Thursday, December 11, 2008

Post No. 69: A Country Has to Know Its Limitations

© 2008, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

On November 30, 2008, shortly after Sen. Obama’s election, we asked our readers whether any governmental entity should have the responsibility to provide healthcare for its citizens.

We invited our readers to provide their views on the subject, prior to our putting forth an argument as to why no government entity should have that responsibility, except perhaps in the case of veterans, or those injured during the course of service for the nation. (Since that time, we have also considered the inclusion of children below a certain age, since they have very little role in making decisions about their health until they are much closer to adulthood.)

It led to a very lively and stimulating exchange. Even a cursory examination of the comments in connection with Post No. 68d (http://theviewfromoutsidemytinywindow.blogspot.com/2008/11/post-no-68d-argument-why-no-government.html) reveals the diversity and passion of opinion regarding this subject.

Is it really the government's responsibility to ensure the good health of, and the provision of health care facilities and treatment to, its citizens? Why do so many citizens feel that it is something which the government, at some level, should provide? Is there a reasonable expectation on the part of the taxpayers that health care is a "service" due them by virtue of their current level of tax contribution?


What responsibility should be placed on the citizens themselves to make the "best efforts" to maintain their health, and utilize the very latest in scientific knowledge about health risks, particularly nutrition, and the detrimental consequences associated with certain behaviors? Should citizens be required to show that they engaged, or failed to engage, in certain behaviors, prior to being extended heath care benefits by the government?

We indicated that we would generate some thoughts after entertaining those of others. Here are five arguments which can be advanced to support the notion that we should not have a national healthcare system, or perhaps that America is not yet ready to have such a system.

1. All relationships are about expectations. An argument can be made that the American public has an unreasonable expectation about what it takes to manage and operate a large organization and its accompanying bureaucracy. Most interestingly, those who have never run a large organization seem to think that they have all the answers. The criticism of the various executives, associated with the Big Three American Automakers, suggests to us that we as a nation do not fully comprehend the complexities and difficulties associated with management of a large organization in an everchanging, global environment. We are apparently “qualified” to criticize others who do not achieve the results that we expect.

2. In contemplating a national healthcare system, it appears that most proponents suggest that it provide benefits to all of our nation’s citizens, namely 300 million people. We do not have the capability to manage anything involving 300 million people. We don’t do it with respect to the other “essentials” of civilized life, food, housing, clothing, or education, which are arguably more simplistic in nature, and which at least have components around which we can wrap our arms. What makes us think that we can do it with respect to arguably the most complex of issues, namely human health? To borrow a phrase from Dirty Harry, “A country has to know its limitations.”

3. We do not have anyone, or any board or committee for that matter, with the capabilities, sophistication, and experience to manage a 300 million recipient organization. Furthermore, as noted earlier, as an organization grows in size, its sense of “reality” changes to ensure the advancement of its interests and its continued survival. We’re setting ourselves up for failure and unnecessary criticism.

4. Any system delivering services to 300 million people will undoubtedly parcel out its services in unfair and inequitable ways during the course of the execution of its policies. It’s not like an engine with simple, mechanical, moving parts. Humans do not function in accordance with the rules of physics. They’re emotional, and they have minds of their own. No one has yet discovered how to manage emotion. At least in the military, they understand what needs to be done to craft humans into fungible, interchangeable units, for management purposes, and even they have difficulties.

5. What makes us think that we can devise a system to provide benefits or services to recipients who essentially do whatever they want or desire to do, from a health perspective, and then have an expectation that the system should address the negative ramifications flowing therefrom? It doesn’t make sense. What makes us believe that we can “herd cats,” each with their own goals, motivations, and selfish interests, and deliver some nebulous, unspecified level of service resulting in what we refer to as “good health?” As a general proposition, Americans are not “sufficiently motivated” to maintain a state of good health. We don’t want it badly enough. The only proven way to get humans to adhere to a policy or approach is to force/ prod them, or have them buy into it voluntarily.

Although some ambitious and very thoughtful suggestions were put forth in your comments, no one, who responded to our challenge about reforming the health care system, really explained how they planned to address the uncertainties and complexities associated with the human side of the equation, and each individual’s responsibility to the system.

As a practical matter, it can’t be done in America, at least not under our current political philosophy. Any attempt in that regard will be regarded as socialist, or even worse, communist, in nature. As we all saw during the most recent election, we can’t have that.


This is a country built on social Darwinism or survival of the fittest. If you happen to be one of the fittest and you survive, kudos to you. If you are one of the not so fit, we leave it you to fend on your own, perhaps with the gratuitous assistance of non-profits, the religious community, and the kindness of others. Many in our country feel that if we assist the not so fit, or guarantee certain things to the masses, we play into their weaknesses and thus become enabling agents.

