“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Health Care Costs

Everyone agrees that health care challenges the US economy and the political process. I have a friend that convinced the VA his diabetes was caused by his tenure at Chu Lai and exposure to agent orange. My friend was an air traffic controller and is 100 lbs over weight. I don't begrudge him taking advantage of the system. He is not alone.

Watch some cable and you will see all sorts of "free" things to be had and paid for by medicare. Congress gets all sorts of free things, as do many others. Lawyers freely advertise that if you ever knew someone who knew someone else who worked around asbestos that you may be entitled to free things.

Do not get me wrong. Everyone should have some form of healthcare protection. Catastrophic care should be universal. Children, regardless of means, should have health care protection and have it available to them. All others should have health care and they should pay for it. How can that be done?

It will have to come down to some combination of tax, insurance and fees.

It is estimated the US spends one trillion dollars annually on health care for overweight Americans. That would point to a logical place to tax. The risk of being fat should be priced into health care costs.

What are your ideas?

Speaking of Chu Lai

Sorry about that:

And never forget your radiomen


  1. Add one to the current avalanche of regulations of our behavior?
    I think not.

    Makes a great example of what's wrong with socialized healthcare, however:
    The opportunities for intruding into everyone's lives is limitless, a dream come true for the greenies and weenies on the left for whom controlling others is better than sex.

    "The risk of being fat should be priced into health care costs. "

    If the patient pays, and a fat person regularly avails himself of healthcare, then the risk of being fat is priced in, right?

    OTOH, if a person is fat and has few health issues, then he doesn't pay for services he doesn't need just because he's fat.

    ...and in both cases, Big Brother is not issuing edicts about what good citizens fat 1 and fat 2 must do to please Mr. Big.

  2. Good points, but if you have the combination of healthcare paid by others, which includes almost all of the underclass, you also have the heaviest Americans in the same group.

    How do you pay for that if you do not discourage the behavior that got them that fat in the first place? There is no shame. There is no pride.

    You may not like the intrusion as I do but the intrusion into your wealth is already taking place and will worsen.

  3. Seems clear, that as GM revises it product line, so to will the US health care industry.

    The V8 option just will not be avaiable, at any price.
    We are downsizing, the idea that because we can, we should, let alone must, is being reevaluated.

    boobie complains that healthcare may well become rationed, not realizing that it already is, for many millions of residents.

    It is the system of rationing that is under discussion, not whether or not there will be rationing. There already is that.

  4. That the Federal Socialists should be "in charge" of health care, not even part of the debate.
    We are looking for a better method of management than exists under the ad hoc system that has been built, over time.

    The public wants the trains to run on time, they do not care who owns the trains or what the engineers and porters are paid.

    We already pay more per capita than any other nation, while our life expectancy is not in the same leadership position.

    whit listing the hodge podge of 'options' available to the sick that cannot be insured. It's not a tight schedule and has been deemed unsatisfactory by those that have taken authority for providing health care services, on time and on target.

  5. As far as I can make out, Obama wants to move the costs from the localities and hospitals, which are covering the uninsured, without reimbursement, to the Federal account.

    This shows up as "new" spending when it is really just reallocated responsibility and accountability.

    As I said, whether or not the Federals should do that, not even part of the debate.
    The how is all that's being debated, and that really does not much matter. Incremental governmental growth and interference will follow, no matter what the "Final" 2009 version amouunts to.

  6. We Sinned, Again

    "Second, there is likewise a spreading feeling of doubt about our foreign policy. All Americans like to be liked — and like to think they are confident enough to admit mistakes. But Obama is beginning to be predictable, boring even, in his once sincere, but now serial apologies about America’s past and present — to almost everyone from Latin Americans and Europeans to Turks and Muslims in general. And why are we more worried about the feelings of a hostile Ahmadinejad than of a friendly Maliki or Netanyahu?

    We already have come to expect a certain boilerplate theme, in which the president seeks to placate his hosts by confessing the errors of previous Americans. But the lawyer does not regularly apologize to his rival firm over courtroom disputes; the contractor does not routinely call up his competitor to confess to his own past unfair business practices that unduly won him the disputed contract; the principal, as a matter of habit, does not call in the teacher to show regret over his own theatrical exercise of influence and power.

    In the perfect world of the university lounge, perhaps such noble things transpire. But most Americans suspect that gratuitous magnanimity can earn contempt as often as appreciation. Like serial borrowing, a tab comes due. And in the case of foreign affairs, we all sense that sometime soon, a rather dangerous thug or two is going to gamble that his aggression either will not or cannot be deterred by a remorseful and unsure United States.

