Jim Wallis Tangles with Socialized Medicine

If you listen to the right-wing pundits, you might think that socialized health care, such as found in Canada, Britain, and lets see…virtually the entire developed world, is nothing more than dark concrete dungeons, months of waiting for either the simplest or most urgent procedures; rusting, antiquated tools; and unresponsive, indifferent staff.

Doubtlessly every one of those nationalized health-care systems have their share of problems. But I’ve little reason to believe any of these foreboding scenarios are remotely accurate. After all, notwithstanding Walter Reed, evidence suggests that the VA provides a higher quality health care than the civilian, private health care (and it is worth considering that the problems at Walter Reed might well be attributed to the extended and apparently unforeseen foreign occupation which our military is performing, for which this sort of planning and preparation was botched).

Despite the dire warnings of the conservative talking heads, I hear plenty of positive remarks from those who use the socialized health care of other nations—and no more complaints than I hear about our system.

Jim Wallis himself recently had the opportunity to avail himself of the British health-care system.

“What do you need from me?” I asked hesitantly. “Just your name and address,” she replied with another smile. “Oh…OK.” She told me it would be about 10 minutes to see the nurse. “Yeah right,” I thought to myself…

…It was five minutes before the nurse called me in to a little office adjacent to the waiting area, which seemed to be an intake room. She was pleasant and professional as she asked me what was wrong, and how long I had felt the soreness. She gently examined my foot and then told me I would be called in to see a doctor in about 10 minutes. “Sure thing,” I thought. So I went back out to the waiting room and settled in again to read my novel.

It was five minutes before a young woman appeared and called my name, “Mr. Wallis?” She was a young Asian doctor named Dr. Gillian Kyei. She was also very pleasant and professional, taking time to ask me lots of questions about how I might have hurt my foot, etc. She examined the injured foot carefully, told me that it didn’t necessarily look broken, but that we should get an X-ray to make sure. I waited in her examining room for a couple of minutes while she called down to the X-ray department to say that I was on the way. Then she came back and escorted me herself.

When I got to X-Ray, I checked in by just saying my name and took a seat in the waiting area. Finally, I was going to get to read my book! But five minutes later, the technician came out to bring me in. She took her time with me, taking several different angles of my foot. When I was done, she sent me back to my young doctor, with another smile.

This time the wait was a full ten minutes because, I later learned, Dr. Kyei was reading the results of my X-ray, which had already been sent to her computer. She showed me what looked to her like a fracture of my fourth metatarsal bone, but said she wanted to consult with the orthopedic specialist. I waited about ten minutes more while she did that and so got a few more pages read.

Dr. Kyei then came back with the definitive diagnosis—my fourth metatarsal bone was indeed fractured. She went over their preferred treatments and my options with me…I chose the boot and she told me she would be back in a minute.

It was actually about two minutes before she got back, and I was getting nowhere with this novel!

…“How can I call a cab?” I asked. “Oh, I’ll do that for you,” she said. “Just take a seat over their and the cab will be here in about 10 minutes.” As I sat there, I realized something. Nobody had ever asked me to pay. Everything was FREE, including my nice new boot. How about that? They think health care is a right for all citizens, and even foreign visitors like me. Amazing (“My Encounter with [Insert Scary Music]…Socialized Medicine!”).

It may not be perfect, but it just may be that socialized health care isn’t the nightmare conservatives would have us believe.

31 Responses to “Jim Wallis Tangles with Socialized Medicine”

  1. jennifer Says:

    The scary nightmare would be for those who have profited enormously from the status quo in recent decades. For the rest of us, it could be a welcome relief. . . I struggle to pay off medical bills from recent years, wait to hear back on the CHIP application for my kids, and hope neither my husband or I needs to see a doctor any time soon, since we, as adults, do not qualify for PEHP, UPP, or other assistance, but are considered “uninsurable” due to chronic illness. Single-payer medicine sounds great, and I (along with millions of fellow Americans) would rather see our tax dollars going that direction.

