Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More On Health Care

Steve Adcock, writing on the website, Small Government Times, recently brought up an interesting point regarding the idea of mandatory health coverage:

Is mandatory health insurance Constitutional?

Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, was asked by the CNSNews.com web site to cite the Constitutional authority for the government to require the American people to buy health insurance. Apparently, Reed will have to get back with us on that one.

"Specifically where in the Constitution does Congress get its authority to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance?" CNSNews.com asked Reed.

"I would have to check the specific sections, so I’ll have to get back to you on the specific section," Reed said. "But it is not unusual that the Congress has required individuals to do things, like sign up for the draft and do many other things too, which I don't think are explicitly contained [in the Constitution]."

Unbelievable. We have a sitting politician in Washington D.C. who admits Congress has used the government to require mandates of the American people without explicit authorization from the very document that provides the government with their just authority.

"It gives Congress a right to raise an army, but it doesn't say you can take people and draft them. But since that was something necessary for the functioning of the government over the past several years, the practice on the books, it's been recognized, the authority to do that."

It gives Congress a right to raise an Army and a Navy, Senator. Read Article I, Section VIII of the Constitution for more on what you, and your fellow colleagues, can legitimately do with the power that our election process has provided you.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the government has never required the American people to purchase a good or service, and doing so would be an "unprecedented form of federal action".


The only other exception I could think of where mandated purchase of a product is involved is car insurance, but people can choose whether to buy a car or not. Not everybody is forced to purchase car insurance. And the thing that necessitates car insurance - an accident that might impinge upon the property and person of someone else - doesn't exist in a situation where one's own health is the only consideration.

I don't think this argument is going to fly but it deserves attention. What kind of a world do we live in where nobody has the guarantee of safety, a job or a roof over their head but they could be forced to pay into a system where money they can't afford to spend goes down the toilet year after year against their will? That's the way the American insurance system is set up and it doesn't appear that that is going to change.

I guess, in another way, we are forced to pay for a service that we'll probably never see . . . social security. But again, only if we're working. Nobody makes us pay into social security . . . or even pay taxes . . . if we are unemployed. And a good thing, since so many of us are.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Fundamental Unfairness of American Health Care

Re. the health care debate, my primary question is: Why must people be legally compelled to buy health insurance? If they can do so because the insurance available is affordable and gives them the protection they need, they'll do so. If not, why punish them?

There are two important facets of any useful universal health care plan: the first is availability . . . to be able to be insured regardless of preexisting conditions. The second is affordability. I don't see that the second aspect is being adequately addressed.

And the single most aggravating thing about insurance of any kind is that it doesn't carry over. I pay thousands of dollars every year for health insurance and homeowner's insurance (and did, for car insurance, before I sold my car) and at the end of every year, everything rolled back to zero and started over again with the inevitable deductable. It's like dropping money into a hole. And if one changes jobs, it's not possible to carry the insurance over without extra expense and even if allowed, it doesn't last for long. The odds are stacked in favor of the insurance companies.

Why not just call it a legalized "protection" racket, which is what it is.

Doctors and dentists have begun to fight back by insisting that customers pay the complete bill for visits the day of the appointment and then make them go after reimbursement from the insurance company. This is the single reason I have not had any dental checkups or work for 8 years. I can't afford to pay $200-$300 or more and then wait a couple of months to be reimbursed. I don't HAVE that sort of discretionary income. And so what happens is that I have a yearly checkup for which I pay a deductible and the rest of the money I pay into health insurance goes directly into the coffers of the insurance company.

I suppose that later, when I become elderly and my health fails I might be able to take proper advantage of my health insurance but by then I probably won't be working for the place that has subscribed to a plan I'm paying thousands into.

It reminds me of the company birthday lunches I used to attend where I'd get a salad, watch co-workers throw back drinks and have steaks and then get the entire thing split up equally among everybody present. It's not fair but nobody seems to be paying any attention to what's happening.

It sucks.
Most amusing sign seen recently near work:


Which makes me wonder if there's any such thing as Cold Molten Zinc. And if there is, should we be afraid of it, too?

Friday, November 20, 2009

"One feels so damn sorry for writers, the poor posers. People like Hemingway and Yeats spend their whole lives trying to make good a pose because they despise themselves. They put infinite time and energy into trying to make themselves come true, when they know that it's all a damn lie, anyway."

-- James Dickey
"I never expect to see politicians tell the people: 'Quit buying. Quit using all that electrical stuff. Quit traveling all over the world. Quit driving. Just eat, be happy you are breathing and work to grow your mind and soul and let's see if we can come to understand this ruined world around us and how to heal it -- or at least do less damage. Let us change our entire idea about what constitutes governance, and work and happiness.'

"That's what it will take."

-- Joe Bageant

Friday, November 13, 2009

Terms That Should Be Taken Out and Shot

I'd like to see the following terms disappear. And the sooner, the better:

"Vigilant" - as in "be vigilant" about any boogeyman the government wants to use to manipulate us or distract us from the things that really deserve attention. If we were truly "vigilant" about everything we're told to be "vigilant" about, we'd be emotionally exhausted. Maintaining a vigil means, "keeping awake during the time usually given to sleep." The public is supposed to be so disturbed and upset by whatever the threat du jour is that it exhausts itself watching for real or imagined threats.

"Consumers" - as a designation for shoppers. It depersonalizes people, consigning them to a single flock whose behavior is lemminglike enough to predict and control.

"Make no mistake" - as demeaning and preachy a phrase as ever came down the pike. It says: "We know what you're thinking and it's wrong. You should think this way." The assumption is insulting to any discriminating and informed person.

"The Homeland" - What's wrong with "America?" The term "homeland" reeks of xenophobia and conjures up images of Nazi Germany.

"The War in Iraq" or "The War in Afghanistan" - They aren't conventional wars. They are, at best, preemptive strikes, conflicts or occupations. Call them what they are.

"The War on Terror", "The War on Drugs", etc. etc. - Wake up, congressmen and women. You can't declare war on a noun. Or at least you can't declare war on a noun and hope to win such a war. The perpetual inclination to define any sort of task in terms of warfare or sports isn't a positive or a sensible thing.

"Is thought to work . . ." - as in those pharma commercials. That says to me, it's not proven. What's more, it suggests that they really don't know if it can help you. Shame. I also loathe the use of the word, "as" in these commercials. "If this terrible side effect happens, let your doctor know, as it is . . ." What in the world is wrong with the word, "because?" Why in the world - other than money - does our government allow pharmaceutical companies to flog drugs on television? They didn't use to. It's second-guessing medical professionals - your doctor. My guess? Your doctor hates it when patients come in *asking* for a particular drug that may not even be appropriate. This advertising also permits drug companies to push drugs as a primary solution, giving little or no lip service to diet and exercise . . . not allowing older patients to reconcile themselves to the fact that some things decline with age and trying to hang on to them could actually endanger one's health.

"ED" - Call it what it is. You can't get it up. Or you're impotent. Do we have "respiratory dysfunction" if we have a cold? Or "perception dysfunction" if we don't get a joke? Or perhaps "financial dysfunction" if we bounce a check. Sheesh.

"Pandemic" - wait until distribution of a disease actually qualifies it for this term.

The use of "quote-unquote" without putting anything BETWEEN the quotes so people know WHAT you're referring to.