The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whacking the Chase to the Bone

There has been much discussion (all good) about the moral issues surrounding health care in the United States and how our current system is criminal.

So, I from the right, for the sake of discussion will cut to a different chase and ask:

Assuming everyone on the left is absolutely correct and every American is born with the inalienable right to the best health care in the world at no direct cost to them personally. Here's the chase part: How are you going to PAY for it?


Bill Fleming said...

I've not heard anyone say there would be no direct cost to them personally, Michael. Let's be clear on that first, ok?

Michael Sanborn said...

Ok, Bill, for the sake of discussion:

How are we (Americans) going to pay for every American to have the best health care in the world?

caheidelberger said...

I'll say the same thing I've been saying since I voted for Kucinich in 2004: we can pay for it by transferring all the money we spend on private insurance premiums and administrative overhead to a single-payer system that will provide every bit of care we currently get and use less money on marketing and executive bonuses. The private system is wasting a big chunk of our GDP that could be better put toward invention and individual entrepreneurship.

caheidelberger said...

By the way, I'll take a tax hike of $3600 to pay for my public option. That's the equivalent of the premium I pay right now for a really bad family policy on the individual market (my employer doesn't cover me).

Braden said...

How much would you pay to keep the freedom of speech? How about the freedom of religion? Somehow I'm guessing you wouldn't want to put a dollar figure on either of those.

For the sake of argument, let's say that the cost of protecting our freedom roughly equals our military budget. No, I'm not arguing that steath fighters = freedom, but I think its plausible that without a robust military, the US could have been conquered by different enemies throughout our history. It's safe to say that had Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, or the Soviet Union conquered the United States, our right to speak our minds would not be what it is today.

Look at our annual military budget: about $1 trillion dollars a year. Now look at the proposed cost of health insurance reform with a public option: $600 billion a year.

If you accept that access to health care is a basic human right, like the right to speak freely, why would you not spend equal amounts on both?

(Note: just for reference, I don't believe that access to health care is as important or as fundamental a right as the freedom of expression and thought. Nor do I think that concerns about how we pay for it are misguided. What I'm saying is that if health care truly is an inalienable right, the cost of it isn't an issue.)

Michael Sanborn said...

I don't believe that access to health care is an inalienable right (DOI), or a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights (Constitution).

So, if We The People decide that access to health care is a right guaranteed by Congress, somebody somewhere has to figure out how to pay for it.

I wish I could count on the government being able to manage a health care system. But they can't manage their interns. In fact, I've seen little evidence they can manage anything. In fact, everything they touch turns to crap...quickly.

Bill Fleming said...

Mike, how many veterans do you know who would want to give up their VA benefits? How many Medicare people would want to trade for a private health policy?

...and Mike, I think the government manages the Navy pretty well, all things considered, and NASA, and Mt. Rushmore (...ok, except maybe for that Greenpeace thingy...) and the National Art Museum.

Bill Fleming said...

"I don't believe that access to health care is an inalienable right (DOI), or a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights (Constitution)."

Well somebody does, Michael.

Hence, Medicare, Medicaid, health care in prisons, vaccines, FEMA, etc, etc.

It's hard (for me at least) to imagine life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without adequate food, shelter and medical care.

Michael Sanborn said...


I talk to my in-laws (he's a retired Air Force CMSGT) and there is a good deal of discontent about promises made by Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan, and then reneged upon by Clinton and both Bushes.

Have you seen the military budget? No, Bill, it's not well managed. We pay too much for what we get (and I'm not talking soldiers here). We have corrupt military leadership paying corrupt contractors who are paying a corrupt Congress to keep the dollars coming!

NASA? They just said it would take 20 years to go back to the moon.

Kennedy suggested we go in 1961 and by 1969 there were footprints on the Moon's surface. With all the technology we have now, it will take twice as long to go back! That's not management.

The National Gallery of Art? We're broke. Flat busted. Why are we buying Andrew Wyeth's "Wind From The Sea"?

Here's a tough on for you, Bill. What's more important, paying to preserve Andrew Wyeth's "Wind From The Sea" or my dentist for a root canal, or Ellis' proctologist for colorectal surgery?

Medicare, Medicaid, prison health care, vaccines, FEMA, etc. etc. are all government bureaucracies that aren't working very well or managed very well and would, I believe, make the framers' collective stomachs turn.

Steve Sibson said...

"Mike, how many veterans do you know who would want to give up their VA benefits? How many Medicare people would want to trade for a private health policy?"

Bill & Cory,

The private insurance companies are paying some of the Medicare costs because the government reimburses are below cost. And you two want to rip out the insurance companies? Then who is going to support Medicare & Medicaid? Like Mike asked, who is going to pay? And who is going to decide the maximum cost that we can afford to pay?

We are in sad shape with a culture where everybody wants, and nobody wants to pay. Such is the down side to socialism and the welfare state.

Thad Wasson said...

"no direct cost to them personally" A system like that would be ruined in 10 years. I agree that if every American citizen took care of their own (I am calling out deadbeat dads) and their families finances we would not have a problem.

Get rid of the payroll taxes and let the American citizens have their freedom.

Bill Fleming said...

