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Censorship Cannot Silence Truth: A Message to the White House

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August 12, 2009 – Comments (44)

A White House blog post submitted on August 4, 2009, states that “opponents of health insurance reform may find the truth a little inconvenient, but as our second president famously said, ‘facts are stubborn things’.”

It continues, “Scary chain emails and videos” are popping up on the internet, attempting to discredit President Obama’s health care positions. Because “these rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation,” the White House is asking you to send anything that seems “fishy” to flag@whitehouse.gov.

The post did not include the entire quote from President John Adams, which came from his Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials in December 1770:

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Essentially, the White House feels it knows all the facts and has all the evidence necessary for health care reform and any piece of information, whether it’s from an email or a conversation with your neighbor, you have the responsibility to inform the White House.

My first reaction to this is, How do we know who has all, none, or only some of the facts? The short answer is that we don’t know, until each individual does his or her own research on any topic. We cannot expect to gain all knowledge if we ignore some information, rely only on one outlet for information, or are prevented from knowing some information completely. It is extremely difficult for individuals to gain full understanding of any topic if they are prevented the opportunity to freely interpret and research that topic as they see fit.

The First Amendment of the Constitution specifically prohibits any abridgment of free speech and the press. The protection of free speech and a free press are the only methods that guarantee people have the opportunity to voice their opinions and seek any information that they feel to. It must be remembered that only through free speech and a free press can sound discussion prosper.

This latest action from the White House does not promote free speech, sound discussion, and logical arguments.  Much to the contrary, it promotes speech that only the government deems fit and factual, attempts to regulate and monitor neighborly discussions if necessary, and tries to discredit any argument that doesn’t agree with the President’s health care proposals.

This is an appropriate time to bring up the Merriam-Webster definition of censorship:

To examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable.

The White House, and many politicians, know that the President’s proposals for health care reform have lost popularity relatively quickly. Individuals grouping together to protest at the town hall meetings pushing forward the President’s health care agenda have received a large share of the blame. They have been called violent, they have been called mobs, they have been called racist (racism… health care… it makes sense!), they have even been labeled as paid pawns for the insurance corporations. All these individuals are doing is exercising their Natural and protected right to peacefully assemble, and apparently the government cannot stand it (is there any greater testimony to free speech and its protections under the First Amendment?).

None of the blame the White House has placed on individuals, businesses, political parties, and “angry mobs” has done the trick in reducing opposition. They are now attempting to enter the first stage of censorship: to examine in order to suppress. The White House actually believes that the reason for the decreasing popularity of the President’s health care reform is because of “fishy” emails and casual conversations. This sheer ignorance of what causes legislation to become unpopular makes me wonder if these so-called angry, racist, violent, and paid protesters have some valid points.

If the White House and many Democrat representatives really believe that a hugely complicated, expensive, and sweeping change of health care can be brought down through a few spam emails and conversations, maybe that legislation really is worthy of increased discussion from all viewpoints, parties, and individuals; not less.

The White House fails to point out, of course, that those who want to push forward the President’s message of health care reform could just as easily spread false information or propaganda through emails, websites, and casual conversation. If you are going to attempt to censor “disinformation of health care reform,” shouldn’t you censor the non-factual information in support of the President’s plan as well? If the White House knows all the facts, they ought to discredit all individuals attempting to spread false information. Who are we as people to send an email or start a discussion that the White House doesn’t verify as factually correct?

A debate won through censorship can never be called a true victory. For it is won not through principle and sound argument, but manipulation and deceit. With freedom of speech comes freedom of thought, neither is fully effective or meaningful without the other. “Free speech” is not here to protect speech that the government appreciates or needs for an agenda. It is to specifically prohibit government from infringing on the right to free speech, unless it is through the due process of law as protected and mandated in the 4th and 5th Amendments. The White House simply has no superiority, legally or morally, over what people ought to freely write, think, or discuss.

As former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura said in 2008, it is not popular speech that needs protecting, but unpopular speech. Speech that people and the government appreciate comes with the natural protection of popularity. Even if the words coming from some people and outlets are not factually correct as the White House claims, it does not give government a shred of authority to monitor, suppress, or censor speech or thought. (The First Amendment does not protect free speech “so long as all words are factually correct according to the Federal Government.”) The ultimate censorship does not come from a government official, the White House, or Congress, but through the individual’s right to choose what to read, listen to, and discuss.

