Saturday, October 17, 2009

Logical fallacy and health care deform

by Cylinsier

So now that Olympia Snowe has jumped ship and neutered her party (no 40 votes, no sustained filibuster), I've been thinking about the various arguments they will probably try to bring out in a last ditch effort to not piss off those insurers and pharma giants lining their wallets. As I went back over some of the classic GOP arguments, I came to realize just how moronic they are.

First, there's this "choice" one. The inclusion of a public option, a single payer system, or even some reform that lightly suggests that insurance companies lower their rates, probably in a Hallmark card that says "pretty please" in it, will grossly encroach on Americans' freedom to choose where they get their insurance. The GOP seems to be laboring under the impression that people have a wide variety of preferences in coverage. Let's say you take any random person off the street and ask them the following question:
Which form of health insurance do you want?

A. Coverage I can afford that doesn't cover me
B. Coverage that would cover me if I could afford it
C. Coverage that covers me that I can afford
What do you think the breakdown of that question is going to be? I'm guessing a pretty consistent "C" although you'll probably get some smartass with a shitty haircut who claims to be a libertarian saying that you're a nazi. Buying health insurance isn't like buying a car. You don't have to decide what color you like, what kind of hauling power you need or if fuel efficiency is crucial to you. There's not a wide range of designer features to be opinionated about. Health insurance exists to do one thing: make you not dead when you otherwise would be. A good health insurance policy would cover whatever you need it to cover at a price you can meet. This does NOT mean everyone's policy would be identical, it just means that everyone would be catered to by their policy. When you look at it this way, there's no need for a "choice," because everyone's choice will be the same. Maybe this is why the GOP is skittish about the public option; if its good, it will become single payer. But why shouldn't it?

My second favorite illogical argument is really a family of arguments. These include, "a public option will be too bureaucratic," and "your care will be rationed." I call this family of arguments the "what the fuck do you think we're dealing with now" family. This is basically the tactic of taking what's wrong with the current system and implying that its a problem that doesn't exist but will if a new system is introduced. Its like arguing that you shouldn't drink water because it will make you dehydrated. What drives me crazy about these arguments is not that they are wrong but that they are irrelevant. Assuming the GOP is correct, introducing a public option with these flaws that aren't apparently inherent in our other insurance options would work in their favor. It would prove them right. You would think that if the Democrats were so stupid, the best way to show the American people would be to let them fail as proof. No, the GOP is saying all this stuff not to convince you or me, but to try to convince themselves.

We've heard all this before but prepare to hear it again. As debate on bills in both houses of congress heat up, we will get the same rehashed nonsense shoved down our throats again and its going to get very tedious and obnoxious for all involved. But I'm not sure it matters now. Snowe is on board for at least some kind of reform and there is the possibility that Susan Collins will join her. If that's true, then they've thrown their lot in with the Dems and if the final bill does include a public option, it may be politically disadvantageous for them to pull back at the 11th hour. Of course the rest of the GOP will stonewall, but 38 votes cannot sustain a filibuster, and even if blue dogs do not vote in favor of the bill its also politically unwise for them to actually join the Republicans in trying to kill it. With only 51 votes required to pass legislation, a public option is still very possible. Sphere: Related Content

6 comments:

Wesley said...

Before you call a physician because your boner has lasted for longer than four hours on Olympia Snowe Viagra…this is not a surprise. Snowe and Collins are RINOs and the only thing that is neutered are your socialist Kool Aid arguments.

Your first problem is that you are targeting the GOP as the opponent when the only opponent with any nads on this are the Constituents who are being ignored and maliciously slandered when they show up at Town Meetings to remind their elected representatives who they work for. The elected GOP officials are a bunch of whining losers who don’t know how to stand up and fight.

We already know that Obama is in bed with big pharma and that the DNC is targeting the Insurance Companies as villains. And at the end of the day these bastards will still have their Cadillac health care while you are learning the folly of public health care when it is much too late. One day, you will be too old to waste healthcare on and you will still want to live but be denied and asked to take a pain pill instead of receive an expensive treatment that a government bureaucrat has decided you don’t need. I am starting to believe you would not recognize a moronic argument if it bit you in the ass.

The public option will run all the private options out of business because they will not be able to compete. This is just simple economics. I get it that you realize that and think that is just shit hot but while you are grinning like a cat eating excrement about how cool that is, you are just being a useful idiot and aiding abetting the end of your own freedom.

A random person off the street will not be denied health care in any emergency room they show up in tonight. It’s the law and it has been the law for decades. If BO Care gets passed, it will still not insure everyone. It does not insure health care for all. Right now, everyone does have coverage they can afford and in some cases that is not an insurance policy but merely showing up I the ER tonight.

In any case, “I’m guessing a pretty consistent C” is hardly scientific argument and you don’t have to be a smartass with a shitty haircut or a Libertarian to see that. Buying healthcare should be like buying a car. Some people can afford Escalades and others can afford a Yugo. That’s part of living in a free country. You buy what you can afford. You have no right to anything else under the Constitution.

For someone who thinks they will get some rich fat cat to pay for their health care insurance I am sure BO Care seems like a really good deal but it is no better than holding up someone on the street for your premium.

There is no way around the math. Your health care will end up being rationed. You can not expand the recipients of health care by 40 million without increasing costs and the only way to control costs is to ration. It has been proven over and over again.

