Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Actually, we already -have- "death panels."

They're called, "the curtain on the window available for you to get any kind of health care under your insurance plan, even when you have one." And, don't hold back, Progressive Nation:

In your free market wonderland every one some how manages to get health care, even those who are poor or live in isolated areas, though the poor and isolated in your own state required assis­tance from the federal government.

And despite all of this, you appear blithely unaware that the free market health care system we have now does, indeed, have “death panels.” I’ve been part of a death panel conversation. I know about death panels.

You have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital adminis­trator you’ve never met before and be told that your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can’t imagine what it’s like to be advised that you need to “make some deci­sions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. “Living will” or no, it doesn’t mat­ter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn’t a “death panel” I don’t know what is.

So don’t talk to me about “death panels” you heartless, cruel, greedy sons of bitches, who are only too happy to keep the profits rolling in to the big insurance companies while you spout your mealy-mouthed bumper sticker slogans about the evils of socialism. You don’t even know what socialism is. You don’t know what government health care is. You have no fucking clue about any­thing except that you lost the last election and you’re pissed off.

And, by the way, guess where the "kill Grandma" shit originated? Surprise, surprise:

When reporters asked former Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin where she got the misinformation she posted to her Facebook page about the health care reform bill creating a "death panel" to promote euthanizing the elderly and people with disabilities, her spokesperson pointed to the section in the House Democrats' legislation that begins on page 425.

If Palin or her staff had actually read the bill, they would have realized this section simply promotes advance care planning, which in fact puts the power to make decisions about end-of-life care in the hands of individuals -- not government panels.

So where did Palin get that bad information? It appears she pulled it from a set of talking points that has been making its way around the internet in recent weeks -- talking points assembled by the Liberty Counsel, a far-right religious group that's part of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University empire based in Lynchburg, Va...

Good old Unca Jerry, fouling up the zeitgeist even from beyond the grave. Well, him among many others. But yeah, these are the oleaginous fuckers that would've been thrown out of the temple in the gorram first place; it's no surprise that they're in bed with Big Insurance, all supposedly in the equally improbably names of Free Market Freedom, Jesus Christ, and Tender Loving Care For The Most Vulnerable. Compassionate as a canker.


Kristen said...

"You can’t imagine what it’s like to be advised that you need to “make some deci­sions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week."

Or how it feels to run out of money and credit to pay out of pocket care. The knowledge that no matter how many jobs you work, you won't be able to keep a parent you love from being institutionalized.

Yeah, so they can go fuck themselves.

belledame222 said...

With horseradish. And no reacharound. said...

AGREED. We already have death panels. Did no one SEE "Sick-o"?

How insurance company execs are rewarded for denying claims?

That's a death sentence to most.

Gawd, honestly, I can't stand how people who have continuously beat on those who don't have and somehow, someway they get the backwards assed rednecks to agree to something they don't even realize is going to hurt them in the end and come out with their guns a'blazin'.


Anonymous said...

You're right, I can't imagine. That's because I live in the UK, and for once , just for once, I'm proud of that.I wrote about this today too - from my own point of view. Great post thanks fimg X

Alon Levy said...

Time it took me to get to a relevant specialist when I needed health care in the US: 3 months.
Cost of getting to said specialist: $800 out of pocket, plus several thousand dollars paid by Aetna.
Conclusion of specialist: "it'll probably go by itself in 3 weeks" (it did).

Time it took me to get to a relevant specialist when I needed health care in Monaco: 14 hours, from the evening to the next morning.
Cost of getting to said specialist: €63 for three doctor's visits plus about €150-200 for prescription drugs.
Conclusion of specialist: "Take these drugs the following way" (I felt better within a day).

Not all health care systems work like low-cost airlines. Some actually offer you better care and lower prices. It just so happens those systems are in countries that don't speak English.

Nick said...

Camile Pagila wrote a column mentioning death panels!

Nick said...

"And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

But somehow liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills. The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration's outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable "casual conversations" to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it."

I agree with her here. There are douchebags threatening to kill people and whatnot. Some protesters are much more civil though.

belledame222 said...

oh Paglia ffs.

of all the many ways in which Obama admin's been disturbingly too much in line with BushCo, -that- bullshit is the least of my concerns. she should go back to rimming Madonna and calling herself the Cosmos, at least she was more entertaining as a trainwreck then.

