gets used to being called names; I should know. But libertarianism compared to other approaches isn’t exactly high on the empathy axis.

            1. But libertarianism compared to other approaches isn’t exactly high on the empathy axis.

              Only if by empathy you mean using coercion to force people to pay for things they neither want nor need.

            2. There is nothing kind or generous about forcing other people to spend their money on others.

              Tony, there are many people who feel the way you do. Why don’t you all finance healthcare coops and spend your free time helping the poor? Or can you all not be bothered to do it, and expect the government unicorn to meet their needs?

              1. So you’re an anarchist? Or are there certain government programs, paid for by coercive taxation, that you support, because you might need those particular programs?

                1. …because you might need those particular programs?

                  Need or want has nothing to do with it, Tony. It’s a matter of understanding that force has limited uses. That’s the part that you are too stupid to understand.

                  1. Who decides what uses those are? People with an interest in having property rights protected, but not people with an interest in not dying from an infection, perhaps?

                    1. Who decides what uses those are?

                      Once upon a time there was this document that spelled out enumerated powers for the government. Those enumerated powers being the legitimate uses of force. But that’s ancient history.

                    2. Everyone has an interest in having property rights protected. The idea that such protections only help the well off is idiotic. If anyone really needs to property protections that government can offer, it is the poor and middle income. Rich people have the means to protect their property themselves.
                      Strong property rights are essential to getting people out of poverty. Socialistic “help” to the needy just allows them to be more comfortable in their poverty and doesn’t solve the problem. Who’s got empathy now, dick?

                  2. It’s a matter of understanding that force has limited uses.

                    This is true but also important is the actual efficacy of using force and government as a means to achieve goals.

                    So a moral argument supported by a pragmatic one.

                    “Let’s force those fuckers to be tolerant and empathetic by pointing a gun at them and their families!!”

                    Not a moral or pragmatic strategy.

                    1. Not a moral or pragmatic strategy.

                      Tony is neither, so to him it’s all good.

                2. I said there was nothing kind or generous about it, Tony.

                  If there better ways to provide defense than through coercive taxation, I’m for it.

                  And by defense I do not mean the monstrosity that is the current DOD and contractor parasites.

                3. tony,

                  tough as this is for you to grasp, my needing or wanting something does not mean a desire to force others to pay for it.

                  1. So how do you justify using something that is claimed as an absolute evil, coercive taxation, for any purposes at all?

                    1. there is this thing called the Constitution and it enumerates a variety of powers for the federal govt to hold. Execution of those powers will require funding. The umpire gets paid, too, but he doesn’t get to change the rules on the fly or make the penalty for violations harsher because he and a majority of the other umps say so. On the other hand, that’s quite the straw man you have erected.

                    2. Well, via the only method available for determining whether something is constitutional, vast aspects of the welfare state remain in place. So if you want to fall back on “a piece of paper justifies this complete contradiction in my moral system,” then fine, we’re good. See you at the next supreme court session.

                    3. words I didn’t say for $600, Alex. My moral system does not call for a no govt society, just one in which govt power and influence are limited. It’s not a tough distinction to understand.

                    4. And I’m saying the things you want it limited to have the curious quality of protecting the luxuries of the rich while ignoring the basic needs of the poor. Hence my original point about the gaping lack of morality in your system.

                    5. And I’m saying the things you want it limited to have the curious quality of protecting the luxuries of the rich while ignoring the basic needs of the poor.

                      The poor don’t need property rights? How will they ever get out of poverty without them?

                    6. There is another way to determine if something is constitutional. You can read the constitution and decide for yourself. Any honest person can see that most of the federal government flagrantly disregards the concept of enumerated powers and unlimited rights. Rather it has been flipped. Instead we have unlimited powers and enumerated rights.

                      Like I said though, that’s a conclusion that an honest person would arrive at. I don’t expect you to understand.

                    7. You can say that the last century of constitutional jurisprudence is invalid, but I can say there are unicorns on Mars. What do you propose to do about it?

                    8. I don’t think anything can be done.

                      “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” – Thomas Jefferson

                      Totalitarians like you always win. That’s how it works. You should be happy.

            3. I have empathy. I don’t want people to suffer or die while waiting 4 and a half months to see a doctor like they do in the UK.

          3. Tony doesn’t want to debate political opponents, he wants an all powerful government to kill or imprison his political opponents.

