Flimsy Sanity: Why I Like Blogs So Much

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why I Like Blogs So Much

Everything old is new again. When I was very very young, it was the vogue to have penpals. Schoolkids would get the names of someone in the same grade in another town (or even another country) and sometimes friendships would evolve. So it is with blogs. In most cases those blogs with a political angle are people just preaching to the choir. Sometimes a troll enters the scene and tries to argue, but lets face it, no one will probably be changing their political affiliation very soon because someone was confrontational.

People want to be friends with people who think the same as they do. Republicans have blogs too, but I do not go to them just like I would not go to a American Legion dinner or a Knights of Columbus fund raiser. Some blogs I read leave me speechless with their creativity, some just make so much common sense I want to visit over coffee, some make me laugh because they can make the everyday hilarious, some are accurate word-choosers that paint a perfect picture. I am amazed at how many ways there are to hate Bush and his Vice-Dick (sexual innuendo). I like the ability to acknowledge I have read their efforts by leaving a comment even though most are usually pretty lame.

I have added Stayin Alive to my reading list today because it is one that seems so common sense to me. This is what he/she had to say about universal health care:
And so, turning to the news of the day, George W. Bush, who I no longer irrationally hate, has vowed to veto reauthorization of the Supplemental Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) on "philosophical grounds," specifically, "when you expand eligibility . . . you're really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government." Now, I'm not sure which philosophy that is. It doesn't really sound like transcendentalism, or logical positivism, or empiricism . . . hmm.

I know! It's the philosphy that insurance companies give money to Republicans.

If you're going to say that it is bad for people to have government-run insurance instead of private insurance, you probably ought to tell us why you think that is bad. As you know if you've been reading, we spend about 25% of our health insurance dollar on the administrative costs of private insurance -- marketing, profits, and paying rooms full of drudges to figure out ways to deny people coverage. Our largest publicly funded program, Medicare, has administrative costs under 3%, and has simple rules about what is and is not covered that are largely based on whether drugs and procedures are approved as safe and effective. (Long term care is not covered, which is a separate issue, along with the doughnut hole in drug coverage. But few people see these omissions as virtuous on philosophical grounds.)

Veterans in this country have not just public insurance, but actual socialized medicine. It's inadequately funded right now because Mr. Bush pretended their wouldn't be any casualties from his splendid little war, but the public is demanding that it be fixed, not privatized. Does a public insurance system mean "rationing" and cost controls? Yes it does. Mr. Bush invokes those terms to scare us, but why are they supposed to be scary?

We have rationing right now -- 45 million people who have no insurance and who don't get preventive care and basic services, and people with private insurance whose insurers ration their care in order to pump up profits. What we need is rational rationing, where we allocate services based on their expected benefits vs. their costs. That's what they do in all the civilized countries of the world.

And the civilized countries have cost controls, which we don't. That means they save money -- lots and lots of money. They spend, typically, half as much on medical services as we do, and they get more for it. Mr. Bush is opposed to that, it seems, on philosophical grounds.

So I would really like to learn more about this philosophy. Is it the philosophy his Economics 101 professor taught him? Maybe he'll explain it to us some day.


  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Peacechick Mary said…

    Thanks. I think I'll check out Stayin Alive too. that was one of the best posts I've read so far on Universal Health care.

  • At 2:19 PM, Blogger Flimsy Sanity said…

    The insurance companies want young, healthy people but they are more than happy to have the government step in to take care of the old when they begin needing lots of medical care. Insurance is like bizarro gambling - the only way you can win is if you lose.

  • At 9:42 PM, Blogger Neil Shakespeare said…

    RE: 'BIZARRO GAMBLING'. So true. It's like betting on disaster. And the greatest disaster of all is called 'The Deductible'. Health care should be a human right.

  • At 7:14 AM, Blogger JM said…

    Isn't it a bit much to assume that Bush actually attended the Economics 101 class?


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