Social Question

Nullo's avatar

With the healthcare bill as wildly unpopular as it is, does the House of Representatives have any business passing it? Or anything else that gets everybody up in arms?

Asked by Nullo (21944points) March 14th, 2010

AFAIK, the House is supposed to represent the citizens of the various states, and reflect their collective will. The Senate is supposed to represent the states themselves.
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Disclaimer: This is NOT about whether or not we should have Obamacare; there are already discussions enough about that. This question addresses procedure, policy, and practice.

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98 Answers

davidbetterman's avatar

Yes. They are constantly passing laws which are completely unpopular with their constituents.
Congress is so completely corrupt and on the take that it isn’t funny (well, maybe it is).

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

They have business passing it if they are democrats first and elected representatives second.

janbb's avatar

Definitely needs to be passed. We can improve it and modify it. Also, how unpopular it is depends on to whom you are talking.

jaytkay's avatar

Most Americans support health care reform.

It is wildly unpopular with a very small number of very loud people, funded by corporations and extremely wealthy individuals

However, in the reality-based community, “majorities supported insurance exchanges (81 percent); requiring insurance companies to cover people regardless of pre-existing conditions (76 percent); requiring most businesses to provide coverage (75 percent); and requiring all Americans to have health insurance, with the government providing subsidies for those who cannot afford it (59 percent).

“A Kaiser Foundation poll found large majorities saying that it is at least somewhat important to close the Medicare “doughnut hole” (91 percent); expand the existing Medicaid program to cover more low-income, uninsured Americans (81 percent); limit future increases in Medicare payments to health care providers as a way to help pay for health reform (73 percent); and allow health insurers to sell health insurance across state lines (74 percent).”

Jeruba's avatar

If popularity is the principal criterion for legislation, we have indeed descended to the lowest common denominator and deserve anarchy.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t agree that this is wildly unpopular. It is costly, and I am concerned about that, but I don’t agree that the majority of the public is against it.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jaytkay: “Most Americans support health care reform.” <== I am all for health care reform. I am STRONGLY AGAINST the current bill. Please do not make it appear that being for health care reform somehow means you are for this government takeover bill.

marinelife's avatar

Most Americans support this health care reform bill.

SuperMouse's avatar

The health care bill is not wildly unpopular. As mentioned upthread, it is unpopular with a wildly vocal group of people. The motives of most of these people are political and not aimed at the best interest of this country or its citizens. We need a place to start and even though I am bummed at the lack of a public option, this is a good place.

janbb's avatar

Hey guys – we’ve got to stop meeting like this.

galileogirl's avatar

The health care bill is not “wildly unpopular” People can only decide if something is good or bad if they know what it is and what it does. If you asked the people if they like the govt taking money from them, I am sure you will find taxation is wildely unpopular. If you include the proviso that there would be no free or subsidized educatin, no police or firefighters, no military, no free roads, no free parks and recreation services, no prisons or judicial system, no protection from discrimination, no Social Security or Medicare or any public services, the people come around.

If you say the healthcare bill will cost the federal taxpayer $X billion over the next 10 years to provide insurance to people now uninsured it is unpopular. When you point out we will save $2X billion in costs to local taxpayers in emergency room and public hospital costs for the uninsured and $Y billion in bankruptcy related expenses for people who drowned in medical expenses. When you point out the human and medical costs related to the lack coverage for preventative care and you point out that they can be priced out, denied care or completely dropped for no reason, most people come around’

Despite the proviso, I think this question is wildly biased and misleading

dpworkin's avatar

This bill was Astroturfed into being unpopular by the special interests who are going to be hurt if real reform passes. A responsible Congress will do what is right, and not what is expedient, and pass a strong bill with a single payer option.