This is neither a culture nor governance model which has as its goal the equal treatment of its citizens or the equality of the services or opportunities available to them. It is a culture that simply guarantees that each individual citizen has a chance to pursue whatever they might so desire. That has nothing to do with results.

We don’t guarantee results in America.

Simply put, a national healthcare system does not fit within our governance model, nor does it fit within our cultural philosophy. This is not to suggest that it should not, just that it does not. It’s just that it would require a significant paradigm shift in our way of thinking about our role as citizens.

Don’t you think?

© 2008, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

42 comments:

  1. I think you summed it up fairly well. My only disagreement would be with the idea that we, as a whole, follow a kind of social Darwinism and do not want to help those who fall by the wayside. I think that is not only untrue but provably untrue. Few wish to do away with welfare but a large majority wish to reform it or support recent reforms. We wish to help people get back on their feet but do not wish to support them forever. We are not opposed to long term (even lifetime) assistance to those who are permanently disabled to the point where they cannot possibly support themselves. But we do not believe families should have a tradition of welfare. I think the same thing applies to the issue of health care.

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  2. Thanks Douglas. We don't believe that we, as a nation or government, espouse or articulate that we function by the rules of social Darwinism.

    However, we believe that on a practical level, that is the reality. Occasionally our leaders make a concession here or there regarding taking care of the "less fortunate," for political or high moral ground purposes. However, there is no real practical reason for the average politician to pay attention to the poor, powerless, sick, and disenfranchised. It does not advance their interests.

    It is important for us, from a theoretical perspective, to occupy the high moral ground ether around the universe, but we live in a state of extremes and a significant segment of our population lives in disillusionment.

    The manner in which we dealt with the folks following Katrina reveals much about us as a nation. We're not saying that we're not willing, as a nation, to periodically drop by and check in with the poor and disadvantaged; however, we clearly do not want to deal with them on a regular basis, or actually address and solve the conditions which lead to their institutionalized lower status as 2nd class citizens. Remember, we're the country which debated the propriety of slavery on economic grounds for hundreds of years.

    That speaks volumes about our collective psyche and the foundations upon which this empire was built. This country is about opportunity, not about the probability of getting there.

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  3. Well thought out article and a presentation of issues I had not considered. I don't believe in giving everything away for free, yet there has to be some method of controlling a health care system that has corruption on all levels. Physicians are over-charging, incorrectly billing and randomly billing for services they may or may not have provided. The insurance companies are looking at the bottom line. The consumer is overwhelmed with co-payments, insurance costs and deductibles. Personally, I just lost my job and there is no way I am going to pay $500 a month for COBRA! So I struggle looking for an affordable plan that meets my needs that won't put me in dire straits paying the premiums and won't leave me homeless if I suffer a catastrophic event.
    Other countries (that are not communist!) offer basic health care for individuals though I am not aware of all the intricacies of such plans. Why would it be so difficult to offer a national plan that the uninsured could enroll in - that is basic for a basic low fee. Higher levels of care and better benefits could be purchased. Employers could get some sort of tax break for providing insurance benefits to their employees.
    I'd prefer something that commands a consumer buy-in rather than just giving away medicaid as it is now. I also know many people that would prefer just to take all social programs away. Their opinion is that tax dollars are for infrastructure - not for charity.
    I'd say that's my $.02 cents worth but I think I went over :)

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  4. Thanks for your contribution Iris. You raised a number of very relevant points.

    Most of us, as humans, evaluate the world from where we sit, at a particular point in time, and based on our education, experiences, and circumstances. Take that and extrapolate it, and just imagine the vast realm of expectations and needs associated with 300 million different citizens. It's mind boggling.

    In light of that, we think that it is essential that we approach the design of a new healthcare system in a manner that transcends the way in which we currently view healthcare. That's why we are more inclined to totally revamp the system, use very little of its current features, and totally revolutionize the manner in which we view health. The citizens have to buy into it emotionally.

    We need visionary individuals, very much like the individuals who wrote our Constitution, to anticipate issues far down the road and far beyond our current issues. (By the way, that's what a patent attorney does when writing a patent covering intellectual property.)

    We've got to get beyond individual healthcare issues, and make them societal healthcare issues. It is the individual approach, and the delivery of the services on a individual basis, which makes our current system cumbersome, jury-rigged in nature, and requires excessive bureaucracy.

    The good health of a prosperous nation should be a given, to which we should have to give little thought and effort, and not a tortured concept over which vested interests fight.

