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Monday, March 29, 2010

Health Care Notes: Fair, But Not Enough

Before Attorney General Marty Jackley wastes any more of South Dakota's money making policy arguments to support his foolish lawsuit against health care reform, he should read this Christian Science Monitor essay on the health insurance mandate:

Conservatives like to argue that health care is not a right. But, in fact, it is. For years, federal law has required most hospitals to accept patients into their emergency rooms whether or not the sick and injured have the means to pay. If you run your car off the road and break your leg, the EMTs don’t demand to see your insurance card or ask, “credit or debit?” They trundle you off to the nearest hospital--which must fix you up.

This care is, of course, not free. Those of us who are insured pay for it. Indeed, the medical business survives on the black art of cost-shifting—that is to say, spreading the costs of those who can’t (or won’t) pay to those who can [Howard Gleckman, "Health care reform forces you to buy health insurance. That's fair. Here's why," Christian Science Monitor: Tax Vox, 2010.03.25].

Gleckman argues that, to be consistent, AG Jackley and fellow nullificationists ought to fight to overturn the E.R. mandate as well. It's unconstitutional to make hospitals care for anyone who doesn't have money, right?

That assumption—that we should only help people if we can get paid—underlies Jackley's lawsuit and much of the other defeated opposition to health care reform. That assumption, says Michael Moore, is the fundamental evil that health care reform has yet to challenge:

And the healthcare bill that was passed ultimately will be seen as a victory for capitalism, because it protected the capitalist model of providing healthcare for people. In other words, we’re not to help people unless there’s money to be made from it. That is so patently disgusting and immoral, but that’s the system. That’s where we live [Michael Moore, interview with Sharif Abdel Kouddous, "Michael Moore: Healthcare Bill 'A Victory for Capitalism'," Democracy Now, 2010.02.23].

We still have an inefficient and immoral health care system. We still need to work for an efficient and just single-payer system, like what we give our soldiers, veterans, and old folks.

Update 2010.03.29 08:25 CDT: Aberdeen American News agrees with me that AG Jackley should "cool his jets." Down, Mainstream Media, down! Keep agreeing with this blog, and you'll make me look bad. ;-)


  1. If we have a "right" to health care, one that isn't even mentioned in the Bill of Rights, one that requires my fellow Americans to pay for my right, then I will be expecting my fellow Americans to pay for a newspaper company for me.

    After all, I do have freedom of press.

    I also want my fellow Americans to pay for one or more firearms for me. I do, after all, have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

    This is, of course, nonsense.

    Our rights are God-given access to freedom, not an entitlement to force our fellow Americans to pay for goods and services we consume.

    This kind of greed and state-sanctioned theft is immoral and un-American. I and others have pointed this out before: http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/03/making-you-pay-for-my-rights/ and http://www.dakotavoice.com/2009/08/who-should-pay-for-the-exercise-of-your-rights/

    Try an American solution that involves voluntary charity rather than a Marxist one that robs your neighbor of both his property and his freedom.

  2. If you're sick, pay for it. If you can't pay for it, die. That's Bob's Christian health care plan.

    Charity isn't preventing medical bankruptcy. Charity is providing health insurance to millions of Americans. Charity didn't keep old folks out of debilitating poverty before Social Security and medicare, and I don't hear any old folks cheering to abolish those programs and go back to relying on charity.

    Government is our tool to use to work together to take care of each other. We are one society; let's act like it.

  3. Bob-

    If charity was a solution, it would already be in place and the problem would be solved. There is no inherent barrier to charity, correct?

    Also, your argument basically boils down to the constitution doesn't enumerate it, therefore you're wrong. I'm going to let you in on a secret here, not all of us view the document in that way. Many of us view the government as a progressive entity that changes with the times and needs, much like marriage laws.

    So, when you appeal to it as an authority, we disregard the argument as Non Sequitur since you're not indicting the new policy itself.

    If you're interested in appealing to a broader audience, please point out specific failings of the policy that can be debated. If not, myself and the vast majority are just going to keep ignoring your points.

  4. Hmm, let's roll with Ellis on this one a little for the sake of argument. We may not have the right to health specifically enumerated in the Constitution any more than the (inalienable) rights to life and liberty are detailed there.