If the President’s health care reform plan is everything that politicians claim it to be, truth will be the victor. No amount of emails and discussions could result in its lasting demise. If it is what they say it is, free and voluntary discussion and thought should be a boon, not a danger, in creating a respectable, worthwhile, and helpful health care reform bill. It comes down to the fact that the White House today is attempting to censor and discredit all those who oppose the President’s health care proposals.

The censorship and citizen informant program does not strengthen the White House’s message, it discredits it. For if the facts they claim to hold maintain the truth they claim to represent; freedom of speech, thought, and discussion is the absolute last thing they need to worry about.

“Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” - Potter Stewart

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” – Albert Einstein

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values.  For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” – John F. Kennedy

http://DavidKretzmann.com

 

44 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 12, 2009 at 3:51 AM, DaretothREdux (40.20) wrote:

The internet remains the only viable source of information left in the world. -Dare

You can have my internets when you pry them from my cold dead fingers!

+1

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#2) On August 12, 2009 at 4:38 AM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

WOW :(  +1 rec

"The censorship and citizen informant program does not strengthen the White House’s message, it discredits it."

It's actually the health care bill that discredits the White House. Not only is it a bad idea it's a bad idea introduced at the wrong time.

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#3) On August 12, 2009 at 5:31 AM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

I read this over several times and question the use of the term "citizen informant program". What "citizen informant program" are you referring to?

If you mean TIPS, it's purpose is to report suspicious and potentially terrorist-related activity.

Your article implies the White House is actively censoring public information. There doesn't appear to be any evidence of this.

If your concern is over the foolish things politicians are inclined to say, welcome to the lively political debate ; )

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#4) On August 12, 2009 at 5:55 AM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/ 

I didn't have enough time this morning to check to see if the Bill was posted in relation to "what's in it for you" but you have to admit that the White House is attempting to keep the country informed.

One has to question why politicians are debating this issue in Town Halls when it should be a panel of experts from the AMA and Insurance industry.

The coverage related to this Bill has been slanted from both sides and is reactionary at best. Does anyone have a good level-headed source (url) that objectively presents the merits and short-comings of the legislation?

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#5) On August 12, 2009 at 6:39 AM, GenChaos (81.52) wrote:

I would hardly call collecting propaganda e-mails as the beginnings of a move towards censorship.  They'll most likely simply fight fire with fire by responding with their own messages through viral media.  Further the crowds you say are exercising their rights to peacefully assemble can hardly be charactarized as peaceful.  In my eyes (and many others) they are hindering the democratic process by trying to prevent any dialogue on the issue as their main goal is disruption.

There is a lot of mis-information floating about on this issue ( likely from both sides) and the added hoopla around it make it very difficult for the reasonable people amongst us to figure out what the heck is going on.  All I know is that decent health insurance costs way more than a middle-class family can afford unless its subsidized by an employer.  And that does not seem right to me so it's nice that someone is trying to do something about it.  Still not sure if it's the right thing being done though.

  

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#6) On August 12, 2009 at 6:53 AM, selfdestruct2 (40.81) wrote:

Ilcx, before I even read your comment, I was going to say "Wow"

  Pencil, this the best blog I've ever read. You've given further proof of the absolute incompetence of our new "president" and his administration.

Thank You

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#7) On August 12, 2009 at 7:06 AM, dudemonkey (38.16) wrote:

The white house most certainly has all the facts about the healthcare reform BILL.  That's the issue, but the people who scream and yell before they THINK have totally changed the topic.  It's "there are WMDs in Iraq" all over again.

Same stupid tactics of outright lying.

Same stupid people who let others think for them.

Probably have the same result (expensive, messy disaster for political gain).

I weep for the future of the Republican party.  I'm ashamed at the damage that we are doing to the country in the interest of pure politics. If you think, even for a second, that this is censorship, you are 100% allowing other people to do your thinking for you.  There's not even a whiff of censorship in this.  The light from censorship will not hit this situation for thousands of years, that's how far away this is from censorship.

And yet people refuse to take the 60 seconds to read the FACTS and then THINK about them.

And what the f-- does this have to do with an investment website?  Can someone PLEASE answer that?

 

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#8) On August 12, 2009 at 7:21 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

dudemonkey

And what the f-- does this have to do with an investment website?  Can someone PLEASE answer that?