Then, when the public sees how well it works, it will become another third rail, like Medicaid which was attacked exactly the same way and for the same reasons, was passed over the objections of many, and is now a sacred cow.

davidbetterman's avatar

Unfortunately, this bill has nothing to do with healthcare reform. It is all about heathcare insurance reform.

galileogirl's avatar

@davidbetterman When everyone, not only the healthy are covered, the efficiency of preventative care, like prenatal care for the poor will reform healthcare.

davidbetterman's avatar

Wouldn’t that be nice.

birdland33's avatar

If 85% of people have health insurance, and 85% of those people are satisfied with that insurance do we need a $1.2T bill that will still leave 10% of Americans uncovered?

dpworkin's avatar

Satisfied? Only the people who haven’t had to need it in a catastrophe.

birdland33's avatar

I have needed my insurance for two catastophes, and fortunately we have weathered them both without casualty or incurred cost.

Maybe they should come back and see us when they have the ‘real’ number they should sign off on.

Better yet, they should just give us the health care they have.

jaytkay's avatar

Most bankruptcies are caused by medical bills and most of those people had insurance
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/05/bankruptcy.medical.bills/.

I am glad you made it through yours OK, @birdland33, but that’s just one case.

birdland33's avatar

I concur, the majority of Americans support health care reform; but health care reform and this bill are mutually exclusive.

How does this bill address the high cost of care? Where is the reform?

Nullo's avatar

* facepalms *
I had said that this question is NOT about the bill itself, but about House policy. I based my claim of unpopularity on some late-2009 figures that said that something like 51% of the population did not like the bill that was in the works, either because it did too much, or because it didn’t do enough.

@Jeruba Democracy is all about popularity.

filmfann's avatar

51% equates Wildly unpopular?

Nullo's avatar

@filmfann Relative to 15% or 20%, yes.

filmfann's avatar

51% is mildly unpopular, at best.

jerv's avatar

51% unpopular?
First off, that means that it’s less popular than it was, possibly because people are just sick of the GOP acting like petulant 3-year-olds and figure that dropping the healthcare bill might get those whine-asses to STFU.
Second, that is well within the margin of error of most polls.
Third, it is a fairly common occurrence that I disagree with my Congressman since they were elected by the district, not me, and I am often in the minority.

You are correct that democracy is all about popularity, but we are a Republic. Also bear in mind that many of these people will get re-elected regardless since many Americans are either too ignorant or (more often) too jaded to bother voting against an incumbent on teh basis that all politicians are bad so we may as well stick with the evil we know.

And then there is the simple fact that compromise is often defined as “Ensuring that both/all sides are equally unhappy”, which doesn’t help. Many Conservatives won’t be happy since it interferes with the mightier-than-God Free Market and siphoned “hard-earned” money out of the wallets of the uber-rich. Many Liberals won’t be happy unless everyone is covered fully. People in the middle won’t be happy becuase it isn’t a cost-free panacea.

birdland33's avatar

Gallup reported that the nation is split (http://www.gallup.com/poll/126521/Favor-Oppose-Obama-Healthcare-Plan.aspx?CSTS=alert) 45% for, 48% opposed, 7% no opinion, 4% margin of error.

Do we write public policy when the population is so clearly split? Do we execute this plan when it does not address the root cause-health care reform?

We have elected people to represent our desires as their constituents. Shouldn’t we expect them to do their job?

Is that too lofty a request?

You’ll have to forgive my naivete. I work in the private sector where we are still expected to do the job we are paid for according to the job description.

davidbetterman's avatar

Oh come on. Polls only represent a very tiny portion of the populace. Polls are one of the stupidest ways to show what people are thinking on a large scale ever devised. Only the gullible believe the polls.

birdland33's avatar

Understood. The polls said that George Bush was the best man for the job twice and Barack Obama was the best man for the job once. That poll has not been right in at least twelve years now. I am actually inclined to say it has not been right in 20.

jaytkay's avatar

Polls are valid if the sampling is done right.Gallup and the other major polling organizations know how to sample. The results are repeatable.

What has to be examined is the wording of the question. Is it done fairly?

For an extreme illustration, two polls, same question. You can predict the results.
1)
“Do you support mandatory school attendance for children ages 6 through 16?”
2)
“Do you support mandatory school attendance for children ages 6 through 16, LIKE THEY HAD IN HITLER“S GERMANY?”

birdland33's avatar

@davidbetterman My point is the poll at least points to reasonable doubt.

