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Health Care Reform

Discussion in 'All-Star Threads' started by bennyl, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. scotchcrotch

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    I think it's futile to debate legislation that no one (including Congress who voted for it) read.

    Throwing money at a problem always seems to be the answer, not execution.

    If money solves everything, why are our US schools in such bad shape? The Dept of Education's budget has doubled in 4 years to $159 BILLION. That money is doing jack shit as the rest of the world surpasses us in quality and test scores.

    The bad thing about this health care reform is that there's no turning back. Government is self-serving and would rather ruin our economy than to cut back. Checks and balances are laughable considering you have the government monitoring itself.
     
  2. grits

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    I asserted nothing of the kind. When I don't agree with how my tax dollars are spent, I express my discontent by talking to those that represent me and by my vote. Is my voice/vote always heard? Maybe, maybe not. I'm idealistic enough to believe yes.

    I don't measure my content as a citizen by how much money I'm taxed so I'm not sure we can continue dialogue on this point.

    So your point is you didn't run for office because it was too much trouble? Hmm...good thing we have so many men and women who care enough to be bothered with the 1,000 pages.

    How much sense does it make to rant and complain about things with which we are not satisfied if we unwilling to make the sacrifices to be part of the solution.

    I think this was tongue in cheek. Cute, but it doesn't make a point.

    When the debate is intelligent and with merit, sure. For me, anecdotes about about welfare women in Cadillacs don't have any more merit than the crackpots standing on the corners in NYC yelling that the end is near.
     
  3. StrangeBrew

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    If the best reasons that supporters can come up with is that we need to get this done now or else people will realize that the bill is a pile of shit that will massively grow the size and scope of our government and Obama is maybe not what a lot of people signed on for, well hey, where do I sign up to support this!

    If this 'reform' is so great, why are our elected officials exempting themselves from it? Why are provisions of the bill being written so that it would take a super majority of 70 senate votes to repeal them?
     
  4. The Village Idiot

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    And those are two great ways to voice discontent, but I submit not the only ways to do so. It was implicit in your response to toytoy wherein you listed a bunch of examples (and fair ones) on how tax money was spent and that he should be ashamed that he didn't want his taxes spent a particular way. Anyway, that's what I got out of that particular post.

    Why not? And why isn't this a fair line of inquiry? This country prides itself on capitalism and consumerism. Wasn't it our President, in the face of the 9/11 attacks, who told us 'to keep shopping?' So why would it be unfair of me to judge my government by the very tenets which it espouses (even if it doesn't follow them), i.e., capitalism and consumerism.

    By either theory, one needs to examine what economic opportunity is forgone and what benefit is received therefrom. Another vein running through this thread (though it appears to be put to bed at this point) is the argument 'hey, people in other countries spend a lot more in taxes and that's why they have health care - so I don't want to have to spend that much on taxes.' Therein, we are back to an implied consumer exchange. In this case, the consumer (the citizen) spends their money (taxes) for goods and services provided by the government. In short, the government has absolutely no problem in justifying taxes because of goods and services provided by it (including this particular health care bill, whatever form it may take). As such, I have absolutely no problem in saying 'ok, government, if you want to be judged by that standard, you need to start doing x, y, and z, and refraining from a, b, and c.

    And while it's laudable that you don't judge your contentment as a citizen by your tax bill, would your discontentment as a citizen rise if you paid all your income in taxes and received shoddy services? I sure as hell would be pissed, and I suggest most people might be as well. In short, if you're going to take between 40-50% of my income every year, and justify it based on the services provided, then I think it only equitable that I have some say over the goods and services provided.

    I'll have to dig out the article, but uh, those men and women that care enough to be bothered? Yeah, political party workers who do nothing but fill out applications for the candidates. The candidates don't do it, nor could they. And it is designed that way because it is one of many ways the parties prevent third persons from getting involved in government. Especially in Philadelphia where it's pay to play (you may have heard of recent scandals involving Mayor Street's administration, banks, insurance companies, contractors, and many other politicos - but the investigation came to a halt when one of the key witnesses committed suicide (or maybe died of natural causes-this was about 3 years ago).