I think it has everything to do with this website.  On this website are all kinds of forums (taxes, financial, buying a home.....)  In my opinion, it is all related to finances.  The gov't itself is the largest factor in finances.  Please see AIG, GM.............

I know it is hard to come to this site and see so much political blogs, but I for one have learned quite a bit and use this as a spring board to greater thought.  I love the internet and stopped reading my newspaper long ago.

 

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#9) On August 12, 2009 at 7:58 AM, dudemonkey (38.16) wrote:

This whole issue is so nacreous that I'm frankly shocked that anyone intelligent would think they had their heads around it.  The radical right is clearly taking an opportunity to trash Obama at any expense.  They have proven that they don't have the best interests of the US or its people at heart over the past 8 years (see also: the war in Iraq that they are now blaming on Obama and the massive fiscal mismanagement that they are now blaming on Obama).

The left is actually a lot more rational about this, but how someone can claim to understand a 1000 page bill is beyond me.   What's even farther beyond me is how you can summarize that into talking points.

I think it has everything to do with this website.  

I'd love to have a place where people discuss things rationally, since investment is supposed to be a rational, businesslike pursuit.  This debate is the opposite of that and it seems to cheapen anyone who sinks to its level.  That's my opinion, I don't run TMF, I just subscribe to their newsletters.

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#10) On August 12, 2009 at 8:55 AM, vishtr (< 20) wrote:

I'm sorry, but the administration is asking it's supporters to flag emails that are circulating misinformation does not equate to censorship. If they do something to stop the flow of this information at the IP level (in emails) then it would be censorship. There is nothing wrong with, and if fact is fairly noble, gathering information contrary to a point in order to analyze it.

 This is censorship in the same way your article is censorship of the Obama administration. I don't think you know what the word means. Please see your defination (which includes suppress or delete). They are gathering, through the support of their base (not even through any mandate), information.

 Go back under a rock and wait for another republican president. And when he (the wealthy white male republican president)comes back into power, make sure you invest in his stocks. I missed following Cheneys companies and profiting off of war while people suffered.

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#11) On August 12, 2009 at 9:07 AM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

I'm all for censorship of the lies.  If Bush taught us anything, it's that only the President should be able to make stuff up and sell it to the public.  How dare private citizens take such matters into their own hands.  Jeez.

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#12) On August 12, 2009 at 9:54 AM, devoish (98.31) wrote:

Thanks for opening up a discussion of whether Americans should have the opportunity to hear their Presidents reasoning behind policy and responses to those who describe it for him.

Thanks for the tip.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/ 

Frankly, I do not prefer the President's plan HR3200 over the far less expensive HR676, but I will not be persuaded by the absolute misinformation coming from the supporters of "small" Gov't whether they call themselves Republicans, Conservatives, or what appears to me to be the new brand name, Libertarians.

The problems facing our Country today are not the fault of "big" government. At fault are the "small" Gov't policies we have followed for thirty years after electing Republicans and Conservatives. The Entitlement programs, SSI, Medicare, VA have worked as well or better for most Americans than anything the free market offers. The "small" Gov't policies of not collecting taxes to pay for them have failed us.

I am not happy with everything that President Obama has done, but I am much less happy with the what the small Gov't presidents have delivered. And I understand Libertarians have disowned them now, not before they were elected, that the results of their policies have come to fruition.

I like the results of safety net policies enacted by the Democrats, by "big" Gov't. I like the EPA and understand by electing a "small" Gov't, anti-regulation administration it was weakened and unable to be effective.

It was the "small" Gov't advocates that allowed unregulated derivatives.

Poverty among senior citizens was over 50% during the depression. SSI lowered it to 30%. Medicare, enacted in the 60's lowered it to 10%.

Personally, I think the top 1% tax rate should be 90% until the Gov't is solvent again. My support goes to the seniors, Gov't helps them better than free markets ever have, or ever will.

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#13) On August 12, 2009 at 10:58 AM, ReadEmAnWeep (83.61) wrote:

Ha ha, +1 rec. Not for the article but for comments 9 and 10!

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#14) On August 12, 2009 at 11:01 AM, leohaas (31.39) wrote:

dudemonkey, I am adding you to my favorites!

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#15) On August 12, 2009 at 11:02 AM, ReadEmAnWeep (83.61) wrote:

Completely agree with #'s 9 & 10.

Was going to resond on my own but they sum it up better.