Hung jury. No execution.

We cannot all be hanged, or at least we shouldn’t be.

jerv's avatar

@birdland33 By that logic, Congress is doing the right thing by doing nothing productive :P

davidbetterman's avatar

We don’t need a pol to tell us that the US is run by criminally insane bastards who are only in it for their own profit.

Although never hanged, I am well hung!

Nullo's avatar

My dogs, people! I said that this was not about the bill.

davidbetterman's avatar

“CRY HAVOC AND LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!!!”

wundayatta's avatar

@dpworkin There is no such thing as a single payer option. Either there is a single payer or there isn’t. Single payer option is an oxymoron. If it’s an option, it can’t be single payer. If there’s only one way of paying, then you can’t consider it an option. There is no choice.

We will never have single payer in bits. It comes all at once. You might carve up parts of health services—such as pharmaceuticals or dental care or nursing home care and put that into single payer, while the other sectors stay with a hodge podge of payers. But whatever you are covering isn’t single payer unless there is only one payer.

SABOTEUR's avatar

We’re doomed.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo But it is about how Congress operates, something that most of the people here have addressed.
However, there is also quite a bit of argument over the statistics you used in forming the question, which leads to questions about your bias, sanity, intelligence, etcetera.

In that respect, this thread isn’t entirely unlike our hyper-partisan Congress; people more concerned with sniping at each other than with getting stuff done, and only caring about procedure if/when a loophole can be used to derail those that they disagree with.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

We are moving in exactly the wrong direction. Real health care reform should begin with turning illegal immigrants away from Emergency Rooms so that you and me don’t have to pay for them in the form of increased medical costs, increased taxes, and longer lines waiting for care.

janbb's avatar

Oh – those illegals; they’re the cause of everything evil in America!

galileogirl's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Good idea then the streets outside the hospitals will become collection points for the INS to come and pick up the dead and dying “illegals” and new mothers who have delivered on the ground. When the do pick up the new mothers I guess they will have to leave the infant American citizens behind. Yeah, because Americans are like that.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv I used the healthcare thing because it was the clearest example that I could find on such short notice of the House doing what it wanted, public opinion be damned. If you can find me a similar one that’s less likely to cause Fluther brushfires, I’ll repost the question using yours.

galileogirl's avatar

@Nullo Integration was done pretty much on a public be damned basis as well as the vote for women. Sometimes the public is wrong or ill-informed.

wundayatta's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Why stop with illegals? Why not make everyone pay up front. That way those deadbeats won’t clog the emergency rooms, and we don’t have to pay for them in the form of increased medical costs, increased taxes, and longer lines waiting for care.

It would be particularly helpful in bringing down insurance prices. Right now there’s an extra premium built into private insurance premiums to pay for uncompensated care. That’s because there’s a law saying hospitals are required to care for everyone who comes through their doors, no matter whether they can pay or not. If we dump that law, then all those dimwits who can’t keep jobs and get cancer—we won’t have to pay for them.

We won’t have to pay for the people who smoke or eat too much without exercising. We won’t have to pay for people who climb cliffs or jump out of planes. We won’t have to pay for people who have any kind of major, expensive illness. Employers will just fire them. They’ll be on their own, without insurance.

At last we’ll have a market for health insurance.

Maybe we should export those sick people along with the illegals. What do you think?

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@galileogir: You have brought up another terrific health-care cost reducing reform. Being an anchor baby should not automatically make you a citizen.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@wundayatta:
a) The government shouldn’t make everyone pay up front. The government should not be involved with the acceptable payment options at all.
b) Employers should be allowed to adopt their own hiring-firing practices and determine what health-coverage (if any) they want to provide. Employees can carefully review the benefits provided by an employer (or not) before signing on.
c) There would be a much stronger market for health insurance if people needed it.
d) Sick people should leave America if they can obtain more cost effective and better health-care elsewhere. Costa Rica hopes to capture some of this growing market.

galileogirl's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish According to the constitutional issue of due process all individuals must be treated the same. So what’s your option-that your parents have to be citizens, no the 14th amendment prohibits that.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@galileogirl: “According to the constitutional issue of due process all individuals must be treated the same.” <== so enemy combatants should be treated just like citizens? I don’t think this is the case.

galileogirl's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Well talk to the Supreme Court. They have said, despite the advice of Bush administration shysters, that enemy combatants have a right to a fair trial, legal representation, etc, just like Americans do.

