If you are in the mood to argue with somebody today, please take on this guyfor me. Here is my response, and his retort to my response. Notice that SH doesn’t address my response at all — they never do — but just spews out standard talking points.

20 thoughts on “Stimulant

  1. I haven’t clicked through to “SH”, because I know how much time I can waste tusseling with those from a different viewpoint. I’m also trying to keep an even keel emotionally, these days. So I’m going to pass (for now) on your invitation.

    I am however, reminded of Monty Python’s famous Argument Clinic skit. Arguing with righties is often almost as ridiculous.

  2. Um, what are the current stats? Roughly 3% overhead for Medicare, compared to about 15% or more for private insurance? It’s more productive to have discussions with people in the reality-based community.

  3. My brother who actually has health insurance, is thinking of coming here to Taiwan to visit me and have surgery because his health insurance company won’t pay for it. He’d had to pay himself because he’s not a legal resident of Taiwan as I am, but even then, it will be much cheaper than in the USA, about 1/5 the price. Here in Taiwan, we have a fully government-run national health insurance program and costs are kept under control.

    “The govmint can’t do nothing right.” Well, that’s true, if you put Republicans in charge of it. They deliberately put people in charge of various government agencies (EPA, FEMA, HUD, SEC, etc) who are ideologically committed to destroying the agency they are running. So the EPA gets staffed with oil and coal industry lobbyists, for example. Plus those agencies have their funding cut to the point where they can no longer do their job even if they wanted to. Then the Repugs get to say, “See, government doesn’t work.”

  4. Batto got it right on the overhead for Medicare overhead compared to the private sector. Medicare has a high approval rating 65% for the general population, considerably higher approval rating for people who are in Medicare. For the 8 years that the GOP had control of Congress and the WH, there was NO serious effort to address the issues of cost that threaten Medicare and the private health care system as well. You stood there and watched the victim bleeding and did nothing – and now you criticize the efforts to save health care for everyone??!!

    The Internet & the space program are examples of government-run programs. Of course neocons are upset that the US did not annex the moon as a US territory.

    I have gold-plated BCBS through the federal governement and will until I am old enough for Medicare. Nothing that Congress can pass will increase MY individual coverage – anything they do pass will probably cost me in taxes. But having insurance probably saved my daughter’s life, and treatment saved my wife, a cancer survivor. There is no way I am going to argue against universal coverage because ‘I got mine – you can die.’

  5. …SH is either a troll or one of those people with whom we are far too much afflicted: the priggish, underinformed “expert” who really doesn’t know how life actually works but thinks it does. Like Lynne says, it’s probably a waste of time. I’ve been hemmed in by these compassionless “know-it-alls” for most of my 55 years, and I learned a long time ago that there is no sense in trying to engage them in some sort of actual human dialogue because, as Gertrude Stein once said in another context, there is no ‘there’ there…

  6. Life is too short for arguing with people like SH. It seems like SH isn’t actually interested in an exchange of views and the possibility of learning something. Rather, SH’s game is venting spleen, and possibly getting you to agree with him, but mostly it’s about the complaining. That his complaints are not based on any objective reality doesn’t seem to matter, he gets some psychic pay-off out of being convinced of his rightness, and gubmint’s wrongness, and complaining about same.

  7. I’m glad others felt the way I did, I didn’t feel like arguing with someone who is only interested in strawmen. Reality, statistics, not so much. I’m a teacher here in buckyblue land and we have excellent insurance and any ‘public option’ may well cost me more in taxes. But everyone should have the insurance I have. We are a teacher run state trust and the overhead is 5%, compared to the 15% as noted above for private insurance companies. The CEO makes in the 200K range, as opposed to the multi-million $ payoffs for private insurers. Studies have shown that our insurance is actually cheaper than the private insurers. What’s not to like.

  8. A young lady is visiting us from the UK. She is covered by a national health care plan, and is currently on her “holiday” of 4 weeks. She is 19 yrs old and works for Starbucks.

    I have been working for an Engineering firm for 10 yrs. I am 54.I have an employer paid healthcare package that shrinks every year as it increases in cost. I get 2 weeks paid vacation.I consider myself to be VERY lucky.

  9. “Never argue with idiots;
    They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

    He loves his insurance but, you notice, he does not cite instances where it has been so wonderful about paying all of the bills for a major illness in his family.

    I am covered by my wife’s employer-provided plan, one of the “gold plated” plans that Obama wants to tax. When I got sick in 2003 my out-of-pocket expenses came to more than $30,000 for the year. Happily, we were not in a position that a financial impact like that bankrupted us. Others are not as fortunate. There weren’t any experimental or unapproved procedures, it was just a constant struggle with the insurance company over everything, back and forth between the provider and the insurance, with me in the middle. And all of this while I was too sick to work.

    “SH” would doubtless claim that all of that was due to something I did wrong.

