Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Why we can't have nice things

(I started this one around the end of March then forgot about it. Some of this may be a bit dated)

Medicare for All Scares Me More Than Coronavirus


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Really? A virus that is probably going to kill hundreds of thousands of people just here in the US doesn't scare you as much as the idea of everybody being able to go to the doctor and get medicine? Really? Like the thought of the US turning into I Am Legend is less frightening to you than the possibility of becoming Canada? Seriously?

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The world today is dealing with an unknown -- a virus currently without a treatment or vaccine, and, like most Americans, I’m praying one will be found. But what scares me most in this moment of crisis isn’t the coronavirus; it’s the push for “Medicare for All” as a solution that can harm millions, including my children.

Oh my God, yes. It's a system so potentially harmful to so many that it has only ever been tried in Canada.
And Norway.
And Sweden.
And the Netherlands.
And the UK.
And Taiwan.
And, well, you get the picture. Anyway, yes, a change in the way that Americans pay for medical services is obviously way more frightening than the possibility of The Stand coming true!

 The Democratic debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders earlier this month illustrates the current campaign to capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis to establish government-run health care.

The Russia narrative is dead!! : EnoughTrumpSpam

Well, you say that, but. . .
I mean, of the two Democratic candidates, only one is pushing for single-payer healthcare. Biden has (in)famously said that, were Medicare for All come across his desk while he was president, he would veto it. And Bernie Sanders has been advocating for single-payer since time immemorial, he is hardly "capitalizing on the COVID-19 crisis."

Naturally, Sanders weighed in with his favorite talking point: "First of all, the dysfunctionality of the current health care system is obviously apparent,” arguing that we spend too much for what we get.

And does anyone dispute that? Does anyone dispute the fact that we spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country and get worse results?

U.S. infant mortality rate worse than other countries

U.S. infant mortality rate worse than other countries ...

Our maternal mortality rate is a national embarrassment ...

So, you know, you can sit there and say "oh, there goes Bernie again, saying his favorite old talking point," but whatever you think of Senator Sanders he is 100% God damn right about this. We spend more and get worse results than any other wealthy country. The numbers don't lie.

But saying there will be better coverage doesn’t make it so,

True. But what does make it so is the numerous examples we have all over the world of single-payer systems that provide coverage to everyone at a lower cost than our ridiculous employer-based for-profit system. Have you ever been to any other country? Have you even gone next door to Canada? When it's safe to travel again, go take a little sightseeing trip to Quebec. Maybe go see the Eifel Tower or La Sagrada Familia. Talk to people in countries that have single-payer systems. See if any of them -ANY of them - would prefer to be left to the tender mercies of Aetna.

I know I've told this story before, but several years ago we went to Montreal to visit my wife's Quebecois relatives. They had some complaints about their healthcare system ( I don't remember what). But when I asked them if they would prefer the American "system," they all laughed in my face. (politely). No one who has a single-payer healthcare system wants to change over to a private for-profit insurer. You'd have to be a lunatic.

Right now, patients in China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and the United Kingdom are dealing with rationed care, some being turned away. The “wonders” of government-run health care aren’t being offered to everyone.

Wow. Just imagine living in a country where they don't have enough tests, enough ventilators, enough intensive care unit beds for all their Covid-19 patients! I wonder what that would be like. . .

COVID-19: New York's unclaimed bodies buried in mass grave - YouTube

See doctors react to photo of nurses wearing trash bags

Thank God we have our private for-profit healthcare "system" to protect us from outcomes like that!

 “Free” and “available” are not the same things, and it’s not truly free, as taxpayers will get the bill,

Oh my God, we know that! We know! I don't know why you people always think that's some great gotcha line. We understand that single-payer isn't free. It is paid for with tax dollars. Same as the highways, the police department, public schools, Yellowstone. . . We understand that things cost money. It's just that single-payer is an exponentially more efficient way of paying for healthcare and ensuring that everyone is covered.

Also, "not free" and "available" are not the same thing. I pay way too much to Aetna every month for my health care plan. And if I got Coronavirus, I would pay more in deductibles and co-pays to be hospitalized. But there is no guarantee that a ventilator would be available to keep me alive. Or that the necessary medications would be available.

