Monday, August 10, 2009

How To Be a Complete & Utter Asshole

Step One: Pretend you're not being an asshole:

Is it fair to worry that the Democrats included an end-of-life counseling provision in the health care bill because they're planning to push Grannie off the ice floe as soon as they can get naional [sic] health care passed? No, ...
Step Two: Be an asshole:
... and yes. No, because I don't believe that they want to bamboozle people into ending their lives before they should. It's quite clear from what Obama has been saying that he thinks there is a great deal of unnecessary care, particularly late in peoples' lives, that makes them worse off, or at least, no better off.
But though the implication that the Democrats are heartless technocrats is thoroughly wrong, I think the worry underlying it is legitimate.
This post is Megan in a nutshell. A thin veneer of extremely poorly crafted faux-rationality smeared over a dark core of movement conservative subculture stupid insanity. Her long winded but incredibly stupid argument is that the government is bad and it will want to deny people care to save money, especially old people. Because, just to begin with, Medicare doesn't exist.
Second, insurance companies totally cover everything:
Insurance companies already have those undertreatment incentives, but it's hard to act on them. Right now, people know that their insurance companies would love to provide self-serving "end of life" counseling that would encourage sick people not to waste so much valuable money. But they are limited by, first, competition--an insurance company that tried to do this too blatantly would suffer horrible publicity and ultimately lose business--and second, the threat of lawsuits and/or regulation.
The threat of regulation alone keeps insurance companies from acting on their own profit motivations to find every possible excuse to deny claims, too. Just like the threat of regulation kept financial conglomerates from taking idiotic risks for short term profits. Remember, part of what makes Megan right for having been wrong on pretty much every major issue on record is she learns from her mistakes, unlike people who are stupid and just get stuff right.
Then she remembers Medicare exists and says it's really private insurance that the government just sorta pokes with a stick every now and then, but it's not reaaaaaaaaaally government run health care for the elderly that doesn't involve counseling them to kill themselves asap. So don't think it is.
This is another case of Megan thinking she's being clever and covering her ass on both sides, and it's simply pathetic. She doesn't explicitly address any of the right wing euthanasia talking points except to end up arguing even the end of life counseling sessions being twisted into Death Panels by the Palins of the world will serve nefarious bad gubbermint purposes, and in fact that it's the noble private insurance companies preventing death camps for the elderly. I'm not kidding:
If the public sector atrophies, the scope for manipulation broadens, because the information about what's available outside the public sector shrinks. Nor is this just crazy speculation. I actually think it's pretty reasonable when conservatives worry that the Dutch attitudes towards euthanasia are influenced by the burden old people and severely disabled children put on the public purse. I don't see how they could fail to be.
Then, like a true asshole, she pretends she's not saying what she's been saying:
So I don't think it's crazy that Rasmussen is reporting that 51% of people now trust their insurance companies more than the government to handle their health care. In fact, I expect that number to go up. This is not, as some libertarians would have it, because the free market is Teh Awesome, while the government is Teh Suck. It's because the two institutions are, on this particular question, balancing each other. In doing so, they are creating cost inflation. But they're preventing something that many people legitimately believe is worse.
Without a profit margin in health care, the government will kill people, it's just that simple. This is teabagger/birther level stupid, but it serves Megan's career and ideological goals, so there it is.


Susan of Texas said...

The next post is deeply stupid too.

We criticize not out of anger, but out of disbelief. How can you be this stupid and function in society?

Oh, wait.

Her wedding is going to be hysterical, I bet.

Downpuppy said...

I was the only person in the entire thread who objected to lying. She now has the audience she deserves.

GOD help us.

Anonymous said...

Insurance companies are worried about bad publicity and lawsuits? When did this happen? I've been living in a cave or something.

M. Bouffant said...

Almost tempted to register at The Atlanic just to point out for Megan & fans how little competition there is in "private" insurance.

At the last two (big, nation-wide, international even) corporate entities where I was held in indentured servitude, when insurance enrollment rolled around (note the "choice" inherent in being able to change insurers only when they & your master decide you can, annually) I was given a choice of three plans (from "merely expensive" to "most of my income") from just one insurer.

The gig before that may have offered a choice of companies, but there were still essentially three plans offered. Neither one offered choices between different insurers at the same price point.

The notion that there's a huge, competitive market w/ such stark & easy choices that the best care, results, innovation & so on are assured by the market is crap.

Essentially, large corporate employers sell insurers the privilege to sell their policies to you, the wage-slave. If you're "lucky" enough to have a deal w/ insurance.

The self-employed, individual human who hasn't the bargaining power of thousands of potential policies is so screwed my sensitive nature prevents me from even thinking about it.

Keith said...

It's not going to happen, but someone out there, somewhere, somehow probably believes it could happen, so, therefore, we must go on pretending it absolutely will happen!

Mr. Wonderful said...

"But they are limited by, first, competition--an insurance company that tried to do this too blatantly would suffer horrible publicity and ultimately lose business"

So, it's a good thing to do, but companies who did it "too blatantly" would suffer publicity.

This is contemptible. She is an apologist for and defender of practices she pretends to think are "unfortunate" but effects to declare "necessary."

She's like the prison trusty who tells his fellow cons, "Yes, the guards beat you, but if they didn't, you'd riot and destroy everything, to your own detriment."

And then has the gall to present herself as "a journalist." And all of it, in the end, is deniable, because she's a "libertarian."

Sorry for all the scare quotes, but they're necessary because her entire presentation of herself is a pretense, and is fraudulent. She's a fake-everything. Hence the need for the "quotes."

Anonymous said...

Granted that Medicare exists and she should have addressed this fact better, but isn't part of the intention of reform to introduce cost controls into Medicare, and isn't it possible under a restructured Medicare, government will pay for fewer treatments?

Zac said...

Don't forget, Megan: No, because the provision is in there because of Senator Isakson (R-GA). Your friend Ezra even actually interviewed him.