Another (predictable) liberal defense of Rep. Grayson

Justin, a Friend of the Blog, isn’t terribly happy with the language Rep. Grayson (infamously?) used to describe the Republican health care alternative:

There is no sense in which the Republicans want people to die.  Nothing even approximately close.  Republicans have their reasons for disagreeing with health care reform, many of which I think are bad (slavish devotion to an ideal of the free market, distorted ideas of what will happen).  Many legislators have worse reasons (pandering, insurance industry donations).  But the idea that they want people to die explains nothing.  It’s not hyperbole, it’s pure rhetoric, and it doesn’t appeal to any rational consideration, but pure fear.

As a purely substantive matter, I kind of disagree.  Republicans know – or have some idea – that upwards of forty-five thousand Americans die annually because they lack health insurance.  And Republicans know – or at least have some inkling – that thousands more Americans die because their insurers refused to cover a treatment or a procedure or even a medication.  Republicans might not want people to die, but they are fighting very hard to maintain a system that needlessly claims lives and livelihoods as a matter of course.  So, at the very least, Republicans seem to have a complete and total disregard for the human cost of our health care “system.”  Which, honestly, isn’t much better than wanting people to die.

That said, Justin is right to say that Rep. Grayson’s bit of hyperbole was a direct appeal to fear.  But it wasn’t solely an appeal to fear; no, it was also an attempt to inject some needed moral urgency into this debate.  Since I’m, one of the most powerful verses in “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (which is a pretty powerful song altogether) is towards the end, where Melle Mel details the bleak life of a young stick-up kid.  Melle Mel tells us that in prison, the kid is “used and abused and served like hell,” and I bring that up because it is also pretty much how our health care system treats millions of Americans.  For those not fortunate enough to have good employer-provided health care – and even for those that do – our system regularly under-serves, bankrupts and kills.  Everyone knows this.  And the fact that we don’t actively talk about it is completely ridiculous.

Yesterday, Matt Yglesias correctly pointed out that – by the conventions of American politics – liberals simply aren’t permitted to bring any notion of morality or justice to bear on our opposition.  To be taken “seriously” at all requires us to sheath our swords and turn to the bloodless language of bureaucracy.  Which is all good and well, except that we become so bogged down in bureaucratese that we forget acknowledge that there are real lives at stake.  Yes, Rep. Grayson shouldn’t have called the status quo a “holocaust,” but if his hyperbole can create the space for liberals to make a moral argument, and freely point out the human costs of Republican obstinacy, then I’m inclined to defend his speech as a good and necessary corrective to the monstrous abstraction which has consumed this debate.

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89 thoughts on “Another (predictable) liberal defense of Rep. Grayson

  1. I completely agree, Jamelle. If Grayson had said “Republicans are indifferent if you die” instead of “want you to die” he would have passed a lie detector test with flying colors. It wouldn’tve been hyperbolic at all, but a dead-on description of the Republican point of view on health care.

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  2. “Yes, Rep. Grayson shouldn’t have called the status quo a “holocaust,” but if his hyperbole can create the space for liberals to make a moral argument, and freely point out the human costs of Republican obstinacy, then I’m inclined to defend his speech as a good and necessary corrective to the monstrous abstraction which has consumed this debate.”

    I’ll trade you one liberal Holocaust analogy to healthcare for one conservative Holocaust analogy to abortion.

    Deal?

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    • If you had accused me of being indifferent to the plight of Iraqis under Saddam, that would have been more or less true. That is, while not indifferent, I wasn’t exactly interested in getting a bunch of Americans killed for a project that wasn’t going to work anyway.

      Any Republican who steps up and says, “I’m not indifferent to people dying from poor insurance coverage, but I’m unwilling to make rich people spend money on a plan that isn’t going to work anyway”, has my vote for honesty.