Nick said...

She does make a good point about political tribalism though.

Oh another quibble with this post I have is its presumption there is a free market in the U.S. Marx himself said capitalism had never existed in its purest form.

Like every other Western society in the world; the U.S. is a mixed economy. There are plenty of regulations and subsidies associated with the healthcare industry ~ drug companies and government funded R/D.

Every generic Democrat needs to read Gabriel Kolko. He proved that Progressive era regulations were supported by major business interests to cartelize industry/ cement their market share through the limitation of competition ~ the trusts were basically inefficient giants. The man is a freaken socialist and major figure of the New Left. He is no ideological supporter of the market.

What is interesting is he shows that centralization of economic power was declining at the turn of the century. It was not increasing and noble "Progressives" saved us. The state intervened to prevent that trend. A lot of anti-libertarian sentiment seems to rest on the assumption that unfettered markets create coercive monopolies. The current insurance industry may be a nightmare, but it's not a textbook example of free market results. The government vs business model of political economy is bunk mythology that sustains our establishment party system. A genuine socialist like Kolko has an interest in showing so called anti-business regulations help to preserve what he calls capitalism. The mainline Democratic power brokers obviously don't ~ their political power is dependent on the idea that the best we can do is a so called regulated "market".

John Stossel has an article on the latest business-government back/forth:

There is some standard conservo talking points in it, but it has good information on that specific subject.

Nick said...

This isn't to say that the proles gain nothing from increased welfareism under a cartelized system ~ just that it's not automatically detrimental to politically connected business.

belledame222 said...

Like every other Western society in the world; the U.S. is a mixed economy. There are plenty of regulations and subsidies associated with the healthcare industry ~ drug companies and government funded R/D.

Yes. I know. The difference between us is that you seem to think these are perforce a bad idea.

belledame222 said...

"Proles?" We're not in "1984..."

belledame222 said...

and yes, I am aware of the history of "Progressive," really.

look: I believe in checks and balances. I think corporations and Big Religion are included in those checks and balances. While I don't believe that our current setup is the best we can do for a number of reasons, I do believe that that general principle is a good one, and the best we can do. And yeah, some rules and regulations are part of those checks and balances: this is called "living in society."

when someone wants to demonstrate what an "unfettered market" would be and exactly how this mysterious force of democracy and free trade moves without being subject to the same gorram human tendency to concentrate greed and power as , well, basically anything that's -run by humans-, do let me know. I've yet to see anything that exists outside of Magical Theory Land.

belledame222 said...

and no, Paglia, as usual, is entirely full of shit. It -is- mobbing, by and large. The point, besides the death threats and y'know physical violence isn't that people are coming to voice complaints, it's that they've been literally shouting down the people who're trying to have any sort of dialogue; and they're being encouraged to freak out and believe in the bogeyman by people with entirely vested interests.

This does not mean that the Democrats do not also have vested interests in The System, or variations thereupon. And, neither means that Paglia is not entirely full of shit.

Nick said...


I didn't mean to insult you or anything ~ wasn't directing it at you personally.

belledame222 said...

Sorry for snappish tone; I wasn't taking it as such, but I'm a tad irritable these days.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

Lol ok you responded already!

Well I have sort of made the same point on here a billion times. I admit to that.

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

I can't stand how people who have continuously beat on those who don't have
Agreed, so much. I'm living in my parents' house this summer, and the other day my mother came over to me to say, "your grandparents are 90 and 92, there's no way you can possibly be for universal healthcare."
And then when I disagreed with her went on to make the point that my grandparents could pay for any medical care they wanted, so universal health care wouldn't help them at all.
But what about all the elderly people out there who weren't executives at Firestone during their working years? Who don't have millionaire eldest sons buying them cars for their birthdays? Oh no, they don't matter at all to my so-concerned-about-the-elderly mother!
And she says, of course, that she and other Republicans would be happy to support a plan which paid for insurance for those who fall between the cracks of affording it and Medicaid eligibility. Which could be good (though they'd probably screw it up somehow), but who wants to bet this is all a ruse that they'll forget about completely if this bill doesn't pass?

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

That should say, "And then when I disagreed with her she went on to make the point..."

belledame222 said...

"Keep the government out of my Medicare!" sigh

good to see you, UFPC

Nick said...

