HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » DirkGently » Journal
Page: 1


Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 12,151

Journal Archives

Health insurance is just a systemically bad idea, really.

As someone else here noted, someone probably has to connect patients with health care providers. The huge problem comes when that administration is done as a for-profit business that must, by the very nature of the thing, somehow extract billions of dollars from the process.

Sure, they could make things "profitable" by encouraging efficiency, but that only goes so far, and nothing is ever far enough when it comes to corporate profits.

So the profit ultimately comes by reducing care to patients, and compensation to providers. The whole framework of reimbursement for discrete services is not a health care model, but rather a way to pin down costs in rigid ways that can then be chiseled away, inevitably again by reducing care and provider payments.

None of the touted benefits of free enterprise apply in a system like this. There is no real competition, because people can't really "shop" for health insurance; even under the ACA, they mostly take what their employer gives them, period. And there are so few insurance providers to begin with that they can easily prevent any kind of superior way of doing business from emerging.

It's not even really "insurance." Insurance is a pooled distribution of risk, like the risk of car accidents or fire. Health care problems happen to everyone -- more so to some people, like the elderly -- but ultimately health problems aren't a "risk;" they're an inevitable cost of staying alive for literally everyone.

What we've got is a forced brokerage system, where a multi-billion-dollar industry dictates how health care works on both the patient and the provider sides to ensure it gets richer every year. Their "customers" will never walk away, because (haha) they can't.

No one has to twist their mustache for evil to happen. All it requires is the ungoverned application of normal human greed and short-sightedness, and the unwillingness of enough people to do something about it.

The sense of "ownership" of people and legitimacy speaks volumes.

What is a political party -- the people controlling it, or the people in it?

Who has the right to say who "we" are?

Who gets to say who is legitimate and who is an intruder?

And all the same questions apply equally to the country at large. Are "the people" writ large supposed to have a voice, or do they need to just settle down and let their self-imagined betters run things as they see fit?

Because that's maybe not working very well.

To me the attitude that someone will establish control and then dictate to everyone else is supposed to be the Republican view of "democracy." Once it was white male landowners; now it's simply whoever has the most money or can otherwise purchase the most influence.

"We stole this power fair and square. Now butt out!"

Whenever I see people enthusing about how they can't wait until people who disagree with them have to shut up or be "kicked out," I wonder why they call themselves Democrats in the first place. We already have a party that's about hierarchies and rigid power structures and elitist ideas of who is permitted to call the shots.

And of course, WaPo is so deeply in the tank for the Clinton campaign that it was recently observed hitting 16 anti-Sanders stories in 16 hours, joining the growing laundry list of establishment institutions setting their credibility on fire to try to swing the Democratic Primary.


Whatever we do in this election, we need to think about whether the Democrats stand for small "d" democracy, or for a slightly more polite authoritarianism than what the Republicans are offering.

It's a big, old, sacred lie Clinton was trading on there.

Yes, Castro is an authoritarian dictator. But that was never our problem with him. The U.S. was fine with his predecessor, Batista, a mob-connected, U.S. casino-friendly dictator who carried out mass violence against the population, including torture and public executions, with the happy support of the U.S.

Yet none of the talk about the evils of Castro ever acknowledges he came into power on a wave of revulsion and rage at the arguably more savage and oppressive, U.S.-friendly regime he replaced.

Why is that?

U.S. interventionist policies were never about favoring democracy over authoritarianism. They were about promoting U.S.-friendly business practices over anything and everything else. Socialism and communism were an enemy not because they sometimes went with authoritarianism, but because they screwed WITH OUR MONEY, PERIOD.

This conflation of socialism and communism with authoritarianism and evil has gone on for decades. But all the scheming and maneuvering in Latin America and elsewhere was never about freedom and democracy vs. oppression, or even really about one economic system vs. another.

We just sided with anyone who kept the oil or the bananas or whatever else was making American business money going, conveniently telling only one side of the story. Left-wing, right-wing -- we didn't choose based on whose death squads were the dirtiest or which dictators were the cruelest. In fact, a good non-commie dictator usually suited us just fine.

I think it's as good a time as ever, especially given an avowed socialist vs. a student of Kissinger in the election, to drag all of that out into the sunshine and give it a good, hard, look, once and for all.

Sort of "Socialism." Really Social Democracy.

American conservatives and libertarians have been screaming for years that essentially any government spending for the public good is "socialism," because in the past that term was a reliable way to create fear and panic about Soviet nukes and so forth.

Socialism is supposed to be about government owning the means of production, which is actually pretty radical, and is not what Bernie Sanders is currently advocating.

What's happened I think is that the term has been so sorely abused by corporatists trying to sow fear and justify preventing government from serving the collective good in any way that it no longer means what it used to mean.

Sanders is running as a Social Democrat, advocating a mixed economy where private entrepreneurship generates most business, and government provides a healthy array of social services, infrastructure, and some kind of social welfare.

This is what happens when people dissemble and exaggerate to push extremism as American conservatives have done. People are so tired of explaining that a normal modern democracy isn't a "socialist" state that they've just decided that "socialism" as described by greedy idiots doesn't sound so bad.

I do wish Sanders would articulate all of this a little better, but people seem to be getting what he's saying anyway.

Check out FiveThirtyEight's crash and burn:

According to our final polls-plus forecast, Hillary Clinton has a greater than 99% chance of winning the Michigan primary.

MAR. 6 Mitchell Research & Communications 475 LV
Clinton +37
MAR. 3-6 Monmouth University 302 LV
Clinton +13
MAR. 2-4 YouGov 597 LV
Clinton +11
MAR. 1-3 Marist College 546 LV
Clinton +17
MAR. 4-5 American Research Group 400 LV
Clinton +24
FEB. 29-MAR. 1 EPIC-MRA 400 LV
Clinton +25
MAR. 2-3 Mitchell Research & Communications 616 LV
Clinton +18
FEB. 22-27 Marketing Resource Group (MRG) 218 LV
Clinton +20
JAN. 25-MAR. 3 Michigan State University 262 LV
Clinton +5
MAR. 1 Mitchell Research & Communications

Go to Page: 1