    But we do have, very specifically, the right to equal protection under the law. (14th Amendment). Doesn't that means that individual States can't take away rights that Federal law has granted?

    Bob needs to get used to the fact that HCR is no longer a bill pending, subject to debate.

    It is the law of the land.

  5. Cory, have I ever said anywhere, "f you can't pay for it, die"? I don't believe you'll find that I've said that anywhere at any time.

    What you will find is what I've been saying over and over and over for years: if people genuinely need help with their medical expenses, they should seek the help of their family, friends, neighbors, and private charity. You know, the sources where people willingly help one another, rather than have the money taken from them by government force without their consent?

    We need American solutions, not Marxist legalized theft solutions. Why don't you try acting like an American for a change? I bet you'd enjoy it.

  6. Tony, charity already was in place for most of this nation's history. It's how Americans do things.

    Unfortunately you socialists thought the government could do a better job of it and began taxing the people. The results: less efficiency, more wasted money, and the same or more poverty when you were done than when you were started.

    Even with government trying for decades to muscle private charity out of the picture, Americans are the most generous people in the world. Get government out of the way (and out of our wallets), demonstrate a genuine need, and Americans will step up to the plate. Even if they didn't that's the only constitutional option you have...but they will.

    I'm going to let you in on a little secret here, Tony: it doesn't matter if you "view" the Constitution as authorizing jelly beans for everyone. What matters is what the Constitution says. What is says is that the federal government only has certain, limited powers and they are defined in Article 1 Section 8; you'll find they are, as James "the Father of the Constitution" Madison said, "to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce."

    I realize you loathe the Constitution, and you absolutely despise the fact that it legally prohibits you socialists from forcing your un-American schemes on the American people; that truth is not subject to a popularity contest, nor the whims of people who are contemptuous of the freedom of their fellow Americans. I also understand that you will ignore this great guardian of our freedom whenever it gets in your way, but the day is quickly approaching when you and your ilk will be tossed from power for your assaults on the American people.

    At that time, seethe you may, but you will be face to face with the truth of the Constitution which no rational person can deny:

    Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated. – Thomas Jefferson

    We must confine ourselves to the powers described in the Constitution, and the moment we pass it, we take an arbitrary stride towards a despotic Government. – James Jackson, First Congress

    A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson

    I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted aright to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. – James Madison

    Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. – James Madison

    How sad, Tony, that you bear such deep animosity toward your own country's core values and the liberty of your fellow Americans.

  7. (Sigh) Why is it so hard for you to accept truth, Bill? Why do you have such a lawless spirit? Why do you hold such vicious contempt for your fellow Americans and for the Constitution which was designed to safeguard our freedoms?

    You know, it gets kind of boring after a while, expending the time and effort correcting you--especially when you defiantly refuse to adjust to reality even after you've been proved so profoundly wrong that only a fellow socialist drunk to the gills on your Koolaid would believe you anyway.

    The 14th Amendment cannot grant rights which do not exist. There is no right to rob your fellow American to pay for goods and services you consume; you have a right to access, but you have no right to make a servant of your fellow American to provide such services. The 14th Amendment cannot negate the enumerated powers of Article 1 Section 8, nor can it negate the Tenth Amendment.

    There. Is. No. Constitutional. Authority. For. The. Federal. Government. To. Create. Or. Administer. A. Government. Health. Care. Or. A. Government. Charity. System.

    Your desperation to legitimize an illegal piece of legislation is laughable and pathetic, as is your juvenile grasp of the Constitution. Your rebellious attitude toward the Constitution is like a spoiled child who thinks if they close their eyes and jump up and down long enough, the grownups will relent and let you make an even bigger disgrace of yourself.

    But the grownups are going to give you socialist brats a spanking on Election Day, then we'll send you to bed without your "free" health care. I guess you'd better drink all the Koolaid you can before that, eh? :-)

  8. No law can grant rights, Bob. It just protects existing ones.

    If anything, the Constitution limits one's rights.

    But that's another discussion.

    The 14th Amendment protects EXISTING rights.

    Rights you already have.

    You really do need to get up to speed on this stuff, Bob.

  9. Bob-

    Medicare, social security, the requirement to wear clothes out in public all exist and are accepted as legal. You are proposing a view that is not congruent with reality.

    So, either:

    1. You are wrong.


    2. The world is wrong.

    Which is it?