    2. Look at you espouse morality while you hold up a gun and force people to conform to your beliefs and rob them.

    3. Yeah Tony because there is no such thing a charity hospitals or people helping each other. I understand that you wouldn’t help anyone and are generally a selfish and evil person. But you need to remember not everyone, or even most people, are like you. There is this whole thing called civil society out there full of these creatures you wouldn’t understand that are called “normal people” and in that society they do all of this amazing stuff that has nothing to do with government. Maybe someday you will break free of your chains and leave the liberal hive and join them. It is unlikely but we can always hope.

      1. Tony thinks money that is washed by the sacred hands of government force is evil or guided by the “charity fairy.”

        Given the abysmal track record of government-run healthcare, we can safely assume he believes in the mythical government unicorn.

        1. Whoops: money that isn’t washed by the sacred hands of government force

        2. What abysmal track record. I want a link for that, since so many of you are hanging on to it. Show how socialist healthcare systems around the world do worse than market-based ones. I realize there’s not a lot of market-based options to get data on, at least in any country you’d want to live in.

          1. Here’s one example besides the obvious VA scandal: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/hea…..ndals.html

          2. what abysmal track record? How about several dead veterans who actually believed that the VA would look out for them. How about the repeatedly documented problems of the NHS in Britain. If someone has to explain to you the difference between one size fits all programs vs market-based solutions, then you are truly engaged in low-grade trolling.

            1. A totally market-based system, in which only the wealthy could afford healthcare, would, no doubt, be an efficient and downright pleasant system for those involved.

              1. Your “only the wealthy” argument is proven a lie on virtually every product/service available to mankind.

              2. Exactly, just like a market based system of cell phones has resulted in only the wealthy being able to afford cell phones.

                1. So you’re suggesting that everyone can afford health insurance in the absence of government subsidy?

      2. There’s the charity fairy. How nice it must be to feel completely unburdened by the normal empirical requirements of such sweeping claims. Let me try. Charity exists, so we don’t need police and courts. Just go to your local pro bono vigilante gang! Who needs government?

        John if charity were sufficient to provide universal access to healthcare, it would have happened already.

        1. Yeah. Because libertarians oppose police and courts. Damn anarchists.

          1. Yeah libertarians support socialism when it addresses their needs. Everyone with different needs is a parasite. I think I get that by now.

            1. No, you don’t get anything.

              “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

              -George Washington

              Libertarians understand what that means. You do not.

              1. The Founders were white male slave-owners who perpetuated the global patriarchy.

                Take that!

              2. Liberals invented the concept of checking government power, you moron. That was like step 1. Now we’re on, say, step 27: provide universal access to healthcare.

                But good job being consistent in sidestepping your fundamental hypocrisy (government for me, not for thee).

                1. Like I said, you don’t understand what that statement means.

                2. Tony,

                  Access to health care already exists. Any other non-sequiturs or has this thread pretty much exhausted your daily quota?

                  1. Being unable to afford something is exactly the same as being barred by statute from purchasing it. It’s a goddamn shame that the government is preventing me from purchasing an NBA team by not giving me the money to do so. We need to start a revolution to rectify this grave injustice.

                    GATTACA! GATTACA! GATTACA!

                  2. “Universal” is not a trivial adjective in that phrase.

                3. Liberals invented the concept of checking government power, you moron. That was like step 1. Now we’re on, say, step 27: provide universal access to healthcare.

                  Shorter Tony: I want a limited government that does EVERYTHING!

                4. Liberals invented the concept of checking government power, you moron

                  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Oh, man! Stop it!

                  Really, stop lying.

                  1. He’s right. Liberals did invent the concept of checking government power. Back when liberal meant a supporter of liberty. Since then totalitarians like Tony have started calling themselves liberals. But that doesn’t make them liberals. It only makes them liars.

                    1. Yes, it’s to my disadvantage that his Liberals was capitalized due to word placement, and not a using it as a proper noun (Or, was he??)

                      I recognize the technicality of his correctness on that point, Hermes Conrad and his ilk be damned.

                    2. and not a using it as a proper noun (Or, was he??)

                      I doubt he would know the difference. He’s not to big on distinctions.

                    3. Real liberals understand that the project of increasing individual human liberty and dignity did not stop sometime in the 19th century.

                    4. That’s true, and the f’realz liberals have been trying to get the government to stop trying to define those two things and put an end to their ham-fisted meddling since before then.