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  3. Jamelle,

    I appreciate the arguments you’ve presented here within. I guess I would ask the following: have Grayson’s comments really achieved what you attribute to them? Has the national discourse about health care reform significantly shifted to a discussion about the shortcomings of the current system and the needless suffering and death that results any more than it had already contained? Or have we traded abstraction for distraction — in this case, the “scandalous” nature of Grayson’s comments?

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  4. Todd: ” I was unaware that lacking health insurance was a fatal condition. ”

    Then you’re pretty uninformed about current conditions in the USA. Perhaps you should talk to some Americans, and find out what’s going on.

    Jaybird:
    “People unwilling to invade Iraq want people to die by the agency of Saddam’s police state.”

    That might be reasonable, in a fantasy world in which the right (a) wasn’t just invading for oil, Israel and to ‘pay back’ some Ay-rabs for 9/11, and (b) in which there was a reasonable chance that the war would have put in somebody better (remember, the GOP luuuuuuuuuuuuuuved Saddam until he got unreliable; they had no problems with him invading Iran, using chemical weapons and slaughtering his own people).

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    • Hey, we’re not talking about *THEIR* motives. We’re talking about *YOUR* motives. You don’t care about Iraqi women! Rape-rooms! RAPE ROOMS!!! Iraqi babies thrown on the ground in the neo-natal wards!

      If you don’t support the invasion of Iraq, it must be because
      You
      Just
      Don’t
      Care.

      Not surprising, really. We’ve seen (presumably) white men trade away women’s reproductive freedom for a public option (see above).

      It shouldn’t surprise me to see more indifference to women’s issues on the part of the so-called “left”.

      Would you say that you are indifferent to those women because they are Arab or does their nationality have less to do with it than your indifference to their gender?

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        • At this point, I’ll go back into serious mode and say that I agree that it’s fine for us to draw a line where our responsibility to others ends, even if we may, theoretically, have the power to “protect” them from forces external to themselves.

          Would you agree that it’s not exactly the most fair thing to accuse people who say “the line is drawn here” of wickedness (or not caring about the human cost, or however you want to phrase it) if they are not willing to intervene on the part of people on the other side of that line?

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          • Only if they’re willing to own that line. Republicans insist that they don’t want Americans to go without insurance and then do precisely nothing to act on that claim. One might almost think they’re playing some kind of cynical game.

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            • Oh, yes. Sure. Republicans are playing a cynical game. Indeed. Of course they are.

              This may be part of the problem.

              If I say “Republicans do X”, I could mean “Elected Republicans” or I could mean “Registered Republicans (which includes my Uncle Murray)” or I could mean everybody all the way up to “People who vote Republican”.

              If one reads a politician say “Republicans don’t care if you die” (or whatever), the politician probably (let’s give him the benefit of the doubt) means “those Republicans on the other side of the aisle” and not “Jaybird’s Uncle Murray”.

              It’s very easy, however, to hear “Republicans don’t care if you die” as hearing “Jaybird’s Uncle Murray doesn’t care if you die”. Let me assure you that my Uncle Murray is the salt of the earth and if you knew him you’d never say anything bad about him.

              Of course, if you just mean the politicians, yeah. Sure. They probably do want you to die. Jerks, all of them.

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          • I’d say that Barry was engaging in that great internet tradition of snark, and hyperbole. A tradition which is unfair to its targets.

            A fairer approach is to ask you questions.Is it ok with you that many will suffer and die or go bankrupt due to our current method of distributing healthcare and paying for that distribution? If not what do you think should be done to prevent it?

            This is different from our response to what happens in other countries as we control this one.

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            • See, I am now going to say something that will absolutely blow your mind:

              All of us are going to die. Many, if not most, of us will suffer before we do.

              There is *NOTHING* that can be done to prevent this. *NOTHING*.

              The biggest problem with health care is the basic assumption that seems to be hidden in the questions “Is it ok with you that many will suffer and die or go bankrupt due to our current method of distributing healthcare and paying for that distribution? If not what do you think should be done to prevent it?” is that the only thing we lack is the will to prevent these things.

