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Kindergarten Libertariansim, With Prof. Althouse

[ 298 ] April 2, 2012 |

Adam Litpak had a good article noting that Verrilli’s oral argument appealed to Kennedy with the freedom-enhancing qualities of the Affordable Care Act. This motivated Ann Althouse, who didn’t seem to even understand the argument, to respond like a member of their junior high school’s Ayn Rand club participating as their team’s third-stringers at the forensics meet:

“Liberty” is a high abstraction. What is it about the liberty of compulsion to buy an expensive health insurance policy that Justice Kennedy is supposed to find appealing? Just because someone loves liberty doesn’t mean they’re going to love everything you slap a “liberty” label on!

Obviously, as a complacent reactionary who benefits from the security of taxpayer-funded health insurance Althouse can’t grasp why universal health care might be freedom-enhancing, but it’s not at all complicated:

  • First of all, Althouse seems to assume that everyone who is uninsured wouldn’t want affordable insurance if they could get it, as if many people don’t have health insurance because of pre-existing conditions or because it’s not affordable for ordinary workers under the status quo.
  • Once we move past this silly assumption, it’s not difficult to see the point the SG was making.   Universal health care has freedom-enhancing properties in a lot of ways: it allows you to move, or engage in entrepreneurial activities, without losing the employer-based coverage that is the only practical means of obtaining insurance for those who aren’t poor or extremely wealthy.  Mobility, particularly in American constitutionalism, has always been a treasured liberty.  Bankruptcy is, to put it mildly, detrimental to liberty in all kinds of ways.   Beyond that, whether you want to call the security that comes from health coverage freedom-enhancing is a matter of taste, but this security is certainly more valuable to most people that the “freedom” of knowing that you can be bankrupted by an accident or unforeseen illness.
  • The even bigger problem here is that the rugged individualists who go without health insurance are not making a “choice” to be free of state constraint and state-provided benefits.  They are, in fact, making a choice to stick the taxpayers with the bill if they have a medical emergency. Even a moderately sophisticated libertarian understands that the “freedom” to free ride is no freedom at all.   Perhaps Althouse, like the judicial idol she defended so feebly,  would prefer a libertarian dystopia in which people who aren’t lucky enough to have taxpayer-funded health insurance are just left to die from accidents or treatable illnesses.   But whatever they would like the policy baseline to be, what matters both for public policy and for the question of whether the mandate is a necessary and proper part of a concededly constitutional regulatory framework is what the policy baseline under federal, state, and common law actually is.  Kennedy actually showed some signs of understanding this, one of the few bright spots to come from the three days of depressingly inept work by he and his Republican colleagues.

Comments (298)

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  1. Eric says:

    Just because someone loves liberty doesn’t mean they’re going to love everything you slap a “liberty” label on!

    Strangely, that doesn’t stop glibertarians and Tea Party rightwingers from doing just that.

  2. Uncle Kvetch says:

    The even bigger problem here is that the rugged individualists who go without health insurance are not making a “choice” to be free of state constraint and state-provided benefits. They are, in fact, making a choice to stick the taxpayers with the bill if they have a medical emergency.

    This, this, a thousand times this. This indisputable fact is the only hope for getting the whole idiotic “debate” regrounded in actual reality.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      I’m no ‘rugged individualist’ – I just haven’t worked in almost two years, and haven’t had health insurance in that time, since I/we can’t afford it.

      I’m not old enough for Medicare, and my parents (who live solely off of SS) and I are just far enough above the poverty line to enjoy all that that gives us – like a really cheap, shitty diet, barely being able to afford sky-rocketing heating oil and gasoline prices, and no money to do anything but stay home and keep the hatches battened against any additional expenses – but NO Medicaid for me – we’re TOO RICH! YAY!

      So, if I end up in the Emergency Room, rest assured it won’t be by “choice,” but by necessity.
      I don’t have ANY choices.
      And the only “liberty” I have, is to depend on the kindness of family, friends, and strangers.

      • Eric says:

        But you and your parents have the liberty to become rich and be able to afford health insurance! That you didn’t shows that a) you don’t deserve decent medical care, and b) that Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid have failed.

        /sarcasasm

        • actor212 says:

          Yes! CUND, don’t blame the rest of us because you didn’t have the foresight to be born into wealth!

          • c u n d gulag says:

            Someone switched something on me, because I could have sworn the contract I signed before I was born, said “Rockefeller.”

            I didn’t check the “Bush” option, so maybe this was their way of getting back at me.

      • Honorable....BOB says:

        I just haven’t worked in almost two years, and haven’t had health insurance in that time, since I/we can’t afford it.

        How ’bout you go get a frikkin’ JOB??

        And if you’re in a part of the country that doesn’t have many jobs…MOVE. Go where the jobs ARE. And there are lots of places that have jobs. Texas has less unemployement and there are jobs there.

        There are pleny of jobs in the new oil-rich areas of Montana and North Dakota and they’re begging for people. Even the fast food places there are paying pretty good.

        Instead, you just sit on your fat ass and complain on blogs like this.

        How ’bout trying?

        • Malaclypse says:

          Texas has less unemployement and there are jobs there.

          Presuming you mean “unemployment” rather than that thing that you typed, he’d be better off in Massachusetts or New York. We’ve had this discussion before, with charts and graphs and statistics and everything.

          Do you have memory issues, are you too stupid to understand, or are you just being willfully deceptive on this topic, like so many others?

          I’m gonna guess “all of the above” myself.

          • elm says:

            Actually, Mal, Texas has lower unemployment than New York (by a decent margin, 7.1% to 8.5%), though Mass. and other known conservative paradises like Vermont, Maryland, and Minnesota are also better than Texas. Stats here:
            http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

            • Honorable....BOB says:

              Fine.

              Point still stands. Go where the jobs are, you take responsibility for yourself and you don’t just sit there and whine.

              • Jody says:

                Yeah, because if there’s one thing completely broke people can do, it’s pack up and move to a completely new part of the world and start from the ground up, amirite???

                • AuroraDarc says:

                  This.

                  Hey, Not-So-Honorable Mysterious-Ellipsis Bob: Guess what you wouldn’t be able to do if you lost your job and were suddenly stranded with no income and no health insurance?

                  Give up? Here’s what you couldn’t do: move to another state.

                  Movers don’t work for free. (Did you know that?) Also, any support system among neighbors, friends and relatives who could help you once you’re broke will be lost if you leave. But you couldn’t afford to leave, anyhow.

                  Your new state – North Dakota? may have a lower cost of living, but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you still have to pay rent. Any landlord, anywhere, is going to ask for first month, last month + security deposit. How is your newly-unemployed ass going to come up with that, chief?

                  I eagerly await your carefully-reasoned response.

                • AuroraDarc says:

                  Oh, and I forgot to add – what if your broke ass happens to have children? They are going to need to eat. And that’s every single damn day, hoss, not just after you get that great new job in Hernia, ND or Blowjob, NV!

                  Remind me why you rightwingers are all about the Family Values – ?

                • pseudonymous in nc says:

                  And as Krugman has pointed out, when you have a state population equal to that of a decent-sized American city, talking percentages on unemployment is bullshit.

