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Posted by maker on November 12, 2009

Some useful reading… Unintended consequences are fine as long as our intentions were good, right?



  • Stephen Spruiell on the SEIU


 and viewing…






 equals an

 that will prove




Posted in Capitalism, Conservatism, Economics, Health care, Liberty, Obama, Politics, The Daily Switch, War on Business | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Health-Care as Marriage

Posted by maker on November 9, 2009

Health-care is to marriage as...

Can either marriage or health-care reasonably be labeled a right?

I’ve recently been involved in a few debates over at a liberal blog called meoutsidethebox . The irony of the name is made clear by hopelessly captive thinking which permeates each leftist-talking-point-turned-article on the site. Regardless of the slant, the editor doesn’t shrink from a good debate, no matter how much he may avoid answering a direct question.

The latest article on the site poses the question ‘Is health insurance a right?’ . The obvious answer is, ‘no’ with the reason being, ‘because it’s not.’ But for people who might need a little more hand holding let’s explore it a bit further.

First, let’s clarify that there is a difference between health care and health insurance, the latter simply being one of many means of providing the former. I think that the title of the article is a bit misleading because what is subsequently discussed is care, not insurance. So let’s focus on the care.

 In the resulting arguments surrounding this issue, a constant analogy seems to be that the Constitution does not directly grant the right to marriage, but that over time we have confirmed marriage to be a right and recognize it as such. Thus, we should follow the same track for health care. Despite the analogy’s gaping holes I am fine with it. Let’s agree that healthcare should be treated as a right just as marriage is.
Is anyone proposing that the government should pay the financial, not to mention the emotional, costs of marriage? Should the government pay for the wedding? Or even the engagement ring? Should the government be tasked with finding someone willing to marry you, despite any baggage you might have? And if unwilling should the government impose regulations forcing a spouse to accept a marriage despite any and all baggage? Should this right be forced on everyone so that the singles of our society must pay a penalty for not acquiring the right of marriage? Should any man be made to marry Nancy Pelosi?

‘That’s ridiculous’ you might say, to which I’ll respond, ‘we are finally beginning to agree’. Let’s call it a right if that makes for a more amiable starting point. Now that we agree on the labels we still have the solution to flesh out.

Good news for America's divorce rate, bad news for growing old together.

Government run health-care means 'til death do us part may not seem so long.

Calling health-care a right does not mean we suspend our knowledge of history or our tendency toward logic. The idea that determining health-care a right automatically translates to support for this ruinous and ignorant proposal is embarrassingly short-sighted. As some people are painstakingly thorough to claim, ‘we are all in this together’, so let’s figure out what works so we don’t screw things up for everyone. Does history tell us anything about socialized medicine? Do economics tell us anything about incentives, or competition? Where quality is paramount, can we afford to eliminate these considerations?

Perhaps, as with marriage, government should more appropriately leave well enough alone so as to allow the American people to pursue their rights, and the ensuing costs, as they see fit.

Posted in Capitalism, Conservatism, Culture, Economics, Health care, Liberty, Politics, Socialism, The Daily Switch, War on Business | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

It’s for your own good, don’t ya know?

Posted by Ender on April 10, 2009

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  C.S. Lewis

Tyranny does not always start with goose stepping soldiers storming your house to take away unauthorized items.  Sometimes it starts with the government taking small things that you actually agree with.

For instance in NYC, Mayor Bloomberg banned smoking in the early 00s.  I am sure that many out there appreciate this ban because they don’t have to worry about stinking for the rest of the day after going out to eat.  However, think about your liberty and the liberty of all the restaurant owners in the state of NY.  Aside from the fact that the ban was based on junk science and bad statistics we need to remember that the government should not have the power to force businesses and individuals to ban a legal activity.

Mayor Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s basis for the policy was to prevent “thousands” from dying each year.  The problem is that the individuals involved (waitresses, bar tenders, customers, owners) chose to work in these restaurants.  They could have chosen to go to different restaurants, have different jobs or own different businesses.  Beware of policy that tells us to do something for our own good.  I am much better qualified to decide what is  for my own than the government.

