11 August, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I'd been wondering just how extreme the stupidity could get. I now have my answer:
The estimable Jay Bookman discovered this unintentionally-hilarious item in the Investor's Business Daily on health care reform. The headline reads, "How House Bill Runs Over Grandma."

The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) basically figures out who deserves treatment by using a cost-utility analysis based on the "quality adjusted life year."

One year in perfect health gets you one point. Deductions are taken for blindness, for being in a wheelchair and so on.

The more points you have, the more your life is considered worth saving, and the likelier you are to get care.

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Human Events, the right-wing magazine, lauded this IBD piece for having "exposed the Achilles' heel of Obamacare."

Oh, how I wish I could walk into the offices of IBD and ask them where, exactly, they believe Stephen Hawking was born, developed ALS, then received excellent health care and all of the assistance he needed in order to survive and communicate even before he proved himself a brilliant boon to society. And, instead of being pushed over a cliff to make way for healthier people, he was hospitialized earlier this month - "at a publicly-funded NHS hospital]."

For added hilarity, watch the Freepers trying to spin this one. It's precious. And, as Mr. Moonlight points out:
My sister's best friends husband succumbed to ALS in less than a year after diagnosis. Lou Gehrig himself was gone in about two years, Catfish Hunter in about the same ... but Hawking goes on and on, its over 30 years now since diagnosis and he keeps on plugging along, even taking a trip into orbit to no ill effects on him [links added for those wishing to verify nationality]
The robust skeptic in me notes that Lou Gherig wasn't alive before modern treatment and Catfish Hunter fell down the stairs (no doubt in large part due to motor control problems brought on by the disease), and ALS is a disease with widely different outcomes... but it's still damned funny to watch them cope with the fact that it's the Brit, not the Americans, who's still stubbornly alive.

Oh, Cons! If you ever develop the awareness and research skills of a brain-damaged baboon, what an exponential improvement that will be!

I'm not sure if IBD is in the habit of disappearing embarrassing mistakes down the memory hole, but Efrique's in possession of a screen shot just in case.

One almost hesitates to move on from that - it's tempting to just linger over such delicious stupidity - but we must not gorge on only one dish. Especially not when Kenny the Malingerer's serving up some delightful morsels of his own. Remember yesterday, when his lawyer was passing around the hat for poor Kenny's medical expenses? Much fun has been made of the fact that an anti-health care reform fucktard lost his health insurance. This has apparently stung his manly ego, as his lawyer assures us today that Kenny is, in fact, insured:
The Washington Independent contacted Brown, who said his client Gladney is not uninsured after all. “He’s just unemployed,” says Brown, and “has insurance through his wife.”
But he'll gladly accept your money, anyway, because he's a lying son of a bitch trying to milk his 15 for all they're worth.

He's also wanting his bogus case pursued as a hate crime:
Today he went on Fox and Friends with his attorney, Dave Brown, who announced that he wanted local prosecutors to pursue the case as a "hate crime."

Mr. Brown appears to be confused about just what constitutes a "hate crime". Namely, it take more than merely the matter of Gladney being a black man to qualify as such a crime; indeed, the main qualification has to be that a bias motivation has to be present. That is, prosecutors would have to establish that the people being charged were motivated by the victim's race.

Gladney claims that he was called the N-word -- but the man using that word was another black man. Proving a motivation of bias against blacks will be pretty difficult under those circumstances.

And, as David Neiwert subsequently points out, that's the least of his difficulties. Even if his case wasn't as weak as homeopathic tea, though, there's an essential question that needs answering: "Besides ... aren't conservatives opposed to hate-crimes laws as a matter of principle?"

Ah, hypocrisy. How Cons adore you.

They also loves them some scaring the old folk:

Republicans have been trying to defeat health reform by scaring seniors that their Medicare benefits will be cut if the bill passes. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) have made the false argument in recent weeks. Today, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) repeated the myth in a phone interview with Memphis’ ABC affiliate. She offered a host of vacuous, Frank Luntz-approved talking points before making this statement:

Our seniors are saying, look don’t diminish Medicare. We have been paying into Medicare. That is pre-paid for us. It’s been coming out of our paycheck for 40 years. And they don’t want that Medicare to be diminished.