My argument about the relation between state intervention and monopoly needs further elaboration. You might want to add The Alliance of the Libertarian Left to your sidebar ~ more or less generically compatible with your own general outlook. There is a lot of revisionist literature of good merit linked on

Re: the anarchist healthcare article

The idea is that their organization is not optimal/reflects consumer preference or are cost effcient. There are admittedly fundamental ideas about radial market economics underlying the article's contentions. That's something for scholarly research ~ not blog commenting lol.

Barring healthcare executives becoming warlords; the companies would face new market/competitive pressures that would compel change. I am just saying it's wrong to conceptualize state and ogliopolistic industry power as existing independent of each other.

I view the dynamism of genuine market forces as checks/balances upon predatory behavior. A business organization that quashes creativity/originiality/independence in its members in favor of status/rank/arbitray power is shooting itself in the foot in a sane society.

This article talks about the effect of dynamism in undermining overly giant enterprise:

The pattern detailed in that article is repeated again and again. I know you're a liberal Democrat but left-liberalism and democratic socialism seem to intersect ~ to the point where some Libertarians view left-liberals as socialists coopting the term liberal. I honestly thought you were a democratic socialist due to the clear Marxian themes in your economic views. I am not reflexively against such views due to having a good understanding of them. I've always enjoyed being an orthodox leftist convert to radical market liberalism. Its given me a perspective that allows me to point out the narrowness of people on both sides of the aisle ~ some classical liberals I've talked too have no real understanding of Marx's views. I like to understand people I disagree with thoroughly.

On a human propensity for concentration of power and greed: I don't believe there is any instrinic or innate drive to destrutiveness in human beings. I see that as a mystical religiously based conception of original sin ~ born innately or instrinically unclean and restrained from self-asstertive destruction by God. I see people transfer that to the political realm and replace God with the state. I am not opposed to all rules and regulations. The ones I do support are more or less informed by the Libertarian dictum of never intitating the use of force butressed with a Lockean classical liberal conception of natural rights.

I differ from more atomistic thorough going anti-statists in having a broader view of freedom. I am absoloutely opposed to a limited government or anarchist society where cultural values are relative/nihilistic e.g. protection of authentic property rights being used to foment racism. I do agree with Ayn Rand's romantic optimism about the potential of philosophical change to foment cultural/political change ~ not utopianism but radicalism. As of now; I'd say the primary forces underming it are most definitely NOT sensible liberal democrats. The theocratic conservatives have earned the primary distiniction of destroying the intellect and Enlighment spirit in American culture. The establishment liberal or left or what have you forces are not entirely innocent but more modernized overall. This is why I begrudgingly tend to support the Democratic candidate. I am pretty terrified about what a new Repubican dominated government will bring us ~ in spite of my Obama era headaches

Nick said...


In keeping with the spirit of this post; I took special notice of Sarah Palin's charge that Obama's healthcare plan was evil. It's important that us generically liberal minded peaceful blog commenter discussants understand the roots of theocratic conservatism ~ lest we fail to challenge it effectively. Sarah's Palin's metaphysics are no doubt God centric in the most primitive form and her ethics is an extension of God's perceived will. In asking: why the recent violence or approach? We should be looking to identify the fundamentals and natural consequences of the theocratic worldview. Otherwise, it will just be a blind contest of physical willpower without any understanding of the premises at work. If Obama is Satan and God looks badly on satanic nations then domestic Jihad for Jesus looks like a heroic act analogous to the Medieval Crusades.

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

Good to be here, felt like de-lurking for once.

Nick said...

You've got an interesting list of interests on the ole profile, UneFemmeC ( :

Glad to see you delurking here.

Nick said...

Co-ops are the new twist in our ongoing health care reform saga! What are the liberal denizens of this forum thinking? I keep reading you folks are going to be outraged. I didn't think it was that clearcut ~ given that co-ops are historically a rather left-wing phenomena.

Joy? Outrage? What are the feelings around here? ( :

Alon Levy said...

My position: coops can work, in principle. In practice, they're more vulnerable to hijacking by the insurance industry than a public option. They're essentially HMOs, which, while decent at limiting costs, are bad at providing good care. The US has three separate health care problems - non-universal insurance, high costs, and poor care - of which coops for all only take care of the first 1.5.