I spent very little time watching the Presidential debates last year. What little I did watch infuriated me so much, I felt like throwing heavy objects at my TV. I even came up with a list that would make the debates imminently more watchable and fun! The list included rabid badgers and tequila, which gives you an idea about just how irritating I found the entire thing.
Last night, however, I did watch the CNN debate between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, and I have to say I was impressed. First of all, they actually discussed the issue: health care. The moderators – Jake Tapper and Dana Bash – were balanced, and the audience was allowed to ask questions that concerned them as constituents and taxpayers. Bash and Tapper did not argue or fact check the participants. They simply guided the discussion and made sure both got a turn to speak. Good job, guys!
Then there were the participants themselves. They were congenial. They rarely interrupted one another. They were relaxed. They chatted not only to one another, but to the audience. They didn’t threaten one another. They found points on which they could agree and collaborate – right there on stage. There was a little friendly ribbing, but nothing resembling the shit shows of last year, in which threats, accusations, references to sexual plumbing, and name-calling replaced actual issues and substantive discussion.
That said… Sorry Bernie, but emotionalist hyperventilation does not replace facts in a debate.
Allowing people to keep the money they earned ≠ transferring wealth.
If you agree government corruption is a problem, WHY IN BLEEDING FUCK WOULD YOU WANT MOAR GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN HEALTH CARE?
If you claim insurance companies that are committing the egregious sin of wanting to profit off misfortune that befalls sick people, WHY IN DOG’S HAIRY HELL DID YOU ALLOW THEM SUCH A HEAVY HAND IN WRITING THE LEGISLATION TO BEGIN WITH?
Telling business owners “too fucking bad; do it anyway” when they ask how they’re supposed to provide health care coverage for 50+ employees without raising prices on goods and services, when they can’t even afford health care coverage themselves, is not moral, ethical, or compassionate, as you claim to be.
“Let me give you an answer you will not be happy with,” Sanders replied. “I think that businesses that employ 50 people or more… I’m sorry, I think that in America today, everybody should have health care. And if you have more than 50 people, you know what, I’m afraid to tell you, I think you will have to provide health insurance.”
The business owner quickly shot back:
“So my question is how do I do that without raising my prices to my customers or lowing the wages to my employees?”
Sanders went on to argue that it’s “unfair” that there might be “somebody else in Fort Worth who is providing decent health insurance to their employees,” but they have to compete with her business that doesn’t provide an employer-based health care plan.
“I think you’ll find the profit margin in my entire industry about the same,” the business owner replied.
What Bernie needs to do is to look up the definition of “right,” and the definition of “rationing.” He kept repeating the same tired leftist tropes about health care being a human right, which Cruz should have hammered him on, given that one cannot have the right to a good or a service, because someone always has to produce said good or service. No one has the right to the fruit of another person’s labor unless you’re into slavery, which is something we abolished a while ago. If your “right” steals the production of another human being via government force, it’s not a right, and you’re a thief – even if indirectly. Period. I don’t know why politicians are so afraid to say it. Health care is not a right.
“Women are considered a pre-existing condition,” screeched Bernie during the debate. Uh… wat? No, pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition. Women who aren’t pregnant can get insurance just fine. And frankly, mandating that everyone gets pregnancy coverage whether they need it or not (no, a 70 year old woman or a 25 year old man do not need pregnancy coverage, which makes Cruz’s assertion that allowing people to choose specific services a la carte make all the more sense).
And no, we are not the only developed country that does not guarantee health care as a “right.” As PolitiFact points out, “Among the countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States is the only one that lacks universal coverage. But that’s not the same thing as a guaranteed right to health care, which some developed countries lack.”
Yes, we’re relatively high in infant mortality rates, as Bernie claims, but the reasons are a bit more nuanced than that.
The first nuance is one of definition. Infant mortality is defined as the death of babies under the age of one year, but some of the differences between countries can be explained by a difference in how we count. Is a baby born weighing less than a pound and after only 21 weeks’ gestation actually “born?” In some countries, the answer is no, and those births would be counted as stillbirths. In the United States, on the other hand, despite these premature babies’ relatively low odds of survival, they would be considered born — thus counting toward the country’s infant mortality rates.
These premature births are the biggest factor in explaining the United States’ high infant mortality rate. [emphasis mine] Pre-term births can have many different maternal causes, many of which — such as high blood pressure, diabetes, Zika and other infections and age — are not entirely within an expectant mother’s control. Other factors, such as stress level, might be able to be managed, but are not entirely controllable. On the other hand, some controllable risk factors include the use of tobacco, alcohol, cocaine and other drugs. The major issue of the lack of universal access to quality prenatal care should also be considered in any discussion of preterm births and infant mortality. Also, because about 50 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, some women might not be aware they are pregnant in time to get early prenatal care, and this may be part of the reason for premature births in this country.
And while estimates vary about how many Americans have lost coverage as the result of ObamaCare, and PolitiFact claims that it was “only” 2.6 million, vice the 6 million Cruz claimed on the debate stage last night, does that include those who voluntarily eschew coverage and choose instead to pay the IRS penalty? Does it incorporate the number of insurers that have left the market place thanks to cost increase? And have the cancellations run their course, given the fact that several of the mandates have been postponed until this year? If we take NBC News reporting at its face when it reported that between 50 and 75 percent of the 14 million Americans who buy individual health insurance would likely receive a cancellation notice over 2014 because their plans did not meet the requirements of the ACA, that’s between 7 and 10.5 million people! Because the mandate was delayed twice, these cancellations probably haven’t reached that level… yet. Will these people wind up without coverage? Will they opt to pay the IRS penalty? What will happen if they genuinely get in trouble and need health care? Will they be penalized on top of having to pay exorbitant prices for medical care?
Cruz whipped out a bunch of statistics and made a good case. Bernie derped a lot and when in trouble, fell back on the old strategy of vilifying the rich and telling people that Republicans want old people to die and while said super rich get tax breaks. The transcript is here, if you missed the debate last night.
Fact is it should never be the function of the government to decide who makes “too much.”
Fact is it should never be the function of the government to tell the individual consumer what kind of health care policy they must purchase and what it should include.
Fact is it should never be the function of the government to control something as personal as individual health care and impose a one-size fits all standard on Americans.
Fact is “rationing” happens every time a government takes over health care and reduces the availability and quality of care for everyone, and contrary to Bernie’s claim, “rationing” does not mean “not having health insurance.”
And props to Ted Cruz for TAANSTAFL!