Friday, June 29, 2012

Once More, With Loss Of Feeling...

Okay, at the risk of looking for a horse to beat in a glue factory, let's review the facts one last time.

Kill lists, murder by unmanned android, sweeping civilian deaths under a semantic rug, harshest enforcement of the Espionage Act ever, indefinite detention: a handful of "radical" leftists get upset.

Guarantee that citizens needn't go broke or die for want of quality healthcare: half the country loses its goddamn mind.

America: the fuck is you thinking.


JM said...

Well, actually, the mandate is not very good

Seb said...

I won't argue with that! However, at the risk of being wildly unsympathetic, THAT is the consequence of not having the balls to go for a true single-payer system and kowtowing to free-market ideology. The Obama administration began compromising on healthcare coverage past the point they should have stopped.

Anonymous said...

Single-payer doesn't address the fact that the state is ensuring monopoly profits in the first instance for 1/ large pharmaceutical corporations, by enforcing their patents on drugs when most money on R&D is spent on locking down patents on all similar drugs to prevent competition; 2/ medical technology corporations, by enforcing their patents on dubiously useful machines that are thus made exorbitantly expensive; and 3/ the medieval guild known as the AMA, by enforcing their licensing practices which artificially limit the number of doctors and hospitals, and prohibit basic procedures from being performed by clinical practitioners unless there is an MD-level physician as part of the facility's overhead. Frankly some free market competition in these areas would be a great improvement over the status quo. But neoliberalism doesn't really have anything to do with markets, just cronyism.

Seb said...

Any country whose patent law allows everything up or down to a gene to be copyrighted has all but guaranteed a feudalist consumer state. And yes, it's true, single-payer doesn't address those problems. Nor do I know how to begin to address them. Any suggestions?

Seb said...

By the way, I love the fact that, any place or conversation I've made a comment to the effect of my original post, everyone has put on their constitutional scholar/economist hat and trudged into the debate about the SCOTUS ruling: it's Roberts' Trojan Horse to dismantle the commerce clause! It's handed the GOP a new talking point about taxes! Record profits for monopolistic corporations! Millions will lose their coverage when their employers decide it's cheaper to pay the fine! I'm moving to Canada!

Or whatever.

Meanwhile, no one has said anything to the effect of, "Yeah, it's fucked up that we're crushing whistleblowers and running a campaign of global terror and state-sanctioned murder."

Anonymous said...

No arguments from me on that front: the Empire's terror war, drug war, and associated policies is a grand experiment in mass murder and subjugation that is in an entirely different arena of unmitigated evil from PPACA, which is merely another annoying profit-ensuring neoliberal reform in the same vein as Medicare Part D under Bush, the Clinton plan, EMTALA under Reagan, or the HMO Act under Nixon.

Nevertheless, like the rest of those policies, since it doesn't address a major part of the problem with health care, which is state-enforced monopoly privileges for the well-connected that has gone on for well over a century, I'm not optimistic for its chances of success. Rescinding those monopoly privileges would be the only meaningful suggestion I can think of. Unfortunately no major sector of the rent-seeking classes can profit from this, and AMA and Big Pharma own both political parties, so this will never happen. But I'll continue to raise the issue anyway, in vain probably.

Seb said...

Well, take heart that you're not the only one incensed by corporate & bureaucratic cabals' stranglehold on American healthcare: today there's a surprisingly thorough article on Gawker (of all places!) detailing, among other things, how the Medicare Modernization Act of 2006 effectively destroyed many generic drug manufacturers, prompted what is now the worst medicine shortage in American history, and has lead to markups on essential & life-saving pharmaceuticals at an average of 650%.

Outlawing such price-gouging is the only feasible first step, though it would indeed take shredding patent law to eliminate most of the problem. But like you, I'm not optimistic that will ever happen.

I'm not entirely sure, though, that the AMA is as big a threat as you claim. Most estimates say a mere 15% of all practicing American doctors belong to the AMA, and I can't say its ethical policies are needlessly restrictive. Plus I'm personally in favour of anyone who guards against pseudo-scientific quacks like chiropractors & homeopaths.

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