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#16) On August 12, 2009 at 11:03 AM, TMFPencils (99.82) wrote:

devoish,

We haven't had small-government presidents. Nixon passed the HMO act in 1973, Johnson increased medical regulations by leaps and bounds (as well as prices), the more government has gotten involved in health care over the past 50-60 years, the more expensive it has gotten. Consider watching this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt0tKl0J-S4

Even the Republican hero, Ronald Reagan, could hardly be called a small government president. 

You neglect to mention how expensive those "safety net" programs turned out to be compared to their cost predictions, you neglect to mention who is going to pay for them, and you assume that we've had a market system in health care when we clearly haven't. 

If you like Democrats over Republicans, that's great. I like neither at this point. They're both as bad as the other. 

Personally, I think the top 1% tax rate should be 90% until the Gov't is solvent again.

Who will hire workers if they themselves can't keep even half of what they earned? I'm not necessarily sympathetic to the rich, but many would just assume quit working and hiring people than keep 10% of their income. 

It was the "small" Gov't advocates that allowed unregulated derivatives.

And it is the "big" government advocates who want the Federal Reserve to regulate the financial sector. An unaudited, unregulated, destructive agency. 

You want to help the poor through government? Understand the devestating effects of monetary inflation and how it hurts the poor and middle class most. The ironic thing is that the Fed is needed by the government to pay for the increasing expansion. 

Thanks for opening up a discussion of whether Americans should have the opportunity to hear their Presidents reasoning behind policy and responses to those who describe it for him.

For crying out loud, that's not what my article is about. The point is that the White House is attempting to round up any information that they deem factually incorrect. They're asking people to keep an eye on CASUAL CONVERSATIONS. 

If they could win their argument through logic and principle, that'd be fine. But they are attacking those who disagree with the President, they are rounding up information that disagrees with the President, and they are not fighting with strong argument and logical principle. 

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#17) On August 12, 2009 at 11:13 AM, 1010100 (< 20) wrote:

The White House has been talking about Health Care Reform for at least 15 years. We are the richest country in the world. i think we can pay for health care for our people. Stop all the madness!   Read #7 and #9.  Good replys!

 

 

 

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#18) On August 12, 2009 at 11:15 AM, Bamafan68 (98.00) wrote:

Re: #12 - I'm not informed enough to debate the validity of your claims regarding SSI and poverty levels, however I am quite familiar with VA hospitals, having had to work in them during med school and residency. Beyond any doubt, VA hospitals are the most poorly functioning hospitals in the country. The most common comment made about the VA hospital, which was adjacent to the university hospital, was "The only good thing about the VA is that it is near a hospital."

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#19) On August 12, 2009 at 11:19 AM, mreedpgh (93.46) wrote:

"The point is that the White House is attempting to round up any information that they deem factually incorrect. They're asking people to keep an eye on CASUAL CONVERSATIONS."

 How else should arguments and public conceptions be tracked in real-time?  I have absolutely no objection to supplementing polling data in this fashion.  I think it's a BRILLIANT use of using instant communications to understand how the public is thinking about a topic, and respond canonically to their concerns.  What more can you WANT in a participatory democracy?

 --Mike

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#20) On August 12, 2009 at 11:38 AM, uclayoda87 (29.24) wrote:

flag@whitehouse.gov

This is the e-mail site that I sent my own blog posts.

Who knows, maybe if everyone sent them their thoughts, then maybe they might get a clue as to what the "real" facts are.

The President's infomercial yesterday was rather sad ("he winked at me!").

Here is the simple question that the President has dodged:  If you add a large number of new patients into the system and the number of physicians are likely to decrease, then how could there not be longer waits for care?  The politics of who gets to the front of the line is a form of rationing.

 

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#21) On August 12, 2009 at 11:43 AM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

"The Entitlement programs, SSI, Medicare, VA have worked as well or better for most Americans than anything the free market offers."

They may be working for lazy citizens, but they've also bankrupted our country.  In 100 years, we've gone from having government supported on no income tax, to the government needing 1/3+ of every individual's income?  If we valued family, like some other cultures, we wouldn't need all these entitlement programs.

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#22) On August 12, 2009 at 11:50 AM, whereaminow (20.41) wrote:

David Kretzmann,

I want you to know that I read all of your blogs and love your work.  You give me hope,

This post was FANTASTIC.

