Category Archives: universal health insurance

What If The Cure For Cancer…

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Individualism, Libertarianism, Paul Ryan & His Ayn Rand Love Affair

Oh my goodness… Republicans are attempting to rebrand themselves as compassionate conservatives (again)… shades of George W. Bush. “Compassionate conservatism” as a theme and rallying cry seem to arise after Republicans have taken rhetoric to such an extreme that the country is disgusted and the party fears citizens will push them and their nasty ideology of unbridled greed and hate aside. George W. Bush famously resorted to the term campaigning for president after Republicans disgraced themselves with anti-Clinton conspiracy theories, witch hunts, and the unpopular impeachment.

Of course, Bush is better known for wasting trillions of dollars and killing more than a hundred-thousand lives in Iraq, failing citizens injured during Katrina, and the financial collapse of the U.S. and world economies.

And now we have a budget “deal,” courtesy of Paul Ryan, that drops unemployment benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed. Earlier, Senator Rand Paul said helping the unemployed does them a “disservice” because it keeps them from getting jobs.

CCoftheweek.jpg~originalSo now it’s Paul Ryan’s turn to claim the mantle of “compassionate conservatism” and attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of Republicans. But really, Paul Ryan… Compassionate?

Last month the Washington Post published, “Paul Ryan, GOP’s budget architect, sets his sights on fighting poverty and winning minds,” and portrayed Ryan as attempting to steer Republicans away from the angry Tea Party and toward a “more inclusive vision.” Right. The Paul Ryan of the infamous “Ryan Budget” — also called the “Path to Prosperity” and passed by House Republicans — that privatizes Medicare, repeals Wall Street regulation, wipes out student loan programs, repeals Obamacare, guts Social Security, and dramatically reduces taxes for the “deserving” wealthy and corporations.

That Paul Ryan hardly seems “compassionate” — well not to those who actually want to see all citizens doing better, and at least not toward anyone making less than half a million a year.

One need only seek the source of Ryan’s personal philosophical motivation (his love affair) to understand his deep psychological dysfunction and the reason why he can create such absurd rationalization’s for his priorities. Ryan said it himself, “[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”

Who is Ayn Rand, and what is the philosophy of this person Ryan calls a “thinker?”

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Ayn Rand’s philosophy actually says it is not only bad for society, but morally wrong to help other people because it makes them “dependent” — sound like familiar rhetoric? Rand’s philosophy says that,

  • altruism is evil, and that…
  • democracy (which they call “collectivism”) is the ultimate expression of this evil because it brings about a society in which government works to make people’s lives better.

Rand’s, Ryan’s, and current Republican philosophy says that,

  • “individualism” — looking out for oneself only—is the moral principle that should rule society, not democracy…
  • a “utopia of greed” is most humanly liberating… I suppose they might better claim it’s “compassionate greed,”
  • there are but a few “producers” or “makers,” and the rest of citizens are “parasites” or “takers” who live off of the producers,
  • Collectivism, or democracy, is bad because the many underserving takers can vote to do things like make the producers pay taxes so regular people can live better.

I’m sure there must be a few ways Paul Ryan and the Republicans can form a philosophy of “compassionate conservatism” out of their core belief that altruism and democracy are not just wrong for people and society, but are actually evil. And, I’m sure some citizens will fall for the ploy. Recall that many slaves during the Civil War supported the South, and even after, refused to leave their plantations.

But here is what compassionate conservatives like Ryan intend in the pursuit of “Randian” Liberty…

  • they say that giving the big corporations more tax breaks, subsidies, no-bid contracts, etc. will load them up with so much money that they will just have to use some of it to hire people… eventually, and…
  • when they say they want to overhaul federal health and retirement programs they mean
    • cut Medicare (healthcare for the elderly),
    • cut Medicaid (healthcare for the poor),
    • eliminate Obamacare (healthcare for the rest of us) and
    • destroy Social Security (retirement)

Nice.

And compassionate.

