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Old 12-08-2009, 04:56 PM   #1
Jon Newman
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Default Social Programs

Current events have led me to try to understand social programs a little better. I'm not well read in politics and economics or at least not as well read as many others so I'm hoping to learn something here. The US has numerous social programs including health programs such as medicare, medicaid and the VA.

My understanding is that socialism is a loosely defined economic model and not a political model. Someone can even be a Libertarian Socialist. Unfortunately, this is news to me.

Here is another example of different forms socialism can take. According to the Wiki entry on socialism the common principle among the various versions seems to be

Quote:
public or common worker ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
I'm not sure when something stops being socialism and begins being an exercise in an economy of scale and risk pooling. How many social programs are required to make a country socialist?
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:43 PM   #2
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I'm not sure when something stops being socialism and begins being an exercise in an economy of scale and risk pooling. How many social programs are required to make a country socialist?
Fortunately, Jon, we in the US have a brilliant document called the Constitution that spells all of this out quite clearly as far as the role of the government is concerned. "Social programs" are not bad things; however, it is not considered to be the role of our national government to legislate, implement or levy taxes for such programs. The definition of the "general welfare" has extended over the last 50 years or so to national government intervention into all manner of daily life in the US. I don't think this is what the Founding Fathers envisioned, and therein lies the problem with federally sponsored social programs.

The deplorable lack of efficiency and results from the public education system and the Medicare program, to name two of the largest government social programs, is a testament to the Founders' sound vision.

Apparently, however, since these were white, Christian guys- several of which owned slaves- their vision, erudition and good sense aren't worth a plug nickle by today's standards.
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Old 14-08-2009, 04:05 PM   #3
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I can't argue about constitutional law secondary to too much ignorance on my part. I did some checking around the internet and didn't find much on the subject that was compelling and relevant to Medicare. Answers.com had this to say.

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The Constitutional Basis for Medicare

Congress designed Medicare to promote the general welfare of the United States. The program's financing mechanisms proceed under the taxing and spending powers, together with the commerce clause. Although some groups have challenged various features of the law, no litigant has challenged the Constitutional basis of the act as a whole.
John, I'm curious if you see Medicare patients or decline seeing them based on principle.
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Old 14-08-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
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I can't argue about constitutional law secondary to too much ignorance on my part.
I think that part of the brilliance of the US Constitution is in its simplicity. What about the phrase "promote the general welfare" requires a deep understanding of constitutional law to understand? I think, along with the provisions of the Tenth Amendment, it's clear that social programs designed to provide for and/or regulate health and education should be the purview of the autonomous States, not the national government. On its face, there is nothing "general" about the Medicare program. It is a huge, highly complex, frequently frauded and abused, overly regulated, inefficient behemoth.

Medicare is the "poster-boy" program for governmental inefficiency and over-reaching. I could see where there might be some smaller or temporary federal government programs that might require scholarly debate from learned judges to determine their Constitutionality, but this one seems to me to be a no-brainer. As does federal control of public education.

However, it is the law of the land, and I believe that my ethical duty to provide treatment to the elderly supercedes what I see clearly as a violation of Constitutional principles. Furthermore, since all the other insurance companies utilize the same diagnostic and, to a large extent, reimbursement coding system, if I were to act on Constitutional principle, I'd essentially have to open my own cash-based clinic. Where I live, this would be virtually impossible since I require referrals to evaluate and treat. So, in effect, I would be prevented from practicing in my field and putting food on my family's table.