              I come out and say this: We cannot prevent death. We cannot even really prevent suffering (though, indeed, we can blunt it). Indeed, it’s only in the last 100 years that medical science has started to do more good than harm.

              Medical Science has made huge leaps and bounds in the last 100 years but we are still fragile. Caring will not change that. Willpower will not change that. Spending all of the money in the world will not change that.

              Anymore than sending a friggin’ army into Iraq ended up helping the poor and oppresed women there.

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              • Actually there are in fact lives we could save but do not. The harvard study I cited earlier cited 45,000 per year. Yes all of us will die. Do you think that any of us do not realize that? Medical care at the appropirate time can delay this in addition it can make it less physically painful(see hospice care).

                So I am asking you what is your solution for those 45,000 people per year? Is this an issue you don’t think that we as a society should address?

                Even beyond the reason for reform above there are others. Do you think it is a good idea to have our system set-up so that it is near madness for a person with diabetes to go it alone and start their own small business? The frankly stupid system we use for healthcare screws-up and distorts our economy in many ways.

                Are you of the mind that there is no need for reform in general? Or are you of the mind that all proposed and likely reforms will not help?

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                • I am of the mind that every single plan likely to make their way into a 1000 page bill that would make it past cloture, get voted on by both legislative branches and then get signed by the executive are about as likely to improve outcomes as NCLB has.

                  It will then become a discussion of “why are we still not having the outcomes that Denmark has? Or France? Or even Cuba?”

                  And become a discussion of how we obviously haven’t funded it enough and then a discussion of whether or not I care enough to fund it more.

                  That is the mind of which I am.

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                    • Here’s what I wrote in the Hayek argument yesterday (I’m still pleased with the theodicy analogy so I bring it up once more).

                      My own personal take on health care is that technology costs money but information ought to be free (it *WANTS!* to be free!) and, as such, I believe in two tiers for health care.

                      Technology that is X years old (sometimes I say 10, sometimes I say 7) ought to be provided more or less at cost to anyone who needs it (and we can subsidize those without even the means to pay for this old tech). Sure, you wouldn’t get the bleeding edge stuff, but you would be promised not only a basic level of health care but a constantly improving basic level of health care.

                      Then I tend to get asked about “so what if a child (a little girl!) gets a disease that a treatment exists for but it isn’t 7/10 years old yet? You think this little girl should die? Do you want this little girl to die? It’s an easy question to answer: Should This Little Girl Die?”

                      And it ceases to be a question of providing a basic level of healthcare but a theodicy question where we have it as a given that evil exists and that I have the power of argument to provide health care to prevent this evil… and the fundamental question comes:

                      “Are you Good?”

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                    • I actually agree with you 100% there. The obvious answer, though is – we have no idea if New Treatment X will prevent her from dying yet, since it hasn’t been around long enough. So if you want to pay for it, or have a big fundraiser to get people to help pay for it, go ahead. Yes?

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                    • Yeah. And then when the fundraiser doesn’t make enough, or the treatment is given and it doesn’t take, or this that or the other happens and the little girl dies, the question comes: Would the girl have lived if she got the treatment sooner?

                      How many more poor children need to die before we have a system where everyone has access to the health care made available to the well off?

                      Do you care that this little girl died? It’s a simple question, after all.

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  5. I’d also add that the ‘free market’ isn’t a reason for GOP opposition; they’ve managed to find vast sums of money for corporate subsidies, and to pack the legal system with favors for contributors. In addition, each and every congressperson and Senator has government-provided healthcare available (not government-paid; government-provided).

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    • I don’t know that we could do what Canada does.

      For one thing, it would result in us taking away health care benefits from both Union members and the upper and middle middle class. Many of those folks take an attitude of something like “hey, I worked hard for this” when it comes to their benefits. Instead of seeing “health care” like a “human right”, they see it as a “job benny”. What Canada has would be taking away from both the Unions and the middle and upper middle class. As such, it’s not viable, politically.

