Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wow, Just.... Wow

Is There Any More Point to Talking About Health Care?:

So we've arrived at an impasse. I think fiat will screw up the health care system even worse than fiat has already screwed up the health care system, and that this will be bad for everyone in the long run. I think that any program enacted now is likely to be the tipping point--once the government controls more than 50% of the health care system (it's over 45% now), it crowds out private health insurance for most people. I think that this is what the people behind the system want it to do, largely because that's what they keep saying they want.
First new and absolutely bugfuck insane premise: the problems with our health care system are due to Medicare and the VA preventing a pure free market state.
I think probably most people would agree that if Rand is right, and price controls shave, say, almost a year off of average lifespans, this is not necessarily a good deal for even the squishiest bleeding heart liberal--for the same reasons that socialism turned out not to be a good idea. No, I'm not calling you a socialist. I'm saying that if nationalizing companies and 90% tax rates on the very wealthy had worked well anywhere, a lot more liberals would be in favor of those things, because if you take away the unintended consequences that they turned out to have, they seem to conform to a lot of progressive priorities about justice, distribution, and so forth. But they didn't, and so most progressives have (or so I devoutly hope) abandoned these sorts of ideas in favor of a less intrusive agenda.
Hey, another huge fucking mistake. The Rand paper she's referring to, but not linking to, is about the hypothetical changes involved in changing the profits of the "biopharmeceutical" industry, NOT the insurance industry. So Megan is using a bait and switch just to begin with. I'm not qualified to challenge the Rand paper, but I am pretty fucking skeptical of the claim that reducing the profits of big pharma will cost us 8 months of life.
Second new and bugfuck premise; liberals are implicitly dishonest about our true goals for society. And neither should we infer any possible projection from this claim.
But back to killing ourselves via reduced profits;
So ultimately I'm saying, I think this is the way that our government works, and this is the way that markets work, and for all the screaming, these are not crazy positions. There's plenty of evidence for government crowding out. There's plenty of evidence for price controls. There's plenty of evidence for what happens to markets that are largely governed by price controls.
You may disagree. You think government works better than I do. You think we'll be able to draw a line in the sand and keep the government from crossing over it to take over more of the market. You think government spending can substitute for R&D, because you don't find the socialist calculation debate compelling. Or maybe you say, hey, yeah, well, 0.7 years off the average lifespan isn't a bad tradeoff for covering the uninsured.
On one side, Megan has this Rand paper. On the other side, we have Medicare, the VA, SCHIP, and the improved outcomes for far less cost evidenced by the nationalized health care systems of every other industrialized nation in the world, of which we're only trying to become more like the most conservatively nationalized systems. We're fools for arguing with her, but she'll humor us and let us try.
But her patience is running out;
So why talk any more? I can't believe how nasty this debate has gotten. I can't believe that people who claim to value a classically liberal market society, on the one hand, and people who say that all they want to do is help people, turn into such screaming, hate-filled lunatics when the subject comes up. A debate over health care should not remind me so much of a debate over the Iraq War. I write thousands of words on innovation, and John Holbo boils my concerns about lost years of life down to "indifference to the poor"--as if, first, the poor will not be helped by new treatments, and second, we should do anything at all, no matter how horrific the results, as long as it helps the poor. Well, and third, as if the poor weren't on Medicaid, but that's another rant. This is about as useful as my saying that John Holbo's basic philosophical premise is a desire for my grandchildren to die young. I devoutly hope that if any of his freshmen said anything remotely this silly in a paper, Mr. Holbo would flunk them.
It's all about her, first and foremost, and how she feels about being criticized by those who dare to mistakenly find flaw in her positions. She is a victim, and we should be thinking about her feelings instead of being upset by her placing a greater value on profits and blindly casting about for an excuse to justify it. After all, the Rand study she cites was released in December of last year, and it has formed the core of her argument since.
She spends the rest of the post in concern troll mode talking about how sad she is and equivocating unequal behaviors. Bringing a LOADED FIREARM to a peaceful public meeting is fine but silly, but those who "accuse" those Second Amendment crusaders of holding extreme beliefs based merely on them expressing extreme beliefs in videotaped and nationally broadcast interviews are uncivil, and so on. She can save that shit for the Passive Aggressive Olympics, I'm done for the night.

12 comments:

arguingwithsignposts said...

Am I the only person who notices the only link in her entire f**king post is to "composition fallacy," not to any of teh mountains of evidence she claims support her position?

Is there a more insufficient blogger in the A-list blogosphere? Even Glennstaputz links.

NutellaonToast said...

She doesn't need to link, someone told her.

This reminds me of a discussion I had with a football player at Rutgers. Rutgers had just recently built a gigantic new stadium (I think so that they could enter the Big 10 conference) despite having almost NO fan base for their team, and it sat (sits?) mostly empty for years. It spent millions on a stadium that did not come close to filling.

the football player told me that people complaining about money wasted on sports were stupid becasue sports made the school money trhough endorsement deals. He was obviously told this by his couch or some other "interested party" but the facts were that the school was losing tens of millions off a football.

This may have changed somewhat for the year or two Rutgers had a decent football team, but it wasn't the case when this guy was telling it to me. He just believed it cause otherwise he would have to acknowledge that his room and board was coming on the backs of the rest of the students via tuition.

