Monday, July 09, 2018

Socialism is not a sexually transmitted disease

 I never got a full-time tenure-track teaching job, so I spent most of the last 26 years cobbling together adjunct teaching jobs and other part-time work. I worked as hard as anyone else, but I never got insurance except for one semester when I got a temporary full-time position. I was diagnosed with chronic ulcerative colitis at the age of 23, so individual health insurance companies wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole. Finally, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I got insured in 2014, and since then I have had three surgeries, the last to prevent cancer. Under good old fashioned capitalism I would have had to wait until I actually got colon cancer before my condition would have been considered a sufficient emergency for my operation to be paid for. After that surgery I was in the hospital for three weeks watching the debate over the attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, after the ACA, arguably, had just saved my life. The legislation, supported by Trump, would have cost me my health insurance for 2018.

 Socialism? It is not a sexually transmitted disease. We are all socialists when it comes to our military, our police, and our fire department. Not so much, maybe, for cars and houses. People should earn a living and work hard. But I don't see that moving in a socialist direction on medicine in any way undermines the work ethic, which seems to be the great fear with socialism. Now it could be that for others the ACA has done harm. Maybe I am thinking selfishly here, and it would be better for the American people in general not to have laws allowing me to get health insurance in spite of a pre-existing condition. Maybe I didn't deserve health insurance, since I didn't earn a place with an employer who would provide insurance for me. Maybe someone could have told me when I was 18 not to get ulcerative colitis. As they say, "don't get sick." But I say, "Thank you, President Obama."

And, by the way, what does "repeal and replace Obamacare" even. You don't replace something if the basic idea is rotten to the core, you just get rid of it. 

25 comments:

bmiller said...

I have 3 relatives with the same condition.
Meds are needed lifetime and are expensive.

Legion of Logic said...

I personally support universal healthcare. Yet another example of "which values do I want to completely compromise in order to support this one"?


Victor Reppert said...

Well, Trump actually started out saying he believed in universal health care and just kept implying that somehow Obama had done it the wrong way. He said it was an un-Republican thing to say. The actual proposal by Ryan, which Trump pushed, would have wiped out insurance for millions of people who were insured. As it turned out, the claim to be able to "trump" Obamacare by doing what Obamacare purported to be able to do, only better, was just hot air. The old-fashioned conservative position was to say that medicine, including health insurance, should be part of the marketplace subject to affordability constraints. I once complained that insurance companies were refusing to pay for spousal abuse victims' care if spousal abuse was a pre-existing condition. I was told that that logic is just part of the logic of for-profit insurance. If the solution to our health care crisis is to keep it market-based, then some people are going to be priced out of the market, because that is what a market it. So it becomes unclear whether Republicans oppose Obamacare because Obama supported it and has his name on it, whether they truly have a plan that will achieve the goals of Obamacare in a different way, or whether they oppose it because it moves toward the socialization of what should be part of the capitalist system. Shoot, if you don't like Obamacare, you can repeal and replace it, and get some Democratic support for doing it. Just pass single payer. To do that you would be repealing, and replacing Obamacare. You would be doing what you have been promising to do for the last nine years. Hey Republicans, what have you got to lose?

bmiller said...

There was a time in American history when a president proposed universal healthcare....Truman. The threat of the Russians was used by a (perhaps to many) surprising lobbyist group, the AMA to put the kibosh on it.

An interesting note is that employer sponsored health insurance started out as a way to attract more employees to companies since FDR froze wages during WWII. Then the unions started to use it as a barganing chip.

Truman's (R) successor proposed something like Obamacare. The AMA opposed that too.

It seems that most people support making sure people get adequate healthcare. What seems to bother them is that either they don't trust the central government to do the job on the one hand, or they don't trust the private sector to do the job on the other. There was a time when there was another option.

Joe Hinman said...

The capitalist system has used the big scare word,that;socialism so much so long without any idea of what it means.Most people who dread the socialite boogieman have no idea what it is. If you tell then :but I'm a Debsian socialist: they say: "just like Lenin and Marx." Stop cowering at the mention of the boogy man.