      There are a great many things we could do, as a country, if we were more like Canada. Indeed, that sentence would be true for no matter which country you want to replace Canada with. Given that we are not more like them but are instead more like us, then what?

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  6. Much GOP opposition, though, seems to be of the “we don’t want to pay more in taxes to the benefit of someone else”. And many in the party seem especially concerned that the “someone else” might be someone they consider manifestly undeserving.

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  7. “And Republicans know – or at least have some inkling – that thousands more Americans die because their insurers refused to cover a treatment or a procedure or even a medication.”

    So are you envisioning a future in which no Americans are ever refused any treatments or medications? Or is it going to be carte blanche? Need a $200 million treatment that has a one-percent chance of success? have at it!

    Or are you envisioning a system in which some people are den ied treatments because they are too expensive or not likely to succeed? Because if tyou are the one with the illness, you want the treatment no matter what. But as John Q Public Option… I want to hang that guy out to dry. Unless it’s me.

    I don’t want to get all “death panel” here… but to work, and sytem is going to need, um, death panels. It is going to have to draw the line somewhere. So no matter what system emerges, we are going to have a system in which “thousands more Americans die because their insurers [in this case the government] refused to cover a treatment or a procedure or even a medication.”

    I think it’s a legitimate question to ask if we want to put a government agency in charge of that decision. Republicans are disingenuous when they act like no one “rations” in that fashion right now. But Democrats are equally dishonest when they say that function will not exist under a public option.

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    • Umm no Sam. Any insurance plan makes decisions about what treatments are covered. That is not a death panel, that if freaking common sense. The death panel liars were suggesting there would be some body who will individually decide who lives and who dies. Not true. Although I guess you could argue that the death panel liars weren’t coherent enough to have formed a sentence but actually do understand that every health care system in the world has to make decisions on what to cover.

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    • So is it is your position that not funding outrageously expensive treatments unlikely to succeed is fairly called death panels? It seems over the top to claim death panels in that instance especially if you are not preventing people from paying for non-covered items. I don’t see why it is so outrageous for a government group to do that after all we have the FDA to regulate which drugs can be sold to protect consumers from quacks.

      Death Panels would more fairly mean not funding likely to succeed treatments due to high to moderate but not outrageously expensive cost. I don’t think anyone is proposing that.

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  8. If you want the death penalty for certain crimes, then you DO want people to die. For real.

    Is it really such a long step from the pro death-penalty position (“Some people should die, and as a bonus I get satisfaction from knowing they’ll get executed”) to wanting “bothersome” people (the poor, the needy, the they’re-different-from-me-so-I-don’t-like-them, the weak, the unemployed, the “inferior”) to die…?

    It’s “funny” (and not in the “ha-ha” way) to hear people rant about evil “death panels” when they are perfectly comfortable with another kind of death panel: a jury.

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  9. “So, at the very least, Republicans seem to have a complete and total disregard for the human cost of our health care “system.” Which, honestly, isn’t much better than wanting people to die.”

    Really?

    I think political retrenchment on school reform (which is largely because the teachers unions are among the most powerful constituencies of the Democratic Party) is partially but not wholly responsible for the state of education, but that’s a far cry from saying that Democrats want kids who attend Chicago Public Schools to die, or black kids in Stamford to remain illiterate or even that they have a “complete and total disregard” for the failures of our public schools.

    This is more “if you’re not with us than you’re against us” and I don’t think it’s either accurate or constructive.

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  10. “Death Panels would more fairly mean not funding likely to succeed treatments due to high to moderate but not outrageously expensive cost. I don’t think anyone is proposing that.”

    What’s “likely to succeed” mean? How likely? What’s “expensive” mean? What’s “outrageously expensive” mean?

    More importantly, what do these words mean to citizens with dire conditions? What do they mean to politicans who answer to these citizens? What do they mean to newspaper editors and TV crews doing stories about dying 17-year-old girls?