    It makes a hell of a lot of sense. Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay did a lot of bitching and ranting. Otherwise known as "Common Sense" and "The Federalist Papers" - both of which were instrumental in building support for the idea of a new type of self governance in the colonies.

    Never underestimate bitching and complaining as a viable means of political change. Many rulers have done so in the past, and many did so to their detriment.

    Professors are among the greatest critics on the planet. However, critics and revolutionaries often have a hard time ruling, just ask Yassir Arafat. Good at criticizing what was in place, bad at running his own show. But critics do serve an important purpose, as noted above. The key appears to be knowing what you're limitations are and once change is nigh, stepping aside to let people who know how to run things do so.

    And who determines what debate is intelligent and (if I'm following your line of thought) permissible?

    If an idea is that wholly without merit on its face, people will know. We face no danger from the espousal of bad ideas, just a bit of wasted time.

    We do, however, face great danger from those who would tell us what ideas and debates are permissible. Democracy is messy and time consuming. It would do this society well to remember that. You have to sift through a lot of chafe to find the wheat, or something like that.
     
  5. Bendir

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    Anecdotes and hyperbole are bad. But it's equally fallacious for you to lump the welfare mom in with street corner prophecies. Welfare abuse was quite real. We can properly debate the magnitude of the problem, but that would require math. So here's a quick and dirty pair of graphs. The unwed mother (presuming she's the sole bread winner for her kids) has very low and flat labor participation rate before welfare reform in 1996. And we see a noticeable uptick in unwed birth rates in the 70's and 80's.

    This is NOT by itself evidence of welfare abuse. If you would like to settle this debate, go read the December 2002 issue of the Journal of Economic Literature. To paint a proper picture I would have needed 5 more graphs and a few regressions.
     

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  6. toytoy88

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    I'm very well aware of where my tax money goes and I can keep the peace on my property quite well without any outside intervention.

    I was a volunteer firefighter who risked my ass more then once to help out people that were quite plainly beyond stupid.

    My taxes also afford people that don't work and never have the same right to bitch, complain and demand that I pay more money for them to have equal access to the things I earned.

    And I have no problem with that so why even bring it up?

    Once again, I have no real problem with this. However my money also paid for scholarships of kids that partied their ass off and are now wandering the streets wondering what the fuck happened.

    True, but a 30.30 shell costs me about 75 cents. A traumatic skull wound is much cheaper then paying for rehabilitation or feeding and housing the offending party for the rest of their life.

    Did I miss something in the Constitution that others apparently have seen? ie...The right to have everything they wanted that someone else has and to gain it at someone else's expense?
     
  7. grits

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    Nope.

    My point was that he should be ashamed that he was complaining about paying taxes because of the bad ways his money is applied and making no concession for all the good ways the majority of his tax dollars are spent.
    Quite honestly? Because money isn't that important to me. I have enough of it to do the things I like to do and I'm appreciative of what I have. But I'm not the capitalistic consumerist that many are. There are many more things about America that make me happy and if I pay into a system that keeps this country what I consider the best country on the planet, I'm happy to do so.

    And when I disagree with my representation, I first educate myself and then act.
    Absolutely fair, just not one where we (you and I) will come to any meeting of minds because of how I value money.

    Again, never told you how to draw your measuring stick or if it was good or bad. I only said ours would be different.
    See, I don't understand this kind of discourse. If that were the case: I'd act.

    I'd act.

    I'd act the way my parents and grandparents did during the Civil Rights Movement. I'd act the way my great and great great grandparents did during the Civil War.

    I'd do what I felt needed to be done to make sure this country continues to be what I consider the greatest country ever. And if ever I thought I was a part of a community, a country, that wasn't the greatest? I'd pack my bags in search of better. Kinda like our founding fathers did.