    Think about it. Considering that we are considered, in some circles, the most powerful nation in the history of the world, it's amazing that we are even having this conversation at this point in time.

    Once again, it speaks volumes about who we are as a people.

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  5. Logie - You are hopelessly caught up in the concept that 300,000,000 is a big number. It isn't. With the computing power we have today, it's like 6 to an abacus. We have issued a social security id to everybody at birth for nearly a century. Each year the ss administration will provide me with a printout of all my earnings since I picked peaches on a farm in MD when I was 14, and how much I can expect to be paid in ss benefits when I retire.

    Tom Daschle gave a speech today in Denver where he fired the first shot across the bow. He said we are heading toward an integrated information based healthcare system. Only the federal government can do this efficiently and fairly. There is no credibility from the Larry Kudlow bloviators any more. How can any supposed free market capitalist even talk about socialism as if its a bad thing when the banks and car makers are begging to feed at the trough of the public weal?

    Here are some statistics and statements from the National Coalition on Healthcare:

    In 2007, total national health expenditures were expected to rise 6.9 percent — two times the rate of inflation.1 Total spending was $2.3 TRILLION in 2007, or $7600 per person.1 Total health care spending represented 16 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

    Although nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.

    Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml

    You ask if we are entitled to healthcare. That's not the right question. Those who can treat the sick and injured have an ethical duty to do so. We're all going to need some sometime. When we do, it should be available. It used to be that it was. But that system of allocation broke down one or two decades ago. Now we have to structure a new allocation system. We have the IT know how and resources. We should simply pay for it through our tax system. Let the MDs and all healthcare workers work directly for the federal government. They own the hospitals too. No one ever gets a bill. Imagine the efficiency from the total elimination of any payment at the point of patient care.

    I think you got it right in your last paragraph when you say that "it would require a significant paradigm shift in our way of thinking about our role as citizens." But, I don't think there is any reason why a national healthcare system couldn't be made to fit within our governance model or within our cultural philosophy.

    The sands supporting our Bush-era paradigm are shifting.

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  6. Welcome to Dirty Harry territory stever.

    You are absolutely correct that we are absolutely caught up in the notion that 300,000,000 is a big number. It is largest number of people that we have ever had here in the U S of A.

    Name one other country in history, which has had a middle class, which has been able to achieve order (i.e. manage its people) in its society without the threat of violence or intimidation.

    We clearly believe that we are approaching the limits of a democracy model founded on individual freedoms. It has become too complicated and too divided.

    We saw Tom Daschle's speech today, and we were reasonably impressed. Unfortunately, the vested interests will not allow it to occur. There's just too much inertia and money already invested in other systems. That's significantly what went wrong with our auto industry over the past 30 years. It would have been difficult for them to innovate and still make short term profits, and the new kids on the block were able to get going without the historic baggage and old infrastructure.

    We agree that the purported wealthiest country in the world has an ethical duty to ensure that its people are healthy. What's interesting is that a segment of our population, which should be entitled to top flight treatment at no cost whatsoever, namely vets who fought in wars on our behalf, just last year faced the threat of Congress eliminating their benefits.

    That tells you that our resources are rapidly being depleted. We are no longer a country which has the resources available to provide a national healthcare system and fight two wars, and bail out Wall Street, and bail out AIG, and bail out the auto industry, simultaneously. We need to get back on our feet financially before we try to spend money in a new area.

    Let's get back to innovation, science, technology, and industry. It's been the foundation of growth for all rising industrial powers throughout history. We need to return to the basics, generate the tax revenues, and then revisit new programs. Unfortunately, right now virtually all we can do is cut spending in numerous areas.

    As Tom Friedman mentioned this evening, the undercurrent message during the election was that we need to do some nation building right here at home. That starts with innovation in the private sector resulting in new products, new technology, new ways of doing things. Government is the ultimate beneficiary of wealth in an industrialized economy. It does not generate income, it just spends.

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  7. I can refute all the negativity with this:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081119/ap_on_he_me/med_artificial_heart

    Does anyone think this girl's family could afford the medical care she received? Not a chance. Does anyone think she'd have been on that artificial heart at all under a system that was doling out the public dime through some bureaucracy?

    The system actually does work the way it is. A safety net will always have gaps, especially one that is supposedly designed to catch all 300 million.

    The politicians take great pains to play up to the poor (for their votes) but have no incentive to actually do anything that would greatly improve their lives. After all, it is the promises, the Hope, that generates enthusiasm and the votes that go with it. On the other hand, a bureaucrat has no incentive to even offer hope.