David in Qatar

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#23) On August 12, 2009 at 12:35 PM, gldnlvr64 (< 20) wrote:

GenChaos, you can't blame people for being unruley and very angry.

This idiot is trying to rush through this insane legislation without

even knowing everything in the bill. And the arrogance ! He doesn't

even care that most Americans are against it.

Goodbye Liberty

 

 

 

 

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#24) On August 12, 2009 at 3:50 PM, DaretothREdux (40.20) wrote:

Direct quote from the whitehouse blog (in case you were too lazy to click and read!):

These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov. (empahsis mine)

This reminds me of the informants in 1984 telling on their fellow citizens. It may not be to the point that we are doing it because we are afriad of the gov't, but we are not more than a few steps removed from that.

It's not that big a stretch to go from gov't is collecting information from private citizens to discredit other private citizens to gov't is controlling all information collected...and you don't want to be a dissentor when we get that far...

Orwell, didn't foresee the internet though...that's why I argue for its complete freedom everytime anything that even resembles censorship comes up.

The internet may be the only thing that can save us.

Dare

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#25) On August 12, 2009 at 3:57 PM, whereaminow (20.41) wrote:

DaretothREdux,

Liberation by Internet

David in Qatar

 

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#26) On August 12, 2009 at 4:14 PM, gillet01 (94.64) wrote:

WOW,

OK so can we agree that there is a lot of misinformation being passed around on the internet (mostly through emails) on issues from cancer (Dioxins in Plastic???) , Lost (or sick) children, and now health care reform.

I am not going to argue for or against the health care proposal in this post. I just want to argue that there is a need to recognize that many people are getting thier information from chain email and blogs, and that is a problem as there is no need for fact checking or even facts in this new mode of distribution. 

For example, you suggest that the white house is engaging in the primary steps of an eventual censorship plan to silence critics. This is a uninformed conclusion based on the facts in hand.

The white house asked people to send them "suspect" accounts. You do not know what they are doing with this information. Why assume the worse? Is there any past history from this administration to suggest that censorship is the purpose. 

I think it is more likely that they want to have a sense of what info is moving around so as to address it directly. 

I would love it if there was a way to stamp out misinformation, but to do so may create other issues.  As it is I use SNOPES.com and Politofact.com to give me perspective and weed out the obvious untruths.

Some like the implications in your post, are easy enough to discount on there own.

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#27) On August 12, 2009 at 7:24 PM, topsecret09 (37.40) wrote:

  Great post,and completely correct In all aspects. I could not have said It better myself....  Our own elected representatives  (PELOSI, HOYER,REID)  et al, are actually linking their own costituents to NAZIS,and are calling them UN AMERICAN.... Arlen Spector said that the people at these town halls are" not really representative of AMERICA "....    This bill will fail because THE PEOPLE have finally had enough...   TS     http://news.aol.com/article/angry-crowd-at-arlen-specter-town-hall/609021

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#28) On August 12, 2009 at 7:32 PM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

I think pencils2's point is that the standards set by the White House reflect on the entire nation and it's simply beneath the office it encourage a citizen to spy on another for no better reason then to win a lost battle?

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#29) On August 12, 2009 at 7:38 PM, Bojac3728 (< 20) wrote:

When it comes to health care, I would be happy to receive the same health care insurance that Congress has granted themselves.

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#30) On August 12, 2009 at 8:36 PM, devoish (98.31) wrote:

Bojac3728,

Congress has the same private insurance plans available to all other Federal employees, from a janitor to the President.

They have the benefit of negotiating for a very large pool of employees and can negotiate better rates, including for the janitor.

If what they have is what you want, I hope you get access to it.

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#31) On August 12, 2009 at 9:21 PM, Tacomatight (73.49) wrote:

Look, I worked at an economic development board (private nonprofit) three years ago. Our primary task was to keep businesses in our area and attract new ones. We did visits to local CEO's, which we called business retention visits. These visits helped us understand the problems facing business in our area(and what might make them want to relocate to another state) and see if there was anything to do to help.

There was one problem that they all had: Health Insurance for their employees was killing them.

The rates have gone up so much that it was beginning to hurt their profits more and more every year.

I won't even go into the millions upon millions of Americans who don't have healthcare. You got healthcare through your job? Great man, I'll tell you it won't last when companies have to choose between making it and your benefits.

We need health care reform, not angry fat people who can't even bother to put on a nice shirt at a public event and think it's cool to be on T.V. and shout at people on stage.