    I don’t care WHO decides. Or why. The fact of tha matter is, no matter what the system, someone is going to have to draw the line somewhere. And some people are going to fall on the wrong side of that line. When it’s the insurance companies drawing that line, as they currently do, this post identifies that as “a complete and total disregard for the human cost of our health care system.”

    So my question is… how do you avoid that? One way is to pay for any and all treatments, no matter what. The other option is to do what insurance companies do, which is to say, “No, we don’t cover that.” And let people die.

    Unless you can envision a way to structure this new, more compassionate system that allows us to bypass this step. I would be interested to hear what it is.

    As far as I can tall, the best answer appears to be that we will draw the line in a different, better place. But oddly, one of the other things I keep hearing about reform is that we will all be spending less on healthcare.

    This does not compute for me. But I am willing to listen. perhaps you believe that the current system is so screwed because the people drawing the line are ravenous goons, or heartless bean counters, or really stupid, or whatever. So I guess you could make the case that the government bureaucracy in charge of drawing this line will be less ravenous, less heartless, or smarter. I am something of a skeptic in this regard, because my expereince is that bureuacracies ore not all that high on compassion and intelligence.

    But no matter what you believe in this regard, you cannot get past the fact that SOMEONE or some entity has to draw the line. And if this new system is going to be affordable at all, there will have to be limits. and if there are limits, some people will fall beyond those limits and they will die. We have a system right now that seems to leave an awful lot of people btond those limits. Which the writer of this post seems comfortable attributing to a lack of human decency. Allow me to quote: “Republicans seem to have a complete and total disregard for the human cost of our health care system. Which, honestly, isn’t much better than wanting people to die.”

    What I am saying is that your sytem is going to allow people to die, too. It just will. The difference being that I find it highly implausible (and really quite outrageous) to charge you with (nearly) wanting these people to die. What we have here is a difference in degree, not in kind. And I think you ought to really be careful with the rhetoric here. You seem to have a deep skepticism regarding the efficacy of markets as they relate to health care. I have a deep skepticism regarding the efficacy of buraucracy as it realtes to health care. I am not sure that makes one of us willful, lip-smacking death hound, and the other a benevolent savior of the people.

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    • OHHHH the “bureaucracy” will kill people. I hate to break this to you sam, but insurance companies are bureaucracies to. they are solely profit driven. you have absolutely no say in what they cover. With a government plan we can have a voice in what is covered. Medicaid, which covers many of the sickest people, doesn’t seem to be killing people all over the place. as a matter of fact it is government programs that provide insurance for many people with some kinds of cancer or who need transplants. the EVVIIIILL gov is already doing a good job of taking care of many of our sickest citizens.

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  11. “With a government plan we can have a voice in what is covered. Medicaid, which covers many of the sickest people, doesn’t seem to be killing people all over the place.”

    Yes. Both are indeed bureaucracies. And both will face the same decisions and limitations. You seem certain that the government bureaucracy will be able to bypass these hard choices. Perhaps by wisdom. Perhaps be economies of scale. I am not sure which you believe, because you won’t say.

    As for Medicare, you are correct. People do like it. And it is hopelessly, hopelessly expensive. One reason that old people are so wary of reform is the well accepted fact that to filter that level of care and coverage down to the population as a whole would be so monumentally costly that nobody is even really considering it.

    So if you WERE to filter it down, one thing you would probably have to do is REDRAW THE LINE. And people would fall on the wrong side of it and they would die.

    Either that, or you cover everyone at that level and break the bank. That’s not politically feasible, so you are left… REDRAWING THE LINE.

    Are you or are you not saying that you have faith in the government’s capacity to draw this line, with the help of concerned voters? It seems that you are. If that is the case, will you also concede that there will have to be limits on who gets what coverage? If that is the case, are you also willing to concede that, because of cost constraints, some people will die who otherwise might have lived had we spent more money?