An evergreen Republican mantra is that government is too big, so it must be cut. What they mean by this is not cutting the huge, bloated, astronomical, sky-high military budget (we spend more on weapons and preparing for destruction than all other nations combined). They mean they want to cut out the things government does to make our lives better, like assistance for the needy, sick, disabled, elderly and unemployed. And get rid of the minimum wage, child labor laws, equal pay for women, workplace safety rules, etc.

compassionate-conservatism-shrink-govt

So, “Compassionate Conservatism” is a euphemism for Libertarian Individualism that enshrines destruction of society, the commons, the middle-class, and then purchases only further means of destruction through a vast and powerful military power.

Frankly, I only see psychological dysfunction in any of this, in the Libertarian philosophy. I wonder what depravity in formative years leads to such a condition?

Quite the love affair with Ayn Rand utopianism. God help us all.

Compassionate-Conservatism


Can America Become More Obtuse? — Affordable Care Act & The Public’s Profound Ignorance

American Citizens Remain In The Dark On Crucial Aspects Of Health Care Reforms

American Gothic

How many times do we need to take a step back and try to explain health care reform… again? For huge swaths of the American public — for a ridiculously absurd number — it’s just not sinking in.

Forget whether you and I disagree on the merits of the Affordable Care Act. We would engage the debate because we are “aware” and educated about the issue’s facts. I’m not speaking about knowledge-based disagreement; I’m talking about willful ignorance proliferating across the nation.

This is the depressing, discouraging take-away from the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, published by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And once again in April, the numbers underscore our collective ignorance about the domestic policy issue that has dominated political and business news coverage for nearly four years — not to mention an entire and most expensive presidential election!

  • Only 3 out of 5 Americans understand that the 2010 Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” remains the law of the land and is being implemented at full speed, according to the April survey of adults from April 15-20.
  • Among the 42 percent who got it wrong, 7 percent think the Supreme Court overturned the law (it didn’t),
  • 12 percent think Congress has repealed the law (it hasn’t), and…
  • 23 percent simply don’t know (where have you been?)
  • Nearly half — 48 percent — of Americans told Kaiser pollsters a month earlier that they have heard “nothing at all” about their State’s debate over whether to set up an online health insurance marketplace, called an “exchange,” and…
  • a stunning 78 percent said they didn’t know whether their state had decided to expand Medicaid, the law’s single largest avenue to coverage for uninsured Americans!
  • 58 percent of respondents in March told Kaiser they believe health care costs are rising more quickly than usual over the past few years… the exact opposite of what has actually occurred!

Kansas Bored of Education

It’s all very nice and easy to explain away or excuse these figures of ignorance about the single biggest influence in business and inflation and personal bankruptcies in America. Sure, “regular people’s” lives are shaped more by youth soccer schedules than by health care policy, so we should cut the public some slack. Right?

A resoundingly negative, No! If you are voting in elections, you need to know truth and facts. If you don’t, then please keep away from election day voting stations. You endanger democracy and societal progress. And we should be calling it and you out for exactly the danger ignorance presents.

Better yet, please don’t offer up opinions on anything more important than Justin Bieber’s incessantly changing hair styles.

More and more, Americans are embracing the logical conclusion that if they don’t know the facts, it’s difficult to form an opinion. D-oh!

In April, a historic high — 24 percent — said they have no opinion when asked if they generally approve or disapprove of the new health care law. That’s progress of sorts, in a dystopian way.