    Also, in emphasizing America’s alleged sins, Obama shows himself to be somehow oblivious to the simple fact that he enjoys such power and prestige as a U.S. president because someone, at some time, must have done something quite extraordinary. Surely there is more to America than slavery and Hiroshima
    Growing Worries about Our Pied PiperAmericans are catching on to Obama’s fiscal sins and rhetorical devices.
    Victor Davis Hanson

  7. "Also, in emphasizing America’s alleged sins, Obama shows himself to be somehow oblivious to the simple fact that he enjoys such power and prestige as a U.S. president because someone, at some time, must have done something quite extraordinary.
    Surely there is more to America than slavery and Hiroshima.

    So many Americans are vaguely beginning to sense that Obama is simply ignorant of Valley Forge, the Oregon Trail, and Iwo Jima.

    What happened at these places seems absent from his knowledge of the past, and so fails to inform his present narrative of and future plans for the nation."

  8. On 12 September 1953, the I U.S. Corps completed three years of service in the Korean conflict. It saw the darkest days of the Pusan perimeter give way to the elation of a victorious drive almost to the Yalu. It absorbed the general offensive that marked the intervention of the Chinese Communist Forces into the conflict, and later pushed these forces out of South Korea. Following this drive it was again called upon to stanch the flood of attacking Chinese as they mounted their second and last major effort to drive the United Nations Forces from Korea. After a masterfully fought delaying action, I U.S. Corps troops again turned to the offensive and drove northward until halted by the Communist request for the initiation of the "truce talks."

    In the stabilized war which followed, Corps troops were ordered to hold their positions.

    This they did; the enemy was never able to penetrate the Corps' Main Line of Resistance despite his desperate efforts to do so.

  9. Twice as much stimulus money, per capita, has gone to Blue States than Red.

    Fancy that.

  10. The Seabees in Chu Lai ALWAYS had cold beer.

  11. 10 - 1, eh? What horseshit.

  12. "Did you kill any of them?"

    We might have hit a couple, Cap'n. We found a couple of drops blood. At least we think it was blood.

    "Okay, 2, no, make that 5 Dead. Good Job."

  13. On the Insurance front, Rat's got it about right.

    We're going to get some sort of basic coverage for everyone. The best way to do that is to mandate that everyone has health insurance. That removes some of the "Adverse Selection" from the process.

    Without a "Mandate," the young "Invincibles" won't buy in, and costs will go through the roof. Then, when the young invincibles become injured, or sick, they'll "buy" in.

    Think, SR-22 Automobile Insurance. You don't allow your worst drivers to drive without insurance, and then "buy in" after they've had a wreck, and killed someone. You can't do it with health insurance, either.

  14. We have a few million people that "Can't" Work due to debilitating disease, or injury. They can't afford the "Treatment" on their own. They are screwed.

    These people are, actually, costing us more than it would cost to "Treat" them. If a young female goes to the ER with Abdominal Pain, they Have to do an MRI. They Have To Rule Out inflamed/burst appendix, for example. That could be "Immediately Life-Threatening." It doesn't matter if she was there a week before with an inflamed cyst on her ovary. It might not be that, This Time.

    They do the MRI. They put her in a room. Someone reads the chart. They administer an IV. They spend about $5,000.00, or so, on her. They, finally, 5 hrs later, write her a prescription for 4, or 5 days of pain meds and send her home.

    They Bill "You."

    One way, or the other, "YOU" Pay.

    Your bill at the end of the year can be over $100,000.00. Effective Treatment would have been in the range of $2,000.00 to $10,000.00

    Dumb way to run a railroad.

    I keep using the same examples over, and over, because my wife knows a couple of gals in just this situation. But, there are a thousand other diseases/injuries of the same sort.

    Oh, one other thing. These people ARE healthy enough to get to the polling station. This year, they gave the Dems the White House, the Congress, and SIXTY VOTES in the Senate.

    Note to Republicans: You can't govern well, if you're out of power.

  15. Rufus for Senate of Mississippi, whichever party.

  16. All of you who did so well the last time you owned GM stock, take heart, you will get another chance to buy it again:

    Following the completion of its unexpectedly swift 40-day restructuring under bankruptcy protection, GM is now 61 per cent owned by the US government, with smaller stakes held by Canada, a United Auto Workers union healthcare trust and former unsecured bondholders. The restructuring has cut debt from $54.4bn to $17.3bn.

    The US and Canada have provided about $60bn in loans. Ray Young, chief financial officer, said GM had “not used that much” of the $33bn advanced by the governments to finance operations during the bankruptcy proceedings.

    GM aims to repay the loans sooner than their 2015 maturity with the help of private-sector financing. Mr Young said the carmaker might aim to launch an initial public offer next year – possibly as soon as the second quarter of 2010.

