Daschle Talks

The former senator from South Dakota does his best to ensure that the health care debate is about the issues that matter:

[T]his in many respects is the civil rights battle of the early part of this century — it’s a fight for the disabled, it’s a fight for the sick, it’s a fight for equal rights when it comes to health.

With respect, sir, it is not a fight for equal rights. It is a fight for control of the American economy and future. You would like it to be about rights because then it’s a battle that might be won by those who believe, as do you, that government has not met a problem which it could not solve better than private industry and the industrious, entrepreneurial folks who still make up a substantial portion of the working population of this country.

3 thoughts on “Daschle Talks

  1. Funny: the industrious, entrepreneurial folks in the insurance industry are the ones denying care to fellow citizens on legal trickery and technicalities or just outright refusal to offer insurance. If private industry were solving the problem, your argument would be valid. But private industry is making the problem worse. That means government needs to step and fulfill its proper role as the provider of vital service (in this case, saving billions of dollars and 22,000 lives a year) that the private sector can’t or won’t.

    Oh, but silly me, I just want to argue about saving lives because that’s a debate I can win, rather than talking about something important like capitalist abstractions and bad readings of Adam Smith.

  2. CAH,

    Private industry is not making the problem worse. There are those who refuse to pay for care which is not covered under the terms of contracts. (I suppose a contract might be considered a technicality and legal trickery might involve holding all parties to the terms of said contract.) As previously noted, there are those companies which try to get out of the terms of their contracts with policyholders. We already have laws to deal with contract breakers.

    Insurance (of any sort) is not a right. It is a legal agreement entered into by two or more parties. Outright refusal to offer insurance on the part of an insurance company is just as bad as an outright refusal to offer writing services on mine: neither the insurance company nor I must provide our services to anyone if we have determined such an arrangement would not benefit.

    The United States government has no role under the Constitution to provide any “vital service” other than those enumerated. Health care is not an enumerated service under that document. To claim that it is a right it to fail to understand what a right is.

    Your your apparent premise, that government health care will keep those 22,000 people from dying, is ludicrous. If you believe that being uninsured does increase the risk of dying before one’s time then let us do what we can to ensure that there are as many players in the insurance market as we can, bringing the price of a health care insurance policy down in the marketplace. One thing, though. Government is not a player because it fixes every game it joins.

    As far as billions of dollars in savings, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (currently helping to sell the health care whatever to the American people, is on record as noting the the cost savings are mere lipstick and would not be realized.

    If you wish to argue about saving lives, I am more than happy to engage. Let’s start with the 1.2 million individuals in the United States in 2005 (last year from which I found complete data) who didn’t make it further than 9 months of life.

    Your referenced study noted about the 22,000 people who die from lack of insurance that these are “reasonable indicators of the general magnitude of excess mortality that results from uninsurance.” “Reasonable” and “general” sound like guessing words to me.

    A far cry from 1.2 million individually documented abortions.

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