America’s blind and willful ignorance… That’s why…

  • That’s why we went to war preemptively against a nation that not once threatened the US and had not one weapon of mass destruction (that would be Iraq, my fellow Americans)
  • That’s why the knee-jerk reaction to rescuing the financial markets from complete destruction was considered “communistic” and led to the rise of the hateful Tea Party
  • That’s why the “Birther” movement questioning the President’s American birth got traction
  • That’s why it matters that a dullard such as Sarah Palin even existed on the political scene and almost become the second-most powerful person in the world
  • That’s why our schools are failing and the US falls behind every other major industrialized nation on test scores (how can schools succeed with kids molded [or left bereft] by ignorant parents?)
  • That’s why we need strong federal regulations to protect the safety of Americans from their own ignorance
  • That’s why we need Obamacare to mandate and provide necessary insurance to protect Americans’ health from their own ignorance

ignorance


Faustian urGe Manifesto

Ensuring That Serving “Capital” Interests Must Also Serve To Broadly Improve The Lives Of “We The People”

manifesto

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST often bemoans ethical failures while he also attempts to mitigate, in some minuscule way, the social damages he and too many other citizens suffer from “Traditional” American Values (social and business). Inappropriate personal agendas and indifference toward obligation and ethics are significant annoyances that he addresses by trying to learn more — what wags the world and why.

Given the circus of extremes on display in society and within the political realm since President Obama’s re-election, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST is currently working through the conundrum of how so many intelligent, educated people manage to place their feet in their mouths while their heads are so firmly up their arses.

He’s frustrated, and believes the nation is threatened, by libertarianism — knowing the objectivist/libertarian belief system is inappropriate to a fruitful, functional society. Libertarians disregard a profound reality: We are responsible for the decisions we make, yes, but we’re not responsible for the options we’re given. Thus, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST believes that we should create that “society we would want if we didn’t know in advance who we’d be.”

He sees that another libertarian delusion is establishment of the fanciful “self-made” individual. The laughable concept discounts external influence or inspiration and exhibits a blatant disregard for the interconnectedness that is the human condition.

He remains convinced that we humans do not have to destroy each other to survive (as in two wars extinguishing 100,000+ lives as revenge for the prior killing of 3000) but that we choose to do so… not the nonsense propounded that genetics or patriotism demands it. CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST knows we have the ability to reason and that too many simply choose the easier way of reactive non-thought.

Though imbued with a simmering cauldron of rage just below his deceptively pleasant (and not altogether unpleasant looking) exterior, he’s always willing to self-examine and learn — yearning for family, friends, community members to take the same ride.

The hope… the desire… the craving… for forward movement and betterment on cultural, political, and individual levels are woven into his personal fabric, with key objectives toward equality/equitability*, liberty, fraternity, justice-for-all, empathy, self-awareness, growth, momentum, compassion, and humor.

(*EQUALITY of advancement opportunity and treatment under the law and social memes — EQUITABILITY of rewards and outcomes [economic and social])

On EQUALITY:

It appears that a large number of citizens seeking minimalist government from the Right are for strong government, though, when it favors their perceived social interests, such as interfering with the reproductive rights of women, the marriage rights of non-heterosexuals, and the civil rights of non-whites.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST relishes challenging the authority of political, religious, and societal priests, as he liberally supports marriage for everyone, equal rights for everyone, less poison for the environment, progressive taxation, removal of corporate personhood, financial regulation enforcement up to and including criminal incarceration, the elimination of all “consensual crimes,” and many other positions that lead conservatives to squirm uncomfortably in their seats.

On EQUITABILITY:

The Right will argue that allowing the free market to function will fix our problems. But, the free market doesn’t guarantee social outcomes, merely economic ones. Yes, it may provide more efficiency on the whole and grow the economy faster as a whole, but by itself doesn’t guarantee how wealth is distributed. The Right cannot be indifferent to the consequences of a middle-class life undermined, nor can it be indifferent to half the population’s inability to buy the products and services that businesses sell.

The Left would argue that the solution is for laws to transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class. But, while that would increase consumption, depending on the scope, it could threaten the amount of capital available to investment by the transfer itself and by eliminating incentives to invest. The Left cannot be indifferent to the fact that one can’t invest what they don’t have, and that no one will accept the risk of investment if the payoff is transferred completely away.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST understands the take away to be that “reasonableness” must prevail as to the extent, but transfers of some wealth should ensue as a part of the solution. So, let’s avoid extreme redistribution and focus on finding the correct amount that ameliorates the problems at hand (which will improve sales and garner more aggregate profit for firms, shareholders, and stakeholders… alike) while retaining enough incentives to invest and risk take.