You are right that 51 votes could vote this in but that does not mean it will be a good day for America. In real life, people weigh one thing against another. But in politics one declares one thing to be imperative, so the issue then becomes how we do it. In real life, all sorts of desirable things are not done, either because of other desirable things that would have to be sacrificed to do it or because of the dangers incurred in achieving the desired objective are worse than the problem we want to solve.
Almost never are the dangers of having uninsured people weighed against the dangers of having government bureaucrats over-ruling doctors and deciding whether money would be better spent saving the life of an elderly person or paying for an abortion for some teenager.

Wesley said...

The crowning irony is that the problems caused by insurance companies refusing to pay for certain medications or treatment are to be solved by giving government bureaucrats that same power, along with the power to prevent patients from using their own money to pay for those same medications or treatments.

scott said...

"Almost never are the dangers of having uninsured people weighed against the dangers of having government bureaucrats over-ruling doctors and deciding whether money would be better spent saving the life of an elderly person or paying for an abortion for some teenager."

That has got to be one of the most bullshit statements Wesley's written thus far. i suspect that shortly after writing it, he drowned in his very own pool of irony.

scott said...

After all, the title of the article to which Wesley responded is "Logical fallacy and health care deform."

Ellipses said...

"One day, you will be too old to waste healthcare on and you will still want to live but be denied and asked to take a pain pill instead of receive an expensive treatment that a government bureaucrat has decided you don’t need."

Do you have any empirical reason to believe this? Can you give an example of what condition you believe will be treated with pain medication rather than surgery? Is surgery always the proper recourse? Rather than chemical suppression of pain?

"The public option will run all the private options out of business because they will not be able to compete. This is just simple economics."

First, "Who Cares?" But you addressed that. Second, cite an example where this has happened before... when has a federally chartered corporation run an entire private industry out of business? The post office hasn't done it... Penn State hasn't done it... Hell, in countries that have a single payer system for basic care, people still buy supplemental insurance. Even today, here in America, "government health care" insures something like 40% of the population... that has had zero effect on the viability of health insurance as a profit-generating industry.

"you are just being a useful idiot and aiding abetting the end of your own freedom. "

Which freedom is that? The freedom to choose which company fucks you with a cheese grater? The freedom to pay more for health insurance than you do for your house or your cars or any other single expense that you have? The freedom to have to argue with some 8 dollar an hour call center lackey during post-op because your insurance company denied your claim, initially? For some reason, I think I'd feel freer if I knew that, as a function of my being a citizen of the United States, if I get sick or injured, I will get medical care without having to worry about whether I will still be able to afford electricity and food once I am better.

"A random person off the street will not be denied health care in any emergency room they show up in tonight. It’s the law and it has been the law for decades. If BO Care gets passed, it will still not insure everyone. It does not insure health care for all. Right now, everyone does have coverage they can afford and in some cases that is not an insurance policy but merely showing up I the ER tonight."

If this is your argument, you have no argument.

"Buying healthcare should be like buying a car. Some people can afford Escalades and others can afford a Yugo. That’s part of living in a free country. You buy what you can afford."

And if you get cancer while only being able to afford a Yugo policy? You will get a bill for an Escalade.

"There is no way around the math. Your health care will end up being rationed. You can not expand the recipients of health care by 40 million without increasing costs and the only way to control costs is to ration. It has been proven over and over again."

You just said that everyone gets care, now... so all you would be doing is changing the payment metric and not the actual demand on the system, if your prior argument is correct. The only way this last statement is correct is if you were initially wrong and we are right in saying uninsured people are not receiving the care they need. Either way, I'd rather wait a week for an appointment I can afford than be seen tomorrow and have to put off eating for a few months to pay it.

Wesley said...

E...you are running a good blog. Nice arguments even though they are kind of banal. I know neither of us stakes our ground light heartedly but I do have better than empirical evidence that ration choices are part of BO Care. I think you are sincere when you insist it is not the case but they are not even hiding it.

Robert B. Reich, the former labor secretary was making a speech back on September 26th, 2007, at the University of California at Berkeley. He said, "This is what Democrat politicians would say if they could really be honest. We are going to have to... If you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive. So we're going to let you die.”

"Take a pain pill." Obama said the same thing: Take a pain pill. A woman asked if Obama would take into account her 100-year-old mother's will to live, her spunk, and Obama said (paraphrased), "I don't think we can factor that in. We're going to be making smarter decisions here. Frankly, it's probably going to make more sense just to tell your mother to take a pain pill. You know, veg out, loop out, for the rest of her life. We're just not going to pay for it. We're going to let you die." We are going to let you die! ...with dignity. We are going to kill you. You are unessential. If you are a file assistant, if you're a kitchen worker, and your company gives you a bonus, "Unh-uh. We're going to take it back. You are unessential." We're going to let you die! These are the people running the United States of America.

Robert Samuelson: "Health Spending Condemns Youth To Future Of Downward Mobility -- Every generation of Americans should live better than its predecessor. That's Americans' core definition of economic 'progress.' But for today's young, it may be a mirage. Higher health spending, increasing energy prices and stretched governments at all levels may squeeze future disposable incomes -- what people have to spend -- and public services. Are we condemning our children to downward mobility? Good question. Considering how health spending could threaten future living standards, it ought to be center stage in the 'reform' debate. Instead, it's ignored." As in: We're just going to let you die. You're unessential.