            • Malaclypse says:

              That’s what I get for not checking BLS first. Given that they don’t charge for the information, Fritz assures me that there is no practical check on my consumption of their knowledge, so I cannot explain my oversight.

        • Stag Party Palin says:

          It is most gratifying that your enthusiasm for our blog continues unabated. As a token of our appreciation, we hope you will enjoy reading an explanation of how your participation results in increased revenue for our site. To ensure on-going quality of service, your embarrassment may be monitored for training purposes.

        • c u n d gulag says:

          Hey Dishonorable Boob,
          I’m 54, and, unlike you, physically, and not emotionally or mentally, handicapped, have a father with stage-4 cancer who has only a few days, weeks or months to live, and a legally-blind 80 year-old diabetic Mother.

          I’d tell you what to go and do with f’in yourself, but if you could have done it, you’d have done it a LONG time ago – have love with the only person who could tolerate himself.

          You, you stupid f*cking dipsh*t, are truly the definition of “The banality of EVIL!”

          I know this doesn’t mean anything to you. But to most human beings, it does.

          You are fucking scum!!!

          • Btw – Dishonorable Boob,
            I’m sorry I wasted precious energy, electrons, broadband, and time, on a waste of Oxygen like you.

            To say you are a narcissistic and thoughtless cretin would be an insult to other narcissistic and thoughtless cretins.

            I wouldn’t wish what’s happening to me on anyone.

            But I would gladly make an exception in your case!

            I hope you end up handicapped and unemployed when in you’re in your mid-50′s, with one terminally ill parent at home, and another handicapped one who’s also very sick.

            Maybe THAT might teach you some empathy and humility – but I doubt it – a thoughtless, unempathetic creature like you would probably sell them to medical science for any pennies you could get.

            KARMA – SCUM!! KARMA!!!!!!!!!

          • Honorable......Bob says:

            I’m 54, and, unlike you, physically,…

            So how were you working two years ago?

            I’m really sorry you are having problems, but NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING.

            I hope you can do better, but the reality is no one has more influence over your life than YOU do.

            • c u n d gulag says:

              Hey, Dumbsh*t Boob,

              Conditions deteriorate.
              Funny how that works.
              Did that not occur to you?

              No, probably not – since that requires having some brains, some empathy, and the ability to see beyond the end of your fingers and toes.

              Congratulations – you might really be the most purely narcissistic dumbf*ck on the internet.

              Karma.
              Beware of Karma, dude.
              It’s a comin’!!!
              And sooner than you think.

              • Uncle Kvetch says:

                What’s fascinating here is that Bob and Anonytroll, in their bottomless imbecility, are now arguing not against the ACA or Medicaid, but against the very notion of health insurance.

                Bob, assuming you have health insurance, did you ever stop to think about what kind of people are “your problem” as a result? Can you say for sure that they all live their lives in ways you approve of? Just think of the possibilities: strapping young black bucks with their hippity-hoppity pants on the ground and their deadly bags of Skittles! Flaming, flouncing fairies like yours truly! Slutty, contraception-popping young coeds who will sleep with anything that moves, provided it isn’t you!

                And as long as they share your insurance provider, you are subsidizing their disgusting lifestyles. I’m sure if they could meet you in person they’d shake your hand and say “Thanks, Comrade!”

                And likewise, every time you avail yourself of health care under your insurance plan, you’re the moocher! Every one else on the plan has to pony up to compensate for your lack of responsibility, even though YOU ARE NOT THEIR FUCKING PROBLEM. Pay your own goddamn bill instead of asking other people to bail you out, you fucking parasite.

                You cannot square the concept of health insurance — public, private, whatever — with the argument you and Anonymous are making here. So either have the courage of your convictions and drop your health insurance, or shut the fuck up.

                What’s it gonna be, Bob?

        • Furious Jorge says:

          I’m in a similar situation, Fuckface Bob.

          First off, I own my home. In Florida. It’s worth about half what I owe on it. So how am I going to sell it so I can move to North Fucking Dakota to flip burgers?

          Second, as I have no savings since I’ve had to spend all of it because there are no fucking jobs in this Republican-dominated-for-the-last-13-years state, HOW THE FUCK AM I GOING TO PAY FOR A CROSS COUNTRY MOVE????

          Asshole.

          • AuroraDarc says:

            I feel you, Furious G. Asshole Bob thinks everyone is a 25-year-old white male college grad (whose student loans are magically forgiven) with a degree in engineering and dozens of job offers.

            In other words, he’s a clueless moron.

    • Murc says:

      I’d like to note that the libertarian right has begun trotting out the line that uncompensated medical care (that is, sticking the taxpayers with the bill) amounts to only a tiny percentage of total healthcare costs.

      Of course, that comes from Reason, and it doesn’t relate to civil rights or criminal justice issues, which means I automatically assume that they’re either lying or deeply, deeply wrong. But that’s the new argument that’s getting pushed.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Even if true, it’s irrelevant. The uninsured stick the taxpayers with the bill if they have an emergency. What precise percentage that is is completely beside the point.

        • Murc says:

          My impression is that they’re trying to make some sort of public policy argument with regard to uncompensated medical care being such a small problem that using it as justification for sweeping reforms or intrusive legislation is massive overkill, akin to fraud-prevention programs that cost more than the value of the fraud they prevent.

          There are a whole host of things wrong with that, of course.

          • timb says:

            Here’s one: My client was a farmer in Illinois and it was a small family farm. In 1994, she had a massive stroke while in her low 40′s. She couldn’t pay the bill and the hospital was interested in paying less of one, so once she was stabilized, she went out the door with instructions to follow up with Occupational and Physical therapy. Husband couldn’t afford the co-pays and was told they made too much for Medicaid, so no follow up treatment.

            He died less than 5 years later and she was on her own. She sold the farm, of course, and lived with friends and her friend’s friend let her work in his greenhouse, replanting plants during the spring and summer.

            Her friend’s job transferred her out of state and my client wanted to be with her kids. She rotated living amongst them for a few year until one day she stood up from the couch and heard a pop. She had herniated two discs so badly, they both impinged nerve roots. Medicaid continued to turn her down, since the household income was too high. She went to a free clinic for Tylenol and muscles relaxers since they cannot dispense narcotics.

            The day of her hearing, it took her, with a walker, more than 20 minutes to walk the one block to the Courthouse doors, where the nice, upper middle class white ladies who were picketing the Courthouse in opposition to the ACA, were nice enough to hold the door open for her. After we went in, they resumed chanting “Kill the Bill.”

            Medicaid coverage when that woman had her stroke would have had a really good chance of seeing her approach her pre-morbid abilities (which were to be fair, I gather not great, but certainly enough where she could work on the farm and manage a household).

            Instead, she was denied by 2 states for Medicaid and now she’s on SSI until she dies.

            Just smells like freedom. And efficient use of public resources

            • Honorable......Bob says:

              Instead, she was denied by 2 states for Medicaid and now she’s on SSI until she dies.

              Sounds like you have a problem with Medicaid. That’s already in place and would change little under ObamaCare.

              So, what’s the issue here? Medicaid?

              • Ben says:

                Back here on planet Earth the states are arguing that the ACA expansion of Medicaid is in fact so massive as to constitute coercion on the part of the federal government to bully the states into accepting it.