As a Social-Capitalist/Social-Democrat**, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST favors smart government — a government as big or as small as needed to achieve progressive social and capital ends, ensuring that serving “capital” interests must also serve to improve the lives of “We the people” broadly (hence, “Social”).

“Our” government’s job is best done when it benefits all of the people, and not just capital interests — as he interpretes the right favors.

(**Social Democracy is exhibited as an economic precept of Social Capitalism. The contemporary social democratic movement seeks to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social justice while maintaining the efficient and wealth-building capitalist mode of production, as opposed to creating an alternative socialist economic system. Practical modern social democratic policies include the promotion of the commonweal, and the creation of economic democracy as a means to secure stakeholders’ rights.)

“This vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view, has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions.” – Carl Sagan

Taking exception with the very concept of “American Exceptionalism,” CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST feels compelled to explore these issues in rambling-though-coherent thoughts and an adventurous assortment of arbitrary amusements.

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Liberalism is “Life.”

It is an unrelenting pursuit of freedom from physical dangers that can kill or disable us.

  • The Liberal believes it is a nation’s job to protect its citizens from physical harm, whether from external sources, such as hostile nations, or internal ones, like crime, disease, or hunger. Without the solid ground of physical wellbeing, our nation and its citizens cannot enjoy the benefits of being free.
  • Liberals believe in a strong military, well suited to defend the nation.
  • Liberals believe in good laws, hard-working police, and a just legal system to protect its citizens from crime.
  • Liberals believe in affordable health care for everyone, to keep our people strong.
  • And Liberals believe in the availability of food and shelter for its needy, not as a hand out but as a reasonable step in moving all Americans toward self-reliance and the freedom that comes with it.

Liberalism is “Liberty.”

It is the freedom to do as your conscience dictates without impeding another’s rights. Liberalism established a nation where personal belief and self-determination are protected, not persecuted; where hard work is rewarded, not demanded; and where each person is bestowed with the ability to better his or her life because of citizenship, not class.

  • Liberals believe in freedom of speech to protect us from political oppression.
  • Liberals believe in sound regulations to protect us from economic oppression.
  • Liberals believe in just laws to protect us from social oppression.
  • And Liberals believe in quality education to protect us from the oppression of ignorance.

Liberalism is “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

It is the freedom to create an environment where the individual can excel. What is freedom if it cannot be used to better our lives? A truly free society must be one where its members can rise above their limitations and expand their futures — it is “The American Dream,” and it’s alive and well in the heart of the Liberal.

  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities for all to rise above our means.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our education levels.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our social status.
  • And Liberals believe each and every family should have an equal opportunity to make this world better for their children.

Based on these tenets, Liberalism is not the monster it’s made out to be by the opposition.

  • It is pro individual and pro family.
  • It is pro community and pro country.
  • Liberalism is, by its very definition, the heart and soul of what it means to be an American.
  • It stands against tyranny of any kind, whether international or domestic.
  • It works to remove abuse and fight crime.
  • And it strives to eliminate the idea of a wasted life by not wasting resources and opportunities.

Denied Access To Health Insurance…Deadly Results

Across the nation, 26,100 people between the ages of 25 and 64 died prematurely due to a lack of health coverage in 2010

    — according to the most recent report from Families USA, Dying for Coverage: The Deadly Consequences of Being Uninsured.

The five states with the most premature deaths due to lack of insurance in 2010 were: California (3,164 deaths), Texas (2,955 deaths), Florida (2,272 deaths), New York (1,247 deaths) and Georgia (1,161 deaths).

In 2010, nearly 50 million Americans had no health insurance of any kind.

