The Call of the Loons

Well, I did manage to watch a little of the “tea party” debate last night. I’m one of those independents that every one should be after this season. I was more appalled at this one than the last which I didn’t think possible.  It’s amazing to me how far off a right wing cliff the party has gone.  If the rest of them were trying to make Romney look sane, they sure did a good job of it.  I’d like to cover a few of the more outrageous points made by the worst of them by point you to see stylized facts this morning.   This is from a press release from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Oh, and for any of you Republicans reading this out there, the U.S. Census Bureau is not and has not have been a member of the Communist Party. It’s a release of information on US citizens.  The most incredible part of the data is the poverty statistics. This decade is driving families into poverty.   It’s a statistically significant trend.

  • The poverty rate in 2010 was the highest since 1993 but was 7.3 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available. Since 2007, the poverty rate has increased by 2.6 percentage points.
  • In 2010, the family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty were 11.7 percent and 9.2 million, respectively, up from 11.1 percent and 8.8 million in 2009.

You can read more about it in BostonBoomer’s post below. You should, because poverty is at  it’s the highest rate in 18 years.   This is the part that I want to blog about.  People are also losing private insurance and moving to government plans. One of the few bright notes is that the high flawed 2010 HRCA let parents keep their young adult children on their insurance until age 26 so coverage for the 18-24 year old group went up.  Every one else was not so fortunate.  They’ve been left to the wolves.

The White House sought to find a silver lining in the census figures by noting, as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius blogged at, that the percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds covered by health insurance increased by 2.1 percentage points from 2009 to 2010.

So, you already now what I’m going to do as my segue way back to the current crop of Republicans. I’ll give Mittens Romney a pass at the moment. Most of the people on that stage actively promote policies that create statistics like these. Texas is the worst state in the union on nearly every development statistic. It is one huge underdeveloped nation. We also get to know the heart and soul of the current crop of Republicans who have whooped and cheered at executions by Perry–many of the questionable and undoubtedly wrong–and now we get “let them die” on the plight of the uninsured. This answer from Doctor Ron Paul–who should have taken the Hippocratic Oath at one point in his life–was leave them to the churches. Let the charities sort them out!!!

A bit of a startling moment happened near the end of Monday night’s CNN debate when a hypothetical question was posed to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn’t have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? “Are you saying society should just let him die?” Wolf Blitzer asked.

“Yeah!” several members of the crowd yelled out.

Paul interjected to offer an explanation for how this was, more-or-less, the root choice of a free society. He added that communities and non-government institutions can fill the void that the public sector is currently playing.

“We never turned anybody away from the hospital,” he said of his volunteer work for churches and his career as a doctor. “We have given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves, assume responsibility for ourselves … that’s the reason the cost is so high.

The question by Blitzer should’ve just used one of the statistics above. What about the number of people that basically cannot afford private insurance under any circumstance  and the many of them that don’t qualify for state medicaid plans?  Well, just in case you want a little more back ground on how committed Ron Paul is to the Let them Die wing of the Right to Life party, let me point to a 2008 event.

What a testament to the Libertarian creed, which abhors the idea of universal health care. This loyal, passionate man, who died too young, left his family a debt of $400,000 in medical bills.

Who knows whether he put off getting treatment for the pneumonia that killed him because he was uninsured.

Kent Snyder did some amazing work on the Ron Paul Campaign and is remembered as a “libertarian giant”- by Lew Rockwell, on the libertarian site, Lew

The Wall Street journal reports that Kent, more than anyone else, persuaded Ron Paul to run for president. And Kent, according the the WSJ, developed what “ultimately became a $35 million operation with 250 employees that helped deliver more than one million votes for the Texas congressman’s bid in the Republican nominating contest.”-

Ron Paul posted this message about Snyder on his website: “”Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of liberty, Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family.”

Sadly, the Libertarian heart apparently does not include health care. The poor guy raised tens of millions of dollars and couldn’t afford the $300-$600 a month that COBRA medical insurance would have cost.

Along with this we get Michelle Bachmann’ screed about endangering little girls with forced government vaccines that cause “mental retardation”. Rick Santorum–not to be left out–reminded every one that the HPV virus wasn’t transmitted like the measles and the mumps would be in a Texas classroom and maybe they did things differently down there.  Now, in this case I have to give a mild pass to Perry, because he did err on the side of life on this one. Have you ever seen the rape and incest statistics for minors? Would you think it was worth risking a girl’s life because of the way the disease is transmitted?  I’d like to turn this part of my post over to Doctor Daughter who has to operate on cervices showing signs of abnormality.  These are the ones that don’t get sent directly to the oncologists.  Yes, there are 20 year olds that have to undergo radical hysterectomies, Rick and Michelle!! Nice of you both to toss them aside to advance your whacky political ideals.