                You’re not even trolling, at this point. I don’t know what you’re doing.

                • Honorable......Bob says:

                  You’ve not demonstrated how an expansion would have impacted this person, that somehow this condition is one that is not currently covered, and magically this person would have been healed because of this expansion.

                  What a conclusion you can jump to with few facts when you wish to push an agenda.

                • timb says:

                  What does expansion mean, Bob? It means easing the eligibility requirements so more people qualify.

                  Quit moving the dang goalposts already

              • timb says:

                Actually, under the ACA, Medicaid would be greatly expanded to the poor. To be eligible you would no longer have to have either a) be the guardian of dependent children or b) be adjudicated disabled.

                The ACA is a godsend to the poor, but in the meantime we have to fear the broccoli monster

          • mpowell says:

            Well, it’s usually a pretty reasonable argument against excessive fraud-prevention programs. It does depend on who is bearing the cost of the fraud, but if it’s the US gov it’s probably the exact right analysis.

      • mds says:

        I’d like to note that the libertarian right has begun trotting out the line that uncompensated medical care (that is, sticking the taxpayers with the bill) amounts to only a tiny percentage of total healthcare costs.

        Well, they can take that line, fold it five ways, and wrap it in their ceaseless squealing about “tort reform” before cramming it up their asses.

  3. c u n d gulag says:

    I love it when followers of Orwell’s “Double Speak,” like her, or Luntz, start lecturing the rest of us about the meanings of words that they abuse on a daily basis – like “liberty,” “freedom,” or “patriot.”

    It shows they’ve internalized their own propagandistic bullsh*t.

    How did she even get into any Law School not named Liberty University, let alone become a lawyer and law professor?
    Did she draw the ‘scales of justice’ off an old matchbook cover?

    Oh, and Ann, please explain to the rest of us what sort of ‘liberty’ does “Liberty” University give students – besides the ‘liberty’ of being religiously intolerant, and the ‘liberty’ to be closed-minded to science, evolution, and progress?

    • Amok92 says:

      If I recall correctly she finished #1 in her NYU Law class, maybe she took up chewing on lead pipes soon after?

      • c u n d gulag says:

        Either that, or she’s living proof that ‘the brown acid’ at Woodstock ‘wasn’t, you know… too good.’
        But hey – it was her trip!

        Unfortunately, she’s taking a lot of the country with her.

      • actor212 says:

        Back in her day at NYU Law, women could get fliers on grades if they had purty moufs.

      • Julian says:

        As a current NYU law student, I would just like to say that her bio at UW law makes no mention of graduating from NYU top of her class, order of the coif, latin honors, or anything.

        She did work for Sullivan&Cromwell, so her grades were probably pretty good.

        • AuroraDarc says:

          I suspect that she was a good student; she must have been quite talented to be hired at Sullivan & Cromwell.

          But wingnut welfare is really, really lucrative, and really, really easy to “earn” if you’re willing to whore yourself out to well-funded rightwing institutions. I daresay Ann Althouse may have done just that.

          Hell, I sometimes think “gee, I write really well, I’m over 50 and barely surviving in NYC on my 60K salary. I wonder how much the Heritage Foundation would pay me to write evil bullshit for them – IF I were an amoral asshole who’d take their money?”

    • proverbialleadballoon says:

      doublethink is a cruel mistress. having to hold two opposing thoughts at once is hard, gulag, there’s no brain power left for logic. althouse staggers around like a zombie, needing to eat some brainnnzz in order to put a cognizant argument together, and it has eluded her, poor girl.

  4. Epicurus says:

    Have some more wine, “Professor” Althouse. That this woman manages to be a bigger embarrassment to the legal teaching profession than even ole “Hey Indeedy” himself is quite an accomplishment. The citizens of the state of Wisconsin must be very proud of her steel-trap like mind. Not. Thanks for yet another well-deserved takedown of her Randian scribblings.

  5. I object. Althouse is no libertarian. Libertarians, as she has told us, are “frightening” people who “believe” in these strange things called “ideas.” She doesn’t want to be one of us; and lord knows, we don’t want that either.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Yes, fair enough; as I say in the free rider paragraph, if she was an actual libertarian her argument would probably be better.

      • mds says:

        Yes, fair enough; as I say in the free rider paragraph, if she was an actual libertarian

        she would be a legal fabulist like Randy Barnett. Or, more likely, she’d be Steven Landsburg. Or does their ass-pulling sophistry make them non-libertarians too?

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Fair enough — there certainly are a lot of libertarians who can’t seem to understand collective actions problems, and I assume Jacob isn’t making a “No True Scotsman” argument.

          • Holden Pattern says:

            It’s not that libertarians don’t understand collective action problems. It’s that they think that collective action is a BAD THING™ and therefore collective actions problems are features, not bugs.

      • DrDick says:

        But not much. All libertarian arguments are based on kindergarten logic and knowledge of history, human behavior, and economics.

  6. Cheap Wino says:

    When you know that Obama any Democrat is automatically wrong by virtue of their party ideological affiliation it doesn’t matter if your arguments are consistent, moral, make sense or any other attribute you would normally expect from informed debate. Just taking the anti position is all that matters (it also helps if you can do it pithily).

  7. JREinATL says:

    “Freedom’s just another word for dying of a treatable illness.”

    • Furious Jorge says:

      I’m stealing that.

      • Honorable......Bob says:

        This whole thread is the problem with the left when forced to discuss “liberty”, a term that should be internalized, or at leastr was until ‘civics’ was taken out of the classroom…

        • DocAmazing says:

          Liberty? You mean like the liberty to be strip-searched, or to be spied upon by the NYPD?

          Yeah, you right-wing types are great advocates of liberty…

          • Honorable......Bob says:

            Strawman.

            I don’t like lots of what the courts do and this is one of them.

            Next time, if you want to know how conservatives feel about something….try ASKING (dumbass).

            • Malaclypse says:

              Next time, if you want to know how conservatives feel about something….try ASKING (dumbass).

              I think seeing what they actually do in practice is more likely to yield valid results.

            • Hogan says:

              Next time, if you want to know how conservatives feel about something….try ASKING

              Interesting strategy. Have you ever tried it with liberals?

        • DrDick says:

          “Liberty” is yet another word which does not mean what you think it does. There are no greater enemies of liberty than conservatives.

        • Furious Jorge says:

          a term that should be internalized, or at leastr was until ‘civics’ was taken out of the classroom

          And who took ‘civics’ out of the classroom in the first place?

          Hint: It wasn’t liberals.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The government Robbing Peter (at the point of a dunno less) to pay Paul can never be reconciled with libertarian principles, nor the morality of any intellectually honest person).

    • Malaclypse says:

      Shorter Althouse reader: No, I never have heard of collective action problems. Why do you ask?

      • Anonymous says:

        Shorter Malacalypse: Its ok to rob people if you can get good results by doing so.

        • BradP says:

          Anonymous, to get you going in the right direction, Malaclypse is arguing that it is not “robbing” people, as the regulation is an attempt to stop people from freeloading.