I suppose I could dig ditches, but then I'd have to join some labor union, and that is definitely a principle I won't violate.
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Old 14-08-2009, 06:02 PM   #5
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I think Nari effectively explained why so many of us foreigners have a difficult time understanding American resistance to government involvement in health care when she wrote about the presence of cultural dissonance. I personally feel American fears (a generalization I know) about socialism's evils are unnecessarily alarmist. However, I may be getting closer to overcoming some of my dissonance and you might be able to help me further. Would it be reasonable to assume that Americans (generalization) are opposed to the involvement of the 'American' government in 'American' healthcare, and not just the involvement of government in health care in principle?
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Old 14-08-2009, 06:26 PM   #6
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In my humble opinion, Eric, no. I believe this statement is a universal truth:

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We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...-- Declaration of Independence
I am not ashamed or embarrassed to say that I think America is a special place founded on special principles by inspired individuals. That doesn't mean that these principles are not available to all on the planet, but they were developed and instituted here, and up until the last several decades, dominated American politics, culture and way of life.

I fear that these principles are under attack through a slow process of marginalization. And you and the rest of the world should, too.
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Old 14-08-2009, 06:27 PM   #7
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Michael Shermer wrote this article in which he articulates his thoughts on the difference between those favoring liberal use of government and conservative use of government.

He is a libertarian and makes a case for it as well.

Seems relevant to some of the discussions we've been having.
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Old 14-08-2009, 07:03 PM   #8
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I think that part of the brilliance of the US Constitution is in its simplicity. What about the phrase "promote the general welfare" requires a deep understanding of constitutional law to understand?
It's simple enough but perhaps you're interpreting it simplistically. It just doesn't seem plausible that through our freedoms and our litigious culture that someone hasn't successfully challenged the constitutionality of Medicare. It also doesn't seem plausible that constitutional law would be an area of specialization if everything is as simple as you make it out to be.

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Medicare is the "poster-boy" program for governmental inefficiency and over-reaching
I disagree. I'm sure there are more inefficient or over-reaching government programs than Medicare. Also, it doesn't matter if it's the most inefficient government program if it promotes the health of our population more efficiently than other strategies.

You may have noticed that much of the concern over changing the current system is being articulated by people at or near Medicare age. People like it and don't want to see it go away. Although, if it unconstitutional I'm confident that US ingenuity would come up with something else (convincing people it's better would probably be a tougher task) . In fact, say you were able to give a legislator a V-8 whack in the head about this whole unconstitutionality thing and they were immediately embarrassed by their oversight so they quickly and successfully acted to get rid of it. What would a replacement plan look like that would promote the general welfare (the plan itself need not be general) and be consistent with your interpretation of the constitution?
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Old 14-08-2009, 09:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jon Newman View Post
What would a replacement plan look like that would promote the general welfare (the plan itself need not be general) and be consistent with your interpretation of the constitution?
I know you asked John and aren't eager to hear from me, but this is a pretty strong proposal for the role of federal versus state invovlement in health care policy. It is long but worth reading.

I think getting the facts straight on both sides looks like one of the biggest obstacles. I just read this press release from the American College of Surgeons regarding Obama's statements on the cost of a leg amputation in the U.S. It would be pretty swell if a guy who proposes greater federal involvement in health care could reseach his facts before speaking.

Yo B: $1,410 << $50,000.
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Old 14-08-2009, 09:35 PM   #10
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Yes, I just read about that here.

Now, if I hear this being repeated, I'll correct the facts as I am able. This will be especially effective if I correct people that are otherwise of a similar mind to me.
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Old 14-08-2009, 10:08 PM   #11
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Jon,
You honestly think that the Medicare program is a promotion of the generalwelfare? Running a 1/2 a trillion dollar social program is now akin to promoting the general welfare? Juxtaposed to the other over-arching expressed roles of the national government, which are "to establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity," I can't fathom how the Medicare program, with it's counting of minutes, "exceptions process," and ridiculously nonsensical diagnostic coding system-to name a few- is a general promotion of the welfare of our citizens.

By your reasoning, the government should "promote" all general needs, including a federal food and housing program for all. Are you for that, too? If not, why not?

Could it be that the private sector does these things better? Why couldn't the private sector provide health care better than the government? (Hint: the current insurance system is a quasi-government system since it utilizes the very same coding and reimbursement system and is severely limited in competition by federal restrictions on interstate competition among health plans.)