                    5. Real liberals understand that the project of increasing individual human liberty and dignity did not stop sometime in the 19th century.

                      What are you talking about, Tony? You abhor individual liberty. Individual liberty means being free from coercion. But you love coercion! You want to use government to coerce people into paying for everyone else’s health care, you want to coerce people into using less fossil fuels, you love coercion! You hate individual liberty! Get your story straight!

                    6. I love individual liberty, and favor it far more completely than you do. You think the only thing that constitutes liberty is freedom from government coercion. I think there are other things that impede liberty, like infectious diseases and dying in childbirth. It is simply a total ideological rut to claim that government and human agency are the only real threats to liberty out there.

                    7. . I think there are other things that impede liberty, like infectious diseases and dying in childbirth.

                      So how do you make yourself free from those things? Oh yeah. You use government coercion. So you’re saying that you love government coercion, not liberty. But we already knew that.

                    8. You can’t redefine liberty to mean government coercion and then say you love liberty. Well, you can. But you’d be a liar. Oh, shit. You are a liar! But we already knew that.

                    9. But you insist that we need government coercion to protect your property rights and your right to justice. That government coercion does enhance liberty. Why is it a stretch to imagine other ways in which taxing and spending might do that?

                    10. Why is it a stretch to imagine other ways in which taxing and spending might do that?

                      Because doing so negates both the right to property and the right to justice.

                      You can’t have it both ways.

                      It is obvious that you would rather have equality through coercion and control, than have liberty and justice. You can’t have both.

                      If you were honest in the slightest, you would come out and just say that you abhor liberty and justice because it isn’t fair. Liberty and justice leads to inequality. You value equality over liberty and justice.

                      It would be refreshing if you would just be honest, instead of trying to redefine liberty to mean coercion, or to redefine justice to mean coerced equality.

                      Just be honest for once and tell the truth, which is you hate America and everything it stands for. You’re an egalitarian. That’s OK. Just be honest about it for once.

                    11. America was founded on a principle (if not the practice) of egalitarianism. “All men are created equal.” It doesn’t get more clearly egalitarian than that.

                      We’ve been over this a thousand times and you’ve never sufficiently explained your position, probably because you can’t. Either taxation is evil theft or it’s not. Taxes are taken in the same way regardless of what they pay for. If you think it’s OK to take taxes to pay for police and courts, then you can’t automatically reject any other proposal on the grounds that taxation is bad. Your only options are anarchy or arguing for programs on their merits.

                    12. America was founded on a principle (if not the practice) of egalitarianism. “All men are created equal.” It doesn’t get more clearly egalitarian than that.

                      Egalitarianism is equality of outcome. America was founded on the principle of equality of opportunity. You can have one or the other, but not both.

                      We’ve been over this a thousand times and you’ve never sufficiently explained your position, probably because you can’t.

                      I’ve explained it a million times, and you can’t comprehend it because you’re a stupid liar.

                      Taxes are taken in the same way regardless of what they pay for. If you think it’s OK to take taxes to pay for police and courts, then you can’t automatically reject any other proposal on the grounds that taxation is bad.

                      That’s not the grounds and you know it. It’s a straw man that you regularly set on fire.

                      Government is force. Read that George Washington quote again. He was a lot smarter than you.

                      I reject other uses of government because government is force, and force is a tool that should be used only in response to force or to prevent force.

                      Is it justifiable to use force to protect your property? Yes?
                      Is it justifiable to use force to make your neighbor pay for your visit to the doctor? No?

                      Then why is it justifiable for government to do it?

                    13. Equalities of outcome is the only straw man here.

                      If force is justifiable to respond to force because it’s the only thing that can, that doesn’t preclude anything. Maybe government force is the only thing that can achieve universal healthcare. You’re not explaining why I have to accept your property-rights regime but not my safety net regime, especially if your premise is that government force is bad.

                    14. especially if your premise is that government force is bad.

                      Another straw man. If all government force is bad, then I’d be saying there should be no courts or national defense or anything. But I’m not saying that.

                      If force is justified in response to force, then the initiation of force justifies a response. If government is justified in using force in response to force, then what happens when government initiates force? It justifies a response. Being that the duty of government is to respond to the initiation of force, what happens when government is the initiator of force? Is it supposed to react to itself? There is a logical contradiction there.

                      You want it both ways. You want to use government to react when someone takes your property or harms your person, but you want to use government to take property and harm people you don’t like.

