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I haven't made a political post in a long, long time.

I'd make one now, except just thinking about it depresses me. I was not happy about the results of the midterm, needless to say... and I am even less happy, if possible, about this "compromise" that Obama has made with the GOP on taxes. From where I sit, it smells more like capitulation than compromise. Give a lot, get almost nothing.

Obama is the most intelligent president we've had since Jimmy Carter... and, sad to say, he is looking more and more like Jimmy every day. A good man, but not a good leader. At least not so far. He doesn't seem to have the stomach for a fight. We need another FDR, another JFK, another LBJ. NOT Jimmy II. (And, yes, I know, Obama has accomplished some important stuff. But so did Jimmy. Camp David accords, remember?)

Yeats was writing about his own time in "The Second Coming," I know, but sometimes I think he was prescient:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And could that rough beast whose hour has come round at least be... Sarah Palin?

No, please. Tell me that's just a bad dream. Somebody wake me up.



Dec. 17th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
Re: ummm no
Regarding health care, there are two big problems there. First, as you mentioned, costs for medical services for some are being passed on to those that actually pay. I think that its important to recognize Medicare as a signifigant passer of costs. As the government has market power to dictate how much they pay, and since they have a desire to pay less, this essentially increases costs for others. Again, costs go to those that can pay and do not have the market power to force a lower price. This is also the case for those that don't have any insurance at all...they inevitably go into debt and often are not able to pay. Sadly, those without any market power (aka individuals) get charged exorbitant rates for health insurance as they have the least amount of market power.

The second point is medical malpractice insurance...doctors have to pay outrageous sums for this as a simple honest mistake could result in them owing huge sums and possibly losing their license and thus their source of income. This needs to be addressed, but was largely ignored. I should note that the public option that was floated would most likely have ended up working like Medicare, where costs were pushed to those with private insurance.

What needs to be done is for those problems to be solved. Nationalizing health care is one option, but with it comes other signifigant drawbacks. One is the distribution of costs in at least a relatively fair manner. Not to mention that government agencies are notoriously inefficient when it comes to costs.

Another major drawback that needs to be addressed in a public system is incentives for providing top rate care. A public system is inevitably going to attempt to drive down costs, which will essentially mean that doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and biomedical engineers and researchers will now make less money...which essentially removes incentives for people to become doctors, for companies to pour hundreds of millions into drug research, and for people to work on new techniques. If someone can potentially make millions by working on AI technology or a government paycheck by working on the cure for cancer, which one do you think the majority will choose?

The alternative is to solve these problems within the privatized system that exists and that's what the health care bill is attempting to do. Whether it did enough and the right things has yet to be seen. My guess is that it did not, but I believe it can be done.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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