I think I made it clear that determinations of Constitutionality are a matter of degree. That is, there is some wiggle room when deciding the role of the federal government in terms of what "promoting the general welfare" means. That is what constitutional law scholars are for.

You don't need an exterminator to tell you there's an elephant on your kitchen table. You don't need an architect to tell the difference between a skyscraper and a shed. And you don't need a constitutional lawyer to determine that Medicare is not a promotion of the general welfare.

Quote:
I'm sure there are more inefficient or over-reaching government programs than Medicare.
Perhaps. It's called "Social Security." But I don't think it's going broke until 2030 versus 2017 for Medicare. I hope you have a 401k.

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It just doesn't seem plausible that through our freedoms and our litigious culture that someone hasn't successfully challenged the constitutionality of Medicare
Medicare, like Social Security, is a political hot potato. This isn't like arguing before the Supreme Court if you can have a Cresh on the lawn of a public building or gay Boy Scout leaders. These are "entitlements" that have existed now for generations. They never should have passed into law. But our country completely lost it's sanity during the crises of the Depression (SS) and civil unrest in the 1960s (Medicare) and passed these monstrosities. Now we're in danger of creating another crisis- or at least our government seems hell bent on doing so- so that it can extend its power even further. Thus, the hyperbole of the Obama Administration that we "need health insurance reform now."

As Rod just described, the President is not averse to promulgating his own mis-information. He even had the cajones to say in his last town hall meeting that AARP "endorsed" his plan. They don't. He used a planted little girl to ask a dopey, contrived question about the people with "mean" signs against his health care plan. Those meanies. I just hate it when people express there First Amendment rights.

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What would a replacement plan look like that would promote the general welfare (the plan itself need not be general) and be consistent with your interpretation of the constitution?
I'm so glad you asked: The Solution (Hint #2: the government has a role, but it's minimal oversight- it doesn't run it.)
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Old 14-08-2009, 10:24 PM   #12
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Don't people over there get itemised accounts after a procedure?
It would then be blatantly obvious the surgeon gets only a fraction of the cost. What really costs is use of theatres, anaesthetic, drugs and so on.
The same applies to vets: anaesthesia and medications are the major cost of having a dog or cat attended to, along with things like overnight observation.

Michael Shermer's observations seem quite accurate. Stereotyping rules politics and ruins reputations. It's like saying ditch-diggers or cane-cutters are all dumb and can't do anything else but kick a spade. Simply not true, but the stereotype remains in the public eye.

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Old 14-08-2009, 10:25 PM   #13
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You honestly think that the Medicare program is a promotion of the generalwelfare?
Yes.

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I think I made it clear that determinations of Constitutionality are a matter of degree. That is, there is some wiggle room when deciding the role of the federal government in terms of what "promoting the general welfare" means. That is what constitutional law scholars are for.
I agree.

Thanks for the link. I'll take a look. Rod's too.
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Old 14-08-2009, 10:38 PM   #14
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Jon,

I've taken pains to answer all of your questions, but you don't address mine.

Do you think it is the role of the federal government, as expressed in the Constitution, to provide for basic necessities of food and shelter, as well as health care, based on your broad interpretation of "promoting the public welfare"? What's the difference between having food or a house and having a doctor? If the government should provide health care for all, why shouldn't it provide food and shelter for everyone, too?
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Old 14-08-2009, 10:53 PM   #15
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I'm under no obligation to answer any of your questions and you don't always answer mine. I'm sure we're both ok with that, constitutionally speaking.

I really need to study this more but Wikipedia is at least a start. Here's more on the General Welfare clause.

The government we elect isn't omniscient and all powerful or anything like that but we try and just because something is constitutional doesn't mean we're obligated to act upon it. I can carry a gun, but I don't.
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Old 14-08-2009, 11:59 PM   #16
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The government we elect isn't omniscient and all powerful or anything like that but we try and just because something is constitutional doesn't mean we're obligated to act upon it. I can carry a gun, but I don't.
Exactly.
In the paper today a writer compared Obama's proposed scheme as similar to Australia's Medibank Private, the only Govt-run insurance plan outside Medicare, the universal plan. (There are about 10 other private companies people can choose to join if they want to)
It wasn't written in these words, but having such a scheme 'keeps the bastards honest.'