                      You have no understanding of principles. You’ve got the mentality of a child.

                5. Checking it by expanding it at every opportunity?

                  1. Checking it by expanding it at every opportunity?

                    According to Tony, liberty means coercion, justice means injustice, and checking government means expanding it.

        2. John if charity were sufficient to provide universal access to healthcare, it would have happened already.

          Who’s making sweeping, anti-empirical claims now?

        3. If government were competent enough to run universal healthcare it would have happened already.

          See how that works?

          1. It has happened in every civilized country but this one.

            1. So we just need to become Switzerland and it’ll all work out?

              Now, wave your magic wand and turn the US of A into Switzerland.

              You might want to learn to accept the country we actually are instead of the one you fascisticly want to create. Then maybe you’ll get closer to your goal – you know by offering a bit of respect to the citizens you have so much contempt for.

              1. I just want to try what has been demonstrated to work before we decide not to try anything at all, or something that has never been demonstrated to work.

                1. Well, here’s a suggestion:

                  1. Elect a leader who is persuasive and shares your goal of creating “universal” coverage or access. It would help if he were wildly popular when elected.

                  2. Have him work with Congress to write bi-partisan legislation to realize his and your goal. The bi-partisan part is really important as it expresses respect for the concerns of the doubtful and builds consensus which makes successful implementation much more likely. This of course will mean compromise on his part which is a long tradition when it comes to passing major social legislation in the USA.

                  3. Competently and carefully implement the law.

                  The “Republicans are just obstructionists” meme is bullshit. It’s the pathetic excuse you use when you fail to do the work necessary to build consensus. Obamas inability to do this is just another example of his utter incompetence.

                  1. What you fail to realize is the Progressive approach is hubristic, as hubristic as Bush’s wars were. It’s arrogant and self-righteous.

                    You screwed the pooch, kid. You fucked up. You are further away from your goal than you were 6 years ago.

                    1. And the health care system is worse off as a bonus.

                  2. Since Republicans explicitly crafted a strategy of never cooperating with the president, even before he set foot in the Oval Office, I hardly think it’s an empty complaint. They have become extremists. They don’t believe in anything but their own power. That does make governing rather difficult.

                    1. Actually, that strategy was crafted on the way back from the meeting where he told them Fuck You, I have a mandate, bitches. Makes governing awful difficult when one of your first acts as President is to give the finger to the opposition.

                2. So “Charity” is bad cuz people are, on the whole, self-serving and won’t help others. Govt is run by the few good people out there so they will do the right thing. Is that about right?

                  1. Charity is not bad, it’s just woefully insufficient for the purpose. Only government can mobilize the resources necessary to provide a universal safety net, and it is capable of doing it in a streamlined way–charities would surely work better in some places and worse in others, and miss lots of people.

                    And by “charity” what we mostly mean is churches. I’d rather not place what should be secular public services in the hands of churches, thank you.

                    1. And by “charity” what we mostly mean is churches. I’d rather not place what should be secular public services in the hands of churches, thank you.

                      So you’re saying that helping people should be done by coercion, not by voluntary charity.

                      You really and truly despise liberty, justice, and the American way.

                    2. You think exactly the same thing, you just want to limit the ways people are helped in an extreme way (protecting their property and a couple other things).

        4. Right, because there is no government now, and there isn’t universal access to healthcare, ergo charity is insufficient to provide it. How can you argue with this kind of logic?

    4. The Kochtopus donates a lot of money to cancer research. Maybe they would be inclined to fund medical care for poor people in the absence of a government program?

      LMFAO, lulz, amirite Toni?

    5. Well, Tony, I’m a reasonable guy. I’d be more than happy to support legislation that would restrict your medical care options to the VA.

      Do we have a deal?

    6. The true libertarian version of healthcare is “pay out of pocket or fuck off and die.”

      Yeah. Because libertarians would outlaw insurance and charity. Damn tyrants.

    7. Firstly, I see your definition of clear matches the presidents. ie. Lies, slander, and strawmen.

      Secondly – If your premise is that we should have universal coverage, then you think scarcity doesn’t exist, or advocate death panels staffed by the same type of people in the VA and IRS. So, you’re either retarded or a sociopath.

      1. If you’re making the scarcity argument, then you have to buy Shikha’s nose job, since you’re saying that the market rations healthcare.