  17. How much "stock" value was lost with GM?

  18. Depends, wi"o" on the start of the comparison.

    When did the example case 'buy in'?

    Figure 1959, what with dividends, the stockholder may still be ahead.

    Figure 1999, the stockholder would not have fared as well.

  19. ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Friday genocide was being committed in China's northwest province of Xinjiang and called on Chinese authorities to intervene to prevent more deaths.

    Xinjiang is genocide, but Armenia was not?

    Good thing Obama has a handle on those Turks. They certainly do not suffer from an equivalency complex.

  20. Senate? Great idea. My Renewals are getting a little "thin."

    Actually, if the Dems will let them the Republicans in the Senate Want to pass some form of healthcare. They're tired of getting beat up with it.

    But, I'm afraid it's going to be a complete mess. The Dems are so completely in charge that they might make it such an unpalatable mess that they force the Pubs to oppose it.

    I really thought that this was what was going to happen when we nominated the "Nutty" one. I wish I had been wrong.

    As for GM? Yeah, baby. Partners with Barney Franks, the Obamassiah, and the UAW: What could Possibly go wrong with that?

  21. The Anchorage Daily News
    Levi Johnston, the former fiance of Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol, on Thursday joined the crowd offering up potential reasons for Palin's decision to step down.

    Johnston met with reporters to say that he heard her musing about a better life, one in which she could spend more time at home, reduce her stress, and accept the lucrative offers coming her way.

    Back in December, a month after her election defeat as John McCain's running mate, Johnston said that Palin "had talked about how nice it would be to take some of this money people have been offering us and just run with it, and saying forget everything else."

    Asked about Johnston's remarks, Palin's spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, said, "It is interesting to learn Levi is working on a piece of fiction while honing his acting skills."

    Johnston, 19, and his family have engaged in a public feud with the Palins over issues like whether his mother and sister could visit his son, born to Palin's daughter Dec. 28, and respect

    The Oxicotin dealer and her daughter sister, wanted to go to the Governor's Mansion to visit the baby, how sweet.

  22. The Oxicotin dealer and her daughter, HIS sister, wanted to go to the Governor's Mansion to visit the baby, how sweet.

  23. This shows up as "new" spending when it is really just reallocated responsibility and accountability.

    Reallocated from whom to whom? The same people that pay the high rates now (to subsidize the uninsured) will continue to pay an probably even more. Does anyone here really believe their costs are going down? If so, someone else is engaged in "magical" thinking.

    Two threads back I quickly listed a "hodgepodge" of ways to finance health care. Apparently those ways (like turning to church and family for assistance) are too outdated for 2009.

  24. My fear is that government is going to regulate, tax and spend us into penury. No one will have insurance.

  25. Congressional Dems are driving nails in the Republican coffin. Report: Bush program extended beyond wiretapping

  26. whit said...
    I'm not convinced that the girl can't

    1. Find insurance (a group policy would have to take her) or,

    2. Find a physician who would treat her and let her make the payments for the $10,000 or,

    3. Find a drug company with a program to provide her with free or greatly reduce pharmaceuticals.

    4. Find a low-cost government subsidized or sponsored insurance plan.

    5. Find family members who can help her with medical bills and possibly a Health Savings Account or pay the premium on number 4.

    6. Find a church or community program which offers some sort of assistance.

    There are already plenty of programs out there without throwing all of us into a universal, single payer, national insurance provider, NHS type socialist program.
    No need, Whit.
    Barry Harry and Nancy have you covered.
    They're all Heart.

  27. Nice pics of Ponzi, Galbraith on the Depression, and Commentary on Florida real estate back in the good old days;

    August 17th, 2008
    When Mortgage Fraud is Rewarded: Lessons from the Great Depression Part XVIII. Charity for Financial Deviants.

    Home Sweet Home
    The above photos are from condos that were involved in a mortgage fraud. The appraisal described “recently renovated condominiums” to include Brazilian hardwood, granite countertops, and a value of $275,000.

    The FBI also offered this handy graphic.

  28. “Through 1925 the pursuit of effortless riches brought people to Florida in satisfactorily increasing numbers. More land was subdivided each week. What was loosely called seashore became five, ten, or fifteen miles from the nearest brine. Suburbs became an astonishing distance from town. As the speculation spread northward, an enterprising Bostonian, Mr. Charles Ponzi, developed a subdivision “near Jacksonville.” It was approximately sixty-five miles west of the city. (In other respects Ponzi believed in good, compact neighborhoods ; he sold twenty-three lots to the acre.)

    In instances where the subdivision was close to town, as in the case of Manhattan Estates, which were “not more than three fourths of a mile from the prosperous and fast-growing city of Nettie,” the city, as was so of Nettie, did not exist.