But that was a BOING response. ie one that is totally off target and just ricocheting around the room. The topic is healthcare. OH yes enemy combatants get better health care than a lot of un and underinsured Americans

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@galileogirl: It was not the intention of the founding fathers that citizens and non-citizens have the same rights. If so, why even differentiate?

wundayatta's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Sounds like we agree on the consequences of your proposals. The big difference, of course, is that you like those consequences and I think they are horrific. Makes me wonder what happened to you as you were growing up.

Nullo's avatar

@galileogirl
So it’s alright for the House to scrap their represent-the-people angle if it’s important?

augustlan's avatar

Though I completely disagree with the premise that the healthcare bill is wildly unpopular, let me answer the underlying question.

If they only passed bills that the majority of citizens agreed with, blacks would still be barred from most schools and women would not have the right to vote. Doing what is right is more important than doing what is popular. I vote for people I hope will have the brains to know that, and the courage to see it through.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@wundayatta: Why is it terrible if people leave America for better health-care elsewhere? America too will develop waiting lines like all other socialized medicine elsewhere. You can wait for your procedures but I will simply get my superior health care elsewhere. I purchased > 50% of my health care in Central America last year. I am much happier giving my money to ex-pat doctors who understand I’m the customer than government health-care which destroys the customer-provider relationship.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@augustlan: the healthcare bill is wildly unpopular with people who pay more taxes than they receive in government services. Of course handout recipients want more handouts. Nothing else has generated as much push-back from the American people in recent history.

Nullo's avatar

@augustlan
The underlying question was, “Does the House, which, as possibly the most democratic body in the entire Federal government, is supposed to represent the Representatives’ constituents, get to ignore its Representatives’ constituents?”
The moment that you stop listening to the people, you have lodged a spanner into the intent of the republic, and moved that much closer to totalitarianism.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Healthcare was a bad choice simply because the public generally does want it, but it’s the minority party in Congress that has their panties in a wad because a Democrat is in the White House and Dems also have a majority in the legislative branch. It was that factual error that opened you up for this withering abuse.

However, you also have to bear in mind that what is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. Otherwise, what’s left of the entire world would hate us for turning Iraq into a glass parking lot.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv
I had the impression that what the public generally wanted was reform of one kind or another, but not necessarily what the bill was presenting. I see the House contorting its own rules and purpose to pass it anyway, going so far as to make a rule that says that the House agrees with the Senate.

I am perfectly aware that an idea’s popularity is not the same thing as its ethical rightness (one of my main gripes about the democratic process, actually, is that it assumes that Right and Popular are interchangeable). I am inclined to say that most people will agree that consistency – especially with regard to the rules that you make – is Right, but that would only further the wrongheaded notions of popularity.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jerv: The minority party in congress you refer to, Republicans, don’t want a massive government takeover of health care. The reason they don’t want it isn’t because the Democrats are for it. They don’t want it because they believe in less government than the Democrats. Republicans believe in a LOT more government than me, but American Democrats have become increasingly socialists.

jaytkay's avatar

I purchased > 50% of my health care in Central America last year.

Free-market health care has failed so badly in the US that you go to Costa Rica? Sounds like a great solution when the kid is sick or breaks an arm.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jaytkay: It isn’t free market health care that has failed. It is free market health care that has won my business. In America “free market health care” is really only half-free! Unlike true free market health care if I went to a doctor here I would need to pay for for illegal immigrants, for welfare mothers, etc.

janbb's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish The healthcare bill is not wildly unpopular with people who pay more in taxes than they get in social services. Many well-off people have a social conscience. Also, you never know when it might be your turn to say. “Brother, can you spare a dime?”