    Seeing that “we” are the ones who draw this line, are you then willing to say that we will be “just short of wanting these people to die”? Or are is it possible for there to be some wiggle room between these two positions? If there is in fact, some wiggle room, I wonder why it might not be possible for a Republican to occupy some of that wiggle room. I wonder why that place is in the sole possession of people who are more skeptical of corporations than bureaucracies.

    I guess the fact that I worry about Medicare’s hopeless financial future is what really identifies me as a heartless people-hater concerned only with profits.

    Sheesh. I thought the people who dreamed up the “death panel” smear were overstepping their arguments.

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    • sam you seem to understand EVERY HEALTH CARE PLAN IN THE WORLD HAS LIMITS ON WHAT THEY PAY FOR. So any new government plan will BE ABSOLUTELY NO CHANGE FROM EVERY OTHER PLAN IN THE WORLD in that way.

      Since medicaid in popular and successful, that is some evidence that the government does just skippy with drawing a line. I think a public option will do what they do like every other successful government program. successfully.

      I am not sure how good the reform we get this year will be. but the evidence from American government insurance programs (medicaid, VA, s-chip, programs for transplants and breast cancer) is that the gov does a good job with this. I see no reason why any new program won’t do just as well.

      Cost containment will be an issue. Medicaid costs are going up just like all other costs. it is not a separate problem. I’m not sure how we will work it out, but evidence from the rest of the western world shows that various different gov insurance set ups cost a hell of a lot less then our and still maintain quality.

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  12. You say:

    “So any new government plan will BE ABSOLUTELY NO CHANGE FROM EVERY OTHER PLAN IN THE WORLD in that way.”

    This is exactly my point. The original post here said that since the current system leaves some people uncovered and lets some people die, the system is monstrous and amounts to wanting people to die.

    But any system you come up with is going to allow people to die.

    So how is it that allowing people to die under the current system is evidence of that system’s barbarity, but allowing them to die under your system is an unfortunate byproduct of reality?

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    • ahhhh your point is that no insurnace system will ever be able to everything for everybody to save everybody. oh noes, i feel woozy, my previous support for health reform is failing. even though health reform is likely to bring insurance to 45 million people radically improving their health care, allow greater job movement and entrepreneurship since people won’t be afraid of losing their jobs, and end the idiocy of not being able to get insurance due to pre-existing conditions. Mother get my fainting couch, i can’t handle this, how could i not see that no system will ever be able to save everybody. greg faints………………………………….

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      • …hmm…how operatic.

        You just made the point Sam made hours earlier when he said, “What I am saying is that your sytem is going to allow people to die, too. It just will. The difference being that I find it highly implausible (and really quite outrageous) to charge you with (nearly) wanting these people to die. What we have here is a difference in degree, not in kind.”

        I’m pretty sure Sam isn’t making the point that the system is fine, just that the difference between (current health care) and (ideal health care-post reform) is a matter of degree not structure, ergo, even people who are pro health care reform are, in essence, supporting a system that will allow some people to die. Which seems to meet Jamelle’s criteria of having a complete and total disregard for the human costs of whatever new system you build.

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        • ummm well i support a system that will improve health care for many, many people and provide many people with an improved standard of care. see that is helping people, making things better then now. sam and you are taking the banal fact that no health system can do everything for everybody, as somehow a lack of concern about people. this is a tendentious argument. it is suggesting that since the proposed health reform isn’t perfect it has a disregard for life. Since no health care system is perfect, this is nothing more then saying that any form of health care has no regard for human life.

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          • Actually, that isn’t want Sam and I are arguing it’s what Jamelle was saying and something that I think we were pushing back against.

            There’s a lot of room for disagreement on health care, hell, even the pro-reform caucus can’t completely agree on what they want/can get. I take issue with accusing people who weigh values differently as having a complete and total disregard for the human costs of our current system. I think it’s divisive, categorically untrue, and unhelpful.

            My own two cents (or six at this point) is that the President is on to something when he says we can disagree without being disagreeable. Particularly when being disagreeable distracts from the work at hand. For that reason, it would be very much appreciated if you and Jamelle recognized differences where they exist rather than shrilling chastising people who aren’t already on your side for being not on your side bad people.