        Services that are subsidized become less scarce, that being the whole point. And all the evidence in the world suggests that universal coverage drives individual costs down. Why are you for both limited access to healthcare and for making it more expensive?

        1. Services that are subsidized become less scarce

          WTF?

          1. That’s like economicz man.

          2. That must be why the cost of healthcare and education has gone down so much.

        2. This is a jaw-dropping level of ignorance on display here. You never fail to outdo yourself.

        3. Services that are subsidized become less scarce,

          this statement alone makes you an imbecile. If rational people can agree on anything, it is the notion that you get more of the things that you subsidize. Ever hear of incentives? You must be trolling us today because no one could possibly be this stupid. Even shriek wouldn’t say something like that.

        4. And all the evidence in the world suggests that universal coverage price fixing and rationing drives individual monetary costs down.

          FTFY.

        5. When things are subsidized, the price signals get screwed up and demand soars, creating more scarcity. See the gasoline lines from the 1970’s when price fixing schemes messed up the markets.

          Why are you for limited access to healthcare Tony?

    8. The true libertarian version of healthcare is “pay out of pocket or fuck off and die.”

      You left out a couple of things:

      “pay out of pocket, but insurance, get charity, or fuck off and die.”

  20. The question is whether those views should affect the provision of a public program…

    I don’t think Mr. Cohn has thought this through entirely. If your healthcare is part of a public program, then any claim to a right to privacy with regard to your medical care (including the decision whether or not to have an abortion) goes out the window. They might grant it as a gratuity, but it certainly wouldn’t be something that can be claimed by right.

    1. What government gives, it can take away.

      That lesson will sink in one day.

      *crosses fingers*

  21. Name any government program and it will be poorly administered by Republicans.

    Tony’s catechism. “This would totally work, if the right people were running it!”

    1. Such programs do work, but not automatically. You do need to have people in charge who actually believe in having them.

      1. How convenient.

        “It didn’t work only because the right people weren’t in charge.” Impossible to disprove, so you can repeat this “argument” every time the government catastrophically fails and win the debate!

        1. It’s not something that needs proving, it’s a simple acknowledgment of reality. If you want your office to be well-managed, you don’t put a toddler in charge of it. Not a controversial point.

          1. for decades, progs have run the public schools and by virtually any empirical standard, they are a disaster. Govt has run the VA, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, a procurement program, the IRS, ad nauseum and none of those is highlighted in any business school of an example of how to do something. Why is that?

            1. That’s just old codger ranting. A few problems does not mean these programs are fundamentally worthless. Social Security is often and rightly held up as a model of an efficient and successful government transfer program. The IRS does manage to do its job most of the time. Medicare is consistently one of the most popular government programs. The VA’s main problem is a massive influx of patients because of Republican wars.

              1. Should, not could, is the first issue here. Considering we aren’t arguing based on wants, but what our foundation of governance says (you know, The Constitution).

                Even if they are popular, that doesn’t make them legal, or morally right.

              2. Note the baseline of what constitutes success:

                Government bureaucracy – manages to do its job most of the time.

                Private enterprise – constantly delivers increased value to its owners and customers.

                It totally makes sense as a society to constantly shift responsibility from group B to group A. Why the important things need to be taken care of by the entities that give themselves a Christmas bonus for not fucking up too much.

              3. A few problems does not mean these programs are fundamentally worthless.

                my, but you are a dishonest fuck. No one said the programs are worthless, just that they are horribly – perhaps criminally – mismanaged. And, “a few problems.”??? Seriously?

                A generation plus of barely literate people pushed through the system is not a “few problems” and neither is some old guys dying because a system they trusted let down in a huge way.

                SS is a clusterfuck of epic proportions. Of course, you defend it but you frequently do that with the indefensible. Every actuarial study, to include those from within the program itself, comes back to a conclusion of unsustainable.

                1. A few problems does not mean these programs are fundamentally worthless. – Tony

                  Well, I, uh, don’t think it’s quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir. – General “Buck” Turgidson

                  Compare and Contrast

                  1. “A few problems does not mean these programs are fundamentally worthless. – Tony

                    So, just because the progressive model has produced zero ‘successes’ out of its list of social-ills it desires to cure, and indebted this country to the eyeballs for the next few generations…. *thats no reason not to DOUBLE DOWN ASAP*

                    Really? No attempt to defend the ‘merits’? Just “its not as shitty as it seems”?
                    You really

              4. Obama’s had six year to fix that, and besides, the increase in the VA system is aging Vietnam vets that have lost private insurance. Vietnam is a Team Blue war.