          • Anonymous says:

            Then make people pay what they owe. Have a 25 grand ER bill because you’re uninsured? Work out a payment plan. If they don’t pay up start garnishing their wages. It’s called personal responsibility and we used to believe in it in this country.

            • Murc says:

              So what you’re saying is, if I get hit by a truck tomorrow, I should have to make the choice between dying or living the rest of my life in debt peonage.

              • Anonymous says:

                Pay what you owe. Or declare bankruptcy. Medical debt is dischargable.

                You’re not my problem in any event.

                • Murc says:

                  … you’re in favor of bankruptcy?

                  I am surprised, in a pleasant way. I’m used to conservatives and libertarians being against the ability to declare bankruptcy in nearly all situations. I must reluctantly say “good on you.”

                • BradP says:

                  It’s called personal responsibility and we used to believe in it in this country.

                  Pay what you owe. Or declare bankruptcy.

                  You’re not my problem in any event.

                  Oh goodness. You aren’t thinking these things through.

                  I spend a lot of time defending your sort on this blog. Its time to catch up!

                • DrDick says:

                  Nice to see you admitting your basic sociopathy. Most libertarians lie and try to cover it up.

                • birdlander says:

                  Actually, if you have health insurance, it is your problem. Bankruptcy sticks the cost of care to the providers. How do they make up for it? Charge more for services. How do insurers make up for increased costs? Raise premiums. How do insureds make up for increased premiums? They drop their insurance. How do the uninsured pay for emergency medical costs? They don’t. They declare bankruptcy. It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s what’s driving up medical costs.

                • timb says:

                  You’re not my problem in any event.

                  Actually, as has been made clear, he IS your problem. His medical bills discharged by the bankruptcy court didn’t make them go away. just made the hospital charge people with insurance MORE so they can collect. it’s called a free ride and it’s what the thread is about.

                  if you want to talk “You’re not my problem in any event” go talk trains and steel with an Rand fetishist

            • BradP says:

              Have a 25 grand ER bill because you’re uninsured? Work out a payment plan. If they don’t pay up start garnishing their wages.

              Lets be reasonable here:

              1) 25K is a miniscule part of the problem. Unpaid doctor’s bills can dwarf that. Yet a huge chunk of people, and the vast majority of those who would fall under the subject of this discussion, would find $25K to be an insurmountable debt.

              2) I’ll let you be the guy in the emergency room who turns away the four-year old who doesn’t have health insurance because the parents had to choose between health insurnace and the house payment.

              • Rick Massimo says:

                2) I’ll let you be the guy in the emergency room who turns away the four-year old who doesn’t have health insurance because the parents had to choose between health insurnace and the house payment.

                Freedom of choice! LIBERTY! They’d much rather make that choice than suffering under the tyranny of being able to afford both.

              • N__B says:

                From the way these people talk, I think a lot of them would get off on telling children that the doctor won’t see them until they get jobs.

            • (the other) Davis says:

              Exactly! People who can’t afford insurance and medical care should have the foresight not to experience catastrophic illness or injury. And if they don’t exercise that foresight, they have the voluntary choice to either into bankruptcy or die without complaining. That’s what personal responsibility is all about!

              • Anonymous says:

                It is called paying what you owe. If you can’t do that, bankruptcy.

                Personal responsibility.

                • BradP says:

                  Sorry to be tossing out the bait here, but I can’t help myself:

                  What do you think bankruptcy is, and what effect do you think bankruptcies have on medical costs for everyone else?

                • Jay B. says:

                  I’m trying to grasp what kind of the tiniest mind would think this. Seriously. It’s a fucking mental disease. It’s not “personal responsibility”, it’s a fucking disorder. A tic from a loser who believes that FREEDOM is making other people suffer, lest a penny is
                  “taken” from you.

                  Reality, not these inept odes to “personal responsibility” is nothing, at all, like your idiotic fantasies. What if you are poisoned by the air, or water, around you? What if your “personal responsibility” meant feeding your family first? These are things that happen everyday. That you live and lie in a bubble of greedy stupidity is your fault. If you really had any personal responsibility, I’m sure you’d drive an electric car, powered by solar panels, living off the grid, treading lightly on the Earth and…Or you know, not.

                • (the other) Davis says:

                  But what are they taking responsibility for? Having the bad luck to suffer from an expensive condition? Being in the wrong intersection when a hit-and-run driver runs a red light, or being unfortunate enough to catch a stray bullet while walking down the street?

                  “Responsibility” implies that people could have avoided incurring these medical costs. What you’re suggesting isn’t called “personal responsibility,” it’s called “sociopathy.”

                • Njorl says:

                  What do you think bankruptcy is, and what effect do you think bankruptcies have on medical costs for everyone else?

                  I’m pretty sure hospitals eat the loss without passing on the cost, because they are bolstered by the thought that the deadbeat had to own up to his inadequacy. If we can make that smugness a marketable commodity, it would solve all our problems.

            • Ben says:

              That’s what hospitals currently do. And even when hospitals work out greatly reduced and extended payments plans, less than 10% of that bill ever gets paid.

              Either because people just don’t have the assets to pay it, or because the consequences of not paying don’t outweigh the cost of the bill.

              In short, what you’re arguing for is to bring back debtors prisons. If that’s what you want, own up to it. Otherwise your argument is incoherent.

              • Anonymous says:

                Then crack down on enforcement and get them to pay the bill.

                Those people are not my problem. NOT MY FUCKING PROBLEM.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Those people are not my problem. NOT MY FUCKING PROBLEM.

                  That’s because we have this thing called a government which we have used to solve problems like this, however imperfectly, allowing you to abstract them away into something that you think does not concern you.

                • BradP says:

                  allowing you to abstract them away into something that you think does not concern you.

                  On the nose right there.

                • Linnaeus says:

                  Those people are not my problem. NOT MY FUCKING PROBLEM.

                  That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

                • Matthew Stevens says:

                  Those people are not my problem. NOT MY FUCKING PROBLEM.

                  Fine. You don’t care.

                  We do.

                  There’s nothing to discuss. Go away.

                • elm says:

                  Then crack down on enforcement and get them to pay the bill.

                  And who would be doing this crackdown? The government, perhaps? And how do we pay government agents to ensure that the debt is paid?

                  Why is it that taxation is only allowed when it is the powerful who benefit from the government action?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  And who would be doing this crackdown? The government, perhaps? And how do we pay government agents to ensure that the debt is paid?

                  Details like that are not Anonatroll’s fucking problem. He’s (and is it not an interesting comment on gender that we can be certain that he is, in fact, a he] a Big-Picture Troll.

                • DrDick says:

                  Also, the Rabbi Yeshua bar Yosef would like a word with you about your ultimate destination (Matthew 25:31-46).

                • charles says:

                  Wow, you need help.

                • Thlayli says:

                  NOT MY FUCKING PROBLEM.

                  AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?

                • DrDick says:

                  Those people are not my problem. NOT MY FUCKING PROBLEM.

                  Actually, they are because if you use healthcare services, you are paying for them and at a far higher rate than under ACA or if they had private insurance.

                • Furious Jorge says:

                  You are an angry, angry person. If you’re not careful you might end up giving yourself a stroke. And then, if the ACA is struck down, you might find yourself the victim of recission and unable to pay your enormous hospital bill.