  10. Well, Bill, that's the first thing you've got right yet: the Constitution protects our God-given rights.

    However, there is no God-given right to force your fellow Americans to pay for goods and services you receive.

    I suppose it's time I stopped wasting time talking to a fence post. You've made it abundantly clear that you are either as knowledgeable as one, or you are so in love with socialism that you will avoid the truth at all costs.

    Enjoy your delusion; meanwhile, real Americans are already busy getting ready to take our country back from you socialist usurpers.

  11. Tony, none of the three are correct.

    I am not wrong. I have demonstrated that I am write extensively; only a Marxist hard-case could deny otherwise (guess what that says about you?)

    The world is also not wrong; a great many people in the world--and right here in the United States--realize very well that these socialist programs have been unconstitutional since their date of inception. There have been some lawmakers, presidents and judges who have willfully defied the U.S. Constitution in allowing them, but the case could not possibly be more clear that they are illegal and contrary to core American values.

    When the Marxists ruled Russia and Eastern Europe, they got away with running roughshod over freedom, but their day came to an end just like all fossils eventually get buried by the dust of history.

    Your day is coming here in America. Americans have put up with your lawbreaking as long as we could stand, and things are about to change. So if you still have your heart set on living in a Marxist country, you'd better start packing your bags and making sure your passport is ready. We're done with it here in America.

    The Constitution is about to be re-implemented in a few months.

  12. Elllis, real Americans don't question other real Americans' patriotism. It's unAmerican.

  13. Ah, no, Bill. People who loathe America and her values want Americans not to question their patriotism, especially when they make it clear they care nothing about our values.

    I'm not intimidated by petty attempts at peer pressure by anti-Americans, though, and a lot of other Americans are getting over it, too. Might as well get used to it...or start acting like an American. :-)

  14. Intimidated? You're kidding right, Ellis? That's the funniest thing I've ever heard you say.

    Show of hands... which person on this thread presents as the bully?

  15. Let's see: calling everyone else mean and baseless names instead of responding logically, making vague threats of some imminent revolution (or beer-hall putsch?)... I say it's Bob. Bob, do you realize not one of your comments has said anything different from the first words out of your mouth. Come back when you have something new to say. I tire of your evasions, accusations, and general nonsense. America belongs to all of us. We are all real Americans. Anyone who says otherwise is just wrong (and terribly self-absorbed).

  16. And health care reform is still fair, and it still doesn't go far enough. I want to pay for everyone's health care, because that's the only sustainable and effective model. My desire to adopt single-payer has nothing to do with Marxism or a desire to destroy America. It has everything to do with a desire to help more people live the American dream to the fullest.

  17. The identification of your un-American philosophies and advocacy is only mean if it is unearned: it is fully earned.

    The The identification of your un-American philosophies and advocacy is not in the slightest bit baseless. In fact, I have provided a rich mint of information that proves beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever that the Marxist ideas you are pushing--in contradiction to the highest law of our nation--are the very definition of "un-American." They stand in total polar opposition to ALL American values.

    I cannot help that the facts do not change. I know how desperately you liberals wish you could just close your eyes and perhaps tap your heels together and magically find practical or constitutional justification for your Marxist policies, but it simply won't happen. One can do nothing but continue to point out the error of your lies and deception each time you proffer them, and each time you attempt a new pathetic twist to get around what is right.

    Poor, poor liberals. They subvert the U.S. Constitution and fight to rob their fellow Americans of their freedom and property...and oh my, they feel sooo bullied because someone actually courage to label them for what they are.

    Of course, such silly games are how you've gotten away with your promotion of anti-American positions all these years.

    Well, no more. You're going to receive the shameful designation you deserve, whether you like it or not.

  18. I agree Cory and was thinking today how much Bob reminds me of Sibby. What bugs me is I'm just as mad as the teabaggers are about the bad economic situation we're in, but their broken record is so off base. The health care reform we got is certainly not what I hoped for either, but we should be finding some joy because it is progress. They want to rain on the parade and their constant whining has been a distraction. Instead, rejoice, we got health care reform! No one else could get it done, but our first black President signed the bill! Now that's something.

  19. Good point, John. We've made a little progress. Now it's time to get on to some other problems. Energy security, jobs, financial reform -- as the Aberdeen American News says, it's time for AG Jackley and the Republicans to cool their jets and work on solutions for some other problems. That may not be as exciting as rehashing the old talking points on an issue where they've lost, but it's what the country needs.

