This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Monday, August 10, 2009

On government

A couple years ago, our mayor and her city government began a very expensive fight to take over the local water company. The argument was that the city should own the water company, because it would be an investment in our future, and would be overall better for our city's residents. I voted "no" on public ownership of the water company. I'm rather conservative when it comes to economics. I'm a capitalist, I prefer privatization of business over nationalization. However, if I could change my vote, I probably would.

My reasoning for voting against condemnation was that a private company would run the water company better than the government. I'd heard stories from other cities where the city runs the water, and the major screw-ups that ensue. I thought, no way. Our city government can't even fill in the damn potholes, how are they going to make sure we have safe, clean water at affordable prices? The matter came up for vote, and the electorate voted "no." It was a huge blow to the mayor, who had spent a great deal of time and resources to bring the matter to vote, and she subsequently lost re-election. However, after the vote, what did the water company do? Why, they jacked up their rates, of course. And I've heard plenty of stories about their screw-ups and extremely poor customer service, and last night a classmate told me they just sent her to collections over fees she didn't even know she owed (and shouldn't have even owed). In retrospect, I wonder if being run by the city would have been any worse, or if it was just my fear of government intervention.

I haven't had a chance to chime in with the whole health care debate with the whole bar exam thing hanging over my head, so I figure I'd throw it out there. I'm not a fan of nationalizing health care for a variety of reasons, but I believe we've gotten to the point in our current system that has failed so dismally, that government-run health care would be a breath of fresh air. Health care should be accessible to everyone, regardless of the ability to pay, and it certainly shouldn't bankrupt people just because they have the misfortune of getting sick or injured. If we started a universal health care system run by the government, I would support it 100%.

However, that's not what the Obama administration is proposing at all. The knee-jerk reaction to government intervention in the health care industry has been fueled by the variety of morons that work for Faux News, and a few insignificant idiots that continue to rattle off crazy shit and just won't go the hell away. Okay, I get that they're the "opposition." Great, good for them. However, why can't they, as the opposition, actually engage in real debate on the issues and come up with their own ideas and solutions so we can come up with the best course of action, instead of doing more of the same fear-mongering that lost them control of the executive and legislature in the first place? You don't like the ideas coming from the White House? Okay, so what's your idea? How do we reform the health care system to make it work? Because right now we've got this horrendous health care system that is about to implode. We're in the middle of a terrible recession, unemployment is crazy high, and people already couldn't afford health care even when they had jobs, because costs have skyrocketed and benefits dwindled. What we've got now doesn't work. We need something else.

Medical treatment in the US is phenomenal. I've seen the miracles of modern medicine first hand. I wouldn't have my daughter if it weren't for brilliant doctors and amazing technology. I don't know if those treatments would have even been possible in other countries. And that's in part because the market system in the US encourages those achievements. But it shouldn't bankrupt people, and it should be accessible for everyone, not just those who can afford to pay astronomical figures for simple diagnostic testing. It also shouldn't encourage people to not work because they have an illness and Medicaid is better than continuing to work and being expected to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. How do we provide health care for everyone who needs it regardless of ability to pay, without punishing those who remain in the workforce?

I don't know what the solution is, but since no one's coming up with any other particularly brilliant ideas, I don't think there's much room to criticize the plan that the Obama administration has put forward without countering with another idea. I just wish the opposition party would do more than just oppose everything. Here's a thought: how about working together to come up with the best ideas possible instead of standing around holding your wanks while the country goes to shit? Stupid politicians, and even more stupid flapping heads on Faux News.

Anyway, here's what the Obama administration has to say on their health care plan. I'd be interested in hearing alternative ideas instead of knee-jerk reactions against reform.


julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lawmom said...


This is an older Frontline (2008). It's a more serious version of Sicko and really good. I really like what Taiwan did by creating a panel to study health care systems around the world, then they cherry picked ideas and created their own model. However, given the collective ego of US, I don't believe any politician would ever dare suggest it.

G Love said...

I agree. It's not a question of being responsible with your money anymore - healthcare has become prohibitively expensive for all but the most rich. A normal middle class American cannot plan for health catastrophe, and many cannot pay the premiums for individual healthcare if their employers choose not to offer it (increasingly the case), and many can't pay the premiums their employers charge either! It's not a question of trading in your big car or your fancy clothes for fiscal responsibility anymore - it is literally impossible for a run of the mill person in a $30-$40,000 per year job to afford basic healthcare anymore. I agree with capitalism and with the American dream, absolutely, but if you make it impossible to achieve then people start to lose hope and quit striving for it. That was my favorite part of Sicko, actually (and usually Michael Moore annoys me, libDem that I am) - when the British guy points out that people without hope are easier to govern. Something to that, I think.