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  8. Folks: We enjoy this exchange of ideas. It is essential that everyone with a view come to the table and present different options and views. It is important to remember that reasonable people can differ. Not only does such an exchange stimulate thought, in theory, by taking segments of various positions, an "optimal" system can be crafted.

    Optimal in the industrial and systems engineering world means something different than in the lay world. In the IE world, it means examining all of the various elements of an enterprise, and all of the competing considerations, and devising a system which attempts to weigh, balance, and prioritize all of the factors and elements, and achieve the ultimate goal with lower cost, high productivity, and high efficiency.

    To do that requires the input of ALL, even when some input might be viewed as negative in nature. It's all good. The exchange is the key.

    That being said, just this morning, we woke up to see that the U.S. Senate had failed to pass an auto industry bill. It's a different world in politics and government. In business/private sector, one would rarely have a filibuster by a faction or a failure to devise a plan during a period of crisis. (Except perhaps in a small partnership or closely held corporation.) The business life blood (i.e. cash flow) is totally dependent on it.

    Think about how many times governments have had to shut down since they were not able to devise a budget before a particular deadline.

    The primary goal of a business is to be profitable/ stay in business. A failure to do so means that it is gone or perhaps bankrupt. (To our current knowledge, only Orange County in Southern California has filed bankruptcy in recent years.) In the case of governments, they just keep going no matter what their economic status, the leaders stay in office until the end of their terms, and the government employees continue to maintain their jobs. (We acknowlege the recent announcement of the U.S. Post Office that it plans to lay-off people for the first time in its history.) It's a problematic model.

    Something else about isolated examples of healthcare for a little boy out of Iraq, or some little girl out of Africa, or even some little local gal with a medical problem of enormity. We can always "mediatize" certain events to make our health care system look goode. However, one need only to walk through the back streets of Bedford-Stuy, the back roads of Mississippi, or the remote mountains of West Virginia, PERSONALLY, to really see the disparity of treatment of people in this country. These are the forgotten folks. There's no safety net for them. They're not immigrants purportedly not entitled to our largesse. It's just that on a practical level, they don't matter and are thus not part of the equation. Why? Because they do not contribute to politicians, they pay very little taxes and yet require financial resources, do not have powerful voices to represent them at the national level, and most importantly, we don't have to see or feel their pain on a regular basis. It's too unpleasant.

    There'a a program airing on TV now about the children in this country who are hungry. Interestingly, the majority of them appear to be white kids. Another argument just came to mind as to why the government should not have the responsibility to provide healthcare to all of its citizens. How about making sure, FIRST, that all of our citizens are properly fed with nutritious food, and then worry about this national healthcare system AFTER we get people properly fed.

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  9. Must we be perfect? Or should we strive for perfection and accept that it is not possible so that we can appreciate what we can achieve?

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  10. Logie - You appear to have great admiration for a) the military and b) corporations. I am not sure why anyone who served in a war should be entitled to more than any other citizen. Such a policy rewards those who will sign on to America's thirst for war and imperialism. Have we really fought a "just war" since WWII? Our Friends the Quakers, pun intended, would argue that not even WWII was a necessary war.

    Who deserves free healthcare more Casius Clay or Lt. Calley of Mi Lai massacre fame? I don't fault kids who sign up for service. They are disproportionately poor and in need of the opportunity military service provides for them. I pray none of them gets wounded or killed in service. A report came out today (albeit from the biased democratic congress point of view) that Donald Rumsfeld knew far more about the policies behind Abu Graib and Gitmo than imagined. I predict that the pretext for this war and the policies perpetrated by Rummy, Cheney and company have undermined good will and respect for the USA for many years and will cost many more innocent lives. One argument against free healthcare for veterans is that we ought not have national policies that reward a jingoist worldview that destroys the values of our constitution.

    Corporations and workers had a social compact that worked from the end of WWII nearly through the tech bubble at the end of the millenium. The corporation acted as the paternal guiding hand, providing among other things, job stability, medical insurance, and a pension. The paradigm is shifting and the big 3 dilemma is so instructive. They cannot be bailed out by the 15 billion or whatever they are going to get. That will sustain them until June ... maybe. One reason, as you point out, is the legacy costs of the paternal days. Wouldn't national healthcare relieve them of the burden of both retiree and current worker healthcare benefits?

    Most captains of corporations today are heartless, Harvard MBA types. They do not even see their people. They do not even see their people! They see costs on spreadsheets. That's what people are to them. That's why government has to take over. Listen to Friedman talk about mobilizing American citizens around a nationwide effort to establish energy independence. Now there's a war worth fighting.