    I'll respectfully bow out of this discourse.

    The fact of the matter is if a citizen wants to effect change, if a citizen is so moved, they WILL find a way over, under, around or through. That's what they did during the Revolutionary War. That's what they did during the Civil War. That's what they did during the Civil Rights Movement. And they won.


    Yep. See my comments above. These men didn't just rant. They acted. So I guess on this point we're wholly in agreement. Yay!
    I'm not talking about critics and criticizing and writing papers and armchair quarterbacking from brick institutions covered in ivy. I'm talking about educating and influencing. Like the group of teachers that made you who you are. Like the professors that challenged me to think and question and act.
    I'm fairly certain I didn't make any comments about whether or not people could rant. I do however wholly subscribe to Abraham Lincoln's sage advice: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." And such was the basis of my response to toytoy.


    My final word all other points? Trust me, my politics would surprise you (as they do most) but I love America. And, in my opinion, she's served me well.
    Never once did I ever say the welfare mother didn't exist or that people abusing the system weren't a problem. If you can find where I did, please quote me.

    I was speaking directly about toytoy's grocery store anecdote about the name brand food, food stamps and Cadillac because it's trite. It's as internet popular as the Jello twins and Le-a right down to the make and model of the car the woman gets in.
     
  8. Dcc001

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    Just a quick note, here. Insinuating causality with something as complex as welfare abuse, birth rate and labour participation is a slippery, slippery slope. Many things occurred within the time period shown on that graph, and to point out a direct link between, say, welfare reform and birth rate, may not be wise. I would take this with a grain of salt.*

    *Although I'm sure the Journal of Economic Literature addressed this, and provided rational and realistic explainations for my concerns.
     
  9. Bendir

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    If you don't believe your statement was a fallacy, then we have no more to discuss. You brought a real event, albeit exaggerated, down to the level of a lunatic's apocalyptic delusions. There is no way those two should have equal weight in your mind. You're one of the smarter board members. If this is how you behave, then this thread is fucked.
     
  10. grits

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    You're misinterpreting what I said.

    I was comparing toy's specific rambling with the specific ramblings of the end-of-worlders. Because I've heard that very specific anecdote: standing in a grocery store with ramen and Spam [insert other cheap food] behind somebody using food stamps buying yummy delights who then exits the store and gets into a luxury car (almost always a Cadillac). I think that story does no more to further the debate against welfare abuse than the person on the corner saying the end is near does to further the debate on global warming. To me, they are the same: they are two people making extreme statements to prove a point. And, for me, it closes my ears to what they have to say.

    I was not comparing the very real welfare problem with the end of world ramblings, so no fallacy.

    EDIT
    : Also thank you for saying I'm smart (sincerely, that makes me happy). As for welfare discussion, I'm wholly in agreement with you and Dcc. It's complicated and it needs to be discussed with real numbers. I'm not ashamed to admit I'd need to do a lot of reading about welfare and shelf my passionate biases on the subject so I could have a meaningful conversation. If there was dialogue to be had on it I'm certain the conversation shouldn't begin with that time Orangejello, Lemonjello and Le-a's mom was spotted at the grocery store using food stamps and driving a Cadillac.
     
  11. Aetius

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    You do realize that the crazy people on the corner don't have a point, right? They're just crazy.
     
  12. grits

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    Yep. Those "crazy" people on the corner are scared of the unknown and so they are trying to make sense of what they don't understand and shouting out to the world extreme statements.

    Kinda like all the hoopla going on right now about health care reform. Guess what? I'm nervous and scared, too. But I'm going to put an ounce of faith in people to do the right thing. Historically, the majority of people in this country do.
     
  13. toytoy88

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    No offense to urban legends, but I did see this happen with my own two eyes. I had roughly $20 worth of food in my cart and the person in front of me had a bill of around $180. Paid for with food stamps. And wheeled out to a late model Cadillac.