We are the biggest developed nation in the world that refuses to deal with our broken down health system.  The existence of third party payers in a market means the market is broken, the pricing mechanism does not work, the market will effectively provide the necessary supply, and there will be a huge dead weight loss which is the economics term for the result of a dysfunctional market.  It’s the value of loss based on what the market misallocates because of the presence of third party payers.  This is one of those instances where a government has to step in to make it a working market. If you’ve got third party payers, the market will never be a normal market and it doesn’t matter who the third party payer is.  That’s why you have to go for efficiency and a market choice that mimics what the market would look like without them.  Insurance is not like buying hamburgers, accounting services, or number 5 red grain wheat.  It exists because of moral hazard, information asymmetry, and all the bad things that happen when a market isn’t suited for pure privatization. Every other developed nation has taken the burden of providing private insurance off of private business.  Every other developed nation puts every one in the public basic plan so they don’t die in the streets or leave their families impoverished and reliant on government safety net programs the rest of their days trying to pay off the bills.   We need a simple, generic, public plan that’s provided to every one that replaces medicare, medicaid, and basic private insurance.  It should be standardized so the paper work is simple.  Prices should be negotiate on all health-related  products and services.  The plan can be administered by private insurance companies who can also provide supplemental plans or gap plans.  At the very minimum, this plan should provide major medical insurance.  It would be most efficient and cheapest with every one opted in, everything standardized, and every price negotiated.  PERIOD.  This is the situation chosen by every other developed nation in one format or another.  It’s called universal coverage and it would save the country a heckuva lot of money and angst.

To date, we have haphazard policy that has basically played into making the market more dysfunctional because it enriches the already parasitic third party payers as well as lets the producers of the end goods or services avoid price negotiations.  ObamaCare and RomneyCare are the 1993 Republican Health Plan first put out by Lincoln Chaffee that was the Republican alternative to Bill Clinton’s plan.  It later became known as DoleCare and was probably the first sign of Republicans deciding not to negotiate in good faith in order to tank a US President. The source of this plan was the American Heritage Institute.  This is basically the plan that Michelle Bachmann says she’ll never stop trying to recall.

The debate last night has really shown the degree of extremism that has infiltrated the Republican Party.  It also shows that ideology will triumph over everything.  I said it in a thread, but I’ll say it again, watching people cheer on the idea of executing living, breathing human beings and shouting let them die when discussing human beings with devastating, life threatening, costly illness was like being present in Rome when prisoners were sentenced ad bestias Through out history, public executions  have always brought out the worst in society.  This debate went way beyond let them eat cake.  It was blood lust set loose on a mad mob. The heirs of Nero were in full regalia last night.


12 Comments on “The Call of the Loons”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    All I can say is that listening to this Parade of Morons is that Dickens would be “thrilled” to hear that the very things he wrote about, like poor houses and class distinction, has now become the norm for the current GOP!

    Just think of the books he could write about his stuff being shoved down our throats as we make out way through another round of “austerity” then sit back and debate who did well or really well selling this horse manure to a studio audience applauding death penalties and denial of healthcare.

    You can’t make this stuff up since I admit to be devoid of the imagination it would take to invent these characters and bring them to life.

    But quoting Portnoy when asked by his psychiatrist where to begin: aaaaaggggghhhhh!!!!!

  2. Branjor says:

    Have you ever seen the rape and incest statistics for minors? Would you think it was worth risking a girl’s life because of the way the disease is transmitted?

    Maybe the vaccine should be given to all boys as a preventative as well as all girls in the present. Then when the newest generation of rapists/incestors-to-be grows up, they won’t be transmitting the HPV virus to their victims because they won’t have it. At that point, you could discontinue the use of the vaccine on girls and just let the rapist/incestor class bear the risks of vaccination, which are apparently slight according to the literature, but real.
    If the vaccine saves female lives, that’s great, but it makes me queasy that girls should be subjected to even the slightest risk just because men may rape and incest them. It seems fairer that the male class should be subjected to the risk. As present protocols call for vaccinating only girls, anyone who is in favor of this approach should not object on grounds of “sex discrimination” if only boys are vaccinated instead.

  3. Carolyn Kay says:

    I’ve been saying for years that we have three choices on dealing with poverty. We can pay for a living wage in the prices of the products and services we buy, or we can pay higher taxes to help support the people who can’t find work or don’t get paid a living wage, or we can let them die in the streets and step over the bodies.

    Looks like the tea partiers have made their choice.

    Carolyn Kay

  4. dakinikat says:

    From national review of all places and a GOP voting doctor

    Note to Bachmann: The vaccine, Merck’s Gardasil, prevents infection with the most common strains of human papilloma virus. Once established, these viruses can ultimately cause genital warts as well as cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. Thus, by preventing the infection, the vaccine prevents all those sequelae.

    In the extensive clinical studies (on more than 20,000 girls and women) that were performed prior to the FDA’s licensing of the vaccine, the vaccine was 100 percent effective, a virtually unprecedented result. How safe is the vaccine? No serious side effects were detected; the most common side effect is soreness, redness and swelling in the arm at the site of the injection.

    In summary, Gardasil has one of the most favorable risk-benefit ratios of any pharmaceutical.

    Having spent 15 years at the FDA and having seen regulation — the good, the bad and the ugly — up close, I am as opposed to anyone (except perhaps Ron Paul) to non-essential government intrusion into our lives. But some interventions are good. Among those I would include vaccination against childhood diseases and compulsory use of seat belts and motorcycle helmets.

    I am discouraged by politicians who not only don’t know much about science, technology, or medicine (which is perhaps understandable) but also don’t know what they don’t know (which is unacceptable).

    Here’s my advice to the presidential hopefuls: If you’re not sure of the facts, keep quiet.

    — Henry I. Miller, M.D., is Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy & Public Policy Hoover Institution.

  5. B Kilpatrick says:

    And what’s wrong with allowing private charity to handle healthcare? It worked perfectly well until subsidies from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance started driving the price sky high. “Lodge practice,” where fraternal organizations contracted with physicians to provide medical care, did a pretty good job of providing routine health care to those who needed it, without the reams of idiotic, redundant, and pointless paperwork that comes with seeing a medicare/medicaid patient, or the reams of slightly less idiotic etc paperwork that comes from private insurance.