    The world is a small place and we have to start caring for and about one another. The corporation isn't the vehicle for that anymore. Not unless we can come up with a new corporate ethic.

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  11. Douglas: This is not about perfection, it's about being responsible to others whose money you are spending. If your tax dollars are going to be used to provide health care benefits to others, wouldn't you want to know that they are doing their absolute level best to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Additionally, shouldn't someone receiving those benefits feel a responsibility and obligation to society, whose dollars are being used to provide them with benefits, to use every imaginable effort to maintain good health and take proactive measures to minimize their impact healthcare resources of society? Where's the human responsibility in all of this?

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  12. Stever: Back for more. No, it's not that we have great admiration for the military and corporations; however, at least they recognize that there are difficulties associated with coordinating large groups of people, and make some effort to organize them in some semi-logical fashion. That is very much contrary to the government, as a general rule. Additionally, at least there are accountability mechanisms built into the system.

    With governments, a top level leader might occasionally be replaced or voted out, but the remainder of the functioning bureaucracy remains in place. If a governmental agency fails in executing its repsonsibilites, shouldn't everyone be replaced? Instead, many see government jobs as places where they can have some employment security.

    Shouldn't everyone constantly be aware that they could be dismissed at any moment for not giving their absolute best in the performance of their responsibilities? Why shouldn't we demand the best?

    The kids who serve in the military do not pick and choose the battles they fight, and they should not be penalized if the particular war in which they are involved is popular or unpopular. If it really is an unpopular or unjust war, then isn't it the responsibility of the electorate to stop it through the legislative process?

    As for your point that captains of industry do not recognize people as individuals, should they really do so? It's not about individuals, it's about the survival of the entity, the greater good, isn't it? There has to be an emotional separation, and we're sure that you know that from managing people. Now, if you're suggesting that less of the profit go to money speculators, there might be something to that.

    One final point, if every single employee of an enterprise thought about the collective interest, instead of their individual interest, and worked as hard as they could to advance the interests of the collective many, might we have better businesses? Is that the current expectation? We suspect that every aspect of the enterprise begins to feel used or exploited at some point in our culture, primarily because of individualism. We've got to figure out a way to have people buy in emotionally into the enterpise of which they are members. We have to create a climate in which the citizens feel a responsibility to others in society as opposed to themselves, wouldn't you say?

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  13. Log, not sure why you think realizing that we cannot ensure health care for all means we aren't doing our best at any given time. I think we, as a nation, are serving the population as best we can in that area. No socialized health care is providing more or better care than the US. You argue about personal responsibility and then talk of government providing more health care? Which is it? Someone once sent me an email where a person complained that he was required to pass a drug test in order to keep his job while welfare recipients were not. Should we stop welfare? Should we demand drug testing for recipients? Where is personal responsibility in that?

    I am saying that humans are imperfect and, therefore, so are their societies. That does not mean we cannot try to improve nor does it mean we should rest on our laurels.

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  14. Douglas: Recognizing that humans are not perfect does not preclude every single element of society from striving to do their absolute best, does it? Why reward people who do not give their all and all, and their best? If all the people of your pay grade in the Navy were assembled, and one worked 10 hours per week, another 20, another 40, and another 60, should they all be rewarded with the same pay and benefits?

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  15. We find it interesting that some feel that the US is doing the best that it can about the healthcare of its people. Interesting. Maintaining that the "status quo" is the best that we can do is fascinating. We need to think about that one a little further. We understand those who argue to maintain the status quo because it perpetuates their financial or other advantage over others; however, to maintain that the status quo is the equivalent of doing our best goes to a whole different place.

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  16. Newt Gingrich just made a very interesting point on C-Span2 Book TV, and an analogy could be made to healthcare.

    In discussing governmental bailouts, he mentioned that his sister, a school teacher in Pennsylvania, visited him this week. She told him that she felt pretty foolish for continuing to pay her mortgage on time. If she had defaulted in her payments for four months, she would have been eligible for assistance in the form of a re-working of her mortgage very low interest rate.

    Additionally, he noted that we are not providing assistance to the automobile manufacturers operating in America who are not in trouble. Are we to reward mismanagement and bad decisions?

    This is not to suggest that people will purposefully pursue poor health hoping to receive healthcare benefits, but it does raise the issue of whether we should assist those who make poor decisions. Are there differences in the analysis that we should consider here?

    Many argue that companies should be allowed to fail because of past bad conduct. Is the same reasoning applicable to humans? Let them die because of past bad practices or behaviors? Should a motorcyclist riding without a helmet be permitted to die on the street instead of being taken to an emergency room? If he or she is taken to the ER, should there be a limit to the amount of treatment, or life-saving efforts employed to save him or her?