    I do not like it being insinuated that I'm a liar.
     
  14. grits

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    Sigh...

    I'm not calling you a liar, toy. I'm saying that ever since Reagan's 1976 campaign the Cadillac driving welfare queen* has been a popular icon of welfare warfare. If you say you spotted her, too, I have no real reason to doubt you. Doesn't change the fact that the icon is tired and cliche and the anecdote does nothing to further the cause of welfare reform.


    *Sources (These are quick internet searches. More detailed information can be uncovered at your local library or in any university Intro Poli-Sci course):

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/opinion/19krugman.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/opini ... ugman.html</a>

    <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_queen" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_queen</a>
     
  15. Marburg

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    Except that Medicare already reimburses some procedures for much less than what the actual cost of hardware and medical professional man hours are worth. Insurance companies take their reimbursement cues from what medicare is paying and so begins a vicious cycle, with decreased reimbursement for the medical professionals involved.

    Please do tell what medical professionals you personally know who would willingly take a paycut while insurance companies continue to profit along with pharma? As much as you would like to think physicians are purely altruistic, you must also keep in mind they have bills to pay to keep the lights on. Upkeep on equipment, front office staff, nurses, rad techs, and office leases. Medical schools do a great job teaching us to be wonderful doctors full of compassion and medical acumen with a terrible business sense. In the end to keep helping more patients you must run your clinic as a business so that you can write off those charity cases without breaking the practice financially.



    Except that every procedure goes through this. Cardiac cath's when they first became available netted an Interventional Cardiologist $2500-3500 per stenting. Now they are lucky to collect $500 per stent. Has an IC physician's overhead gone down since that time? No. Are they still equally liable for any adverse outcomes regardless if their reimbursement has gone down? Of course they are.

    Through this entire thread not a single person raised the thought that doctor's have their own problems. I am graduating from medical school shortly with 85k in debt and I'm one of the lucky few. Most graduate with over 200k in debt if you do not go to medical school within a state that "subsidizes" education. Are you going to pay for my loans or to support my family? Your response may be that doctor's make an inordinate amount of money, however very few medical professions remain where they make an absurd amount of money. The last 3 true money making medical professions are plastics, dermatology, and ophthamology where treatments are cash in hand for elective procedures.
     
  16. john_b

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    No, but for every one Cadillac welfare queen there are probably at least 10-20 families who really need the help and would be starving without food stamps. Is it really fair to punish the truly needy for the leeches? I'm all for getting rid of the fraud and all but I don't believe in punishing everyone because of a small percentage of leechers.
     
  17. The Village Idiot

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    I thought this was exactly my point. It is completely unnecessary for him, or anyone else, to make concessions of the sort in criticizing the way their money is spent by the government. For example, were the founding fathers criticizing the way the crown was protecting them? Well, yeah, bad example. Anyway, what got the whole ball of wax rolling was very specific taxes on very specific items, namely, stamp tax and tea tax, that infuriated the population. Toytoy, or anyone else for that matter, is not being intellectually dishonest by failing to acknowledge that his taxes may well go towards good things, or things he approves of.

    In a rare departure from my norm, I'll give my personal view on the matter.

    As noted in previous posts, the government is taking your hard earned money. Now it's perfectly legal because they (the government) has passed a myriad of laws that enable them to take your money. And that's all well and good. However, it is through toytoy's, yours, and my hard work that the money is generated. There is nothing wrong with people being pissed that they don't see the benefit of that work (as much as 50% of your income goes to taxes in one form or another, depending on state) because the government has decided that it wants to implement certain policies. Policies that you may or may not agree with. Again, I guess it depends on your view of America as either the land of opportunity or guarantees.

    And while I applaud your enlightened view of the matter, many of us, myself very much included, care very much about money. Many of us care not because we like to sit in a room and stare at all those one dollar bills the government lets us keep, but because of what it represents. And what money represents in this society, like it or not, is freedom. While some folks may drift from place to place for free, and more power to them, the average working citizen is trying to make enough money to cover the basics for their family.