MIT team races to fill Covid-19-related ventilator shortage

FDA takes another step to ease shortages of drugs for Covid-19 patients on ventilators

APRIL 20, 2020

If the product isn't available, it doesn't matter whether you have private insurance, Medicare or the British NHS. No system is going to conjure up medical equipment that doesn't exist.

But with government-run health care, nations do decide who they won’t bother saving. 

Oh, yeah. Nuch better to leave those kinds of decisions up to corporate bean-counters who are paid to figure out ways to deny claims!

In talking about this crisis with the Washington Post, medical experts said that rationed care was likely here in a piece titled “Spiking U.S. coronavirus cases could force rationing decisions similar to those made in Italy, China.” 

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Well, it's a good thing that we didn't switch over to a single-payer system, then because. . . whait, seriously?

You're raising a hue and cry about the possibility that a single-payer system would lead to healthcare rationing, then you say"oh, by the way we're going to have rationing now with our precious private insurance system?" Do you ever go back and read wht you've typed?

“We have very effective means of making that a comfortable, peaceful death,” said Philip M. Rosoff, professor emeritus of at Duke University School of Medicine and chair of its hospital ethics committee from 2005 to 2019.
Well, isn’t that special. And it’s happening now.
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Oh my God.
As Josephine says in HMS Pinafore: "He little thinks how successfully he has pleaded his rival's cause!"

You are arguing against yourself!
You are stating the case that here in the USA, where we do not have a single-payer healthcare system, healthcare is currently being rationed and doctors are easing patients into death and you think that this is an argument for KEEPING the current system? Because if we were to change to a Canadian-style system, it could lead to the rationing of healthcare and doctors allowing patients to die? It boggles the mind! How do you see any tiny sliver of logic in this?

Under government-run health care, all of us may find ourselves at the mercy of an Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) up-or-down vote on whether we should be allowed to live or die. This calculation is already in use by economists who make a financial calculation of whether someone’s life is worth saving. 

Ooh, that sounds awful! I would hate to be at the mercy of . . . wait, ALREADY IN USE? Jesus Christ, this is the most illogical irrational argument I have ever read. This would get a failing grade as a freshman term paper.

In a moment like this, with a virus that causes respiratory distress, my two children who have cystic fibrosis may be determined too costly to save

Okay, that would be horrific. Just absolutely appalling and tragic. I can see why you'd never want to switch to a system that would allow such a thing to happen. Oh wait, you weren't done with that paragraph? Oh, please continue!

 Before the virus hit, a recent ICER report determined that the cost of life-extending medication for CF sufferers wasn’t worth it, even if it was a full cure.

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I don't. . . I don't know what to even say here. Everything that you want to warn us about you then turn around and say it's already happening. I don't even get what point you think you're making.

That’s why Medicare for All is so scary. The known practices of withholding care in government-run plans has the potential to put all Americans at risk, no matter the illness.

see, this always gets me. Conservative idots are always going on and on about how the government spends too much, spends money they don't have, runs up deficits, etc. But then they think that if there's a government-run healthcare plan, suddenly the government is going to turn into penurious penny-pinchers saying "Gee, we'd like to let you have this surgery, but the money just isn't in the budget. Can't spend money we don't have, you know!"

Also, do you have any examples of this "known practice" of withholding care?

Just this week, the National Council on Disability asked  the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take proactive steps so that care will not be denied to those with chronic illnesses and disabilities. 

Okayyyy. . . that's rather like me asking you not to murder me and then pointing to that request as evidence of your :known practice" of being a murderer.

In recent days, I’ve been heartened to see so many Americans make sacrifices to ensure those who are most at risk with coronavirus stay safe. My prayer is that more continue to use social distancing precautions and take all safety measures necessary. And we all hope that the testing proceeding now will be successful.
Shouldn’t this mindset continue after the corona pandemic ends? If Medicare for All is allowed to proceed, treatments won’t be for all, but only the few that the government determines have potential value, as they see it. 
You mean like how the government decided that Cystic Fibrosis patients aren't worth saving? Oh wait. . . that wasn't the government! That was you friendly neighborhood private for-profit insurance company's soulless bureaucrats! my mistake!
But. yeah. We certainly wouldn't want medical care to be restricted to those deemed worthy of saving. Far better that it be restricted to those who can afford it.

This kind of idiotic thinking - this is why we can't have nice things.