  2. Derek Staffanson Says:

    You bring up an excellent point, Jennifer, which deserves its own post. It is a resounding indictment of the for profit health care system that so many people are excluded from health care—not able to afford it for themselves, barred from the services of insurance companies wanting to maximize profit by minimizing expenditures—solely because of some freak combination of genetics or happenstance. I’ve heard of nobody among the free-market advocates who has an answer for that dilemma.

  3. jared Says:

    I agree that our health care isn’t exactly the best my HMO blows (i only visit the doctor once a year) but relying on the government to provide health care or anything for that matter is something that should be looked under a magnifying glass at. I think that no matter how you slice it someone is going to profit somewhere whether it be with a greedy HMO or a pharmaceutical company that is contracted by government as the only company to supply a vaccine(i.e. flu vaccine) I think either way i’m going to have to pay more than I want to.

  4. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Amen. Something needs to be done, but I don’t want the government to be in charge. We’re moving toward a more socialist state, which I’m sure you love, but as nice as the lifestyle may be in Sweden and France, the problems it creates are way more than I want to deal with. You may remember last year’s strike by French employees who were enraged that they could be fired in the first two years of their employment. How sick is that? You think you’re entitled to a job forever? Even you have to see something wrong with that. A lot of E.U. countries have huge unemployment because you can make just as much by staying home as you can by working.

  5. Wordsfromhome Says:

    So, Aaron, if you do not want the government to do it, just who do you think will? I agree that the French have gone overboard, and that we as individuals and families should bear responsibility for our own actions and for our contributions as workers and such, but just how do you propose to solve the problem of obtaining universal health care?

  6. Aaron Orgill Says:

    First, the French aren’t just overboard, they’re off the edge of the map. And honestly, I don’t care all that much about universal health coverage. Sure, we need to have some mercy with hardship cases, but I don’t believe health care should be an entitlement. Why in the hell do we believe we deserve things just because we’re Americans? We have to pay for everything else, why is this so different? I own my own company and do not have coverage right now on myself aside from life insurance, and I won’t claim that it doesn’t worry me, but I’m not interested in paying 40 percent of my income into a big pot. People need to take some responsibility for themselves. I would love to see some kind of work program for those who can’t afford it. When healthy kids 19 years old are going into the local DWS saying they can’t work, and they get coverage that is better than even those working in public jobs and pay nothing for it, there’s something wrong. If it’s a single mom who is already working, I have some mercy, absolutely. But I am not interested in supporting dead weight. I don’t have a solution. I am interested in hearing more ideas for it that don’t involve socializing it to the point of unlimited health care for all. God knows it needs some fixing. I’m just saying don’t look at government as the only solution, because they just bog it down in 150 forms of paperwork and red tape.

  7. Jared Says:

    In my line of work I see both sides of the coin here, and I don’t know what the solution is, however I don’t think socializing health care is the answer and this is why:

    The problem is we have a system and it needs to be fixed, so what happens since our needs to be fixed we want to turn to government for the solution, and it looks like they want to socialize the system because we have all these great industrialized nations of Cuba, France, etc…. as a blueprint. Speaking of Cuba if their health care system is so grand why are people risking their lives to take a raft to Florida? and why isn’t Castro fully recovered and resumed power down there yet?

    The thing here is people are talking alot about MERCY here, BUT remember with mercy there also has to be JUSTICE you cannot have one without the other. The mercy is giving the downtrodden and hard luck cases what they need (which i am for), but the justice side is enacted on the business owners and i’m not talking big business owners i’m talking small business owners because that is where the taxes for the “health fund” will be garnered to pay for this. i’ve seen numbers like a proposed 40% tax on businesses big and small or something to that effect.

    I work for a small business and if healthcare taxes are that much would be socialized I would be in danger of losing my job if my boss can’t meet her premiums that she would have to pay into the health care fund.

  8. Aaron Orgill Says:

    That’s my main concern, Jared. I am one of those small businesses. I don’t think we have to sacrifice mercy here, but I just don’t see it as a bad thing that people have to pay substantially for good health care. I just think it’s ridiculous to tie it in to your job. Everyone should have access, but they should have to pay for it, and the charity cases should be limited to single moms and people with major disabilities and no family support, and the like. I suspect Derek’s interpretation of scripture will be that we have no right to withhold our help from those who we know are abusing the system, and I say bull.