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            • FWIW i haven’t accused anybody of being a bad person only making silly arguments. You will not get an argument from me that the rehtoric on health care has been viscous, based on lies and over the top. I’m also not going to engage in any false equivalence on who has engaged in the huge majority of the toxic bile.

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  13. I don’t know. It does seem like at the very least the first half of Grayson’s statement is accurate. Is there a Republican “plan” out there that doesn’t say “If you don’t have health insurance, don’t get sick”?

    Also: I’m not sure where this “lbrlz oppose mandates!’ thing is coming from, by the way…

    The whole point of the healthcare reform plan is to instituted mandates AND guaranteed issue plus a nationally run healthcare exchange which is basically like a priceline for health insurance plans + subsidies for folks under a certain threshold of income. Everything else is basically window dressing.

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  14. What Kyle said.

    I am still waiting for Greg to explain whether or not the people his system allows to die will be ev idence that he wants those people to die.

    He won’t say.

    Weird.

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  15. “sam and you are taking the banal fact that no health system can do everything for everybody, as somehow a lack of concern about people. ”

    Are you drunk? That is the EXACT position Jamelle has taken. and the Critique you are making right now is the critique I was making.

    No. No health care system is going to be perfect. All of them are going to allow people to die. In the case of the current system, Jamelle takes that to mean that the architects of that plan, or people who somehow are seen as defending it, prefer for people to die. That’s a load of crap. But if it’s a load of crap you accept, you have to accept it across the board. If allowing people to die is evidence that you want them to die, and you accept that your plan is going to allow people to die, you have to accept that you are a monter, too.

    A more mature approach might be to argue at the margins, that you can improve a system. or make it less bad. But a really useful thing to do in that case would be to accept that your opponents might have some legitimate points. I am am a pretty libertarian guy. I am skeptical of government. But I can still see that my preferred system is not a utopia. I can see that under a pure free-market system, some people are going to go uninsured. And I can accept that that people can critique my position without being foaming-at-the-mouth Stalinists. I can talk about the issue without arguing that anyone who wants a public option is really working to put people in a Gulag.

    I would appreciate it if people on the other side of the aisle might take a generous read of my position. In case this you are wondering, this mean accepting that government-run programs really do have drawbacks. And maybe, just maybe, I am not some cretinous goon hell-bent on killing young girls for sport or hunting sick babies for sport.

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  16. Could you people possibly be any more IQ-challenged?
    Nation, pre-2008 election

    Instead, an Obama victory would simultaneously be comeuppance to a forty-year-old conservative strategy of scapegoating minorities and the realization of long-term demographic trends that finally allow those minorities collectively to achieve majority status. Relative to his national levels of support, Obama will receive pretty much the same percentage of support from virtually all demographic groups that previous, defeated Democratic nominees such as Michael Dukakis and John Kerry received. The difference will be that, in 2008, those groups will be large enough to win a national election.
    Since 1968 American presidential elections have been defined as a competition over fundamentally conservative identity groups. Even though they are not precisely congruous, a direct lineage exists from the Nixon-forged Southern Strategy of the 1960s and ’70s, to the Reagan Democrats of the ’80s, to Mark Penn’s Bubbas of the ’90s and on to the Values Voters of this decade. These swing voting groups are overwhelmingly white, not very urban, heavily blue-collar, generally Southern and always socially conservative. Even though the labels have changed, these four criteria have been the genetic code of swing voters for nearly forty years. In every case, the decisive swing voting group has been hostile to impending social change brought on by various civil rights movements and resentful of the cultural predilections of an urban, bicoastal “liberal elite.” The quest to capture these voters has created an entire generation of pundits, strategists and party leaders who will do everything possible to appear not-liberal, not-elite and in touch with the values of small-town America, whatever those values happen to be at any given moment.

    That is what happened.
    And that is what is going to keep happening.
    Game ovah, point, set, match.

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