    If we allow the companies to fail, resulting in lay-offs or a loss of health insurance benefits for many employees, will it not adversely affect the health of the members of the families of the workers? Will that not place a further burden on the government?

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  17. Back to this healthcare issue, no one has responded to our inquiry as to whether ensuring that all Americans are properly fed with nutritious food, is more of an achievable goal, and one which arguably should be addressed even prior to engaging in the national healthcare debate, involving expensive equipment and technology? Isn't it more of a pro-active approach to health?

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  18. Your response following the input from readers is "tough stuff" but very true. We have, as a country, become increasingly dependent upon the government to take care us, while at the same time, telling them to stay out of our lives. No government can do much under those circumstances. Until we individually begin to take responsibility for our lives, we will never achieve our fullest potential. As social beings part of our well-being consists on doing our part to maintain the social structure, beginning with the family, community, country, world. Families today have largely abdicated any responsibility for "teaching" in the home. We want our schools, churches and communities do the teaching, but we do not agree with most of what they do! This debate is unending, but the bottom line is that we MUST return to personal responsibility for our lives. Responsible individuals will mostly do the "right" things.

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  19. Dan: You so eloquently summed up all of our thoughts in one sentence:

    "We have, as a country, become increasingly dependent upon the government to take care of us, while at the same time, telling them to stay out of our lives."

    That's genius. Thank you.

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  20. Just heard today that 125 million people in the world are deemed obese, and most of them are in western industrialized countries, and that 2 billion people (roughly 1/3 of the world's population) suffer from poor diet. Seems to us that focusing on nutrition is still the chapest, most effective route to go in terms of healthcare.

    Anybody willing to have the government place restrictions on what people eat, even going so far as to outlaw certain foods, instead of trying to manage a 300 million subscriber national healthcare system?

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  21. Now that we have had some time to see how our government has responded to this economic crisis, do you feel that it is humanly possible for a democratic society to address problems of this magnitude where we have 300 million citizens? Do you really feel that our nation is capable of managing that much complexity?

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  22. An author with a purportedly simplistic solution to our national healthcare issue is scheduled to appear on C-Span2 Book TV at 8:15 pm EST. today, Saturday, January 24, 2009: http://booktv.org/program.aspx?ProgramId=10145&SectionName=Politics&PlayMedia=No

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  23. The C-Span2 Book TV program discussing a simplistic proposal for a guaranteed, national healthcare system is airing now: http://www.booktv.org/program.aspx?ProgramId=10145&SectionName=Politics&PlayMedia=No

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  24. In just a few minutes, at 9:00 am EDST today (Sunday), C-Span Book TV will air a book discussion with the author of >Healthcare Guaranteed, A Simple Solution.

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  25. Thank you, Inspector. I agree that it is not the government's role to provide healthcare. I also believe, however, that a couple sweeping & easy policy changes could begin immediately to improve the national standard and cost of care.

    1. Enforce our illegal immigration laws.
    2. Remove the Federal mandate that hospitals treat EVERYBODY who shows up at their doors.

    From that point, let's breathe for a moment and find another aspect of healthcare problems to tackle.

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  26. Crista:

    Welcome. There is much to be said for your common sense points. They also fit within the recognition of limitations concept. A country can not be all things to all people of the world. Additionally, any house has to take care of its own first, and ensure that it is healthy, before trying to take care of the residents of other houses.

    Pls visit often.

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  27. If I am a healthy person who exercises regularly, eats healthy foods, does not smoke, drink, or engage in unhealthy activities, why should my tax dollars be used to provide health care to people who do not care enough to lead a healthy lifestyle. As far as I am concerned, they should suffer the consequences of their actions, and not at the expense of those of us who do not engage in unhealthy activities.

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  28. I think this needs to be taken in a much larger context. larger than "society, to the point of "what is it to be human" -- If we abandon the current social model of Corporatism, and the triumph of Apex Predators, with accruing wealth as the ultimate human reward -- our evolution stops at "law of the jungle"

    If we shift to the model that is espoused by Buddha, Jesus, Rumi and others, where the individual experiences the reality of being ONE with all, --not separate-- the false reality in which we are constantly propagandized where we are brainwashed into believing consumption and production is for the benefit of a few is the only possibility -- , we reap evolutionary rewards far beyond that of being a herd eternally milked by a few in their own limited Self interest --

    The Model of Corporatism and Consumerism is unsustainable, we are watching the collapse of it now. The Parasite Increased the herd when it need it, and now that it needs less body's to farm and manufacture -- is killing it. IMO, This is what the healthcare debate is all about -- Eugenics, Greed, and artificial market manipulation

    Without Greed, we could easily take care of this situation, yet greed is driving us ever deeper into debt, while killing billions over he next 200 years.