    Until the doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, radiologists, nurses, EMT's, cleaning staff, cafeteria staff start accepting all those 'good intentions vouchers' that I've saved up over my life, I'm stuck with using cash as it is the current legal tender. And any discussion of this health plan, along with how it gets paid for (money), IS the measuring stick that needs to be used. While we can opine hypothetically on how it would be great economic policy to make sure that every man, woman and child in the US had health care that was paid for, the execution of such a plan demands attention to the money involved.

    Haven't we had enough of 'worrying about how it gets paid for at some uncertain date only to discover when the bill is due, the money's not there' in the last year and a half? I think so.

    And that's a good thing. It's nice to see someone appreciative of what they have. Too few of us (myself also included) tend to bitch about a lot of things, but ignore what we do have. However, the failure to do so doesn't make the bitching any less valid.

    Really? You live in a commune? You grow your own food? You, or a friend, treats your family medically? You make your own clothes? You don't own a vehicle? You don't buy gas?

    I'm guessing not. Surpirse! You're a capitalist consumerist just like the rest of us. Though you and I didn't make the rules of the game, that IS the game in this country. You're buying something. And you're selling something - either your time or your expertise or your labor. I know, I know, I sense your disappointment. I had the same sense of disappointment when I woke up one day and realized that I was a dirty American and not a cool Brit like I always wanted to be.

    I'll be getting to the bolded part in just a moment, bear with me.

    If you asked every American 'Should everyone have health care?' I think you'd get an overwhelming yes. Unfortunately, as noted above, there is an economic component - and a very big one at that - in play here. My money measuring stick is the only one that can be used to evaluate how the theory actually gets put in to practice. Someone, somewhere, has to do that analysis, or otherwise it's just a really nice thought.

    Ok, now we get to the meat of my dissent from your post. While 'you'd act' is a great sentiment, let's take it from the theoretical and try to put it into practice in the context of the current health care debate.

    What are the options to act, at this juncture?

    Voting (which you've mentioned). Last time I checked, none of us (unless you're secretly a congresswoman, grits, you sly dog you!) is going to vote on shit having to do with this bill. We don't vote on the coverage plans instituted, or what we pay.

    Next, of course, would be 'well you vote for your representative.' Ok, fair enough point. But as we are all aware, we live in a representative democracy, and those representatives are not bound by our 'votes' one way or the other except during elections. So at this moment, voting for your representative is an impossibility. Will many congressman lose their jobs next election cycle? It's a distinct possibility. However, the damage will be done by then. So as far as being able to effect change at this very moment, this is a non starter.

    Write your Congressman/Call your Congressman. This is certainly possible. Effective? Eh, not so much. Unless you're the head of a union, a big voting bloc, or a special interest that funds elections, well, you're just one in a million.

    Oh, and ultimately, this category falls into the 'bitching' category. It's just the target of the bitching might be slightly different, not the 'act' itself.

    Run for Office. Ok, if I happen to have $500,000 laying around, a staff, a headquarters, and connections to one of the two major parties and I can wait around and hope that this health care bill doesn't get passed before the next election, I can get elected and vote 'no.' This would definitely be an 'act.'

    I would also assert it is an 'impossible' act for the average taxpayer. But reasonable minds can disagree.

    I can organize a grass roots campaign to get enough clout to try to prevent the passage of the bill by threatening my local congressman's bid for re-election.

    This would be doable, I guess. Unfortunately, with work and all, given I have two jobs (to earn that dirty capitalist consumerist money that I'm so fond of because I like living indoors and eating), it may take some convincing of my employers that I need the time off to do this (yet they still need to pay me, because of my abovesaid addiction to living indoors and eating).

    I'm sure they will happily abide by my request while I'm off organizing the resistance.