We already had Jerry Springer.

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#32) On August 12, 2009 at 9:26 PM, topsecret09 (37.40) wrote:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/08/12/town_halls/

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#33) On August 12, 2009 at 9:32 PM, devoish (98.31) wrote:

devoish,

We haven't had small-government presidents. Nixon passed the HMO act in 1973, Johnson increased medical regulations by leaps and bounds (as well as prices), the more government has gotten involved in health care over the past 50-60 years, the more expensive it has gotten. Consider watching this video:

Even the Republican hero, Ronald Reagan, could hardly be called a small government president

That is something to consider, Ronald Reagan ran on "small" Gov't and destroyed unions and lowered taxes, accelerating the course of federal debt. Bush 2 ran as small gov't and destroyed financial, environmental, FDA regulation, and began what may still become a world war. There is new evidence he was responsible for trying to use judges to manipulate elections.

And Libertarians are the new small gov't guys magically springing up out of the ashes of Republican/Conservative small gov wipe out.

Thanks, but no thanks. Politicians who run on the "gov't is bad" platform do to much to try and prove it IMHO.

Health care got more expensive in the early 1900's because of Government intervention. It was a good thing. In the late 1800's Pasteur and others learned about bacteria and infections. A cure for Syphillis was developed in 1910.

Unfortunately, the reality was the terms "quacks" and "charlatans" were being ingrained into the American language as fake cures were sold all across the country. The truth of real medical advances made it believable to people that cure-alls existed (it compares to weight loss today IMHO) but no laymen knew what was real. It is rumored that CocaCola contained cocaine and really did make you feel better, even if nothing got cured.

Trained Doctors got together in trade organizations and petitioned the gov't to help them enforce cleanliness standards in hospitals. Government interfered in medicine. Two things happened, fewer people died and the cost of surgery went up because a clean hospital costs more to run than a pigsty.

At first, insurers wanted nothing to do with insuring the costs of surgery because they were afraid people would cheat them. So hospitals sold the right to every available treatment for a monthly fee. It was the first medical insurance. (It is similar to concierge service that Uclayoda likes today, except with the service his Seattle hospital is selling, you get a diagnosis, you need aspirin. you get a diagnosis you need chemotherapy.. hope you have insurance. It is another level of "what am I getting for my money" for most customers).

Eventually insurers figured out how to price the risk and began selling policies.

The combinations of Government intervention in hospital and medical standards, advances in medicine, and accessibility through insurance raised life expectancies from 48 years in 1900 to 68 years in 1950. In Canada they achieved similar results with accessibility through Gov't.

Unfortunately today insurance has evolved into something that costs far more than its value added. But the other truth that you missed when you compared healthcare to phones is it not just the availability of insurance money that has driven up healthcare costs. It is the expense of achieving good health outcomes.

It costs a ton of money to put 15 people into a sterile operating room and maintain exceptional standards.

Insurance made it possible, but it is not neccessary. Gov't could be the insurer just as well. In fact it is. Your healthcare policy is backed by the Federal gov. If UNH goes under, your policy will be paid by your Uncle until you find a new insurer.

Would you trust UNH otherwise?

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#34) On August 12, 2009 at 9:34 PM, topsecret09 (37.40) wrote:

 Taco...  I agree that healthcare reform Is needed,but I do not think we need "reform" that Is written by a bunch of Lobbyist's lawyers that only have "Special Interests" Interests at heart. 1000 pages of gobbledigook that nobody In Congress has even read....  Be careful what you wish for......  TS

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#35) On August 12, 2009 at 9:50 PM, devoish (98.31) wrote:

David K,

I just wanted to make another point about your comparison of healthcare and phone prices. The cost of a phone may have come down, but so has a the cost of a bedpan.

The cost of making a phone call is much higher than ever.

Just like healthcare.

You seem to be spending a lot of time learning with Mises. I hope they have brought up the possibility of error in choosing what you are comparing.

Good luck.

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#36) On August 12, 2009 at 9:59 PM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

Devoish -

I enjoy reading your posts only for the fun in know how far we have come.  One day your ways to plan away poverty and dispair will come to an end.  The growing minority will voice our objects, maybe yell a little from time to time and sit patiently as is crumbles down around us.  Maybe in 5 years, 10 year I don't know, but there is too much history to show us that societies have been down this path before. 