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Old 15-08-2009, 12:44 AM   #17
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I'm not sure how this goes in other countries, but the US has so-called "czars". I wanted to look up what a czar actually means in the political context and found this quote on (of course) wikipedia:

Quote:
In the United States the title "czar" is an informal term for certain high-level Executive Branch officials who direct or oversee federal operations on a given topic or who coordinate policies between different departments on a given topic.
B has this science czar John Holdren who has some very interesting thoughts. Given this guy's proximity to B and the recent agressive push to centralizing health care in this country, it might be helpful to read some of this guys thoughts on issues pertaining to health and social policy. All bolds are mine.

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The human fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being.

Quote:
Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.



Quote:
If a single mother really wished to keep her baby, she might be obliged to go through adoption proceedings and demonstrate her ability to support and care for it. Adoption proceedings probably should remain more difficult for single people than for married couples, in recognition of the relative difficulty of raising children alone. It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.



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A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men.
...
The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control. The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births.


I love the "with official permission" bit.

I'm sorry but the parallels to some of the most incredible atrocities this world has ever witnessed are striking. This might explain why some of us get a wee bit concerned about what is happening in this country. This is not some s***-for-brains fringe professor at a community college. This cat is providing cousel on "science-based" matters to our chief executive. Next time we wax poetic about social programs, it may be prudent to look before we leap.
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Old 15-08-2009, 01:01 AM   #18
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Rod, do you agree that there are two major problems facing the earth at present:
Climate change (for whatever reasons, it's happening) and a vastly overpopulated world? People are not going to migrate to Canada's north or Russia's steppes by choice.

If we don't do something to limit population growth, it will kill off far more people than a degree rise in global temperature. Wars and starvation will ensure that on both counts, and again it will be the less wealthy who will suffer.
That said, it doesn't mean I fully support Holdren's proposals, but someone has to start somewhere to make life tenable for as many as possible.

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Old 15-08-2009, 01:05 AM   #19
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Running a 1/2 a trillion dollar social program is now akin to promoting the general welfare?
Not by definition but it doesn't exclude it from being a characteristic of program that promotes general welfare.

Quote:
By your reasoning, the government should "promote" all general needs, including a federal food and housing program for all. Are you for that, too? If not, why not?
If a problem is sufficiently harmful to the country and private sector solutions have been inadequate I think the government should help as it is able and willing.

Quote:
Could it be that the private sector does these things better?
It could be but it isn't currently or we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Quote:
Why couldn't the private sector provide health care better than the government?
I don't think I need to answer this since you already did.

The original post was a question about when a country becomes socialist in its economic outlook. It seems to me that we have a mixed economy.

You contended that Medicare was unconstitutional. I think that's debatable. Now we seem to be on to the question about whether a government should help insure its citizens whether it's constitutional or not.

If we should but it's unconstitutional then that would require an amendment to the constitution before such an action is taken. If we should and it is constitutional then we need to discuss options. That seems to be happening (now) in town hall meetings, etc.

If we shouldn't even though it is constitutional, then we should make a relevant argument for why we shouldn't.

For the sake of argument and to bring this back around to my original post, let's say the current health care reform passes (not medicare since it already passed and we're not considered a socialist nation yet)--would that make us a socialist nation? I'd argue "no" as the vast portion of our economy is still good old capitalism. However, it would most definitely not be libertarian although it never really was so that's not a change either.
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Old 15-08-2009, 01:55 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by nari View Post
Rod, do you agree that there are two major problems facing the earth at present:
Climate change (for whatever reasons, it's happening) and a vastly overpopulated world? People are not going to migrate to Canada's north or Russia's steppes by choice.
I'm no climatologist, but neither are most politicians. However, I do know the world's climate has been changing dramatically long before we got here. It will continue to change long after. I don't consider it a problem within our locus of control. To assume so is a vast inflation of our capacity to do both harm and good. So I suppose my answer is "no".