In 2006, NY moved to ban trans fats from restaurants. Again, I am left to wonder on what basis is the government allowed to do this?  Can’t I decide whether or not I want to risk the slight increase in risk of heart disease by eating trans fats?  If consumers truly wanted a ban on trans fat they would stop eating at places that cooked with it.  This in turn would lead those businesses to stop using it in order to keep their customers.  No law necessary.  But, who’s going to argue when it’s for your own good.

Perhaps there are some out there reading this who say “Well, I see your point but smoking in public and trans fats are really bad so I don’t mind the government taking those things.”  My question to you would be: where does it stop?  What would they have to take away?  What about Twix bars or table salt?  That would be ridiculous, no?

If you had to guess which mayor in the US was attempting to ban table salt; who would be your first guess?

Bloomberg?  You’d be correct. Bloomberg announced “that the city is starting a “nationwide initiative” to pressure the food industry and restaurant chains to cut salt intake by half over the next decade.”  Don’t bother him or others with the fact that it is based on junk science.  (Read the article for details)  Just remember that this is for your own good.

C.S. Lewis had it right when he said “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”  Who would have thought that the smoking ban would have led NYC down this slippery slope?  People need to realize that they are responsible for their own health, not the government.  The government needs to realize that it cannot legislate a healthy society.

You’ll have to excuse me for a moment while I convert my flask to be able to handle covert salt transportation because eating a steak without salt is just plain unacceptable to me…….

Posted in Conservatism, Culture, Health care, Liberty, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Healthcare Liz Lemon Style

Posted by Ender on March 10, 2009

One show that I watch is 30 Rock.  It’s usually pretty funny if you can set aside the ridiculous left leaning digs at Republicans, Capitalists, Christians and Conservatives.  I’ve watched the show since the first season but it seems as if this season, which I believe is season 3, is blatantly drifting more towards the left.  The jokes on the right are getting more frequent and more obnoxious.  The show is also guilty of outright lies.

30 Rock Cast

30 Rock Cast

In the episode about the Flu Shot, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) declines a flu shot that was only being given to the actors and management while the crew does not get one.  She says something to the effect that she is tired of rationing health care in this system.  Unfortunately, I don’t think the whole episode is online but the recap is here.

After she said this I did a double take. What? Really, running out of jokes so you need to make things up? Countries with Socialist or Universal Health Care are the ones who are rationing health care.

In the following BBC article, it is revealed that of doctors surveyed 16% said patients have died as a result of rationing. Over 50% said that patients have suffered due to it. “Doctors said more debate was urgently needed over what should and should not be rationed.” This is scary. The debate isn’t over how to stop this rationing from occurring, but which products and treatments to ration.

Back to the show: Liz says, “Two tiered health care is a crime. You know in Cuba everyone gets equal health care.” To the show’s credit Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) responds with wow, you’ve seen the Michael Moore movie. Liz responds with “Wrong again, I saw the trailer when I went to see The Chipmunks.” Which is funny AND true of most socialist health care supporters. She is wrong on at least three counts:

1. Whatever she means by “two tiered health care” is not a crime. I can only assume that she is calling the US system two tier. Who should go to jail for this crime Liz? Should we send the doctors or the patients to jail? I can only imagine her going down this thought process “Who is responsible for this mess? Wait, the People created this? Well, who are they to get in the way of what I, yes I, deem a right for everyone?”

2. Everyone in Cuba does not get equal health care. It’s funny because there are exactly two types in Cuba. The kind the ruling elites have and everyone else.

3. Clarification on number 2. The poor get no health care, but at least they’re covered!

Dr. Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance said this “Rationing is the great unspoken reality…The only people who refuse to mention the ‘r-word’ are the media and the politicians, who continue to want to promise everything for everyone in order to win elections.” How strange, only the media and the politicians. Well, like Liz, the politicians and media can’t let silly facts get in the way of their ideology.