  20. Cory: "I want to pay for everyone's health care"

    Don't lie to yourself. You want me to pay for everyone's health care. You want to take from the wealthy to help everyone. You want to take from private enterprise both their resources and their freedom to conduct business as they choose. You want to take from the young and the healthy for those in need. You consider it noble.

    What you don't want is to give to help others in need, or at least that has nothing to do with the vile legislation passed. Because nothing prevented you from doing that before. You could always give, what you wanted to have passed was a way to take.

  21. Roger, you have no basis on which to doubt my intention. I meant exactly what I said. I am still one of the young and healthy. Take from me. Abolish private insurance, raise my taxes an amount commensurate with my current premiums, and I will have the satisfaction of knowing my tax dollars are doing more good for more people than my insurance premiums are right now. I'm not lying to anyone, myself included.

  22. Oh Cory, this is much more than a little progress. We have a black President!

    To me, this whole thing is about gray. Extreme people don't deal well with it. But Barack Obama is a pragmatist. He took it as far as he saw it could reasonably go.

    And look at Roger's post. He doesn't get it either. You and Erin support your family. Others of us have enough resources for our basic needs and well beyond.

    Real life is establishing what's reasonable in gray and relishing that.

  23. Bill: "Doesn't that means that individual States can't take away rights that Federal law has granted? "

    In a word, no.
    Constitutional rights are LIMITATIONS on what government can do. It does demands protection of those rights from being infringed on by the states.
    The enumeration of powers within the constitution then restricts the federal government from doing anything not explicitly given them.
    So the states cannot make a law that takes away your freedom to make medical decisions. It cannot mandate you live a healthier lifestyle.
    And the federal government cannot make laws, no matter how much good they might provide, that they have no authority to enact. Not that this has been followed for generations.

    Health care is a service. Calling it a right is pure ignorance

  24. There is no more intrinsic value in being gray than there is in diversity. These are just buzz words that muddy arguments. Is JohnSD going to support 'gray' reform in abortion restrictions or privatizing social security? Will he go halfway to allow more oil recovery from the tar sands? Maybe he will compromise on creating penalties for flag burning?

    I'm not sure what point JohnSD is trying to make in most of his post. What does it matter how well Cory and Erin provide for themselves? How does that empower him to force the rest of us to provide for the needs of others? The needs of society is the moral imperative for the giving of oneself, not for government to take from us "according to our abilities" to provide "according to their needs" Cory wants to be charitable, which is great. He also wants to use governmental power to make this entire society be "charitable" which is an abomination.

  25. Clearly Roger and Bob are arguing their positions over the decisions of all three branches of government.

    Everything they bring up here has already been passed into law, signed by the various Presidents and been deemed Constitutional by the judicial system, time and time again. Commerce clause, the 10th amendment, the 14th Amendment, all of it. It's settled law.

    They themselves are no doubt paying in to the social security and Medicare system, have relatives deriving benefit from same, and intend to collect theirs when its time.

    That said, their bluster here is hollow indeed. They decry and denounce the very system they pretend to defend, and the decisions of their fellow Americans. They only love the America of their selfish, narrow, stubborn fantasies, not the real one that they and their fellow countrymen live in.

  26. Bill: Last time I checked a system was not the same thing as the people involved in running it. You equate the decisions that have been passed as being legitimate for no reason other than the people at the time were successful at putting it into law. You are not arguing about our system at all, but simply case law. By such thinking Dred Scott would still be legitimate.
    I suppose you could be making a weaker argument yet: because our government did it, it must be right.

  27. No, Roger, Bill's position makes more sense than yours. In your world (which is much like the selfish, limited conservative echo chamber I inhabited in the 1990s and early 2000s), anything government does is theft... if the President isn't someone you voted for. Every decision our government makes, every tax it collects, every war it fights, forces someone to do something that person doesn't want to do. You seem to have only two alternatives: absolute consensus or absolute anarchy. Your political philosophy offers no workable solution for the real world.

  28. Roger, are you paying into Social Security and Medicare? If so, why?

  29. The argument I am making, Roger, is that "WE the People" did it through our representative system of government. That IS our system.