Quote:
If we don't do something to limit population growth, it will kill off far more people than a degree rise in global temperature. Wars and starvation will ensure that on both counts, and again it will be the less wealthy who will suffer.
Population growth is not the problem; it is density and the political climate of these regions of the world. There are areas within the US which share the same population density of the poorest regions of third world countries. The difference is the political climate in the "overpopulated" areas is often oppressive, often mutilating women to control the population. In our country where liberty is such a cherished ideal, many of us would sacrifice everything to keep this from happening. Some may scoff at this notion, but it that's the line in the sand we draw. I would encourage you Nari to listen to the following presentation: Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits.

Quote:
That said, it doesn't mean I fully support Holdren's proposals, but someone has to start somewhere to make life tenable for as many as possible.
Nari
You are of course welcome to your opinion, but you and I couldn't be at further ends of the spectrum on this issue.
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Old 15-08-2009, 03:18 AM   #21
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Rod,

You mentioning czars leads me to mention this one....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gil_Kerlikowske

I believe he states this.... "It's a dangerous drug" and "we will wait for evidence on whether smoked marijuana has any medicinal benefits - those aren't in."

but what's this...You don't have to smoke it?

http://www.michiganmedicalmarijuana.org/node/1030

but if there's no benefit then why?

://www.usdoj.gov/dea/ongoing/marinol.html

Isn't that....? No because it has different effects? Right?

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/marinol-side-effects.html

No?

The devil put it on earth then, right? It serves NO purpose, right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp

then why?

http://://user148333.websitewizard.c...es/hempwar.jpg

So why can't we grow it?

Ohhh I get it, because it will KILL YOU....wait?

http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30

Does this post belong here, probably not, but I figured reform talk is reform talk and this is beginning to make an impact as well. Who knows, this may become a social program.
I saw healthcare, abortion and climate talk, i figured i'd give my two cents. The Canadians got it right in this department.
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Old 15-08-2009, 03:22 AM   #22
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Does this post belong here, probably not, but I figured reform talk is reform talk and this is beginning to make an impact as well. Who knows, this may become a social program.
I saw healthcare, abortion and climate talk, i figured i'd give my two cents. The Canadians got it right in this department.
Hey, I mentioned guns too!

Perhaps we could get sex and rock and roll in here too.
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Old 15-08-2009, 03:27 AM   #23
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I can carry a gun, but I don't.
Are you sure about that?
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Old 15-08-2009, 03:28 AM   #24
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Your unwillingness to differentiate between the basic need of health care and that of food and shelter is duly noted.

I have answered to the best of my ability every question you have posed in this thread. Why would you state otherwise? Furthermore, your obligations are your own affair, not mine. Why would you feel the need to express what is or isn't your obligation? That sounds needlessly prickly to me.

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The government we elect isn't omniscient and all powerful or anything like that but we try and just because something is constitutional doesn't mean we're obligated to act upon it. I can carry a gun, but I don't.
The sense and relevance of this statement completely eludes me. From what I can tell it's a non sequitur in relationship to social programs and the promotion of the general welfare.

Furthermore, you're wrong. We constantly "act" on our rights. We choose to voice our opinions for them, we choose to voice our opinions against them or we choose to acquiesce. When it comes to rights, in the immortal words of Neal Peart, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

In other words, Jon, freedom isn't free. Individual responsibility is inherent to a free society. One accepts the responsibility conferred by one's rights or one remains passive and does not. Our rights are "unalienable," which means they exist regardless of whether we take advantage of them or not. It's not a game of pick and choose. The right to bear arms so that I can protect my family and my property is endowed by our Creator, not granted by some king or parliament.

Ponder this, if you will:
Diane Jacobs, an almost freakishly knowledgeable and ingenious therapist, exists as an oddity within the nationalized health care system of Canada. Despite the simple ingenuity and efficiency of her approach to the treatment of persistent pain, she is literally an outcast- by choice of course- within the national health care system of Canada. How can this be?