                  Oh well. Take some personal responsibility for your choice to troll a liberal blog, dude.

                • Furious Jorge says:

                  Actually, now that I think about it for 30 more seconds, I hope that is exactly what does happen to you. You and Honorable Bob both.

                  Fucking wastes of human flesh, you guys are.

            • actor212 says:

              Then make people pay what they owe. Have a 25 grand ER bill because you’re uninsured? Work out a payment plan.

              And all those hospitals that, ohhhhhhh, go out of business because, you know, waiting for payments?

            • Honorable......Bob says:

              Then make people pay what they owe.

              This is the whole issue. The left doesn’t think people should pay what they owe. Either in hospital bils or student loans or the mortgages they voluntarily took out or anythng else.
              They want others to pay. That’s what it’s all about….

              • Uncle Kvetch says:

                The left doesn’t think people should pay what they owe. Either in hospital bils

                I take it that being good responsible upstanding non-moochers, Anonytroll and Bob don’t have health insurance. They’ll pay their own hospital bills, dammit.

                The stupidity is nothing short of dazzling.

                • DrDick says:

                  And the rampant sociopathy is absolutely nauseating. They literally are inhuman. What makes us human, and distinguishes from other animals, is that we take care of those who cannot care for themselves, including adults.

        • Murc says:

          Its ok to rob people if you can get good results by doing so.

          I’m going to assume that you think taxes are thievery. So under that rubric, yes, it is absolutely okay to rob people if you can get good results by doing so. “Robbing” people to fund education gave us universal literacy and numeracy. “Robbing” people to fund public infrastructure gave us railroads, highways, cities, universities, and all the attendant good things that come with them. “Robbing” people to pay for public assistance and old-age pensions has stopped many people from starving to death or dying under bridges.

          I am proud to be in favor of such thievery.

          • Anonymous says:

            yes, are public schools are working *so* well, especially in Detroit and Washington DC right?

            BTW why doesn’t Obama send his daughters to DC public schools?

            • Murc says:

              In historical terms? Yeah, they are. If the ONLY thing public schools gave us was universal literacy and numeracy (and even high-school dropouts absorb more than that) that would represent an outstanding achievement in historical terms and would more than justify their cost.

              Obviously, we would like our public schools to do MORE than just those two things, and to run efficiently. But that’s a separate point.

              BTW why doesn’t Obama send his daughters to DC public schools?

              I would assume for the same reason I wouldn’t send my own kids to public school if I were wealthy and had children; he can afford better.

              Public education establishes a FLOOR. In policy terms, a commitment to public education is a commitment saying “We, as a society, would like to guarantee that everyone, regardless of their situation, receives this basic level of education.”

              If you have the scratch, you can pay for MORE than that level, same as everything else. I receive basic police and fire protection as part of a policy commitment to provide it to me regardless of my situation. If I had the wealth to do so, I could live in an armed compound with private guards and personal firefighters on 24/7 call.

              I can get emergency care in an Emergency Room gratis, regardless of my situation, because there’s been a societal commitment to provide it to me. If I had the money, I could pay for the finest doctors and nurses in the world to visit me at my private one-patient hospital.

              • Honorable......Bob says:

                Anonymous has a point.

                If the schools were so good, why doesn’t the political class, and especially Obama, send his kids there?

                • redwoods says:

                  Neither he nor you do, but keep fellating each other, you’re obviously enjoying it.

                • pseudonymous in nc says:

                  Security, privacy, avoiding foisting the burden of both on the public system because of creeps like you.

                  Fuck off, Bobbitt.

                • AuroraDarc says:

                  Dishonorable Inexplicable Ellipsis Bob, did you not understand Murc’s comment, above, to which you are ostensibly responding?

                  Public schools are supposed to be the baseline. The schooling each and every American child, simply by virtue of being born in the USA, is entitled to.

                  Richer people, including for example the President of the United States, might choose to spend extra money to send their children to fancier schools. That should not change the commitment of this country to providing a high standard of basic education to every single child in the country.

                  Do you really not understand this, or are you pretending not to, for a paycheck?

            • (the other) Davis says:

              yes, are public schools are working *so* well…

              In districts that have deep property tax bases, public schools are downright fantastic (see, e.g., Mercer Island, WA).

              This has been another episode of short answers to factually ungrounded rhetorical questions.

            • DrDick says:

              Try comparing them to the third world, which does not have public schools, which is what you advocate.

            • Rick Massimo says:

              BTW why doesn’t Obama send his daughters to DC public schools?

              Desperate subject-changing is never pretty …

        • dangermaus says:

          Not-shorter Libertarians: “Taxation is theft, except for when it’s paying for things that I like.”

          • dangermaus says:

            Or alternately you’re one of those libertarians that thinks the infinite reams of bespoke contractual agreements which we’ll all need to have in the glorious propertopia will just enforce themselves, by majgyk.

        • DrDick says:

          Shorter Anonymous: I want a free ride on all the public services I consume, so I don’t want to pay taxes. If you don’t want to pay taxes move to the fucking libertarian paradise of Somalia.

      • timb says:

        One wonders how he gets the internet in his self-contained pod in Montana. Shouldn’t he be out hauling his own water and sewing his clothes?

    • BradP says:

      Fergodsakes, go back and read Lemieux’s post and try again.

      You couldn’t possibly have affirmed his point more clearly.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      So Althouse is wrong to support free riding! Glad we agree.

      • Thers says:

        This is just comical — “these people are not my fucking problem” is the exact reason right wingers came up with the mandate idea in the first place.

        • Davis X. Machina says:

          Guess who urged Congress to “undertake to put a floor under essential things, to give all a minimum standard of decent living, and to all children a fair opportunity to get a start in life.”

    • howard says:

      anonymous, when you can demonstrate that the cost of health care is set in a free market – and you do know what that is, don’t you? a free market has multiple sellers of a relatively undifferentiated product, informed buyers, and low barriers to entry – then we can talk more about how inane your thinking about personal responsibility is.

      but first, let’s get the prices set in a free market, and since a free market doesn’t (and can’t) exist in the provision of health care, your fundamental point is completely flawed.

      i mean, for goodness sake, even hayek knew that.

  9. BradP says:

    None of your arguments are incorrect, but I would like to point out that the individual mandate does not equal universal health care. The individual mandate is mainly just cost shifting.

    It is also entirely possible that the mandate could create structural problems within health care provision markets. If the ACA in general isn’t handled prudently, it could lead to access shortages, which to me would be a far more useful freedom metric.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      but I would like to point out that the individual mandate does not equal universal health care. The individual mandate is mainly just cost shifting.

      Well, yes, but it’s an integral part of a system designed to move the United States much closer to universal care. Obviously, there are much better ways of doing it, but direct your complaints to James Madison.

      • BradP says:

        Well, yes, but it’s an integral part of a system designed to move the United States much closer to universal care.

        Let me go ahead and register my doubt and ask:

        What happens if twenty years down the line my prediction has played out and health insurance costs have risen dramatically, severe access problems have started to develop, the penalty for not carrying cannot find a middle ground between effective and punitive, and there have been no relative improvement in the US’ health care outcomes? Does the mandate become retroactively unconstitutional and liberty reducing?