    The congestion of traffic into the state became so severe that in the autumn of 1925 the railroads were forced to proclaim an embargo on less essential freight, which included building materials for developing the subdivisions.

    Values rose wonderfully. Within forty miles of Miami “inside” lots sold at from $8,000 to $20,000; waterfront lots brought from $15,000 to $25,000, and more or less bona fide seashore sites brought $20,000 to $75,000.”

  29. U.S. Said to Have Averted Inquiry Into ’01 Afghan Killings
    The mass killing of Taliban prisoners was carried out by the forces of an American-backed warlord during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

    Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum

  30. Classy
    Glad we get to fund her "fashion" fantasies.

  31. Doug, and Whit:

    If you two really believe that nonsense then you won't mind if Obamahama "destroys" healthcare. You'll just drop your Medicare, and Health insurance, and start contacting the drug companies for those "Free! Drugs.

    And, those "Community groups" for that Free Charity Healthcare.

    That's, "Exactly," the kind of thinking that got us, McCrazy, and the Dems, The White House.

    Dumb Shit.

  32. They're working day and night, Trangbang.
    US military 'should ban smoking'
    Too Cool:
    1 in 3 GI's will be mandated out.
    Big Brother Barry still sneakin smokes.
    Walt Material.

    Personal Choice?
    We don't need your Stinking Personal Choice!
    Conservatives Cost more than they're worth:
    Cullin Time!

  33. Somebody is kinda running down the country...gettin on the fightin' side me.

  34. Hey, I just pasted it, Rufus!
    (I DO believe the Dems will fuck up what's left of healthcare, given the chance.)

    We'll see.

  35. We need single payer Grocery Insurance, Whit.

    Gauranteed to bring groceries down to "health care" level prices and availability.

    ...and further bankrupt the kids.

  36. Where are the Health Care stamps, doug?

    If you're going to use a grocery analogy, may as well follow that course...

    We do not let people starve.
    There are public/private soup kitchens and Federal subsidies to those that are in need.

    We have the medical charities, as whit says, analogous to the soup kitchens. Where are the Federal Health Care Stamps to subsidize those that are not capable of healing themselves?

    For once, you've hit the nail on the head!

  37. Yeah, who cares if none of it is sustainable, or compatible with human nature?
    But we could always stretch out the scheme with mass importation of Muslims, ala Europe.

    For now will have to comfort ourselves with illiterate Hispanics with no desire whatsoever to integrate into our culture.

    It's all Good!
    Rockyfeller told you so!

  38. We've ALWAYS treated our poor, Doug. Until the last twenty, or thirty years.

    Look, there are a LOT of reasons for this mess. If you're an OB/GYN, and you're paying $200,000.00/Yr just in "Insurance" you can't take on many charity cases. If you do take one on it's almost by definition when the illness is "life-threatening."

    If you walk into a Doctor's office with a broken shoulder from an auto accident, the nurse will point out a sign that says, "no auto accident injuries." If it's a broken shoulder from playing football, he'll still refer you to a "specialist."

    The poor, and the uneducated aren't equipped to handle anything as complex as today's medical system.

    I've never read of a culture, no matter how primitive, that didn't provide a modicum (up to their standards) of health care for ALL People.

    They probably existed; but they probably didn't last long.

  39. It was Pubs that sold conservatism down the river that brought us Barry, Rufus.
    Thank old Helmet Hear Lott for me,

  40. "The poor, and the uneducated aren't equipped to handle anything as complex as today's medical system."
    Your brand of "solutions" made it what it is Rufus.

    Before the govt and Doctor Visit insurance coverage got involved, the system was straightforward and much less costly.

    But Utopia awaits.
    We just need more socialism.

  41. You are Absolutely Correct, Doug.

    The worst two things that ever happened to "healthcare" was Medicare, and Blue Cross.

    Prices Exploded.

    BUT, we are where we are.

    Life was simple then, it's not, Now. We "saw the flop," "Took one off," got on a "Big Draw," Called a "Raise," and made the hand we didn't really want to make. We bet the River, and just got "Raised, Big Time." Shit.

    We screwed the deal up, and now we've Got to "fix it." It probably won't end up the way we would have liked, but, at present, it's untenable.

    One reason I'm babbling is I'm bitterly disappointed at how bad they're going to fuck this up. There was an elegant, and simple, solution available, but we're going to end up with a Rube Goldberg mess.

    The Republicans have acted like the guy that's too stupid, or cheap, to "change the oil" in his car. For lack of a simple, relatively inexpensive action he gets to pay for major repairs.

    The moniker, "Party of Stupid," stuck for a reason.