Posted in Capitalism, Culture, Economics, Health care, Socialism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fact Check Please

Posted by Ender on February 25, 2009

Last night President Obama said this in his speech:

This is a cost [Health Care]  that now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds. By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes. In the last eight years, premiums have grown four times faster than wages. And in each of these years, one million more Americans have lost their health insurance. It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors and corporations ship jobs overseas. And it’s one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget.

Michael Tanner at the Cato Institute said this last night:

Those figures on health care bankruptcies have long since been discredited. In 2007, the last year data was available, there were just over 822,000 non-business bankruptcies nationwide. But according to a study by Dr. Ning Zhu at UC-Davis, only 5 percent of them were caused by medical bills. That’s only 41,000 medical bankruptcies, a far cry from the more than 1 million Obama implies. In fact, seniors who qualify for Medicare (universal health coverage) are 125 percent more likely to go bankrupt than people under age 65.

Obama’s statement was not an accident. He or is speech writer delibrately chose each word in that paragraph to achieve a certain effect. It is just another example of him fear mongering in order to reach his political means. He wants the government to take over health care. It’s that simple. He wants us to believe no matter what the facts are that we just can’t afford to let private companies run health care.

I hate that politicians get away with this type of lie on a daily basis. Millions more watched the speech than will ever read Tanner’s analysis or any simaliar analysis. Who would even realize his lie unless you are actively following alternative media sources?

I think that politicians including the President should have to answer for these “mistakes.” Maybe there should be a sportslike press conference following speeches. No long term policy or off topic questions allowed. Only questions pertaining to the accuracy of the speech.

In football it looks like this:
Reporter: Coach Reid why did you waste 45 seconds figuring out which McDonald’s  to eat at post game during your two minute drill?

Reid: Uh…Well…Uh…you see…

In politics it could look like this:

Reporter: You said that 1 million Americans go bankrupt because of medical costs, this has been proven false, why did you say that?

Obama: Uh…Well…Uh…you see…

Moral of the story: Get out there and tell someone…



Posted in Health care, Obama, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hunger Insurance?

Posted by Ender on February 24, 2009

I read an interesting article awhile ago by Joseph Blast called What Hunger Insurance Could Teach Us About Health Insurance.  In the article, Blast discusses what would happen if your job started offering Hunger Insurance.  It might sound goofy to you but I think it is an easy way to teach an important lesson.

Blast describes the impact on Consumers, Providers, Insurers, the Uninsured and Elected Officials.

Consumers- So, what would you do if your company offered this?  You would start to eat the nicest, most expensive food you could find because it isn’t costing you hardly anything anymore.  Personally, I’d dine on steak and lobster for every meal.  “Some of us would stop checking prices before we ordered food, just as we don’t check prices when we ask for medical treatment.”

Steak and Lobster

Steak and Lobster

Providers- Two things would happen.  First, all grocery stores would start to only stock high priced, high quality foods.  If all stores had the same expensive food how would they attract customers?  They would start to upgrade their facilities even if it wasn’t necessary.  Then they would pass the cost along to the insurers.  Second, “What if you were a lousy grocery store manager who just couldn’t keep costs down and quality up? Before hunger insurance came along, you would be forced out of the market by stores managed by sharper people able to cut costs without sacrificing quality.”  If you are the bad businessman you get to pass along your inefficiencies to the insurer.  The price of food would skyrocket.  Does that remind you of anything else you know of?  (Hint:  Health Care Costs in real life)

Insurers- The initial premiums charged to businesses would be very inaccurate given that they were calculated on historical eating habits.  Business would not respond well to the eventual increase in premiums and look for ways to lower costs.  The insurance companies would start deciding what is (and isn’t) necessary for its consumers.  Is this sounding familiar?