  9. jennifer Says:

    So Aaron, What kind of “work program for those who can’t afford it” are you talking about? A program that offers jobs for people who are “uninsurable?” My husband works two jobs, as I have the past few years, but we still can’t afford to buy independent insurance, and no one would insure us anyway. Are you favoring a tiered or sliding scale type thing? Cause I know lots of people who don’t fit in your charity categories but still have medical conditions and accompanying expenses that are way beyond their abilities to fund. It doesn’t take much these days, with medical costs skyrocketing and wages falling.

    As for the healthcare “taxes”, let’s remember the money we collectively & currently spend on health care – every dollar for Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, insurance premium, copays, Baby Your Baby, deductibles, dr. visits, clinics, lab fees, insurance burocracy , etc. etc. Tot’ up those numbers – – – We already pay more than double per capita for health care when compared with citizens of other industrialized nations, we just don’t get the resultant actual health care. The 40% tax figure targeted to small business owners sounds like a great scare tactic. Why would small business be expected to foot that bill, but not big businesses? Seems like something that would logically be part other tax structures, not business only tax.

    I think that people should be allowed basic health care along the lines of a basic education. Period. We’d all be money ahead and healthier too. No one would get “free” health care any more than they get “free” education.

  10. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Wow, a smackdown at the hands of Jennifer. Perhaps some of it deserved, too, because I’ve never claimed to be an expert on this. I do know, however, that I’ve heard some talk, from the Dems, not the reactionaries, about REQUIRING every employer to provide insurance to all employees, and that’s just not feasible for me at this point. I would love to do it, but they’ve got no business making me. So many people just don’t seem to get that it’s all passed on to the consumers. I don’t know that it’s just a scare tactic. Big businesses would bear the brunt of what you’re talking about, and I am a major Wal-Mart hater, but let’s not put all of them in the same boat. The only way you get big is by succeeding, and the only way you become soulless is by selling out. There are some pretty good corporations out there. Costco, for one, is awesome.

    Situations like yours I totally sympathize with. I have a major problem with the way most insurance companies are handled. If they are caught denying legitimate claims, I think there needs to be a major smackdown (like the one you gave me), and not just a slap on the wrist, a real threat to their even staying in business. Really, it is one of the slimiest industries out there. I hope things do change for the better, I just have to see a plan that is truly fair. I have a major beef with people who think businesses are just naturally rich and have it made and should foot the bill for everything. So that’s often what they do instead of investing, creating more jobs, and hell, if they want to spend it on Ju-Ju-Bees that’s fine with me, it’s their money, not the government’s.

  11. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Where is Derek, anyway? I miss his opinionated, socialist rantings.

  12. Derek Staffanson Says:

    By all means, lets look at nationalized health care under a microscope. Lets also not dismiss it out of hand simply because one ideological group likes to theorize about its inability to function.

    Aaron, we’re talking about nationalized health-care, not guaranteed employment. Please don’t try to confuse the subject.

    Nobody said we deserve it because we’re Americans. I’ve implied that we have an obligation to provide it for even the least of these, one way or another, because they’re humans.

    Assuming you mean that we pay for our own consumption or use (any government-provided service is still technically paid for through taxes; the difference being that the cost is shared), then you are wrong. We don’t pay for “everything else.” There are a great many things which we as a society have elected to provide for all society through government.

    The issue of refusing to support “dead weight,” and of my interpretation of scripture regarding withholding help to those we supposedly know are abusing the system, are ones I addressed in Social Justice II.

    Just because Cuba hasn’t developed a cure for old age doesn’t mean that nationalized health-care is a dud. I don’t recall any news our private health care system has invented immortality either, Jared. And the Cubans who flee Cuba just might be coming to the U.S. for civil rights and democratic political participation rather than to find a better health system. So lets stop being silly.

    Jennifer is right, Jared’s speculation on the method of funding is nothing more than a scare tactic. There would of course need to be higher taxes (though perhaps not as much as people think if we could use the billions of dollars being wasted on illegal wars). How those taxes would be distributed is another matter, and one for which there are multiple options besides throwing it on the shoulders of small business. Show me where any Democratic candidate or liberal advocate has suggested that plan.

