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Dennis Kucinich: Advocating Non-Existent Constitutional Rights

Last week I blogged on how non-existent Constitutional rights granted by Congress and presidents alike were responsible for the bankruptcy of America. Thus, over the years, some of us have been given the right to a job, a certain wage, free food, retirement income, financial bailout for irresponsible behavior, and so on and so forth. In 1971, when Nixon took America completely off the Gold Standard, he opened the gate for massive federal spending and tantalized and encouraged our shameless leaders to grant the above mentioned non-existent Constitutional rights and many more.

This week I received an email from Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio entitled “A New Movement: Health Care as a Civil Right” . Sure enough, another member of Congress was at it again. Seems the congressman along with Representative John Conyers of Michigan and 85 co-sponsors in the House have proposed legislation that would make health care for all a civil right. Get this; it would be of the single payer variety like they have in Europe. You know the systems where the citizens boast that their healthcare is free even though they pay exorbitant amounts of taxes to the government and in many situations must wait for care or are denied care altogether. Kucinich boasts that his plan would eliminate premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. So I suppose our care would be “free” as well. And he also claims that, “All health care assets in America would become not-for-profit.”

As anyone with any common sense knows there is no such thing as something for nothing. This is precisely why we are in the mess we are in today. Kucinich is promising something huge that he can’t deliver. At the very least, someone will have to pay the basic costs of healthcare. Certainly, doctors, nurses, scientists that develop drugs, and the janitors that clean the hospitals and labs are not going to work for free. As a matter of fact, smart people in America will either not enter the medical profession or if they already have will go someplace else to make a decent living given the time and expense it has cost them to become doctors. But, I am sure that when this happens the good congressman would then propose legislation whereby the federal government pays for all medical educations. You can see where this is bound to go.

Obviously, if healthcare were to become “free” under any plan that resembled Kucinich’s the taxpayer would foot the bill for the huge expenses that would result. I know this is a logical fallacy of sorts. You see the biggest problem with the current system is that individuals do not actually pay for enough of their own healthcare. On average about only 15 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare comes from individual’s pockets. The other 85 percent of costs is covered by insurance companies, government and other private sources. If I am only paying for 15 percent of any commodity then I care little what that commodity costs. The incentive to comparison shop like you would to buy a car or groceries is non-existent in healthcare. Someone else is paying for most of the cost. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth applies. Obviously, our healthcare system has more wrong with it than that. But the point here is that Kucinich’s plan would lower personal costs of healthcare from the current 15 percent to zero. Logically, then, we would see even larger increases in healthcare costs due to the total disconnect between service and payment responsibility. Put another way, if something is free, then consumers will use more of it and costs will rise astronomically. You can’t fool this golden rule of economics.

About Kenn Jacobine

  • Arch Conservative

    He’s starting his own new health care reform movement?

    I’m surprised that he has time do this what with fighting intergalactic wars with the Klingons.

    Is there anything Kucinich can’t do?

  • mary rose weckerle

    Yes- you are so correct. It is beyond belief that a country that can spend trillions of dollars killing innocent civilians would even think of setting up a system that might actually help people in need. What is this nonsense? Every man for himself. Unless you are congressional members whose health care is paid for by our taxes. I am a smoker- I already also pay for children’s check ups. Why should I pay for YOUR knee replacement ?

  • Arch Conservative

    It’s no laughing matter Mary. Kucinich and the Romulan people have been at war for a very long time with the barbaric Klingons.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ourmanthejoker David Phaup

    While I don’t agree with Congressman Kucinich on this particular issue, I feel we need to leave the constitution as is, he is my one and only democrat I like.

    My common ground with him is ending the federal reserve.

    So with this, I move to put forth, Ron paul and Dennis Kucinich for president 2012.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    David,

    If it meant ending the Fed, I would sell my political soul and vote for Dennis.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    To all -

    While I don’t think that much of Kucinich, and while I don’t think that health care needs to be a constitutional right, the experiences of the top twenty-seven countries on the life-expectancy list (modern industrialized democracies all) prove that single-payer health care is better and cheaper.