Barrett Dorko, one of the most gifted writers and clinicians of our generation, who himself has developed an ingenious approach to treating persistent pain based on a deep and perspicacious knowledge of the relevant science, is relegated to working in nursing homes, and is viewed as some kind of weird purveyor of "woo" by the supposed "evidence-based" experts in our professional community.

Do you ever wonder why things are exactly ass-backwards in our profession? Do you wonder why these devoted professionals are not rightly appreciated for the VALUE they bring to the profession and, indeed, humanity?

I propose that it is directly related to the shackles places on us by governments and quasi-governmental systems that squelch any attempt to bring value and real results into the current health care mileau. It is only through the herculean efforts of dedicated scientists and thinkers, like Jacobs and Dorko, within a needlessly byzantine system that we don't continue to see blood-letting practiced in the barber shops on every corner.

It doesn't need to be this way. It shouldn't be this hard to be a good health care provider.
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Old 15-08-2009, 03:31 AM   #25
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I'm for plenty of sex and rock and roll. I just don't want the government recommending the healthiest positions or monitoring my playlists.
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Old 15-08-2009, 04:00 AM   #26
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The right to bear arms so that I can protect my family and my property is endowed by our Creator, not granted by some king or parliament.
Careful here John.
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Old 15-08-2009, 04:21 AM   #27
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Eric. I will put this as politely as I can. The words "endowed by our Creator" is taken directly from our Constitution, whether you approve of it or not.

Rock-on John...
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Old 15-08-2009, 04:22 AM   #28
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Your unwillingness to differentiate between the basic need of health care and that of food and shelter is duly noted.
I was trying to avoid non sequiturs but I did try to at least speak to it as it related to this thread. For clarification plus added commentary, see below.

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I have answered to the best of my ability every question you have posed in this thread. Why would you state otherwise?
I didn't state that. From what I can tell that's called a straw man fallacy or perhaps a simple misunderstanding.

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The sense and relevance of this statement completely eludes me.
The discussion was about the constitutionality of medicare. The argument about constitutionality hinged upon whether it was for the general welfare of the nation. I suggested it was. Enter the food and shelter issue.

Just because having something like food and shelter are also consistent with the general welfare of the nation doesn't mean someone needs to pass legislation (but someone could, or at least try to). Similarly, just because carrying a gun is constitutional, it is not a requirement that anyone actually carry a gun. Whether such things are actually acted upon depends on culture and needs at the time versus some other reason (like being unconstitutional) preventing it from occurring.

There are public and private programs (WIC, food stamps, social housing) helping with those struggling with food and shelter. I support the efforts in general.

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How can this be?
I'm not sure if this question is to me or Diane. Regardless, I think Diane is in the best position to answer it.

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Do you ever wonder why things are exactly ass-backwards in our profession?
Which things? I don't know what you're referring to. Are we on to a new topic now?

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Do you wonder why these devoted professionals are not rightly appreciated for the VALUE they bring to the profession and, indeed, humanity?
I'm not sure how we'd measure appreciation. Do you have a suggestion? I try to show mine through my posting, etc.

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The right to bear arms so that I can protect my family and my property is endowed by our Creator, not granted by some king or parliament.
Try it in the East Timor and let me know how it works out for you.
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Old 15-08-2009, 04:28 AM   #29
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Eric. I will put this as politely as I can. The words "endowed by our Creator" is taken directly from our Constitution, whether you approve of it or not.