_____________

On Metacrock's Blog

I think this is a case where Christian apologetic has done a disservice because it;s lent itself to setting this easy little list of omni's as a quick shorthand to God's description and identity,it's really missing the point about the nature of God and what it means to attack that word to some set of characteristics.That gives me a great theme for Wedneday's blog. I will save the brunt of my comet for then, but I'll says this:first SON is about love, love is personal so the personal dimension is implied in my argument. I think TS would imply the omni's but we really have to re think the omni's.

Starhopper said...

Well, I for one have never been particularly frightened by the word socialism. I've lived in socialist countries for 10 years of my adult life (Germany and the UK), and nothing there ever caused me to want to hide under my bedsheets. And my years in the Army were basically an object lesson in what it must have been like to live in the Soviet Union. The problem with most Americans is they have no real world experience. We talk about people living in a bubble, but the entire continent of North America is basically a giant bubble. Americans are frightened by what I call "CNN Countries" - places that only make the news when something bad happens. It badly skews our perception of them, since we never see the good (of which there is a lot).

Unknown said...

Germany and the UK are not socialist countries.

bmiller said...

Just in:

US tariffs cause widespread starving in China.

Government spins situation into an environmental story by advising citizens to change diet.

Joe Hinman said...

Hate crimes and groups are increasing,This is not a case of better reporting FBI and academic studies. Southern Poverty law center faults Trump.

Make America Hate Again: The Trump Effect

Legion of Logic said...

I take anything SPLC says with an entire salt flat, so I dug further into the numbers. Feel free to poke holes in my analysis, as I welcome correction.

SPLC: There were more than 6,100 reported incidents of hate crimes in 2016, up from more than 5,800 the year before, the FBI said in a report based on data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the country.

That's true, but when we look at numbers since 2000, as I have, 2016 was near the bottom of those 16 years. Only 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 were lower, so as far as such things go, 2016 was not this horrible year of hatred (though I wish I had 2017 data for Trump's first year). Things were much worse during the Bush years and Obama's first term than 2016. That would mean that people had more hate then than under Trump, correct?

"The Trump effect." This is the phrase used by the Southern Poverty Law Center to describe the up turn in racist behavior. The center reports that not only have attacks on people for race and religion doubled anti-Muslims organizations have tripled...The Center clearly lays it at Trump's door.

Now here's where it gets interesting. If we look at the numbers of so-called hate crimes against blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims since 2000, we see some things. For example, hate crimes against blacks:

2000 - 2,884
2004 - 2,731
2008 - 2,876
2012 - 1,805
2014 - 1,621
2015 - 1,745
2016 - 1,739

In 2015, there was indeed a small uptick in hate crimes against blacks. However, it is far lower than anything we saw from the Bush years and first Obama term. The onus is on those linking it to Trump to demonstrate that link, rather than point out a timeframe correlation. I could blame it on Leonard Nimoy's death with that data point.

If we look at the numbers for Hispanics:

2000 - 577
2004 - 475
2008 - 561
2012 - 384
2014 - 299
2015 - 299
2016 - 334

We see a similar pattern as with blacks - far worse from 2000 through 2012, and a small uptick during the Trump campaign in 2016. Again, timeframe does not prove anything without causal link, though it is certainly possible.

This is the same pattern we saw for all racial-based hate crimes as a whole:

2000 - 5,248
2004 - 5,014
2008 - 4,886
2012 - 3,464
2014 - 3,216
2015 - 3,310
2016 - 3,489

An increase that is still far better than 2000 up to Obama's second term. And the increase in racial-based hate crimes is not due to blacks, Hispanics, or even Arabs, according to the FBI data. Trump has had a very small effect on racial-based hate crimes, even if you blame all increases on him and include no other factors. Which you can't, because of the 271 more hate crimes in 2016 than we had in 2015, 107 of them were due to an increase in hate crimes against whites. Is that something Trump is inciting, as well?

Legion of Logic said...