“If I am not for myself, who will be? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” Hillel

galileogirl's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish And you know the intentions of the Founding Fathers how?

The Naturalization Act of 1795

“BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, that any alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them, on the following conditions, and not otherwise. First, he shall have declared, on oath or affirmation, before the Supreme, Superior, District, or Circuit Court of some one of the states, or of the territories northwest or south of the Ohio River, or a Circuit or District Court of the United States, three years at least before his admission, that it was, bona fide, his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whereof such alien may at that time be a citizen or subject. Secondly. He shall, at the time of his application to be admitted, declare on oath or affirmation before some one of the courts aforesaid that he has resided within the United States five years at least, and within the state or territory where such court is at the time held, one year at least; that he will support the Constitution of the United States; and that he does absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreigh prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whatever and particularly by name the prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whereof he was before a citizen or subject; which proceedings shall be recorded by the clerk of the court. Thirdly. The court admitting such alien shall be satisfied that he has resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States five years. It shall further appear to their satisfaction that during that time he has behaved as a man of a good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the same. Fourthly. In case the alien applying to be admitted to citizenship shall have borne any hereditary title, or been of any of the orders of nobility, in the kingdom or state from which he came, he shall, in addition to the above requisites, make an express renunciation of his title or order of nobility in the court to which his application shall be made; which renunciation shall be recorded in the said court”.

Put simply you just had to be free and white and living here 3 years. The Constitution has been amended to go beyond the white but the Founding Fathers did not limit the number or place of origin-it was a matter of everyone, come on in!

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@galileogirl: Thank you for making my point. The founding fathers did not allow Mexicans. Europe was, and still is, comparatively advanced. A much better equivalent to who the founding fathers were letting in would be today’s Asians. I would have no problem with 30,000,000 legal Asians. Statistically, Asians immigrants each contribute SIGNIFICANTLY more than Mexicans. I have a problem with criminals no matter what.

jaytkay's avatar

The Brown Menace again. Oy! You’re lucky I am not a moderator.

galileogirl's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Ignorance is bliss, isn’t it? In 1795 there was no country of Mexico ergo no Mexicans. The point is there were no quotas or restrictions beyond a 3 year residency.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jaytkay: Why? Do you deny that Mexicans are less advanced than [Japan/China/Korea/Thailand]? If we are talking about two states within the USA you would have no problem with it. You are all about suppressing facts so that no meaningful dialog can occur. I would love to hear your argument about how it is racist to believe the Mexicans are not as advanced as the Japanese and how the two cultures are exactly equal in their progress.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@galileogirl: The people now referred to as Mexicans existed even before 1795. If we were talking about Black people before a certain date would you say they didn’t exist because they were not called Black people then?

jaytkay's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I am not going to get into it because we have before, and the conversation gets more heated and personal than I like on Fluther. It’s a subject where I will not respectfully disagree.

We have interacted on non-controversial threads, and I really like how the toxic stuff does not spill over into them. I appreciate the way you do not hold a grudge.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jaytkay: I don’t dislike you. I just think you let your emotions about race get in the way of true objectivity. A racist isn’t someone who acknowledges the truth about differences between races. A racist is someone who lies about differences between races. I just want people to start being honest with themselves.

jaytkay's avatar

Of course you don’t dislike me. I’m not Mexican!
Kidding! Ok not kidding. What did I say about getting personal?

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish The same could be said of the current GOP in a way. After all, small government doesn’t decide what is/isn’t a marriage, doesn’t want warrantless surveillance with no set of checks and balances, is against imprisonment of those who have not been charged with a crime, etcetera. Only a BIG government would want that much control over everything,

@Nullo The way I see it, the only true Democracy is one where the citizens vote directly. In the past, that was impossible for anything larger than a village, but with modern technology we could actually have such a system. I mean, we already do for TV shows; vote for your favorite dancer/singer/whatever.
One may say that such a system could easily be hacked, but how is that appreciably different from what we already have?