  10. I salute the regulars who took on SH, but I doubt it affected his or her opinions one iota. It’s like trying to argue with a vending machine.

    One thing I did note: SH’s command of English is just barely “good enough for government work” (as he or she sees it). SH’s ability to learn from new facts, however, is well below par.

  11. Tricked again!

    “Notice that SH doesn’t address my response at all — they never do — but just spews out standard talking points.”

    Exactly, Maha. This is what we on the left have been done for eight going on nine years: reacting indignantly to the baseless talking points of the right. It’s a waste of your valuable (to all of us!) time.

    Obviously, this is not a reproach directed at you any more than it’s directed at a multitude of intelligent bloggers on the left, including myself. SH’s arguments don’t work because SH doesn’t know much about the issue. And that’s probably because SH’s purpose is not to engage in a democratic process, but rather to sidetrack the conversation, however irresponsibly, in order to avoid challenging his/her old died-in-the-wool beliefs. SH hasn’t learned how to behave like a good citizen with a stake in our common future. That’s a mark of many contemporary conservative politicians — and quite a few other annoying adolescents.

  12. Exactly, Maha. This is what we on the left have been done for eight going on nine years: reacting indignantly to the baseless talking points of the right. It’s a waste of your valuable (to all of us!) time.

    When baseless talking points go unchallenged they may be internalized as factual by lazy people. So it can be a useful exercise to refute talking points, even in venues like this where most readers have explored the issue. we can also learn something – eg I didn’t know Medicare was run with a 3% overhead.

    The repeated “government can’t do anything efficiently” claim is what I’d call the DMV fallacy – because most of us have experienced inefficiency and bad customer service at the DMV therefore all bureaucracies are inefficient and give poor service. I think pointing out the inefficiency and poor service private insurers give is a nice foil for that baseless claim; it doesn’t bear on the efficiency of a public option, rather it draws the outrage about heartless inefficiency back towards the current broken system and away from the gummint.

    SH pointed at Walter Reed as an example of poor government run healthcare. Walter Reed is something of an anomaly in my opinion, but I haven’t read much about VA health care. I have vague ideas that it delivers quality care for low cost (and have some anecdotal data to support this – my son had VA examine him recently on a same day appointment and he was pleased). Anyone have good cites for VA quality of care/cost of care?

  13. When Bill Clinton was in office and the Republican congress had passed legislation requiring the executive to accept bids from private contractors he, as usual, foxed them. The program that came out of the White House required the bidding process to include the government department currently doing the work and, of course, they always won. They didn’t have to carry bejeweled CEOs and dividened demanding stock holders. They just had to do the work.

    After a few rounds the R’s came back to demand that the procurement people add some artificial P&O line to the government bid, 15%. It came to a head over the maintenance contract at Walter Reed. Chris Dodd embarrassed them out of the fight when he described the folks in the basement, almost all of them mentally challenged, who did the laundry and the dishes. The jobs had given them independence and pride and they always set the Gov’s record for attendance. The rest of the maintenance staff were tradesmen, carpenters, plumbers and the like, men with skills and long time care of the facility.

    The R’s returned when W took the White house, got their 15% add on to the budget #s and privatized the maintenance services at Walter Reed. Within two years of underpaid, untrained and unreliable workers, the place was falling apart. Medicare+ requires 12% more for administration than Medicare. So we know the degree to which government employees are more efficient than private industry. Its 12% to 15%. Its interesting that the wingnuts have that number exactly backwards.

  14. SH is absolutely correct. Walter Reed is/was a scandal. It is an Army hospital, the President was George W. Bush. So as SH implies, never trust a Republican with our government. If you need any other proof just remember back to 9-11, when they failed to defend us.

  15. SH is wrong in using Walter Reed as an example at all. The Bush administration contracted out its operation to a private firm run by (no surprise) someone Dick Cheney knew from his days as CEO of Halliburton. The place went to hell very quickly from there.

    Even FEMA, for instance, functioned well during the Clinton administration, although it was a gigantic clusterfrak under both presidents Bush. Government is no different from the private sector; if good people are in charge, it’s successful, but if it suffers under bad executives, the hurt is spread far and wide. Witness Enron, WorldCom, Lehmann Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Chrysler, and AIG (a private insurance conglomerate). It’s like computer programmers used to say in the old days: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    Much like SH’s “arguments.”

  16. “Anyone have good cites for VA quality of care/cost of care?”
    Absolutely. Among the very best in the world at costs well below private institutions. Veterans complain about getting into the VA but, once they are in you will never hear a single complaint. They love that place. The VA has a records systems that should serve as a model for the world. When you go from one hospital to a different one your records are right there; instant, complete, up-to-date and accurate.

    VA was a shambles in the 1980’s, run-down and providing bad care. Clinton appointed a new director (whose name I would have to look up) who turned the system into a show place. The influx from recent wars in placing a bit of a strain on them, but the overall quality is still excellent.

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