Today’s Wall Street Journal has yet another misleading op-ed about health reform. This one is by Senator Ron Johnson arguing that “ObamaCare” would have killed his daughter Carey, who was born with a serious heart defect. I feel badly for Aaron Carroll, Jon Chait, Steve Benen, Brian Beutler, Igor Volsky, and Ezra Klein, who took some of their valuable time to debunk this latest repackaging of the “death panel” hoax.
Johnson’s op-ed reminds me of my favorite self-refuting editorial of all time in the Investor’s Business Daily, which claimed:
People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.
Upon attracting satisfying near-universal ridicule for this polemical own-goal mistake, IBD published a correction that was pretty funny, too. If you click on IBD’s link to the editorial, you will find that the offending paragraph is simply removed, with a note that says:
Editor’s Note: This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.
Anyway, back to Senator Johnson. If health reform was so bad for infants with damaged hearts and for people with serious medical conditions who require high-tech care, you might wonder why the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and so many other advocacy groups for people with chronic illnesses celebrated one year ago today.
20 thoughts on “Another misleading op-ed about “ObamaCare” killing people”
(Pollack): “you might wonder why the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and so many other advocacy groups for people with chronic illnesses celebrated one year ago today.”
I don’t. Their income depends on sucking up to politicians.
“Death panel” is no hoax; the State cannot pay for health care, or education, or a freeway overpass for that matter, without a definition of “health care”, or “education”, or “freeway overpass”. With a tangible good like a freeeway overpass, the definition takes the form of contract specifications (mix of concrete, amount of rebar, depth of material, width of roadbed, etc.). With health care, it takes the form of a list of procedures for which the State will pay. “All men are mortal”, begins the classic syllogism. Some people cannot get past the first proposition. Everybody dies. Do we keep some unresponsive lump of meat at 37C for another two months or do we save for the kids’ college tuition? Eventually somebody or some body decides when to pull the plug on grandma.
This post was a waste of time, despite being correct, terse, and well-written. Debunking the WSJ comix page isn’t worth the electrons, much less the time of a smart person. Few people take it seriously. Those who do are epistemically closed. So why bother disrupting a wingnut circle jerk? The wingnuts won’t notice (except for our few resident wingnuts), and the rest of us reach for the soap.
M. Kirkpatrick wrote: “â€œDeath panelâ€ is no hoax; the State cannot pay for health care, or education, or a freeway overpass for that matter, without a definition of â€œhealth careâ€, or â€œeducationâ€, or â€œfreeway overpassâ€. With a tangible good like a freeeway overpass, the definition takes the form of contract specifications (mix of concrete, amount of rebar, depth of material, width of roadbed, etc.). With health care, it takes the form of a list of procedures for which the State will pay. ”
1) This is true for any 3rd party payer, public of private. Anyone with health insurance is facing the same issues now as described in this passage.
2) I am unaware of anything in the law under discussion that prevents people from buying their own care if they so choose. Again, just as now.
So, once the state/insurance company decides what it will pay for, if that is not acceptable to you, you may go out and purchase care that is.
And this applies alike to rich and poor, much as the French law about sleeping under railway bridges.
the one rule help you understand Libertarians:
IOKIYAC – It’s OK If You’re A Corporation.
You’all neglect mandated insurance (for what procedures?) and “crowding-out”.
MK: “Youâ€™all neglect mandated insurance (for what procedures?) and â€œcrowding-outâ€.”
Hell – I’m getting charged for both Iraq wars, Star Wars, the war on drugs, agricultural subsidies, all sorts of things. A tax credit of ~$800 in return for buying health insurance strikes me as small beer.
Do you own an insurance policy that wasn’t “mandated”? Few insurance policies involving natural persons are dickered over term by term. You have to buy some insurance you are not interested in to get insurance you want. Welcome to real-world markets. They don’t look like the ones in Libertaria.
From the NewsHour, a man-in-the-California-street: “Last year, our monthly premium rate was $420 a month, with a deductible of $10,000. And in November of last year, we received a letter from Blue Shield informing us that they would be raising our rate an additional $120 a month starting in January.
“But then we get another letter in December informing us that, as of March, we would be facing an additional $100-a-month increase in our premium. So, we’re looking at $640 a month starting in March.”
So, that’s what ObamaCare has actually accomplished in the individual insurance market, which was the target of reform: unleashed rapacious private companies, who are now confident that they are immune to serious regulation.
Who needs death panels, when the President works for the vampire squid?
Marcel – Malcolm is best translated as “unless the government will commit to paying for all care without limits I will oppose it.” His argument, if taken logically, is that government must provide universal access to unlimited care or else face the charge that it is “killing” people. At the same time he is advocating that government take a more limited role in the provision of health care.
In other words, trying to argue with him is like talking to a wall.
Bruce Wilder – “ObamaCare” has not created an environment of rising healthcare costs. Rising healthcare costs existed before ACA. They will exist after ACA is fully implemented. If you would like to talk about cost containment please due. But it has nothing to do with ACA. If you would like to advocate that the Federal government pass a comprehensive cost containment bill for healthcare I am sure you will find many supporters.
Let us continue to try to keep on target and then fire for effect.
Debunking lies is a total waste of time.
If the Democratic Party was a serious party instead of an enormous tool to squeeze out other parties, I might vote. They would have to shape up and start right.
Until the thinking people start to concentrate on what can be done and do it, the country is screwed.