“As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?” – Boss Tweed
”“It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.”(Attributed to) Josef Stalin

jaytkay's avatar

The way I see it, the only true Democracy is one where the citizens vote directly

Having lived through a few California referendums, I can tell you they are strictly contests of who can buy the most TV time.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jerv:
a) Democrats also want to decide what is/isn’t a marriage. True small government would get out of the marriage license business.
b) Democrats also want warrantless surveillance http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/01/obama-sides-wit/

If you feel better about it call Republican-style government big government and Democrat-style government GIGANTIC government. This is probably more accurate.

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish At least we seem to agree that both parties in their current form are fucked up then. Of course, that begs the question of whether or not the Democrats are truly sticking to their ideals or whether they have wandered like the GOP has.
Given all of the infighting on the Dem’s side of the aisle, I think that the latter is almost irrefutable, thereby rendering the whole any arguments about which party’s ideology is better moot since neither party is actually what they say they are :P

@jaytkay And that is differnt from what we currently have… how? Of course, legally, corporations are people too. In fact, I saw a story somewhere recently about a corporation running for office. I will have to find that link…

Brian1946's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish

Wundayatta said, “Why not make everyone pay up front.”

He didn’t say anything about the government making everyone pay up front.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Brian1946: Only government would make everyone pay in the same fashion. Private enterprise always allows people to pay for large expenditures in a variety of fashions.

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Or, in the case of healthcare for quite a few of us, not at all.
Of course, they manage that by not letting us go to the doctors except for high-cost ER visits, and the lack of preventive care often leads to more costly care down the road, resulting in higher taxes for all (except those rich enough to hire a good accountant) and higher insurance premiums for those that can get insurance.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jerv: There are over 125 countries in the world where per-capita income is less than the USA spends per capita on health care. With advancements in technology ever-increasing what can be done the best healthcare becomes increasingly expensive. Soon, in the USA, we will have to pick who gets the best healthcare possible and who does not because giving everyone the best healthcare possible would exceed 100% of our GDP. Simply put, everyone cannot get the best healthcare possible. This means the government CANNOT give everyone the best healthcare. Jerv, if you have a dream that your children, or grandchildren, or great-grandchildren are to receive the best healthcare possible the ONLY hope for your family is to be allowed to pay for it.

galileogirl's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish You actually should learn how to read. If theY called a person a Nigerian in 1795, that would be wrong because there was no Nigeria, as in there was no country named Mexico in 1795 so no Mexicans. Black is not about a specific place of origin so is not a comparable descriptor. BOING!

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Funny. In India, they manage to do a $20K+ heart operation for around $2K under pretty much the same conditions we have here…. except for their lack of astronomical overhead. Part of it is that the doctors don’t have staggering student loans to repay, part of it is that malpractice insurance doesn’t make up such a large option of the bill, and I am fairly certain that they don’t charge $50 for two Tylenol.
We do not have the best healthcare in the world, but we do have amongst the (if not the) most expensive. And the funny part about that is that there are places that spend one-third or less of what we do per-capita that are healthier overall and have longer life expectancies to match.

Face it; we are not the best at everything, and no amount of flag-waving will make it so.

Oh, and as for paying for it…. doesn’t that require a job? Where did all the jobs go? Median income amongst those that do have jobs has not kept up with inflation, and the jobless rate is about double what the official figures show since they only count the people that are still collecting unemployment without including those who have been out of work for so long that their benefits expired.

Read section 23, subsection 3 and section 25, subsection 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Or are you saying that even the basics of life are a luxury that only those lucky enough to be rich should have?

Nullo's avatar

@jerv I’m a little iffy about ceding our sovereignty to the UN.
And I’m reasonably certain that we have the most advanced medical technology in the world, which in turn means that we have the best healthcare in the world. Perhaps not the most accessible, but pretty darn good stuff.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Who says anything about ceding sovereignty? The UDHR is more of a morality thing than a legally binding thing, and given our record on human rights it’s probably good for us that it isn’t actual law.
Or are you also against the Geneva Convention?
Wait…. the Pope is the Bishop of Rome so Catholics are un-American as well!