    The trick is to realize your true nature -- and embrace that -- so much better than a race to accumulate wealth. and it's a truly unlimited evolutionary possibility for our species -- as opposed to being inter planetary virus of consumption fueled by greed

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  29. HeyWho:

    Welcome to our forum, and thanks for your contribution.

    We actually really like your discussion, although it is perhaps more spiritual in nature than that to which we have become accustomed.

    There is also the issue of where the country is at in terms of its evolution. We suspect that far more people might subscribe to your position if country were far older.

    You will note that we indicated that in our opinion, America is not yet ready for universal health care.

    Thanks, and visit us often.

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  30. Thanks for the welcome -- I can agree w/ you on the age of the country and it's level of spiritual awareness -- you don't see ppl from scandinavian countries swimming the atlantic to get away from taxes -- and they have the highest standard of living in the world.

    But personally, I think we have a very small window now... before we have global fascism. Now that most jobs have ben outsourced, (to totalitarian countries that can control labor costs) the primary industries in the USA are War for Profit, and Celebrity/entertainment -- or propaganda about america

    You can make it an economic argument, but if ppl don't change, it really won't matter -- we're just arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic...

    IMO -- Greed is the root cause of this. the view is constantly propagandized -- and only by getting past that can we get to our own true nature.

    Hmm... how do you like the deck chairs?

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  31. HeyWho:

    You must have heard us laughing out loud. You're good; very good. Pls visit us regularly.

    By the way, speaking of outsourcing and the demise of our economic engine, while tuned in to C-Span earlier today, we heard a caller make this observation about the up and coming China and its effect on the U.S.:

    There is no way for us to ignore, or for that matter, overcome the force of 1.4 billion trying to get what we have.

    What we really need now is a rally, an American cultural, political, and industrial renaissance. For us to simply continue doing what we've done in the past makes absolutely no sense.

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  32. That's right, and the only way that can happen is if the ppl who "won" the old game can be convinced to start an entirely new one -- and that's pretty unlikely to happen. Like the guy in Dr Strangelove, these fools are going to ride this diaster all the way down.

    So we need to redefining "winning" and that means redefine being human -- I used to work in HR -- ppl don't like to change -- particularly when they "won" at a game that is destroying our species.

    Problem w/ Narcissism -- it has all the qualities to be a successful CEO / Politician, w/ no ability to relate to Human Beings on an emotional, empathetic, intuitive level -- it's like Lizard brains are running the world. two radically different types of minds in the species -- and it's evolution time

    Personality Disordered ppl Mak shitty long term planning --when you live in a world of mirrors and don't know it, or care --and "reality" is a narrative you tell yourself? Facts be damned.... throw in Climate Change, and Religious Wackjobs who WANT Armageddon to see who's "belief system" about "God" is correct -- I don't have much hope.

    I think, hippies were right, but never encountered the propaganda machine of TV... they sold us Levi's w/ rock music... we thought we "won"

    Now, America is the stupidest and most dangerous country on the planet, run by idiots who think "if I can't persuade you, I'll torture or kill you, invade your country based on lies, so we my friends can make billions in the stock market, and kill millions of you -- for a new car.

    I think the only hope is to get out of the city, learn to grow food, get off the grid, and get ready to ride out the collapse of Global Civilization. Democracy is Dead in America -- a meaningless vote is what you give a slave so he thinks he matters -- like a kid, you want to brus your teeth now, or in 5 minutes?

    Monsanto is sterilizing the planet so we'll depend on them for food, soon we'll have to buy water, if they could, they'd sell us air.

    Greedy sociopaths killed America, & it's going to be ugly for a long while

    So all this talk abt what we can "afford" is meaningless IMO, the plane is going down -- doesn't matter if you're in first class or coach -- and were in global denial abt it...

    The war is over, the good guys lost

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  33. I am absolutely convinced that the fat cats, particularly those on Wall Street, recognized some 25-30 years ago that the US was on the decline, and simply accelerated it while they stole as much capital as they possibly could for themselves and their families, before the Titanic sunk.