Fuckin morans.

shane said...

Is she really going to stop talking about health care? Even if we end up with a shitty bill with no public option, it would have been worth if she really shuts up.

I can't believe that people who claim to value a classically liberal market society

Jesus, her philosophy goes way beyond that. Even Adam Smith didn't argue that the free market could solve every single problem.

M. Bouffant said...

That last blockquote extracted edges toward a break w/ reality, or at least a crying jag.

"I wrote thousands of words ... thousands ... Waaaah! Just leave me alone!!"

And this:
Well, and third, as if the poor weren't on Medicaid, but that's another rant. This is about as useful as my saying that John Holbo's basic philosophical premise is a desire for my grandchildren to die young. I devoutly hope that if any of his freshmen said anything remotely this silly in a paper, Mr. Holbo would flunk them.

There's almost sense & meaning there, I bet it could eventually be decoded, but it won't be me. Can't wait for the Medicaid rant.

bulbul said...

Even Glennstaputz links.
No shit, 60% (ETPOOMOA) of the time that's all he fucking does.

people who say that all they want to do is help people, turn into such screaming, hate-filled lunatics
Hey, she's talking about us!

You can't talk me out of thinking that 0.7 years of life is a whole lot of life when you apply it to 400 million people.
307 million, you dumb person.

No, there is absolutely no fucking point to talking about healthcare with Megan. All we get is an army of straw men ("nationalizing companies and 90% tax rates"; "price controls"; "You think government spending can substitute for R&D") and concern trolling. Hey, you dumb cow, "legions of astroturfed militiamen who accuse Nancy Pelosi of appointing Hitler to a death panel" is not a caricature, but a pretty fucking accurate description.

And needapithyunname wins an internet. 'Fess up, guys, which one of you is it?

Anonymous said...

needapithyunname (Replying to: Megan McArdle) September 3, 2009 1:20 AM

libertarians should start more charity hospitals

More? Could you name any?

Seriously. I know of Catholic charity hospitals, Baptist charity hospitals, Presbyterian charity hospitals, Methodist charity hospitals, but I've never heard of a libertarian charity hospital.

"'Fess up, guys, which one of you is it?"

It's me. diff. username @the atlantic, so can't reveal.

You might enjoy this other bit of "hypothetical not statistic" that I was able to suss out.

Megan stated her opinion that "libertarians should start more charity hospitals..."

I asked:

"More? Could you name any?

Seriously. I know of Catholic charity hospitals, Baptist charity hospitals, Presbyterian charity hospitals, Methodist charity hospitals, but I've never heard of a libertarian charity hospital."

Her reply:

"Megan McArdle (Replying to: Megan McArdle) September 3, 2009 8:29 AM

I meant "more" as in expand the supply, not start more of their many charity hospitals. But I'm sure if you looked, you'd find at least one charity hospital headed by, or substantially funded by, libertarians, the law of large numbers being what it is."

It's a classic MM reply. She claims she didn't say what she said ("start" doesn't mean "start"), claims there are some, she just doesn't know where they are; and then tells the reader to "google it."

Ken Houghton said...

Let me see if I have this straight:

The countries that don't produce most of the biopharm profits have longer lifespans than the U.S.

Rand estimates that, if the US were to stop relatively overpaying the biopharm industry (relative to those countries that have generally longer lifespans), the US lifespan would decrease by 0.7 years.

Therefore, there is an inverse relationship between spending on biopharm and life-expectancy for all countries except the US.

Who knew the US was so inefficient?

Obvious Libertarian conclusion: the US should be t/e/r/m/i/n/a/t/e/d/ allowed to fail so its stronger, better-run competitors can take over the market.

clever pseudonym said...

"I can't believe how nasty this debate has gotten."

Oh, poor widdle Megan. Once again, the lone sane voice of reason and composure, surrounded by the unthinking mob of inferior voices overcome by their emotions.

Somebody needs to tell her that being a condescending asshole and responding to people as if you are lecturing a room of four-year-olds is also something that others consider to be nasty.

NutellaonToast said...

For the last time, CP, if you don't fucking curse, then you're not fucking rude, ok?

Mr. Wonderful said...

Does anyone know the composition of the (say) 40 million people who have no health insurance? Aren't many of them not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid?

Yes, yes, I'm implying that MM's parenthetical "as though the poor don't have Medicaid" was written IN BAD FAITH. Offended? Write your Congressmanperson.

Mr. Wonderful said...

Top Five Events at the Passive-Aggressive Olympics:

1. The Shot Put-Down
2. The Hundred-Meter Stroll
3. The Longish Jump
4. The Four-Man Thousand Meter Delay
5. Synchronized Sunning

bulbul said...

I write thousands of words on innovation, and John Holbo boils my concerns about lost years of life down to "indifference to the poor
And why? Because most of those words, as many - chief among them Susan - have pointed out, was bullshit.
Also: "I write thousands of words". How fucking revealing. It's like she should win solely on effort and not on substance. Now I know some of y'all will point to her privileged upbringing as the source of this delusion ('I deserve an A!'), but I say nay-nay - it's the job. She is paid to write, not to be accurate, intelligent or informative.