    America, that bright shining light on a hill, is presently 35th on the list…and we are the one and only modern industrialized democracy on the planet without some form of single-payer health care…

    …which means that when it comes to the health of our people, we really are more like the third-world countries, rather than like any of the other modern democracies on planet Earth.

    Ah, but I forget! It’s unpatriotic to think in such terms! Oh, silly me….

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    America has never tried a single-payer system, this is true. We have not tried a free market system in at least the last forty years as well. I think we should try the truly free market approach and then see where we end up on the life-expectancy chart. We trail in everything that our government is involved in – education, healthcare, industrial job growth, car making, etc… The list goes on and on. Government meddling, regulating and running things does not work.

  • Clavos

    Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard, on the biased, skewed WHO statistic regarding USA’s 37th place in world health care systems:

    Critics of American health care, including advocates of overhauling the system and enlarging the government’s role, harp on the rankings by the World Health Organization and other health organizations. These rankings are out of date, discredited, or misleading.

    The WHO rated U.S. health care 37th in the world in 2000, behind Andorra, Malta, Colombia, Cyprus, and Morocco and just ahead of Slovenia and Cuba. This is not credible. To reach this ranking, the WHO used ideological assumptions–about such things as “financial fairness” and “responsiveness distribution”–heavily biased in favor of socialist countries or those with government-run health systems and against those relying on market incentives.

    “It is entirely possible to have a health care system characterized by both extensive inequality and good care for everyone,” Glen Whitman, an economics professor at California State University at Northridge, concluded. Indeed, that comes close to describing the U.S. system and explains why it gets a low WHO ranking.

    On the quality of American health care:

    This is the poll number that drives supporters of Obamacare crazy:Eighty-nine percent of Americans in a June 2008 ABC News/USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation survey said they were satisfied with their health care. Put another way, more than 270 million Americans (I’m including kids) are reasonably happy with the system of medical care in this country. Other polls have found the same level of satisfaction. [emphasis added]

    One reason is the availability of first-rate care almost everywhere, day or night. But there’s a more important reason: If you have a serious ailment, your chances of survival are better when treated in America than anywhere else in the world. Sure, the system has flaws, shortcomings, and inefficiencies. It probably costs too much. But if your goal is to live longer, then American doctors and American hospitals are your best bet.

    Americans appear to understand this. So do the 400,000 foreign patients who come here every year for medical care. “Not too many people get on a plane and fly to Cuba or to France” to see a doctor, says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, associate dean of clinical education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an expert on worldwide health care systems. [emphasis added]

    And there’s more:

    Private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid cover most of the high cost of treating critical illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. And those are the ones in which the survival rates in the United States are significantly higher than in Europe or other countries. There are clinical data substantiating this. Two major studies (EUROCARE-4 and a study by the National Center for Epidemiology, Health Surveillance, and Promotion, in Rome, both published in the September 2007 issue of Lancet Oncology) were used to compare five-year survival rates for Americans and Europeans diagnosed with cancer.

    For all cancers, 66.3 percent of American men and 63.9 percent of women survived. In Europe, 47.3 percent of men and 55.8 percent of women survived five years. Those are statistically important gaps.

    And the survival rates were higher in the United States for the most common cancers as well. More than 99 percent of men with prostate cancer had survived in the United States after five years, 77.5 percent in Europe. Those with colon or rectal cancer survived at a 65.5 percent rate here and 56.2 percent in Europe. The rates for breast cancer showed a similar difference, 90.1 percent for Americans, 79 percent for Europeans. [emphasis added]

    Dr. Atlas cites a different set of results that underscore the same point: Your chances of living longer are better with treatment here. “Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom,” he reports (see “Here’s a Second Opinion,” Hoover Digest online). “Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.” [emphasis added]

    Canada, whose single-payer health system is admired by many liberals, fared better but still trailed the United States. “Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher,” according to Dr. