Friday, November 15, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 11.15

The system is broken, so totally broken that at times I have been shying away from politics. That's not completely true because I can only shy away for a short time before I'm right back in it but it says something that even I just want to run away sometimes. When you watch any main stream news everything has to be reported in apocalyptic tones while on the panel shows they endlessly debate the same thing, usually the wrong thing. Obamacare is just the current example.

The talking heads endlessly debated a broken website when in fact there was no debate, it didn't work very well. Anybody who has ever worked on the web knows that a large website never works well at first, remember Twitter's ever present fail whale? Now the debate has moved to people who have gotten cancellation notices from their insurers, also no debate here because they did. What nobody mentions is that in many cases the notices come from greedy insurance companies looking to make a fast profit and blame Obamacare because, you know, everything is Obamacare's fault. The people totally lost in the debate are the tens of millions who have no health insurance at all.

Politicians and talking heads making hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year have the best insurance policies their or their employers money can buy. They don't have to worry about not going for care because they don't have insurance. They don't have to worry about not going to a doctor because they spend so much for their insurance they don't have the money for a co-pay. They don't have to worry about anything at all.

One thing to remember when discussing healthcare is that Republicans have no plan of their own other than the good old way. They don't want to fix Obamacare, they don't want to adjust it, they don't want to use it as a starting point, they want it gone. The good old way is to have the most expensive system in the world, spend more per capita than any other nation on Earth, and as a reward for all that spending have the 39th longest life expectancy. That puts the U.S. behind every European country, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. All those countries with the hated socialized medicine. Also ahead of the U.S. are Hong Kong, Israel, Chile and Cuba.

I think whenever there is a debate or discussion about healthcare at least one person involved in the discussion should be somebody with no health insurance at all. That way maybe, just maybe, we could have an honest discussion about this mess.

note - This wasn't meant to be an Obamacare vent, it just ended up that way. I was going to write about the broken system because I just read a good article on why the system is the way it is, because that was the Republican plan all along. I'll get to that later.

update - Just a small update and not of the good kind because my life expectancy number was off a bit. The number I used was a five year average. Yesterday afternoon I saw a tweet from Mother Jones' David Corn that included a link to the CIA's World Fact Book. The CIA estimates that in 2013 the U.S. will finish 51st in life expectancy, worse than the number I had used and putting among others Jordan, Greece, and the European Union (as a whole ahead) of us. I think a well done is called for.