    Funny you should mention that it is ridiculous to tie health care to your job, Aaron. That’s the way we’ve handled health care in this nation for decades. The average, fully-employed family cannot pay the costs of a major heath emergency or long-term medical issues, so unless your employer provides insurance, you are without viable health care options. You’re right, this isn’t a workable system. Why not change it so everybody has health care, regardless of whether or not your employer can afford it?

    And how, pray tell, do you think the insurance industry will straighten up if not through the involvement of government oversight or regulation, Aaron? Do you think they will suddenly start acting ethically out of the goodness of their hearts? The vaunted “invisible hand” of the free market will just lead them to the straight and narrow path? I doubt it.

  13. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Regarding Justice and Mercy, remember that the Lord has called on us to focus on mercy. He has reserved justice for Himself, the only one with the wisdom to discern true justice.

  14. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Okay, Derek, you had some good points, but you need to stop treating me like an idiot. I know health care has been tied to employment for years, and I agree there’s a better way. I just want to look at all options. And I only brought up guaranteed employment to say that that is what people see, right or wrong, when you exalt France, as many in the left do, as the ideal system, and that when you move to socialized medicine, it’s one step closer to new problems. So much of my criticism is just to make you see what people’s perceptions are and why there is so much critique of liberalism, and you don’t seem to get that. It could actually help you quite a bit to consider why people are reacting the way they do. Much like our discussion of liberalism and pessimism. I don’t even say I agree with it half the time, but in politics, perception does matter, and I think I do understand where a lot of people get uncomfortable with liberalism.

    You are right about the Lord asking us to focus on mercy. Ironic, then, that what is really socialism you choose to wrap in the self-righteous title of “social justice”. We’ve talked a little about how in the abortion debate, both sides describe themselves in language that isn’t accurate (pro-life or pro-choice). I say that politics is replete with soft and misleading language like that, and this is one of them. If only God can discern true justice (your words), who are you to say that it is social justice to distribute all things equally? It will never work on this earth until the time comes for the law of consecration to be lived, and you should know that. I agree that we should take care of everyone’s basic needs, but I’d rather have all other sources be exhausted first before we turn to the government, and if you’re familiar at all with the Church welfare system, so would the Church. This is where I feel liberalism gets negative. You say you feel it’s positive because it says people don’t have to be so ugly and base. I say that assumes that people don’t have it in them already. We live in a wonderful world. People fall in love everyday, new babies with unlimited potential are born, and good people help their fellow man of their own free will and choice, every day. Where there is evil we need to stamp it out, but it seems to me that your solution is to take everybody’s resources, whether they want you to or not, and equalize everything, whereby we learn nothing, and we’re actually closer to Satan’s plan than you are probably willing to admit. The poor in this country, while they need help and are often in bad family situations and lack things they need, often complain because they don’t have ESPN, or a nicer car, or can’t go out and eat seafood at a fancy restaurant as often as they’d like. I’m not immune from this. I have had a really rough three years since graduating from college. But mostly, we don’t have it that bad in this country. How about we consider kids in Sierra Leone, who were forced into a brutal army that hacked off the arms of people who dared voice their dissenting opinion? Or the slums of Rio de Janeiro, where conditions are so bad in one neighborhood they ironically call it “cidade de Deus,” because it’s the only place on earth God never visits? There is despair around us, and we have a duty to help, I don’t dispute that, but why do we have to look to the government for everything? We can be kind and merciful, and do it better than it’s being done. And it’s certainly appropriate to apply pressure on those who we know are abusing the system. What we’ve got now makes the situation worse, and invites people to do that, and if you disagree, I’ve got a whole continent (Europe) with a large number of men in their 20s and 30s who choose not to work to back me up.

  15. Derek Staffanson Says:

    I’m sorry if you feel like I’m treating you like an idiot, Aaron. I’m simply responding to your words. Perhaps you could consider your words more carefully.

    Nobody here has exalted France. Nor has any of the Democratic candidates. Nor has any of the major liberal advocates. That is simply a bill of goods which the Right wing sells to the credulous. To bring up that spurious argument does nothing to advance the debate on the merits and problems of universal health care.