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  34. Agree w/ anonymous....

    two recommended documentaries --

    1) Psywar: the Real Battlefield is your mind. Documents use of military propaganda techniques on civilian population as a means of perceptual control for the last 100 years or so

    http://metanoia-films.org/psywar.php

    2) The Secret of Oz

    Documents how banks have manipulated financial markets for -- alooooong time, to control economy, and thus control population

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U71-KsDArFM

    I would encourage everyone to Download / RIP these movies to your hard drives... in fact, any information that doesn't fit w/ the interest of corporatism -- RIP it... if all you have is a link, you got nothing... Google sneezes, and we are in the dark ages -- where =Big Brother is constantly "correcting" history

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  35. HeyWho:

    With respect to Narcissism and Personality Disorders, engaging humans and being human requires one set of skills or feelings; managing people, especially large groups of people, requires a certain detachment and an ability to compartmentalize. Quite frankly, in our view, a leader can't be both.

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  36. HeyWho:

    Thanks much for recommending the two documentaries. We are always open to new information. More resources and more information, means more ways to view issues, and more options.

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  37. I'm with Heywho on this.There was a time (long time ago) when Politicians were motivated to improve the living conditions for everybody in the country. Looks to me that going into politics is reduced to a career move. You make big bucks, through bribes ( both legal & illegal), maybe get a book deal or like a lot of Politicians do over here, simply use politics as a stepping stone to move into the corporate world and do consulting.
    Politicians seem to only consider the upper-class and the professional middle-class. Every class below that does not seem to matter. Not surprisingly a large portion of the professional middle-class has adopted the same mindset. My guess is that they are conditioned to think like that. The media hardly ever mentions poverty or homlessness. Reminds me, of all the articles I read before President Obama got elected about the Homeless and Tent-Cities. Out of sight out of mind I guess.
    The news consist largely of propaganda for either the left or right and lying has become acceptable.

    America might be the most dangerous country right now (I'm sure that will change soon), but being fair I have to say that my native country is run by selfish Idiots as well.
    Ideal would be if we would elect politicians that have an interest and pursue social justice instead of vested interest. Let's test perspective Politicians for negative personality traits! I would love to see someone that is honest, compassionate, empathetic and has lots of common sense for a change.

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  38. Douglas: Recognizing that humans are not perfect does not preclude every single element of society from striving to do their absolute best, does it? Why reward people who do not give their all and all, and their best? If all the people of your pay grade in the Navy were assembled, and one worked 10 hours per week, another 20, another 40, and another 60, should they all be rewarded with the same pay and benefits?

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  39. We find it interesting that some feel that the US is doing the best that it can about the healthcare of its people. Interesting. Maintaining that the "status quo" is the best that we can do is fascinating. We need to think about that one a little further. We understand those who argue to maintain the status quo because it perpetuates their financial or other advantage over others; however, to maintain that the status quo is the equivalent of doing our best goes to a whole different place.

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  40. Well thought out article and a presentation of issues I had not considered. I don't believe in giving everything away for free, yet there has to be some method of controlling a health care system that has corruption on all levels. Physicians are over-charging, incorrectly billing and randomly billing for services they may or may not have provided. The insurance companies are looking at the bottom line. The consumer is overwhelmed with co-payments, insurance costs and deductibles. Personally, I just lost my job and there is no way I am going to pay $500 a month for COBRA! So I struggle looking for an affordable plan that meets my needs that won't put me in dire straits paying the premiums and won't leave me homeless if I suffer a catastrophic event.
    Other countries (that are not communist!) offer basic health care for individuals though I am not aware of all the intricacies of such plans. Why would it be so difficult to offer a national plan that the uninsured could enroll in - that is basic for a basic low fee. Higher levels of care and better benefits could be purchased. Employers could get some sort of tax break for providing insurance benefits to their employees.
    I'd prefer something that commands a consumer buy-in rather than just giving away medicaid as it is now. I also know many people that would prefer just to take all social programs away. Their opinion is that tax dollars are for infrastructure - not for charity.
    I'd say that's my $.02 cents worth but I think I went over :)

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  41. Someone please help me out on this issue. Why is there so little objection to the state requiring car owners to get auto insurance, but so much objection to health insurance. If the state should not be involved in one, shouldn't it also not be involved in the other?

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  42. Welcome back to my forum, NotFarFromLakeMichigan. I've missed you.

    You raise a rather interesting point. My understanding is that those opposed to the government's involvement in healthcare put forth 3 basic arguments:

    (a) The government should not be involved in making or forcing decisions which should be left to individuals;

    (b) The government's involvement will cost jobs; and

    (c) Such governmental involvement will increase the federal debt.

    I'd be interested in hearing from others about the differences between health insurance and auto insurance. To some extent, I imagine that folks know what the deal is with auto insurance, and have been calculating it into their life equations for years, whereas creating more governmental bureaucracy and sailing into uncharted waters presents many risks and uncertainties.

    Interesting question to pose. Thanks for raising it.

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