It never ceases to amaze me how you guys can talk like that with a straight face. South Dakota consistently gets back far more money from the Fed than it ever, ever pays in in tax revenue.

We are totally dependent on tax dollars from other states, not just in federal subsidy, but in the tourism industry as well.

Every summer we swell from 700,000 people to over 4 million sales tax paying customers, many of them here because of two Federal projects: Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone.

And they all drive here on a federal highway system.

Not to mention the federal jobs on the Black Hills National Forest, Ellsworth, The National Grasslands, etc, etc, etc.

And then there's the most recent Federal stimulus money... shall I continue?

Face it boys, if it wasn't for the Federal Government, South Dakota... particularly the Black Hills (..ummm, which was "appropriated" for you from the Sioux by .... yup, the Federal Government...) wouldn't even HAVE an economy to worry about.

Now go to your room, Mike (wink).

Thad Wasson said...

We would get more tax revenue if most of South Dakota was not under federal control. Releasing that land back to private citizens would boost our tax base and renew our economy.

David Newquist said...

Arguing over whether health care is inalienable right because the Constitution, unlike Christ, does not say feed the poor and heal the sick gives us a Third World moral and intellectual status. In South Dakota, out of 804,000 people, 184,000 are not insured and 340,000 are so underinsured that their coverage would still result in financial disaster and inability to pay for serious illness or injury.

If we take refuge from the specific citation of health-care as a right, what are we supposed to do with these people. Take another look at the solution provided by the cost accountants of 1930's Germany?

We can't come up with the money. We have come up with $907 billion to put some of our own beyond the the need for health care and more in dire need of it. That's $580 billion in Iraq contributing to the deaths of 4,3oo troops and the wounding of 31,500. In Afghanistan, we managed to dispatch 820, but the pace is picking up.

No one seems to ask where we can come up with the money for this enterprise. Perhaps, if we had death panels for the healthy AND the sick, we would find a way to afford whatever we think the uninsured and underinsured deserve.

caheidelberger said...

(Thad, are you saying you want to scale back the federal government so that Pierre can tax us even more? You want bigger state government?)

Michael Sanborn said...

I can talk with a straight face. I am not a fan of all that dough coming into the state...makes us look...needy.

I thought Mt. Rushmore looked better before KKK member and Nazi sympathizer Gutzon Borglum started blasting away at it.

As for the "appropriated" Black Hills, it just goes to show the value of negotiated settlements. I've been one for conquering for a long time.

The rest of the country NEEDS I-90 and other north-south corridors.

Ellsworth AFB is part of the constitutional admonition that government shall provide for the common defense.

I'm no bigger fan of the government being in the timber industry than I am of it being in the farm industry.

Ethanol is a joke...costing a good deal more in fossil fuels to make a gallon of it that it returns in BTUs.

One of the reasons the state receives so much Federal funding has to do with the Indian reservations within our borders and I receive no benefit from that money. For that matter, damned few on the reservations receive much benefit from those monetary black holes.

I'll give you the park system, the highway system and the defense system. I do NOT agree that all those systems are run properly or managed in a manner that anyone could say is responsible.

Everything else is subject to an objective look at how to whack it.

We are all living with the mistakes of those who preceded us.

I think everyone, including South Dakota would be better off if we looked for ways to reduce the amount of money we need from our federal government, rather than try to find a way to tear up I-90 every year so Johnson, Thune and Sandlin could quit bragging about how much pork they've slopped into our pot.

Steve Sibson said...

"South Dakota consistently gets back far more money from the Fed than it ever, ever pays in in tax revenue."

And you don't care if that is unconstitutional?

Bill Fleming said...

There goes Sibby with another one of his "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" style of questions.

They really don't deserve an answer Steve.

I'd rather hear YOU, and Mike, and Thad answer David N. and Cory H.'s excellent questions.

But I warn you, Stevie, you'll have to take off your tin foil hat and put on your thinking cap if you're going to do them justice, little brother.

Michael Sanborn said...


That's what I was looking for when I started this post.

I don't disagree that some of the money for universal health care might be found in the waste we now have in the military budget.

I am a HUGE fan of Colin Powell and while he supported the Afghanistan adventure, he was pretty outspoken about Iraq and it cost him his job...the second dumbest thing Bush ever did.

But, if I concede that there is waste in the military, will you concede that there is waste in domestic social programs that could be found to cover these costs, rather than just sacking my grandchildren with an atrocious invoice?

It's a bipartisan step in the right direction. Of course it's not a solution. But solutions come in baby steps. And in the case of Congress, baby bug steps.

I think the Federal government has way overstepped its bounds in many areas concerning states rights. Obviously, some essentials of government need to be paid for...part of which the Feds pay for; part of which the state pays for. Identify which is which and tax accordingly

Steve Sibson said...

"They really don't deserve an answer Steve."

That may be right, but all Americans deserve an answer. So Bill, why do you hate the Constitution, the DOI,and the Bible? All are foundational to America's freedoms. Or is this too deep for a decorum forum?

Bill Fleming said...

Yeah Sibby, it's too deep. My bullshit waders only come up to my armpits.

Bill Fleming said...

Sibby, why do you hate?

Taunia Adams said...


(I want to see the response to BF's question to Sibby, why do you hate?)