    The reason most people (particularly within the church to which both you and I belong) are uncomfortable with liberalism is because they don’t understand it, largely due to the dissembling of those conservative spokesmen. That is the purpose of my blog, to clarify the haze created by the Right, to challenge the untruths. For example, the falsehood that the government involvement liberals are willing to try or encourage is automatically “socialism.” That falsehood, to which you’ve referred, is on the agenda, have no doubt.

    I use the term “social justice” because it is the widely accepted phrase for the concept. You are absolutely correct, it is an inaccurate term to describe the concept. I personally prefer the phrase “social compassion,” and have used it a number of times in posts about the subject. But few people would make the connection between what I’m referring to and the Social Justice movement if I exclusively used “social compassion,” so I use the mainstream terminology. It has nothing to do with true justice.

    Please show me where I’ve suggested we rely exclusively on the government to promote compassion and help the poor, that we as individuals don’t have it in us to make the world better. I’m afraid that you are once again basing your argument not on my views or arguments, but on the “liberal” straw man which the conservative apologists have built.

  16. Aaron Orgill Says:

    I do consider my words carefully, although I probably got too dramatic about it yesterday. You’re generally respectful of everyone on here, but I do believe you resort to the straw man excuse too much. If I were you, I’d strongly consider that the left itself does much to make people uncomfortable. It is not just conservative spokesmen. The way the left communicates is often through guilt-mongering and condescending language, and that is going to do as much to create a default defensiveness as anything the right does to misrepresent you. And baloney that no one exalts France. I haven’t heard you do it, and I didn’t suggest you did, but I have heard several lefties suggest France and Sweden as their ideals. None of it has come from these talking heads you blame for everything. There are things to admire in those countries, but they have their problems too, they just trade some of our ugliness for their own, and if it’s an economic system we’re discussing, I’d much rather have ours.

    I’m glad you can admit that “social justice” doesn’t really describe it. Again, an example of the language that really gets under people’s skin. And I’m very glad you don’t want to rely exclusively on the government. You describe yourself as far left, and so I do tend to put you in the same category with others who describe themselves that way. I never use Sean Hannity to get someone’s real position. I let their own words and deeds hang themselves. Idiots like Sean Penn and Danny Glover, who befriend and idealize Hugo Chavez, and Malik Zulu Shabazz, and many other unsavory types, are closely affiliated with the left, and if you don’t draw a distinction yourself, that is what people are going to think of when they hear “far left”.

  17. Derek Staffanson Says:

    You need to distinguish between recognizing a positive and working feature within France and exalting France/setting up France as an ideal. The fact that the people you mentioned live in the U.S. suggests that they don’t consider France an ideal, but rather that they feel there are worthwhile institutions in France which we could adapt or emulate here. You may disagree with their perspective on those institutions, but that doesn’t mean you should misconstrue their belief.

    If you recognize that no one here was exalting France, what purpose did bringing it up serve other than to construct a straw man or confuse the issue?

    I have no problem whatsoever admitting the truth. And I’ve mentioned a number of times, including in recent posts, that I believe in private efforts, and that it is a valid concern to try to minimize the opportunities for people to abuse the system. If you’ve missed that, then perhaps you should read more closely instead of making assumptions about where I and liberalism stand.

    Maybe you should try looking somewhere other than the entertainment world for a window on liberalism.

  18. Jared Says:

    ahh…… yes lets stop being silly and get to the point.

    the point is I said “I think that no matter how you slice it someone is going to profit somewhere whether it be with a greedy HMO or a pharmaceutical company that is contracted by government as the only company to supply a vaccine(i.e. flu vaccine) I think either way i’m going to have to pay more than I want” I still believe that wholeheartedly.

    However having government or HMO’s running health care is not the answer as proven time and again, because no one is happy.

    An ideal solution would be to have people choose what they want to do whether you choose an HMO or go with the socialized plan which you could make that option perfectly clear when you get hired by a new employer, that way everyone can be happy and also let there be a clause in there stating that a person can opt out of their choice after a year.

    Who will fund this well depends on the business for a HMO. I think a sliding scale for the size of the business small starts out for a HMO at 5% big would start at 15% and anything in between 10%. How you would determine this would be by how many employees you have which would be a set number across the board.
    If a person chose the socialized care then the government would directly dock the worker 15% of income just like FICA.