Don’t mistake “advanced” for “best”. Skynet was pretty advanced too. Come to think of it, many of our advances came from foreign minds or were the product of international collaboration anyways. The only real reason we are advanced is that we as a nation can afford to spend wastefully. Think of all the people that buy a $2000 laptop to do the job of a $300 netbook, Explain NASCAR and monster trucks.
And none of that does any good if it isn’t accessible unless your goal is an oligarchy or aristocracy. We haven’t yet gotten to where society is divided between the rich and the dead, but we seem to be heading there.

FYI, you might be interested to know that Elanor Roosevelt had a handin writing the UDHR, and the US agreed to abide by it. I guess keeping your word and honoring treaties even the ones from our own pen is totally against the American Way. And here I thought that we were an honorable nation.

Things like this make me want those years I spent in the military back because that sort of egotistical bullshit isn’t what I signed up to defend.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Jerv: Why would you say this: “the funny part about that is that there are places that spend one-third or less of what we do per-capita that are healthier overall and have longer life expectancies to match” You are well aware that individuals in such countries are benefiting from reduced weight not better medical care.

Also, you are well aware that I am fervently in favor of tort-reform and that the health care bill does little or nothing in the way of meaningful tort reform.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jerv: If the heart-operation is truly equivalent then US insurers could simply have the operation done in India for $2000+plane ticket. Why does this not occur? I say either they are not equivalent or the government “helping” with health care prevents it or both.

jerv's avatar

Re: 1st comment
Mea culpa. I tend to be a little bad with names and mixed you in with the crowd that is against doing anything that resembles anything that works elsewhere in the world becase the rest of the world is Socialist.
Of course, the almost unique epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes here should tell you a bit about our culture. And I can also understand simple supply and demand jacking the prices here up somewhat, especially when you add in all of the people who go to the doctor for minor/elective stuff thus reducing the amount of care available to those who actually need it.
Unfortunately, it’s a multi-faceted issue with all sorts of inter-related factors and going further would take more typing than I am up for here, especially after the rough week I had at work.

Re:2nd comment
Figure, India has about four times as many people as the US, so supply and demand is an issue there. However, they are spreading the knowledge and hopefully it won’t be too long before we can do the same thing here without needing plane tickets.
I wonder how much healthcare costs would go down if we had less red tape and didn’t pay the insurance company execs 8-digit salaries though. If they could survive on a “mere” $500K/yr and spend only half the time trying to weasel out of paying (less man-hours on paperwork, and less legal fees on both sides), I am sure that the savings would trickle down to the consumer. Hiring a lawyer to get one of my ex-employers to pay the medical bills for an on-the-job injury drove up my costs, and them fighting it drove up the costs to my employer and everyone else dealing with that insurance company, and that is just me. Multiply those thousands of dollars by many thousands of cases and I think you will eventually wind up talking about notable sums of money that could be saved thus reducing costs all around.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jerv: Thank you for this answer jerv. The red tape issue is part of why a self-insured cash-payer option is so important. Those people should be able to realize the benefits of all the red tape their payment plan eliminates.

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I would agree if it weren’t for the millions who already have to decide between rent money and eating. Suffice it to say, this really isn’t an issue for many people since there are people who can actually afford to sock a little money away for a rainy day.

However, as someone who was unemployed for over a year and has yet to crawl out of a deep hole, I must say that it isn’t always an option unless you subsidize it somehow. I mean, if I got sick or injured right now and had to see a doctor, I would lose my car insurance and not be able to drive to work unless I decided not to eat for a week.

Taking care of those that earn >$40k on their own is easy since they can afford to take care of themselves. Try taking care of the other 50% of Americans and it gets a little harder. The red tape may be an annoying money drain to some, but it’s potentially lethal to others. Sadly, any attempt to help those who can’t help themselves is seen as Socialism and may get you lynched.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jerv: People who have to decide between rent money and eating are living beyond their means. I had a bet with a friend that I couldn’t eat for even one week at $5/day. Just for kicks I came in at $2.50/day AND my diet was nutritionally balanced. If I can do this for a bet why can’t people do it that need to do it? In many places in the USA you can rent a place for $300/mo or less w/ with room mate(s). I could live on minimum wage and still save more than half of it.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

Even better: For $739 you can get a two bed two bath with 1046 ft^2. You could probably rent out the two bedrooms and sleep for free on the couch. Why is this difficult? I think it isn’t difficult. I think people just don’t want to do it.

