05 October, 2009

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Yes, I know we missed a dose yesterday.  There actually wasn't enough for a full dose, but believe me when I say we've got our stupidity prescription refilled.  Criminy.

Lessee... the CBO fucked up Wyden's amendment, which would've let folks have all that lovely choice in their heath care decisions that Cons always say they're for.  Thus, no amendment, no choice.  Lovely.

Dumbfuck statement o' the day: Blue Dog Jim Cooper thinks nobody's fought harder for health care reform than Mike Ross.  Apparently, he's had a bad fall on his head.

Here's a nice little post on why the Senate's so desperately dysfunctional.  Don't read it if you're depressed.

For those who might still be on the damned fence about health care reform, you might want to check in with CIGNA, who's busy denying growth hormone to two young cancer survivors whose cancer treatment left them with growth hormone deficiency.  Shorter CIGNA: our growth's more important than yours.

And Daily Kos points us to a WaPo article explaining the myriad ways insurance companies will screw the sick if weak reform passes.

On the good news front, Obama's apparently twisting Congressional arms for the public option behind the scenes, which suggests he's rather more serious about it than his non-committal public pronouncements would make it seem.

Rep. Grayson's shot at Cons is producing unexpected but entirely welcome results:
I just wanted to point out that the Grayson controversy has done far more than simply show the way to deflecting a Republican hissy fit.

Was anyone talking about this before this before Grayson pointed out this week that the only Republican plan was to not get sick and die quickly?
Even as Republicans pummel President Barack Obama's health care proposals, some GOP leaders worry their party is being hurt by a Democratic counterattack: Where is your plan?

Republican leaders chose not to draft their own comprehensive bill, focusing instead on attacking Democrats' plans as too costly and bureaucratic. Some prominent Republicans now fear they are getting tagged as the "party of no," and they want the GOP to offer more solutions to the nation's health care problems.
Nobody was worried about the Republicans not offering a plan until Grayson pointed out in his inimitable way that they don't have one.
Awesome.  Especially since, once Cons actually start presenting their "solutions," Americans will have a nice way to compare shit to steak.  I have a feeling they'll go for the steak, but with Americans, one never knows.  They've sat down and relished shit sandwiches before.  Still, there's some hope.  And might I add how nice it is to see a Dem putting Con backs to the wall, and keeping them there?

And, finally, it seems that the sound and fury of August produced bugger-all for the Cons.  The American public, by and large, thinks health care reform would be quite lovely, thank you so very much.

Here's hoping.

1 comment:

Woozle said...

The Digby post you linked to had a link to a rather disturbing article about morgues in Detroit filling up with unclaimed bodies because people can't afford to bury or cremate them.

This relates to something I've been wanting to write about for quite some time: the way money -- and how we think about money, and how money makes us think about ideas like value and wealth -- distorts society.

I mean, what does it take to cremate or burn someone? The article says it costs $695 to cremate in Detroit, and my understanding is that burial is usually more expensive.

I'm going to skip a discussion of the economics of burial; too long, and it's not a sustainable practice anyway.

What's required for cremation? Some equipment (reusable), some labor, and some fuel.

Now here's the disconnect I see. Taking just the simplest of several possible forks:

The necessary furnaces already exist. They are owned by mortuaries which are probably having financial difficulties due to the economy (people not being able to afford cremation).

Bear with me while I ask a dumb question, because it leads to more useful questions: Why can't the funeral homes just burn the bodies for free?

Well, they need two main things: (1) fuel for the furnaces, and (2) the employees need to be paid -- which is actually shorthand for "need to be given a quantity of value-tokens sufficient to exchange for the goods and services necessary to maintain their existing quality of life".

Presumably, though, the economic downturn means that the funeral homes are lacking in value-tokens and may have to "downsize" -- which means that some workers will, in turn, be having increased difficulty finding value-tokens to exchange for their needs, and will probably experience a downturn in quality of life.

So in Detroit you have:

1. people whose loved ones need cremation. They would presumably be willing to do quite a bit of work to pay for those cremations -- $700 at, say, $10/hour is nearly two weeks of solid work if you set aside 100% -- but the work they know how to do doesn't get people cremated.

2. people who have the skills and equipment to perform cremation, but who themselves need various goods and services... some of which might be the very things the people in #1 know how to do.

So Detroit has a labor surplus and the funeral homes have a labor surplus -- why is there a problem?

This is, in a way, the same question as "How does it make sense that we have (a) abandoned houses, (b) unoccupied new subdivisions, with more under construction -- and yet (c) increasing numbers of homeless people?"

I could understand it if, say, there was some kind of large crop failure which was reducing the amount of food available to everyone (food being the fuel on which human labor operates). A food shortage would reduce the amount of labor available per worker. But there is no such failure. We have plenty of food, and plenty of labor.

Not that I have any quick answers; I just think we need to stop thinking in terms of "money" and start thinking in terms of things like resources and value.

Perhaps if the people in #1 got to talking with the people in #2, they could work out some kind of trade -- if it weren't for the fact that in today's society, even if you aren't in debt, you still need money for:

3. fuel and electricity -- which are almost universally produced by large companies who deal strictly in cash. So ultiumately, everyone needs cash, and bartering can only ease part of the crunch.

So does that explain where the bottleneck is? Well, no, it's probably just part of the problem -- but it may be an example of a larger pattern that we need to look at.

And that's the short version.