    Would there still be corruption in the system either way you choose there is always that chance………..then again this is just my opinion.

  19. Ben Says:

    “Why in the hell do we believe we deserve things just because we’re Americans? We have to pay for everything else, why is this so different?”

    We don’t have to pay for police service or fire service. Isn’t health care in the same category? Would you want to start paying for police and fire service? I know I wouldn’t.

  20. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Dude, you’re doing it again. It is so frustrating having a conversation with you when you repeatedly react this way. I’ve already explained that many of my arguments come from what people’s perceptions are. And when you take steps to move an institution closer to Europe, there is going to be fear that we’re one step closer to becoming them. Making a distinction and clearly communicating where you draw the line falls on you, not me. I’m not trying to confuse anyone. What I’ve heard from you so far is so what if people abuse the system, it is our duty to take care of them anyway whether they “deserve” it or not. I can’t go back and read every post you’ve ever made, so sorry if I’m missing something.

    And as far as looking elsewhere besides entertainment, that was only one example (I mentioned two people only because they’re both in love with Chavez). I specifically mentioned Shabazz too, he’s not an actor. You like to say you represent TRUE liberalism, but just where you get off making that claim I don’t understand. How do you represent the real left more than Susan Sarandon, or Hillary Clinton, or teamster’s unions? I’d say you’re more trying to be a true Christian, and my hat’s off to you. It’s a more worthy goal anyway. But what you say is a lot different from most lefties, so I’d say you’re left-leaning, or put you in the religious left. But your brand is no more real than anyone else’s. Your beliefs put you at odds with a lot of the most visible brands of liberalism. And good for you for adapting where you have to. Good for you for saying, I find this more consistent with Christ’s teachings than the Republicans. But I don’t believe you can take any manmade political philosophy and say this is what we as Mormons really believe, and everybody else who thinks otherwise is just misguided and not thinking for themselves. How arrogant. General Authorities have come from both parties and a variety of backgrounds, and as long as we’re trying to be our best and living the gospel as we understand it, I think we can all rejoice in the greatness of each other’s souls. Anyway, I’m done arguing about it. I don’t believe for a minute that the right misrepresents the left any more than the other way. You represent Republicans as being soulless, evil corporations in the mold of Dick Cheney (who, by the way, gave away 78 percent of his income to charity last year). I choose moderation not because I compromise my beliefs or choose to sit on the fence, but because it allows me to not get sucked into party dogma.

  21. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Hi Ben. We do pay for police and fire service, and appropriately that cost is shared. I stick by that comment. As of right now, health care is not in that category. If you have a plan that doesn’t cause taxes to skyrocket, or take it out on companies just because they’re there, let’s hear it.

  22. Ben Says:

    Can you imagine, though, what it would be like it we had to pay for those services directly? You’d have to take out insurance just in case you ever needed to call the cops or the fire department. Otherwise, you’d pay through the nose, just because you were a crime or accident victim.

    To put it quite simply, using taxes to pay for health care would much more cost effective than our current system because doing so would remove the billions in profit that essentially goes to waste (ie not spent on actual health care). We spend the most on health care in comparison to all other nations, and yet our overall quality of health care is inferior. It’s time to learn from the successes of other nations. Health care is too important to be left to the private sector. Just like law enforcement, just like fire control.

  23. Aaron Orgill Says:

    I am willing to discuss that, and always have been. I said earlier in the thread that insurance is one of the slimiest businesses out there, and I recognize the need to change the system. I’m just not sure when it’s all said and done how much more efficient the government would be. As long as we can keep it simple, I’m on board. The two things I’m not willing to sacrifice: don’t go after businesses disproportionately just for having money, and don’t create ten thousand tons of new red tape, as government is wont to do for every new department. When I talk about paying for it, there’s really no way of getting around the fact that society does pay for these services. And, there should be limitations on what it will cover. Plastic surgeries, sex changes, and excessive visits should not be covered. I think it’s perfectly fine for people to pay some money out of their own pockets.