  • 2,175 people who died prematurely every month
  • 502 people who died prematurely every week
  • 72 people who died prematurely every day
  • …that’s three premature deaths every hour

All of this ABSURD in an industrialized nation!

We went to war for about 3,000 citizens being killed by terrorists…where is the outrage over these unnecessary deaths?


R-E-P-O-S-T — SCOTUS To Review ObamaCare: Where Is U.S. Health Care Compared To The World?

The U.S. Supreme Court is going to did review the constitutionality of ObamaCare… sounds like a good time to review what this plan is designed to address — namely, controlling costs while increasing health outcomes and providing health care access to all citizens.

Though I can’t fathom that anyone — liberal or conservative — would possibly be against these benchmarks (we can disagree how to get there), ideology and lack of empathy seem to predominate our national discussion. Still, it’s worth reviewing why extending health care access to all citizens, improving our national health outcomes, and controlling costs should be attempted.

And, the main points are that we have the most expensive system in the world with the poorest outcomes of all industrialized nations.

Oh? So what’s that mean? Let’s take a look at how far off base we are from a reasonably efficient and effective system compared to the world.

It’s the best health care system in the world!? But, compared to what?

It’s well known (among folks that care about such things) that the United States spends a lot more per person on health care than comparable countries and that our actual health outcomes are anywhere from average to bad. See, for example, the chart below from a 2008 paper by Gerard Anderson and Bianca Frogner.

This chart above shows the extent to which each nation’s health care spending and life expectancy differ from what is expected, based upon the income of the nation (per capita GDP) and standard deviations. As readily seen, the U.S. spends a HUGE amount more with lives a lot SHORTER.

Sure that doesn’t look good… But aren’t we improving?

OK, so that’s where the U.S. is today, but where we are going? Hasn’t the nation been in the midst of a decade’s long pursuit of cost containment and cost sharing? Surely we’re seeing some results and improvements for all the efforts and increased financial burdens upon individuals and families?

Change in a massive system such as the U.S. health system takes time to occur. So even if we have a inefficient, expensive health care system, maybe it is getting relatively better and relatively less expensive. Nope. We’re getting worse… so all this effort is not working.

The chart below, from the OECD data, highlights the change seen in each nation’s per capita spending and life expectancy relative to all other countries. The data are standardized so that we’re seeing the number of standard deviations of each country away from the statistical mean of the whole in 1992 and in 2007.

Obviously, not only is the United States the outlier in terms of spending, we are moving in the wrong direction altogether!

The U.S. is becoming more of a spending anomaly, as our average life expectancy degrades into the lower group (currently surpassing only Turkey, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, and Czech Republic)!

Are you sure you’re looking at that right?

Another way to look at the situation is to look at actual values rather than standard deviations, as in the chart below, indicating actual increases in life expectancy and percentage increases in nominal per capita health care spending. The axes are located at the averages of these countries: the average spending increase was 132 percent and the average life expectancy gain was 3.7 years.

So, in percentage terms, health care costs have been growing in the United States a bit faster than in other comparable countries (poorer countries increased spending more rapidly).

Our life expectancy gain was the absolute lowest of the whole group, however  — starting from a low level already.

Isn’t the Marketplace supposed to correct for these disparities?

According to market theory, one would expect to see convergence across countries over time — meaning that since other countries spend less and live longer, the U.S. would learn from their examples and adjust accordingly… fulfilling the mantra of global competition. Instead we’re moving the wrong way on both dimensions.

WE NEED OBAMACARE… AND WE NEED IT TO WORK.


One Picture Says It All – A Warped & Mean View About Health Care Access

Yes You Are Reading That Correctly!

Bad things happen when you don’t have healthcare?

Should have thought about that before you decided to be Poor!

— You Lazy Bastard!

Wow! So one decides to be rich or poor, and the poor deserve to die suffering from lack of health care access?

Well, who decides what is successful (rich) or unsuccessful (poor)? Freedom to work, freedom to live… impossible without access to health care.

The mean arrogance of some is astounding!