  22. This still doesn’t preclude libs from playing their brother’s keeper …

    Free men and women don’t want to be “kept” by anybody … liberal or otherwise.

    This “brother’s keeper” nonsense, which has been popularized by Obama’s use of the phrase over sixty times and which he says is “most fundamental of all truths”, really needs to be understood.

    “Brother’s keeper”, of course, comes from the Bible: specifically it comes from Genesis 4:9, which quotes the first murderer posing a sarcastic, rhetorical question to God.

    The Hebrew word for “keeper” is shamar. Nowhere is this word used to describe the keeping of free men. It is only used with respect to the keeping of sheep and other livestock, the surveillance of the city gates and walls and religious buildings, and the keepers of virgins reserved for Persian royal service.

    No free man wants to be kept and only assholes think such keeping is noble.

  23. Although I agree with Ms. Dalmia, the point on women being able to get birth control over the counter may also be objectionable to single payer advocates. As a pharmacist in Oregon where Medicaid has a zero copay for covered prescriptions and rarely covers over-the-counter medications (even when prescribed), I have seen many Medicaid patients refuse to pick up a $2 tube of anti-fungal cream (or some other cheap over-the-counter item that was prescribed and not covered) because they had to pay money.

    Affordable Care Act (ACA) and single payer advocates that liked these zero co-pays for contraceptives that the ACA mandates would object to the $9 per month for two prescription birth control options at Wal-Mart (much less the $25/month options at Costco mentioned by Ms. Dalmia in the linked article at TIME). I can hear them now: “If we do NOT provide free contraceptives, women will have unwanted pregnancies. By not covering contraceptives, we are essentially putting a tax on being female!” There are plenty of arguements against having taxpayers subsidize birth control, but in a world where the ACA passed, just arguing that something should be over-the-counter is not enough. We need to continue to remind citizens why their neighbors shouldn’t have to pay for their healthcare along with that.

  24. So criticize all you want, but we’re operating from two separate moral premises.

    Somebody in the Morning Links tried to claim religion and fascism are polar opposites. There’s the refutation right there.

    “I BELIEVE. My faith is unshakeable. An all-powerful, all-knowing superior force will deliver unto me a Paradise on Earth.”

  25. I will never understand what you people get out of talking to it like it’s a real person. This is easily the fourth or fifth person to troll under “Tony.”

    1. I want to believe.

    2. Most of us encounter stupid like Tony everyday. Unfortunately, the stupid is family, friends, coworkers, etc. In order to maintain some relationships with people, we do a lot of suppressing.

      Therefore, when the stupid comes here, it is a chance to furiously unload some frustration on our keyboards.

      1. I’m not against angerbation, but having to watch it is depressing.

      2. My father has the same mentality as Tony. The problem is that if I argue with the old man about politics or economics, he’ll quit answering his phone for a year. And I don’t want that.

  26. “so, it is, strictly speaking, not a mandate. OK. Call it a regulation. Or a Buddhist chant. Or whatever.”

    Penaltax. Say it with me: PENALTAX!

    And with that one word, the most punchable face on the Supreme Court got even more punchable!

  27. The claim that “in many other countries, the government takes on this responsibility directly” is wrong. Few countries have government provided health care. France and the UK do, but they don’t generally cover abortions or contraception. The UK has strong restrictions on abortions. Germany doesn’t have a government-run health care system but a regulated private system, yet those regulations also don’t cover abortions or contraception for most people.

    Taking health insurance away from employers is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean giving it to government. We can give control of health care (and the tax breaks) back to individuals, which is what many advanced nations do. Except for the US. And giving control of health care may well backfire, as when Republicans come into power, they may simply use a centralized government health care system to make it impossible to get any procedure they don’t like, even if it technically still remains legal.

    1. The government also doesn’t take on responsibility. Try suing the NHS for malpractice.

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  29. Just as an aside: Canada has single-payer, and doesn’t, generally, cover contraceptives. Or any prescription drugs, at all, until you reach a province determined out of pocket limit. As far as I know there are no mandates at all on what the ubiquitous third party employer provided health insurance packages cover. So there’s no guarantee at all that single payer would be the silver bullet some people seem to imagine it would be. Plus you get to wait in line a lot. For a long time.

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