    I disagree that our quality of health care is inferior. The quality is first-class. What is inferior is the proportion of people who have reasonable access to it. I suspect that’s probably what you meant, no?

  24. Derek Staffanson Says:

    I certainly plan to discuss corporate corruption at some point, Jared. But the topic of this post was not whether or who would profit. The point is that there is plenty of evidence to show that universal health care can be every bit as effective as free-market health care.

    Aaron, the only thing I’m doing again is insisting we discuss the issue and not inaccurate, erroneous, or misleading perceptions of them.

    It seems that yet again you’re seeing what you want to see. What you missed was not in some obscure, ancient post, but the part in Social Justice II where I acknowledged we should try to minimize waste and abuse. You also seem to have dreamt up the idea that I have represented Republicans as soulless corporations. It would help the discussion were you to address what we’re talking about rather than what you think liberals talk about.

    If health-care treatment is high quality, but few can access it, I think that would qualify by all practical measures as inferior.

    As to “excessive visits,” I’ll refer you to Utah Politicians on Health Care.

    Thanks a lot Ben—you stole my thunder on an upcoming post!

  25. Aaron Orgill Says:

    I am glad to discuss the issue itself. Just realize that the perceptions are not unimportant, and I think you and most of the left could be much better at getting your points across smoothly and pleasantly if you took some of what I say to heart. And I will try to stay on subject with things you say. I’m obviously coming in with some preconceived notions, and will try to be better than that. My apologies.

  26. jared Says:

    i guess my only question then is ultimately who would benefit at the expense of who?

  27. jennifer Says:

    Aaron, no one likes red tape – – especially when it stands between your family and simple medical care. But your comment suggests that the government funded health care would be worse about this than what is happening now. I disagree with that assessment entirely. People who have insurance now often face crazy limits on their care to satisfy the ins. companies’ fine print. Sometimes people find out later that their medical issue isn’t even covered by their insurance. Sometimes the bills drag on for months between billing and insurance and accrue late fees in the process. Between waiting periods, COBRA, pre-existing conditions, pre-authorizations/admittance, preferred provider lists, our current red tape & fine print is plenty daunting.
    Now figure that 1 in 6 Americans doesn’t even have insurance, and fewer employers even offer it (Utah being the state with the smallest % of large businesses that even offer health insurance to employees)……

  28. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Jennifer, you don’t have to convince me. I’m just saying, if we’re going to fix it, let’s really fix it, but not do it in a way that complicates things further. I stick by the red tape comment. Government almost never makes things simpler, and if you’re going to change something as big as this, you’re going to need to show easy and simple. Otherwise people aren’t going to get behind it. If they’re like me, that’s what they hate the most, the legalese and insanely dull policies. Let’s just get people in and out and actually make it efficient.

  29. jennifer Says:

    Yes, Aaron, we agree on the problem here. Seems to me that the best way to make things simpler, easier, & more efficient would be to get a single payer universal health plan and ditch all the legalese, fine print and insane policies of the private insurance companies.

  30. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Jared, you want to know who ultimately pays for nationalized health care? We all do. Everyone who has the ability to contribute. No matter how we arrange the initial bill, the payment eventually ends up in the laps of we the public. If you tax corporations, they just pass the bill along to us in higher costs.

    Who benefits? We all do. When a society is physically healthy, we all benefit from increased productivity, reduced disease, reduced homelessness and crime (untreated mental illness is a major factor in both issues), and the reduction in the anxiety among the communities in which a large percentage among the population cannot afford any sort of health care.

    Jennifer, you raise a terrific point. Many critics like to bemoan the red tape and convoluted bureaucracy of government. But they conveniently ignore the fact that the private insurance, health-care, telecommunications, banking, credit, and other assorted service industries are no less a choking morass of red tape and bureaucracy. The market is not the idyllic, streamlined and speedy place the market ideologues like to pretend.

  31. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Derek, great point, and you show a good understanding of how the market works in passing on their costs. And I agree that a health care system could probably reduce homelessness and crime, two of our biggest problems, if it is implemented properly. However, private companies, while they do have their own mess of red tape, are at least making an attempt at efficiency, where the federal government has no motivation to do so. If it’s going to operate like every other agency, there is cause to worry.

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