However, when we look at Muslims:

2000 - 28
2001 - 481
2002 - 155
2004 - 156
2008 - 115
2012 - 130
2014 - 154
2015 - 257
2016 - 307

Two things to note there. One, hate crimes against Muslims were very small numerically until 9/11 happened, then it skyrocketed. Two, in the aftermath it settled into a fairly consistent (though higher than previously) range every year until 2015, when it shot back up in 2015 and 2016.

Again I wish I had 2017 numbers to really show the effect of Trump's presidency, but we had a trigger event in 2001 that was the direct cause of the gigantic spike in attacks on Muslims. While Trump did announce his candidacy in 2015 and campaigned those two years with his infamous rhetoric (including his so-called "Muslim ban" that did not target the vast majority of the Muslim world), we also had several high-profile Islamic terrorist attacks in that time frame. Charlie Hebdo shooting, the Chattanooga recruit center and naval base attack, the Paris attacks of Nov '15, the Nice vehicle attack, the San Bernardino attack, the Brussels bombing, the Orlando nightclub shooting, and the bomb scare in New York and New Jersey with the mystery packages and pipe bombs.

These were big, jarring, and received lots of airtime in the news cycle. Just these attacks alone left over 300 dead and over 1,200 wounded. Based on what happened with the attacks on Muslims after 9/11, there is no reason to expect that this rash of high-profile Islamic terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016 had no impact, and every reason to suspect that they had more to do with the spike in hate crimes than Trump did, based on the very low impact he had on blacks and Hispanics.

Now, obviously Trump's rhetoric doesn't help anything, and it's quite possible that things he has said or tweeted influenced SOME of the spike, but based on the numbers I looked at from the FBI, I'm going to say the SPLC is full of crap. There are more reasonable explanations and more reasonable narratives than blaming Trump for everything.

Unless I misinterpreted something...?

Dave Duffy said...

Capitalism is the economic mechanism that produces the wealth which enables social programs like healthcare, public safety, education, and the military. For the life of me, I don't understand why people can't understand this basic concept. Someone has to pay for all the people who feel good about their political positions.

Bob, the UK and Germany are economic capitalist. They produce wealth through economic innovation that enable social programs. Ditto Sweden (the roots of my Dear Mrs Duffy and the darling of socialist) which is an economic capitalist to the core, including their very good and viscous arms industry.

I'm a capitalist who served in military to pay my dues, and since then have been producing wealth to pay for the social programs I, in the specifics want, but in the bureaucracy of the crazed Democratic Party resist.

Capitalism is the best economic system invented by man to raise the poor out of poverty. Produce the money first then we can debate where to spend it. If our professors teaching our youth don't get this basic concept, then we are doomed.

bmiller said...

Has anyone seen what is going on in Nicaragua?
This is horrible.

Dave Duffy said...

Here's one way to solve the problem:

Colleges and universities have a tenured professor upper-class and a nontenured lower-class, along with an upper and lower class of administrators. Every school has a budget for wages. All that needs to happen is to spread the budgeted wages (including benefits) equally among the upper and lower class of teachers and administrators. Problem solved.

Tenured professors get a chance to practice what they believe, and the lower class can have a few benefits. We can try this small scale socialism with the people who say they believe in it at our public institutions of learning.

Since public institutions will always receive their budget (unlike a business), there is a double assurance this small scale socialism will work. Let the tenured professors lead the way toward equality.

One Brow said...

Dave Duffy said...
Bob, the UK and Germany are economic capitalist. They produce wealth through economic innovation that enable social programs. Ditto Sweden (the roots of my Dear Mrs Duffy and the darling of socialist) which is an economic capitalist to the core, including their very good and viscous arms industry.

So, you agree universal health care is not socialist? Works for me.

SteveK said...

I don't like the idea of the government having the final say regarding my healthcare. Too much power over a person's life in one centralized place.

Dave Duffy said...

I agree that universal healthcare is not socialist. However, it can't be paid for by socialist economics.

I've already realized I'm working for you One Brow. As a citizen paying the bills, I just want my say.