  30. There is a point that is being overlooked in this debate. In terms of real freedom this Health care reform goes further than any other law in my lifetime to fulfill the American dream of freedom for all.
    No longer will people have to remain in jobs that they hate just for health care. Someone wanting to start their own business will not have to risk health care loss during startup. These two points alone add enormously to the individual freedoms of Americans. I agree with Cory that in the future a single payer program will need to be instituted, but this bill goes a long way to providing freedom to a large portion of Americans that have never had it before.

  31. Excellent practical point, Barry! The South Dakota Farrmers Union and I couldn't agree more.

  32. Barry: "fulfill the American dream of freedom for all"

    You delude yourself into equating security with freedom. Creating a system that offers to take care of your problems does not have anything to do with freedom, it has to do with providing security, reducing the risk and uncertainty of life. You may desire the feelings of relief those shackles provide, I do not. Give me liberty of give me death has never been more appropriate.

    Cory: "anything government does is theft" No just what the federal government does when it takes actions "WE the people" **nod to Bill** have authorized them to do. We live in a representative constitutional republic, giving our representatives certain powers to act on our behalf. We don't just democratically elect people who then have the ability to do whatever they are able to pass in the name of the common good. I am neither for absolute consensus nor anarchy, I am for our representatives respecting their limitations even when it seems the government should or must act in the people's interest. Doing otherwise is NOT our system Bill.
    And Bill, I pay because of the threats and punishments I'd receive even if I had control of withholdings on my paycheck. Otherwise I wouldn't.
    And no Cory, I haven't been in any echo chamber since about the same time you left it (2001) I mark that point as the time Sean Hannity nauseated me past my tolerance point.

  33. Roger Wrote:" You delude yourself into equating security with freedom. Creating a system that offers to take care of your problems does not have anything to do with freedom, it has to do with providing security, reducing the risk and uncertainty of life. You may desire the feelings of relief those shackles provide, I do not. Give me liberty of give me death has never been more appropriate."

    On the contrary Roger. Security is staying in your current position to retain your health insurance. Freedom is being able to change your position with out the fear of losing your health insurance.I don't know if you have ever been in this position in your life or not, But real life freedom is more than just the ideological freedom that you speak of.

  34. Real life freedom is opting out of Social Security and Medicare if you don't believe in it, Roger.

  35. Real freedom, not abstract ideological freedom—there's an interesting point!

  36. Very interesting. Most people think of liberty as something to be fought for and gained as opposed to an a priori "endowment" which can only be lost by surrender. i.e. we don't "become" free, we "are" free.

    The "real-ization" of this is, for some, quite profound and transformational. Others never get there. They're victims of their own surrender.

  37. Or even victims of their times. Our Constitution is a document about freedom and liberty, but for the majority of people living at the time of it's birth these freedoms were only ideology. They only applied to a very select group, mainly white property owning men. To the rest of the population it had very little effect on their real freedom.

  38. Bill: Once again let me explain this to you. I CAN NOT opt out of the SS or Medicare benefits. Only certain groups such as ministers get this privilege. Congress even closed the loophole that allowed a few municipalities to opt out in the early 80's. My employer is legally obligated to withhold that money.

    Barry: "...change your position with out the fear..." This sounds like admission that there is nothing stopping anyone from changing their position. Only heir own fear keeps them in that job. Your definition of freedom is to make things easier for the craven and self-entitled.

    Bill:"Real Freedom" requires the acceptance of bad things as well as good. It means allowing evil corporations to function and allowing people to suffer if nobody steps in to help. Your transformational realization lacks any significant meaning, nor do I find it linked in any way to surrender. Whether we are born free or need to fight for it, as many people must, makes no difference in what freedom is. It only makes a difference in how the person values that freedom. If they needed to fight for it they probably wouldn't be eager to hand it over for a few crumbs of security.

  39. Cori,
    Sorry I missed this one. Must have been doing something for a change. Would have been fun defending you and some others.
    Joseph g Thompson

  40. Roger, I'm not surprised you don't get the link between transformation and surrender given the box you appear to have drawn around yourself.

    When you refuse to recognize your options, it makes it easier to claim that you don't have any.

    Good luck on your path to liberation, Roger. When and if you finally come to the end of your journey, you'll no doubt find that you have been carrying it with you the whole time.


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