        • Malaclypse says:

          No, it becomes a failed policy. Many failed policies are perfectly constitutional.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            Right. The government doesn’t have to show that its policy is optimal for it to be constitutional, although Alito and Scalia seemed not to grasp that concept.

        • Dave says:

          The USA already spends twice as much per capita as other advanced economies to get frankly shitty results for the health of the population at large. If it got much worse you’d be forking out half your GDP and dying like flies. Really, if you can’t solve a public-policy problem like this in a sane and rational way…

          Oh, right, sorry, never mind, good luck.

          • Malaclypse says:

            Yea, but keep in mind that if we cannot solve this, what are the chances that we solve climate change without letting the rest of the planet die along with us?

            • (the other) Davis says:

              …without letting the rest of the planet die along with us?

              Let’s be realistic here. If we don’t solve global warming then humanity is pretty much screwed, but the planet will go on just fine — albeit with a substantially altered environment.

          • BradP says:

            The USA already spends twice as much per capita as other advanced economies to get frankly shitty results for the health of the population at large.

            Yes, but the mandate isn’t really a cost control so much as an attempt to balance and rationalize prices in response to the problems caused by guaranteed coverage.

            The problem with health care costs has largely been kicked down the road (when we’ll be even more dependent upon the approval of health insurance companies to make policy changes).

    • wengler says:

      There are a lot of problems with it. It will not lead to universal coverage. People will discover that most people without health insurance are not all rich making the choice not to carry it. The high risk pools will become extremely expensive and the insurance companies will push the government into paying more and more of their treatment.

      But the number 1 problem with the ACA is that it will be the political tool used to destroy Medicare. The ACA does not bring us a step forward in dealing with our national healthcare problem, it instead takes us a step sideways. The fact that Obama cut a deal with the pharmaceutical industry to continue to buy their drugs at insanely expensive prices means that even the cost control provisions are not that great.

      I would never use ‘freedom metric’ and ‘healthcare’ in the same sentence. Healthcare especially emergency healthcare is only broadly good when it has a high baseline of competence and an equal distribution of resources.

      • elm says:

        In all honesty, I hadn’t seen criticism of ACA as worse than the status quo from commentators here until the last couple of day (this is distinct from common criticisms that ACA wasn’t good enough) but you, DocAmazing, and Jeer9 have all offered criticisms of the policy in the past two days.

        Did I miss (or forgot) the previous criticism? (I admit that that’s a distinct possibility.) Or did something change such that ACA is no longer not progressive enough but is actually objectively bad?

        • DocAmazing says:

          I’ve been pointing out the DiSH problem since the beginning. The response has always been along the lines of “we’ll fix it in the mix”. Dandy; I’d like to see the fix.

            • DocAmazing says:

              Disproportionate Share Hospital. Hospitals that take care of a disproportionate share of medically indigent people previously were able to obtain federal funding to make up the difference between what they delivered in care and what they were able to recoup through billing; that went away asa result of PPACA. The Kaiser Family Foundation has good infornation on the subject, if you’re interested.

              Loss of DiSH funding has resulted/will result in the closure of ERs that serve the poor.

              • Malaclypse says:

                Thanks. I was unfamiliar with the completely google-proof acronym.

              • elm says:

                That would, indeed, be a bad outcome and I’ll take you at your word that you’ve been saying it all along and I’d forgotten it. But does this bad outcome outweigh the good outcomes of the bill? Maybe it’s just that other people are using the “will be used to destroy Medicare” argument (that I find hard to believe) at the same time as your argument that is making your more reasonable criticism stand out to me in a way previous statements didn’t, but I don’t remember you being opposed to the bill as a whole until your comments yesterday (or was it the day before?)

                Again, this may speak more to my memory than anything else.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        But the number 1 problem with the ACA is that it will be the political tool used to destroy Medicare.

        It’s interesting, then, that the faction that opposes Medicare also violently opposes the ACA. I wish leftier-than-thous would decide if Republicans are the shrewdest political operators in the world or the most inept.

        • BradP says:

          I wish leftier-than-thous would decide if Republicans are the shrewdest political operators in the world or the most inept.

          I haven’t heard wengler’s complaint before, but I still got two replies(!):

          1. Or alternatively, that more-reasonable-than-thou lefties would realize that there will always be opportunists and no policy will ever be sacrosanct. Some folks may not prefer the ACA, but that doesn’t mean they won’t wield it like a club if they can’t get rid of it.

          2. Republicans are extremely shrewd political operators. Not to branch into anonatrolling, but they have been kicking ass for longer than I have been alive.

          • 2. Republicans are extremely shrewd political operators.

            Judging by the 2012 Goat Rodeo, I respectfully disagree with this.

            • Malaclypse says:

              No, Brad is right. You can’t have a non-zero chance of electing a loathsome troll without some political skills.

              I’ll go out on a limb: Republicans will convince at least 45% of the voters that a return to the policies that brought us the Great Recession is just what the country needs.

              That takes skills.

              • Dunno. The whole anti-woman kerfuffle, throwing battleground states to Obama by 9 points by driving women away from the Republican Party in massive waves, is not exactly a work of genius.

                A lousy campaigner can win by having worse opponents, and over the time frame Brad mentions, Republicans have had the happy luck to be opposed by The Democratic Fainting Goat Party.

                • DocAmazing says:

                  The republicans have managed to take a set of policies that consistently poll poorly and win offices.

                  The Republicans have managed to become identified with the worst of the Malefactors of Great Wealth and still win offices.

                  The Republicans have managed to behave in overtly racist and sexist ways and still win offices.

                  I’d say they’re pretty skilled. Underestimating one’s opponent is not a very good strategy, and it’s been evident in how the Dems do business for some time.

          • Gus says:

            Agreed with number two. Despite loathsome, inhuman policy prescriptions Republicans control the House (and likely will after the election), have a shot at controlling the Senate, will continue to control the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future, and are enshrining bigotry, poll taxes (in the form of voter ID laws) and “right to work” in state constitutions. Despite the primary shit show, I’d say they’re winning.

        • c u n d gulag says:

          Compared to the D’s, they’re definitely the former.

        • wengler says:

          But things change with different people in power. Hatred of the ACA is tied deeply with hatred of whatever Obama does. Medicare funding is forever on the list of things that Republicans want to get rid of and is becoming much more of a financial liability.

          Can you not see some shrewd Republican operator craft a political message saying ‘If the ACA is good enough for those under 65, then why isn’t it good enough for our seniors?’

          • wengler says:

            Of course the addendum here is that mandated private insurance wouldn’t work with a disproportionately unhealthy population, but the Republicans don’t really care.

            The ACA does some good things, but it doesn’t do much to touch the core of the problem of healthcare in this country. I really have to reiterate that the people without health insurance in this country are overwhelmingly not those that choose not to have health insurance. Costs will continue to rise.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              This is just a non-sequitur. Nothing about the ACA actually makes it easier to privatize Medicare (which actually provides direct benefits to a powerful constituency.) If the ACA is struck down it’s not like it’s going to stop Paul Ryan et al. from trying to voucherize Medicare anyway and I don’t see how they would then become less likely to succeed. (You also haven’t answered by question of why everybody who actually wants to get rid of Medicare hates the ACA and wants the Supreme Court to strike it down. I think they understand the state of play better than you do.)