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#37) On August 12, 2009 at 10:25 PM, tonylogan1 (28.12) wrote:

Rec'd

Getting back to the point of the article ... Government taking steps to get personal correspondence of its citizens monitored for opposing "wrong" views. The biggest concern I have is in the potential for incrementalism.

If the government sees little resistance for doing this, they won't hesitate to invade privacy a bit further. They keep repeating this step by step oppression until you end up needing a permit to move, a license to butcher a cow, and an ID from the government to use money, etc. One by one your freedoms get removed and dependance on central government grows.

The Patriot Act was a good example of how things can get introduced in times of fear. And now, this type of thing happens with just the "economic crisis" being the fear to fuel us into complacency.

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#38) On August 12, 2009 at 10:49 PM, AvianFlu (35.93) wrote:

pencils2:

Excellent analysis of the current administration's attempt to identify individuals committing "thoughtcrime". Have you considered about running for office?

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#39) On August 12, 2009 at 10:50 PM, devoish (98.31) wrote:

The Presidents opponents need to see a little resistance to their scare tactics and distortions (lies).

An incremental step back to honesty is a good step.

I have never seen anything as pathetic as as Republican Senators and Representatives telling Americans they will be told to die.

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#40) On August 12, 2009 at 10:54 PM, HighRisk41 (39.74) wrote:

Great post and great comment discussion. I did about blog about this website a while back and it still scares me the Whitehouse is collecting this info. I think a lot of worries would be put to rest if only they said what they were using the info for. But they dont tell you what their doing with this information or even hint at it? Thats scary in my book, its up to the American people to sort through the B.S. and get their own facts not our gov't.

 

As for healthcare reform got a lot of a supporters for it here I see. But the real question is how is our gov't going to pay for any of this. We are broke whether it was rep or dem that got us here (I blame both) Sooner or later other countries will stop loning us money we cant pay back. When that happens health care reform will be the last thing on our minds. But time will tell I guess, our govt is going to pass a helthcare bill Im sure and dig its grave even deeper. Thats all they know how to do. 

Oh and I reported this post to the White house btw, as well as my mail man cause he smelled fishy. And some guy walked his dog through my yard today looked kinda like a terrorists so I reported him : )   j/k 

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#41) On August 13, 2009 at 2:03 AM, MGDG (34.78) wrote:

We could have TMF redirect the "report this comment" link to the government web site. With one click we could send all the info we think doesn't conform to the government view. Democracy in action or Back to the Future, 1984 here we come.

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#42) On August 13, 2009 at 2:46 AM, Starfirenv (< 20) wrote:

Pencils, very nice piece. Some very good points were lost after your mention of health care. Should of never mentioned it.

Aligned, rec.

But since you mentioned HC, here's a true story. I used to see a chiropractor, and always paid cash,  Well he got a new office lady and billed my Ins Co. My next visit, I showed him the bill and he took care of it. Happy ending, but I always wondered how my $35. visit turned into a$330. charge to my Ins Co. HMM. With all this debate, no one has mentioned the Ins. Cos. (and the lawers) end of this.

Seems you were headed towards Who is accountable to whom.

Bullish PM, cash, pink slips. bearish unsustainable bounce .#7

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#43) On August 13, 2009 at 3:07 AM, DaretothREdux (40.20) wrote:

Big Brother is watching...

Dare

P.S. I say everyone who thinks the gov't is slowly attempting to invade our privacy send the whitehouse blog thousands thousands of "fake" emails making outrageous cliams about Healthcare reform to the point that they spend soooo much time trying to figure out what is real and what is fake that they finally give up trying at all...or implement martial law...either way...I will say I told you so.

 

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#44) On August 14, 2009 at 1:11 AM, foolishdoog (< 20) wrote:

this country needs real health care reform.

starting with eliminating the current employer based health plan. you do NOT care how much your health care cost if you do not directly pay for it. ask any person who has employer paid insurance, how much their employer pays for their monthly premium. they dont know or care to know.

universal health care or a bill that would crowd out private insurance will be impossible to pass in the US. Americans are too obssesed with living forever and will not tolerate health care rationing. if you add 47 million health care patients to a system without adding doctors or hospitals you will absolutely have rationing. and we all know how much infastructure spending was actually in the stimulis. its amazing all the ignorant CAPs members. Some should greatly consider taking basic economic courses. preferably macro because some of you need some enlightenment

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