The Uninsured- Would experience the rising prices, but not receive the benefit of insurance.  They would also see the cheaper products disappearing from the shelves because there is not as much demand for them anymore.

Elected Officials- Blast writes “What would happen to our elected officials if hunger insurance existed? Civil rights activists and well-meaning people without much understanding of economics would campaign against for-profit hunger insurers, denouncing them for being heartless in their discrimination against people with eating disorders. They would condemn them for profiting from the provision of something so fundamental to human life as food. ‘Food is a right, not a privilege,’ they would say. ‘The high administrative costs of the hunger insurers are what is causing the problem. We should abolish private hunger insurance companies and replace them with a single provider of food.’”  That seems pretty far fetched, right?  What’s that you say?  You say that is what’s happening with Health Care?

Now, imagine all of the above scenarios, but change the fact the people were still paying something for the insurance in their paycheck to the government providing Universal Hunger Insurance.  Now, other people pay for you to eat.  It would get worse.

Blast goes into more detail on each of these scenarios in his article and offers a solution.  His solution goes hand in hand with the point I wanted to make: Personal Responsibility is an absolute necessity in Health Care and in Free Societies.  In Health Care, we can see the effects lack of personal responsibility has on it everywhere.  The Health Savings Account that Blast recommends is a great idea.  In order to drive cost down people need to take responsibility for their health.  In the current system this does not occur.  It is like renting a car: when you rent a car and buy the insurance you treat the car poorly because you won’t have to pay to maintain, clean or use further down the road.  Health insurance affects people the same way.  Why should I live healthier if my employer will foot the bill for expensive surgeries and treatments?  The HSA solution is a step in the right direction.  Blast suggests that we use it to wean people off of the insurance system.  This would help lower Health Care costs and more importantly drive people to live healthier lives.

Personal responsibility is essential to the survival of Free Societies.  If people do not take an active role in society we will end up in a tyranny.  Look at how easy it is to create a program that may sound good or right to people that has disastrous consequences down the line.  When people shirk personal responsibility by giving the government that same responsibility it diminishes their freedom.

Posted in Capitalism, Health care | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

NHS anyone? Anyone?…

Posted by Ender on February 9, 2009

Health care has been a hot button issue since early in the latest campaign cycle. Although it did lose steam once the economy went into the tank. The most common cry I hear is that the US should have a single payer health care or government run system. Whenever having this debate conservatives all across the U.S. hear the same thing, “My friend x lives in Canada, UK, etc. and says the health care system is the best EVARRRR!” I usually respond with “Welp, you sold me pal! Where can I sign up?” However, for the more intellectually inclined readers we are rolling out a new segment on The Daily Switch, which will deal directly with the topic of socialized medicine. The articles will consist of explanations and analysis on free market health care vs socialized health care and maybe more importantly articles from newspapers in the socialized countries detailing the horrors of socialized medicine.

The first article can be found here. It comes from the Guardian, a UK paper.

The title alone should sober even the most staunch socialized health care advocate, however, the first line drives the point home, “Patients who have major surgery in Britain are four times more likely to die than those in America.” You would think that a line like that would be enough for most people to abandon the system. The article also states that about 2.5% of Americas die after surgery whereas about 10% of Britons die. Towards the end of the article it states that there are an estimated 350,000 emergency surgeries a year that would fall into this category. That means about 35,000 people that fall into the types of surgeries studied die in the UK vs 8,750 people in the US.

“The authors conclude that NHS waiting lists, the lack of specialist-led care and the fact that many patients do not go routinely to intensive care contribute largely to the difference.” This is the problem with socialized health care or any socialized system for that matter. Supply, timeliness and quality. Professor Monty Mythen, who was headed the British side of the study said this, “We would be suspicious that the diseases would be more advanced in the UK, simply because the waiting lists are longer.” In short, people are dying because the single payer NHS cannot handle the amount of people and when they do the results are drastically worse than the more free market leaning US model. Unfortunately, as is the case in health care, people die as a result of socialism.

The Daily Switch

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