              But, anyway, the fact that your argument on the ACA is based on the fact that some other completely independent legislation might pass represents a concession that the ACA is in fact a substantial improvement on the status quo.

              • wengler says:

                They want it struck down because Obama is a Communist Muslim.

                Republicans don’t actually give a shit about healthcare. They want to make money off of sick people from here to the end of time.

                But that doesn’t mean the ACA is a solution. This is the fake Republican plan. Its deficiencies will be made clear if the Supreme Dictators allow it to continue. If it is somewhat successful it can be a bridge to single payer, but if it is not it will be the poster child for why Democrats should never be allowed to pass legislation that helps the vast majority of people.

  10. Rick Massimo says:

    Perhaps Althouse, like the judicial idol she defended so feebly, would prefer a libertarian dystopia in which people who aren’t lucky enough to have taxpayer-funded health insurance are just left to die from accidents or treatable illnesses.

    For 30 years I’ve been hearing from conservatives, implicitly and sometimes explicitly, that if this country would have the balls to actually let people starve to death, or die in the street of treatable diseases, the masses would shape up quick. And that it wouldn’t take THAT many deaths, so it would be fairly humane.

    • Uncle Kvetch says:

      For 30 years I’ve been hearing from conservatives, implicitly and sometimes explicitly, that if this country would have the balls to actually let people starve to death, or die in the street of treatable diseases, the masses would shape up quick.

      That merits a link to this oldie but goodie — a very nice summation of that exact worldview.

      • wengler says:

        I think implicitly that American conservative thought experiment is just a white supremacist dream. Because in their mind it is the non-white who is lazy, criminal, stupid and shiftless. The non-white is able to exist on social welfare stolen from the white by liberals. Therefore without this support the non-white would a) starve and die and b) stop producing another non-white generation.

        Of course this is just conservative fantasy. Without healthcare or any of the other hallmarks of an advanced, modern country the US would just look like a non-advanced, non-modern country in which a majority of the world’s population lives. Of course everything is relative. The white American conservative doesn’t care as much about being poor, but rather being wealthier than the non-whites.

  11. Davis X. Machina says:

    (Large number of deaths/large increase in freedom) ≥ (Small number of deaths * large decrease in freedom).

    See, it’s math.

    • wengler says:

      Some people’s bodies are so against freedom that they afflict a person with all sorts of diseases and disorders.

      Let’s stand up for freedom bodies and commit ourselves to condemn those who have been effected by Communist pestilence.

  12. Fritz says:

    What about the cost of this entitlement?

    Human desire for healthcare is limitless. The worry about death panels or rationing is misplaced, government is never going to be able to say no to any sufficiently interested group which desires additional benefits whatever the cost or dubious connection to health. Healthcare is very, very expensive. Is the necessary, massive cost and its inevitable growth freedom enhancing?

    • Malaclypse says:

      You are right. Best to just let the poors die off, so as to decrease the surplus population.

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      Not if it results in gulags like this.

      • Fritz says:

        I wonder if you’re confusing healthcare and health insurance.

        • Malaclypse says:

          No, he’s making a reference to Hayek’s oh-so-obscure book The Road To Serfdom, the central premise of which was that the platform of the 1948 Labour Party would lead, inevitably and inexorably, to totalitarianism.

          • Davis X. Machina says:

            Look carefully — that river is full of crocodiles. Anyone making a run for it to Surrey is history.

            • Malaclypse says:

              If we had just let the Free Market work, those crocodiles would be armed with lasers. I blame Attlee, obviously.

              • Fritz says:

                What would a free market in health care look like? When’s the last time such a thing existed?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Never. Glad to see you have finally realized the obvious.

                • Fritz says:

                  So criticisms that say, “Well the free market would result in X” are misplaced?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  So criticisms that say, “Well the free market would result in X” are misplaced?

                  How about you show us someone here making the argument that we have ever had a free market in health care?

                • Uncle Kvetch says:

                  What would a free market in health care look like?

                  Hello, everybody!

                • chris says:

                  What would a free market in health care look like?

                  Well, I’d say “all the lifespan you can afford”, except that the actual result isn’t nearly that benevolent. You see, the people who need health care are mostly unqualified to tell good health care from bad. So a free market in health care involves a lot of quackery. Think back before the iron fist of the FDA stopped people from selling all those patent medicines and devices.

                  When’s the last time such a thing existed?

                  Roughly the 19th century, IIRC.

                • Anonymous says:

                  saying the free market results in anything is a non-sequiter as free markets can never actually exist and thus result in nothing.

                • Furious Jorge says:

                  So criticisms that say, “Well the free market would result in X” are misplaced?

                  No, not at all. We can predict what a free-ish market (I say free-ish because the economic definition of a perfectly competitive, or “free,” market is so stringent as to render it little more than a thought experiment) for health care and health insurance would look like because we know two things: a) how nearly-free markets look for regular goods, and b) how health care and health insurance is different, based on many many years of human experience, both here and abroad.

                  So yes, we can make some well-grounded predictions, even in the absence of a perfectly free and competitive marketplace.

        • Davis X. Machina says:

          Hell no, I’m a public school teacher. Given my druthers, the state would own the whole shebang, bricks and mortar, and employ the help. It’s a model I have come rather to like.

          • Steve LaBonne says:

            And for good reason. For years the Brits have been markedly underfunding the NHS relative to health care expenditures in most other advanced countries, yet getting health outcomes that are solidly average among those same countries. I’d call that pretty suggestive evidence that it’s the best known model for delivering good care efficiently.

    • DrDick says:

      What about the enormous costs of the current system, which are far larger?

    • c u n d gulag says:

      Fritz,
      Health care is NOT expensive – at least not unless/until you get sick!
      Truly sick.
      A few regular check-ups, a test or two, some remedies for common ailments – not expensive at all.
      As a matter of fact, those things keep the cost of everyone’s health care DOWN! They PREVENT people from getting something(s) MORE serious.

      That’s the whole point of Medicare/ACA/Mandates/Taxes/Insurance, whatever – it’s cost shifting.
      Let the healthy pay while they’re healthy, so when they do get sick, the remaining healthy people pay for them.

      This really isn’t that hard to understand, is it?
      But then again, my brain’s “evolved” past the lizard stage…

      • S’funny that in order to argue against the PPACA, opponents generally have to feign ignorance (or maybe it’s not feigned) of how insurance actually works.

        • N__B says:

          It’s not feigned. The loudest voices against reform come from people with really nice government-paid insurance (e.g., R congressmen), with nice institutional insurance (e.g., Althouse), or with the best money can buy (e.g., Willard). They really don’t get what we go through with insurance companies.

          • you’re right, of course. Let alone what people go through with catastrophic health problems, like the best man at my wedding who had spinal surgery and subsequent bankruptcy.

            But I was thinking more about people like the Teabaggers on the SCOTUS steps, or some of the trolls that have oozed through this thread.

            I said ‘feigned’ because I was feeling like giving them benefit of the doubt for self-awareness. It was a moment of uncharacteristic weakness, and won’t happen again.

    • Human desire for healthcare is limitless.