Rock-on John...
Do you mean Declaration of Independence?
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Old 15-08-2009, 04:37 AM   #30
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I stand corrected. The issue of God in the US Constitution IS indeed another topic.
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Old 15-08-2009, 04:50 AM   #31
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Thank-you for the clarification.
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Old 15-08-2009, 05:18 AM   #32
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Thank-you for the clarification.
Agreed. It's an important one.
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Old 15-08-2009, 06:30 AM   #33
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Jon,
Can we at least agree that the current health care delivery system is not by any standard or definition, a free market driven system overall. Certainly within very narrowly allowed regulatory parameters, the private heath insurance industry has some free-market features. But, predominately the delivery of health care, with a few notable exceptions (i.e. plastic/reconstructive surgery, many dental procedures, some areas of dermatology) is wholly dictated by a government designed diagnostic and reimbursement scheme.

The fundamental tenet of a free market system is that the value of the good or service is determined by the level of demand society places on it. Thus, my examples of Barrett's and Diane's unique and seemingly invaluable ideas about the treatment of pain being relinquished to a few dozen PTs regularly discussing on a blog that almost no PTs have ever heard of.

Jon, we get paid for what we do, not the results we get. That is NOT A FREE MARKET.

We can go back of and forth with all of the clever syllogisms and "socratic" arguments, as Rod put it, but if we can't agree that the current health care delivery in the US is merely a shell of a free market system, then we will continue to talk past each other.

I think if you study with an open mind the link I provided to Dr. Porter's website, you will gain a better understanding of what a free market health care system would look like. (Hint: it wouldn't look like our current system or a socialized system.)

For the record, I'm in favor of federally sponsored "safety nets" to provide basic necessities to the poor, including food, shelter and health care. Constitutional lawyers can sort out how extensive the national government's role should be in the provision of such services.

Eric,
With all due respect, the Declaration of Independence is one of our country's founding documents and an original copy is on display next to the US Constitution in the National Archives Rotunda in Washington D.C.

Abraham Lincoln said this of the Declaration of Independence:
Quote:
Nearly eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a "sacred right of self-government." ... Our republican robe is soiled and trailed in the dust. Let us repurify it. ... Let us re-adopt the Declaration of Independence, and with it, the practices, and policy, which harmonize with it. ... If we do this, we shall not only have saved the Union: but we shall have saved it, as to make, and keep it, forever worthy of the saving.
I will not be careful when I quote explicitly one of the most important phrases from the founding principles upon which my country was established. The document was authored primarily by the same man, Thomas Jefferson (a deist), who mostly wrote the Constitution.

If this is a breech, then I will choose to remain on Lincoln's, Jefferson's, Madison's and King's, to name a few, side in this discussion and accept whatever consequences that may result.
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Old 15-08-2009, 06:41 AM   #34
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Can we at least agree that the current health care delivery system is not by any standard or definition, a free market driven system overall.
We have reached an agreement. and living together!

I'm off to bed.
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Old 15-08-2009, 07:28 AM   #35
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John,

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I will not be careful when I quote explicitly one of the most important phrases from the founding principles upon which my country was established.
I don't believe it was explicit that you were quoting the Declaration of Independence in your post that Eric commented upon before Rod and Jon's clarification. I don't know about you but I certainly wouldn't recognize any unspecified quotations from Canadian historical documents. This is a fascinating discussion and it would be a shame to shut it down because it wanders into territory that need not have been wandered into. So, I don't think being careful in the way that Eric recommends would put you at odds with Jefferson, Madison, King, or Lincoln's side on the topic of the role of government in health care.

I'll be away all weekend, so please forgive any lack of comment on my part beyond this.
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Old 15-08-2009, 02:52 PM   #36
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Ditto what Cory said. No offense intended John.
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Old 15-08-2009, 04:20 PM   #37
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I don't know about you but I certainly wouldn't recognize any unspecified quotations from Canadian historical documents.
Fair enough. Although, I think it's a sign of the times that young, well-educated North Americans don't recognize one the most profound, influential and oft-quoted lines from this pivotal document. This is not a slight of you personally, Eric. There are probably even fewer American men under the age of 40 who recognize a quote from the first paragraph of the Declaration.

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We have reached an agreement. [cat icon] and [dog icon] living together!
Eureka!!! Can I be the dog? (I'm glad there aren't donkey and elephant icons- I have little use for either these days).
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