Joe, this is not meant to be racist.

Victor Reppert said...

SteveK: I don't like the government having the final say regarding your healthcare. You prefer maybe insurance companies?

Jim S. said...

Well, if I don't like what my insurance company does regarding my health care I can find another one. If I don't like what the government does regarding my health care I'm pretty much screwed. Obviously there are problems, and yours Victor crystallize some of them. The health insurance industry needed to be reworked. But I tentatively agree with SteveK: if I make the government the ones who decide what kind of health care I get, the potential negatives start looking much worse. Don't give your friends power you wouldn't want your enemies to have.

Jim S. said...

I also contest the claim that "universal health care" and "government run health care" mean the same thing. Nobody wants people to not have access to the health care they need. The question is balancing out the positives and negatives, one negative being that there will always be people who don't have access. We want to minimize that as much as possible, but if minimizing it leads to greater problems we would have to decide what the lesser evil is. There's no such thing as a good solution in politics, it's all horrible solutions and really horrible solutions -- and you generally can't tell which ones are really horrible until after you've tried them and it's no longer possible to change your mind.

One Brow said...

SteveK said...
I don't like the idea of the government having the final say regarding my healthcare. Too much power over a person's life in one centralized place.

So, you prefer that the decision be left to a corporate board, who answers to stockholders based on a profit/loss basis?

One Brow said...

Dave Duffy said...
I agree that universal healthcare is not socialist. However, it can't be paid for by socialist economics.

I have no idea what "socialist economics" means in this context, if you dopn't mean "taxes"?

I've already realized I'm working for you One Brow. As a citizen paying the bills, I just want my say.

You're paying my bills? How so?

One Brow said...

Jim S. said...
Well, if I don't like what my insurance company does regarding my health care I can find another one.

I can't, at least not realistically. I have been coerced into employer-selected health insurance for just about my entire working career. Going to an outside company would cast me at least twice what I pay.

Also, if you are already sick, and your company has decided that they won't pay for the treatment, I find you will find it difficult to find another health insurance company that will pick you up as a client (unless companies are forbidden to consider pre-existing conditions, as required by something like the ACA).

... if I make the government the ones who decide what kind of health care I get, the potential negatives start looking much worse.

What happens to those private means you were just talking about. There is no Western country where private medical care is illegal, AFAIK.

I also contest the claim that "universal health care" and "government run health care" mean the same thing. Nobody wants people to not have access to the health care they need. The question is balancing out the positives and negatives, one negative being that there will always be people who don't have access.

Under government run health care, everyone has access.

Jim S. said...

I can't, at least not realistically.

I had employer-selected health care for most of my adult life before I moved overseas. I've also been poor all of my adult life. On more than one occasion other insurance companies tried to get me to switch to them, and sweetened the deal by lowering the cost enough where I could afford it fairly easily. But of course, the employer-selected health care was cheaper. This doesn't speak to Victor's problems though, getting an insurance company in the first place when you have health issues that they will all turn down.

There is no Western country where private medical care is illegal, AFAIK

It was illegal in Canada until recently. Enough people died waiting for government run health care and they were not allowed to pay for it directly to doctors who were willing to treat them. It became controversial enough that the government finally caved and allowed doctors to treat patients directly.

Under government run health care, everyone has access.

I lived most of a decade in a country with government run health care and this was not the case. At any rate, my issue is that I don't want the government deciding what kind of health care I get. Let me be more specific: I don't want Trump and Trump's government deciding what kind of health care I get. I'm bewildered by Democrats who do. If you give that power to the government when the people you like are in charge, eventually people you hate are going to be in charge, and their decisions are going to be catastrophic.

One Brow said...

Jim S. said...
At any rate, my issue is that I don't want the government deciding what kind of health care I get. Let me be more specific: I don't want Trump and Trump's government deciding what kind of health care I get. I'm bewildered by Democrats who do. If you give that power to the government when the people you like are in charge, eventually people you hate are going to be in charge, and their decisions are going to be catastrophic.

I agree that, without a larger public mandate, this is a major concern.