      Well, there’s actually kind of a hard upper limit on it.

      Except maybe for Dick Cheney, but he’s more machine than man at this point.

    • Hogan says:

      Human desire for healthcare is limitless.

      Human desire for everything is limitless, but somehow we manage.

      • Fritz says:

        Mostly by making people pay for their own stuff, I imagine.

        • Malaclypse says:

          And that is why there are no non-toll roads in this country. And we limit posts by charging people every time the post a comment. Because life is exactly like the first paragraph an Econ 101 textbook.

          • mark f says:

            Heard on the radio this morning: “Why should my tax money help Deval Patrick bail out the MBTA?!?!?! Why can’t it make its own money?” Gee, I don’t know. Why should T riders’ tax money build an unprofitable road to your fucking front door? I know what will make you happy: 100,000 more cars on the road at rush hour.

            • mark f says:

              (Animosity not directed at Malaclypse, in case that was not clear)

            • Furious Jorge says:

              Boston has the reputation for being such a well-educated city, but from what I remember from my few years there, it sure does have a lot of dumbasses.

          • Fritz says:

            I said “mostly”.

            • Malaclypse says:

              I know that as soon as ObamaCare goes through, I plan on signing up for weekly CAT scans.

              • Fritz says:

                You don’t think that when healthcare is free at the point of service that more people will use more services, including those who already had access to health insurance?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Like I said, I plan on visiting the ER daily, and weekly CAT scans. Because I run my life the way the first paragraph of Econ 101 says that life should run.

                • Yes, they will. People who never had access to preventive services will avail themselves of them, decreasing the impact on emergency services and resulting in overall lower costs for everyone, and incidentally, less strain on the system in general.

                  You know, like every other nation with universal health care.

                  But who are the imaginary friends you have who love to spend time in the hospital so much? Aside from malaclypse, I mean?

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  If only every other liberal democracy in the world had some kind of universal care, so we could empirically test the proposition that they would spend more than the United States does. I wonder what it would show.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Empiricism is a gateway philosophy to dialectical materialism, Scott.

                • Fritz says:

                  Absent homicide and accidents, isn’t our national average life expectancy already the highest?

                • Fritz says:

                  If I have cancer, isn’t my survival rate already the best in the U.S.A.?

                • Absent homicide and accidents, isn’t our national average life expectancy already the highest?

                  LOL.

                  No.

                  Google is your friend.

                • Fritz says:

                  Don’t more “medical tourists” come to the U.S. then Americans leave?

                • DrDick says:

                  Google is your friend.

                  No, Google is your friend and Fritz’s worst enemy.

                • Fritz says:

                  Zombie, that list isn’t absent homicides or accidents.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  ZRM, it saddens me to say this, but Fritz’ rhetorical question was, for the first time this thread, accurate it its implication.

                  If I have cancer, isn’t my survival rate already the best in the U.S.A.?

                  Only if you are white.

                • DrDick says:

                  Don’t more “medical tourists” come to the U.S. then Americans leave?

                  Not by a factor of about 10:1. You really should learn to use Google before you make a complete ass out of yourself. Ooops! Too late!

                  From Wikipedia:

                  A McKinsey and Co. report from 2008 found that a plurality of an estimated 60,000 to 85,000 medical tourists were traveling to the United States for the purpose of receiving in-patient medical care;[81] the same McKinsey study estimated that 750,000 American medical tourists traveled from the United States to other countries in 2007 (up from 500,000 in 2006).[82]

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  I’d certainly hope that we get marginally better results in some area, since we spend vastly more per capita than anyone else.

                • DocAmazing says:

                  Don’t people ask questions by the dozen that they know will go against them much in the manner of squid releasing ink?

                • ZRM, it saddens me to say this, but Fritz’ rhetorical question was, for the first time this thread, accurate it its implication.

                  Well. That was….disturbing.

                  But since Fritzel didn’t provide a link for his Socratic Assertion, and given his other misleading questions, is it permissible for me to subscribe to the Blind Squirrel hypothesis?

                  Also, I would like to see how that average life expectancy distributes. My suspicion is that America has a much greater disparity between the rich and the poor when it comes to average life expectancy than other countries, with the results for low and middle class much worse than other countries.

                  But if it makes old Fritz feel better, I concede his point.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  is it permissible for me to subscribe to the Blind Squirrel hypothesis?

                  Lord knows that seems the best explanation, yes. Except Pigs are Blind, while Squirrels are, traditionally, Idiots.

              • Hogan says:

                Ten years until my next colonoscopy? I want it now!

    • chris says:

      Human desire for healthcare is limitless.

      Damn those humans and their constant recreational organ transplants!

      I think you’ll find that most people’s desire for health care is, in fact, limited by their need for health care. The problem is that that limit isn’t necessarily limiting enough, but when you impose a tighter limit, you are now a death panel.

  13. BradP says:

    I posit that the answer to the troll problem is consistently being patronizingly receptive.

    The last thing these guys wanna run into is a mild-mannered liberal who really would like to understand them and then maybe teach them something.

  14. Fritz says:

    What’s Switzerland doing right?

  15. Universal health care has freedom-enhancing properties in a lot of ways: it allows you to move, or engage in entrepreneurial activities, without losing the employer-based coverage that is the only practical means of obtaining insurance for those who aren’t poor or extremely wealthy.

    Yes. I’ve been recently kicking around the idea of a service-based venture with some of my former colleagues, that would be, so far as we know, the first of it’s kind in our industry. However, both for the currently employed (them) and the currently job-hunting (me), health insurance is a huge factor, and possibly the biggest hurdle preventing us all from becoming “job creators.” It’s just not that easy to leave a good job with insurance, no matter how good the idea might be. You would think that conservatives would love this free-market-stimulative aspect of universal coverage but alas…

    • Linnaeus says:

      In one of my jobs, I work for a consulting company that does some pretty interesting work, is very flexible with time, and whose owner is a conscientious businessman. But the job doesn’t come with health insurance benefits; it’s a small company, so I suspect that he can’t afford the cost, but I could be wrong. So I’m looking for work that will provide these benefits and if I find a suitable job, I’ll have to leave the ones I have now. I know none of my supervisors would want me to do so (they’ve told me they’d like for me to stay on as long as possible); under a regime of universal health insurance, I’d be able to stay.

    • Gus says:

      Indeed. My wife was recently diagnosed with MS, and her medication would cost $35k annually without insurance. I’m not sure what that means for me, since our insurance is currently through my job. If I leave, am I (or more properly my wife) screwed, since she has a “pre-existing condition?” I certainly couldn’t start a business, I’m not sure if I could even get a job with a new insurance plan.

  16. dan says:

    Hard as it may be to believe, I used to enjoy reading the comments on this blog.

  17. Zombie, that list isn’t absent homicides or accidents.

    Although that Makes one wonder why America has so many more homicides and accidents than other developed countries, doesn’t it?

  18. anon says:

    “depressingly inept work by he and his Republican colleagues.”

    You should say to yourself, “This is depressingly inept grammar by I.”

  19. JohnR says:

    “They are, in fact, making a choice to stick the taxpayers with the bill if they have a medical emergency.”

    Whoah! There really _are_ True Libertarians after all!

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