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish What area of the country? And is it someplace that would cause me to put a gun to my head if I moved there? Me moving to Texas (except possibly Austin) would require me to hire armed body guards and would lead me to either alcoholism or insanity.

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Every place I’ve lived had a cost of living that was 5–10% above the national average. Logically, that means that there are places that have below-average costs like much of the South, but those are often places where us Agnostics who don’t deify Bush-43 and Dale Sr. get lynched.

I don’t consider myself a snob, but I do like to live where I am not in fear for my life and can expect to not make enemies of more than half the people around me. If that means that I have to cut back on luxuries so I can afford to live somewhere where the people are tolerant then so be it :P

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jerv: There are areas outside the south which have a low cost of living. There are many areas in the North East where depopulation has driven the cost of housing so low houses are being abandoned.

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I just moved from there last year and I’ve kept an eye out in case I decide to go back. The only abandoned places I saw/see are ones that were abandoned because nobody could afford them. Well, unless you count the ones that were severely damaged in the ice storm last winter and thus unfit for human habitation.
The area we were in had a pretty nasty housing shortage even before that anyways, so the law of supply and demand did what it usually does. We were lucky to only be paying $800 (nothing included, so it actually averaged closer to $1000/month after heat, lights, plowing….) for a 600sq.ft. 1bed 1 bath place.

Seattle turned out to be slightly cheaper and had the added bonus of higher wages, so we moved. Our current place costs about the same overall (lower utilities, higher food and transportation costs) but has the added advantage of a second bedroom, complete with paying roommate. Add that to my now-bigger paycheck and you can see that I am already a big step ahead of where I was without going to the Bible Belt or someplace equally inhospitable.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jerv: I am happy that you have decided to live on a reduced budget and are now digging yourself out of your hole. Once you are back to baseline DON’T STOP. Keep your expenses low and look for ways to drive them lower. SAVE.

galileogirl's avatar

If you two are finished high-fiving each other over your superiority-what if your “roommate” is a child and a studio apt costs $1000. How do you feed a child on $2.50/day for a month, not a wk? Oh I forgot, 90% of single custodial parents are women and 50% of noncustodial parents walk away. Your arguments would carry more weight if you had experience with poverty, unemployment and parental responsibility rather than a weeklong diet. lol

augustlan's avatar

Also, everything is relative… wherever the cost of living is lower than average, so too are the salaries.

jerv's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Whenever I get a windfall (tax return, profit sharing, cash gift…) it often winds up in the bank unless we are in a deep hole and need it immediately though we are hesitant to lock it into anything with penalties for early withdrawal.
Part of the reason we didn’t do so bad after my last lay-off was that we were so used to a combined wage of less than what I was earning alone that we decided to just save the “excess” just in case. When “just in case” happened, it could’ve been worse.

@galileogirl As someone who was raised by a single mother who had to work two jobs for a few years and often went without food herself so she could afford formula for me, I am aware of what it’s like. If it wasn’t for her hard work and sacrifice, I probably wouldn’t be here now anyways, and I definitely wouldn’t have as much sympathy for those less well-off.
I don’t ever want to be there again, and I don’t feel that anybody should ever have to be there in the first place, especially not a child. I am lucky to be in a better situation now, but there are those even less lucky than me.
For instance, I have a female friend who is a mother of two and a widow. She used to be a stay-at-home mom and her husband earned enough to support them all, but fate struck. Recently, she was denied unemployment since her parental responsibilities and the lack of all-hours child care in her area prevents her from accepting any old shift; she can only work certain hours/days having to work around the daycare’s schedule, and that restriction is enough to disqualify her. I think it safe to say that she has it rougher than I do.

@augustlan True, but the wage/COL ratio is a little different in different places. Hence why I moved. Too bad it was just in time for the economic shitstorm to rear it’s ugly head. C’est la vie.

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