    Leave. Of course, he could just up and leave. I've always thought 'Love it or Leave it' was a great argument in a country that was built on dissent and discourse.

    Right. But what was the first step? Thought begets speech which begets action. My point here is, in all the examples cited, people bitched about the problem before any action was taken.

    The founding fathers didn't just one day up and say 'ok, revolution time,' hand out the muskets, lead balls, spiffy uniforms and take out those nasty redcoats. The talked. They wrote, they bitched. THEN, and only then, when it was discovered that 'hey, lots of folks feel the same as I do, were they able to bring enough people together to effectuate the change - i.e. act. Words first, actions second.

    Uh, no we're not. They didn't act until there had been a lot of bitching, see above.

    You mean, theoretical discussions? Which amounts to 'talk' and not action? Yes, this is my very point. It is a necessary component to effectuate change that talk come first (or bitching) otherwise, no one knows what the hell the problem, or contention, may be.

    And Lincoln can go shove it up his ass. Talk may be cheap, but it is necessary, even from fools, even if only to confirm that it's a foolish notion they are advocating. And such was the basis of my response to you. Toytoy is allowed to bitch about having to pay higher taxes for a health care plan he doesn't want. No concessions, no qualifications are necessary.

    Because, in the final analysis, talk is the only action he has at his disposal.

    Of course, he could remain silent and be viewed as giving assent. And that, to me, is never a valid option if one is seeking to effect change.

    They wouldn't surprise me in the least. And I also love America. However, that love extends to all of the Constitution, and the thing most held dear by myself, freedom of speech.

    Does that mean toytoy's assertions are correct? Nope. But the criticism that he shouldn't bitch about it is decidedly unAmerican. While 'majority' rules in America, the Constitution protects the 'minority' from the tyranny of the majority. While I don't happen to agree with toytoy in substance, his remarks are just as important, valid, and worthy of consideration, even if to eventually discard them, as mine are. Such is the nature of discourse.

    Anyway, this is a pretty decent article on the nuts and bolts of the health care plan.
     
  18. grits

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    I appreciate your passionate defense of toy, VI.

    Assumptions you've made about me in this discourse are wrong but that wrong opinion of me isn't important enough for me to argue.

    We'll agree to disagree on what each of us considers possible and impossible as far as effecting change. Perhaps I'm more idealistic and you more pragmatic.

    As to words and actions, I think sound, reasonable, researched, intelligent debate IS action. I do not consider debates adorned with anecdotes about the iconic Caddy driving, name brand food buying, food stamp spending welfare queen intelligent. My opinion. Further, in my opinion, "bitching" that's not intelligent debate is clatter that is more harmful than helpful. Perhaps in your observations such clatter inspires greatness.

    My only beef with you? You seem to want to imply that I suggested toytoy wasn't allowed to complain. I will again state I never not once ever told toy or anybody else when they could or could not speak. I reacted to what I consider ungrateful whining and bitching from him regarding the payment of taxes reminding him gently that while some of his tax dollars are ill spent most of them are spent for the benefit of what we all love and hold dear. Later, he seems to agree that the government does apply his taxes in a beneficial way. Hoorays all around. At all times he's free, as a tax paying citizen of this great nation, to say whatever he wants. And I am free to disagree.

    I sincerely hope you wouldn't question the honor and respect I give to The Constitution including our right of freedom of speech just as I do not question yours. Those, my friend, are fighting words.

    Happy Santa's Birthday.
     
  19. Dcc001

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    Can we just take a minute here to observe the fact that Village Idiot managed to write a lenghty, reasoned, research post on the healthcare reform debate and include the following line:

    That, kids, takes some talent. Not everyone can be flippant and highly logical. Well done.
     
  20. Bendir

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    An article I had forgotten about. Damn it was depressing.

    How American Health Care Killed My Father
    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200909/health-care

    Honestly, I can't decide which quotes to focus on. It's a really good article. His health care proposal on page six is similar to one proposed by economists. It looks nothing like this current bill.