09 January, 2007

How A Cheesy British Thriller And American Cop Shows Have Influenced My Politics

I have never believed that a government-sponsored Universal Healthcare program is a good idea. The older I get the more I do think that having access to healthcare coverage independently of an employer makes sense, primarily because some of the folks in greatest need of healthcare are, by definition, unable to work. There should be a way for people who can't work to get insurance. I haven't thought through that mechanism yet, and am still working on it--although any ideas I come up with are not really of any consequence, seeing as how I'm a freelance writer and not A Person Of Great Power.

Steven at Cows & Graveyards asks some interesting questions about Universal Health Care, and I have to say that the questions do have merit.

But I cannot fathom what kind of a nasty world this would be if we had a governmentally-sponsored/run UHC program. The other night I was watching some thing I TiVo'd off BBCAmerica. A woman had been found dead in a dumpster and the key suspect was the husband of the main character. In the course of trying to identify the dead woman, the pathologist discovered the deceased's recent abortion. Something about the state of the uterus and cervix, I believe. Anyway, the investigators got a list of women in the area who had an abortion in the last four weeks prior to the girl's death. At one point the central character says "I thought this was confidential information" and she's told that it is. The unspoken thought is that catching a killer is more important than the privacy and confidential medical records of 85 London women.

Similar things happen on the various Law & Orders I watch. Take Perv Squad for instance. There's always someone deciding that private things like library records and doctor-patient/attorney-client priveledges are less important than figuring out who is looking at Kiddie Porn.

Now, personally, I am in favour of neither murder nor kiddie porn, but I really don't like the philosophy of setting aside certain 'inalienable' rights for the sake of expediency in a police investigation. I feel strongly that if we were to move to a UHC system, we'd be giving our government the keys to our domination. If they are paying for our medical treatment--in whole or in part--they will claim entitlement to our medical records. Is that information you want the government to have?


At 3:16 PM, January 09, 2007, Blogger dolphin said...

Now, personally, I am in favour of neither murder nor kiddie porn, but I really don't like the philosophy of setting aside certain 'inalienable' rights for the sake of expediency in a police investigation.

If you follow this line of reasoning with regards to American citizens and the War on Terror, then you are light years ahead of most of your conservative brethren.

At 3:43 PM, January 09, 2007, Anonymous nm said...

1) The British Constitution (they do have one, though it's unwritten) doesn't have all the safeguards of personal rights that the U.S. Constitution does. There is nothing unconstitutional about the British police getting information like that. This would not apply to U.S. police trying to get similar information.

2) U.S. police (and the current Dept. of Justice) try to, and generally do, get that information from private sources anyway, even though it isn't constitutional. I don't see what difference having a national health service would make. The problem is in policing the police, no matter what.

At 4:22 PM, January 09, 2007, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

Kat, are you talking about an NHC-type system such as Britain has, or a single-payer system such as Canada's?

The chances of the former happening in the US are ZERO, the chances of the latter are quite slim.

Americans (even Democrats) don't like bureaucrats telling them what to do, especially when it comes to their own healthcare. Europeans don't seem to have a problem with the concept.

Sometimes we forget just how free we are in the US. It's what makes is a great nation; NOT our nukes or our birthrates or even our consumer culture - many other nations have that. But they fall behind because our people are the most industrious, CREATIVE people on the face of the planet.

And that's because we're the most free.

If we give that up, the fall of American greatness will be at hand. Some leftist Europhiles might rejoice, but the world will be worse off because of it.

We need to remain as free as possible.

To be humane and still retain our freedom, I say we need Universal Catastrophic insurance only - nothing else.

At 6:59 PM, January 09, 2007, Anonymous nm said...

But, Slarti, bureaucrats already tell us what to do about our healthcare. They are paid by private corporations, but they are still paper-pushers telling us that we can't have insurance, have to wait for that operation, can't have as many of that pill as our physicians want, and all that stuff. And they do it so as to make a bigger profit, not out of any sense of service or fairness. That's far worse than gov't workers any day.

At 8:26 PM, January 09, 2007, Anonymous Ivy said...

Yeah, what NM said. Personally, I'd like to see *all* employers not offer healthcare benefits so we can choose ourselves. I think our service from ins. companies would improve massively and prices would drop if not for these big group plans that we pretty much *have* to subscribe to, o pay exhorbitant costs.

At 1:47 PM, January 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk to the Canadians who have to come to the US to get quality medical service if you wanna see how universal health care mucks the quality of care up. Likewise, check the wait times for normal services such as MRIs in Britain as well as the inability to obtain procedures we have come to expect in American health care. I'd rather be able to get what I pay for than pay for it in taxes and get less.

Thoughtful Codger

At 11:10 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger Ned Williams said...

Yes, the reason employers offer healthcare insurance is because of the favorable tax treatment. And the farther removed the supplier (?) is from the consumer, the less concerned the supplier is about what the consumer wants.

Either everyone--regardless of whom they're employed by or whether they're employed, ought to be able to have favorable tax treatment of healthcare expenses.

Hey dolphin, I'm curious as to what rights you believe Americans are giving up/losing in the GWOT?


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