Of course, it’s ironic that conservatives who have long argued for killing Medicare are now proclaiming to be the protectors of it. “Nobody is talking about cutting Medicare benefits. I just want to make that absolutely clear,” President Obama has said. The health reform bill would not “diminish” Medicare benefits. “To the contrary, reform would simply eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies.”
But that doesn't leave seniors spoiling their Depends and stampeding their Congressmen in opposition to health care reform, so they lie. If you have scared seniors in the family, you might want to visit the Think Progress post above for some of the nifty extras Medicare would get under health care reform.

And you can tell them that "death panels" aren't in there, no matter what Sarah Palin says. And that noxious lie isn't true, even though it's being picked up by the likes of Brian "Species" Kilmeade:
In her first policy statement since quitting as Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin argued on Facebook that President Obama wants to create a "death panel" as part of a "downright evil" system. Even some conservatives found this "crazy."

But not Fox News' Brian Kilmeade. The "Fox & Friends" host, perhaps best known for complaining about the lack of racial "purity" in the United States and lamenting Americans' habit of "marrying other species and other ethnicities," today repeated Palin's argument, without even mentioning the former governor, as if the insane attack were fair.

"Are seniors going to be in front of a death panel?" Kilmeade told viewers. "And then just as you think, 'OK, that's ridiculous,' then you realize there's provisions in there, that seniors in the last lap of their life will be sitting there, going to a panel, possibly discussing what the best thing for them is."

If their doctor is a flat piece of wooden wall covering, then yes, Brian, you could conceivably say that seniors will possibly end up discussing their wishes with a "panel."

Those who are afraid of death panels shouldn't be directing their anger at health care reform advocates, who think we should be more interested in saving lives than making a profit. Talk to the insurance companies that are already forcing people to face "death panels":

From Southern Beale, a very important point:

Don’t talk to me about death panels, Sarah Palin.

You, who so carelessly bolstered a lie about healthcare reform to score a cheap political point; you, the most craven of political opportunists, who fearmongers about some dystopian socialist/fascist fantasyland; you, who earlier this year were only too happy to accept free medical, dental and veterinary care from the U.S. military for Alaska’s remote villages; you, dear lady, are an idiot.

In your free market wonderland everyone somehow manages to get healthcare, even those who are poor or live in isolated areas, though the poor and isolated in your own state required assistance from the federal government.

And despite all of this, you appear blithely unaware that the free market healthcare system we have now does, indeed, have “death panels.” I’ve been part of a death panel conversation. I know about death panels.

You have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital administrator you’ve never met before and be told that your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can't imagine what it's like to be advised that you need to “make some decisions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. "Living will" or no, it doesn't matter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn’t a “death panel” I don’t know what is.



Chris said...

I'm glad to see Atlanta's own Jay Bookman cited here. Jay has been a voice of reason in The Atlanta Journal Constitution for many years and I've always hoped he would achieve a wider readership. I've passed along some comments to him by e-mail a couple of times and incredibly, he has taken the time to personally respond. Jay won't ever come close to the millions which gasbags like Glenn Beck are knocking down, but unlike them, his legacy will be one of honest and sincere journalism. Someone in your outfit should make him an honorary Elitist Bastard. Raise your flagons high and give three resounding HOYS for Jay Bookman!

Cujo359 said...

re: The IBD editorial - true to form, this morning they put up this note:

Editor's Note: This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.

Of course, they didn't imply that he didn't live there, they said he couldn't survive there, when in fact he had for forty years or more.

Anonymous said...

'A lie will be around the world before the truth has put its boots on'

The fact that NICE does nothing of the sort claimed will not stop this claim being repeated ad nauseum.

This from the NICE website
"NICE is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health.
It does recommend what treatments should be used. They run into controversy a fair bit, and it is often of the quite understandably emotional kind. "Government denied my gran treatment to extend her life 6 months to save £2,000" type. The problem with this is that the demand outstrips the pot- THIS WILL BE TRUE NO MATTER WHICH SYSTEM IS USED- even the mosth ethical HMO has to say at some point 'there is a funding choice to be made'. Someone, in any health organisation has to decide where the 'biggest bang for the buck' is.

The alledged scoring system for treatment is obviously being ignored for my mother-in-law. 73 years old, in a home (publically funded) with dementia, on an irreversable downward slope SHE STILL GETS FREE TREATMENT.

Efrique said...

Well, the original version's up at cheezburger:


so the lulz can continue.