What the country truly needs right now is a full on effort to make John Boehner and Mitch McConnell unelectable. One tenth of the energy and money spent on the Wisconsin matter could much more effectively be used to attack them. Once they are seen to be tacked up and unelectable, you would see an enormous sea change in both the elected Republicans and Democrats. They are all power hungry and whacking off the power of the leaders is effective. Like hitting a mule between the eyes with a two by four to get its attention.
Mal is wrong as usual.
A decision by Congress to not do health care reform would make Congress a death panel also under his interpretation because it is action that ensures that some people will not receive coverage and will die as a result.
A decision by Congress to not fund every possible highway safety feature makes Congress a death panel because it establishes limits on governmental spending that will cause some persons to die who with the funding would not have.
A decision by the State of Wisconsin to reduce government workers health benefits and make those benefits subject to the whims of state legislators and their tyrannical governor makes the Governor’s office and the legislature death panels.
A decision by Congress to reduce spending on environmental enforcement . . . and it could go on and on.
In fact, each of these examples is more of a death panel than then alleged death panels of HCR.
I can’t be sure, but I suspect Bruce Wilder’s point is not that the PPACA caused premiums to go up, but rather that in a time of rapidly rising healthcare costs, it LOOKS like it did: PPACA passed, and now premiums have gone up. Never mind that all the estimates are that no more than 1-3% of the increase is due to the law.
This may be a problem in the 2012 elections. Regardless of the facts, the appearances will be convincing to many people, and you can absolutely count on the GOP candidates at every level to make the charge. Meanwhile, most of the benefits don’t kick in ’til 2014, so the upside is hard to see.
I’m not familiar enough with the details to say how much, if any, of the increase is due to the new law. I do have enough experience to say that the insurance company is happy to blame its increases on the law, truthfully or not. What better excuse is there than, “The government made me?”
hetherjw: “Rising healthcare costs existed before ACA. They will exist after ACA is fully implemented. If you would like to talk about cost containment please due. But it has nothing to do with ACA.”
That, of course, would be my smaller point. ACA didn’t do anything about the most serious, core problem. Just as the stimulus didn’t. Tax reform didn’t. Financial reform didn’t. And, as Foster Boondoggle points out, that failure is plainly manifest to people, who are not so deeply invested in partisan bickering that they will have any reason to investigate the defensive rationalizations of loyal Democrats. If Democrats were credible advocates of serious reform, the ACA would not need to be defended; it could be built upon. Instead, Obama is offering to let the Republicans carve it up further, in the interests of being reasonable.
The partisan competition between Democrats and Republicans might as well be the rivalry of Guelphs and Ghibellines, for all the relevance it has to contemporary American problems. There’s only one political division worthy of note in the U.S. today: you’re either for the corporate plutocracy or against it, its beneficiary or its victim. The victims have numbers on their side, but no organization, because neither established Party can be bothered to represent them. Obama has declared his allegiance, and it is to billionaires and banksters. The forces of the corporate plutocracy are highly organized; they control most of the news Media and much of the Judiciary, and have reliable allies among both the Tea Party, the regular Republican Party, and the Democratic centrists. They are driving the scam-economy, the rapid devolution of our economic arrangements into pervasive predatory conduct by business and debt peonage for the people. “Rising health care costs” (expenditures are already twice that of any other economically advanced nation) are nothing more than the manifestation of the kind of predatory conduct that necessarily follows from financialization of the economy. We cannot have a financial sector occupying more than 2% of the economy, without predation; it is not logically possible — beyond 2% or so, there’s nothing else you can do with financial wealth, but insurance scams and usury. Without a populist party to push reform against the interests of the predators, the only ally of the people is the fragility of the parasitic system being built by Obama and the Republicans, behind their kabuki comedy. But, the plutocrats appear to have mastered the shock doctrine, and disaster capitalism has turned each collapse into an opportunity for further normalization of the looting. So, sure, having failed with ACA, Medicare is about to collapse under the weight of an unsustainable system, and the only advocacy we hear is for Social Security reform, to reduce benefits for the poor and middle class.
At this point in our devolution, it is foolish to defend Obama and the Democrats in their largely fake contentions with the ridiculous Republicans. You’re just helping Obama and company to lose every battle you care about.
(Heather): “Malcolm is best translated as ‘unless the government will commit to paying for all care without limits I will oppose it’.â€
Even (or, especially) then. The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition, after Weber). The goons with the guns (State actors) have no natural expertise in medicine, or education, or housing construction, etc.
It would be a pretty sad government if there was a non-government body that dealt more violence. Mafia, anybody?
The question of import is what is the way to reduce the total violence while maintaining our freedoms. I don’t find it very freeing if the local mob is the main source of violence.
And if you don’t care which of the two (govt, gangs) is worse, I have some cheap houses in the Mission / Compton to sell you.
We call the biggest gang “the governent”.
I know that’s what YOU call it.
I call it the dudes we elect to (among other things) keep us from having to join a real gang to keep our houses ‘protected’
Once again, if you can’t tell the difference between the SFPD, the NorteÃ±os, and the SureÃ±o, buy a house in the Mission and fly the wrong colors.
And this: On the day of drug lord Felix Michell’s funeral one so called gang came to my personal aid – the one we pay for and direct with the ballot box – the Oakland Police department.
The difference between users of force is possibly the reason I am alive to type this today. Yes, I take it personally.
“The goons with the guns (State actors) have no natural expertise in medicine . . .”
That would come as a surprise to elected officials such as Dr. Mike Ritze, a physician and an Oklahoma state legislator.
“If Health Care Reform is repealed, some patients who got transplants based on the new coverage won’t have the coverage for the medications that will keep them alive.”
Translation: any group of Congress that repeals HCR is a death panel, based of course on Mal’s definition of “death panel.”
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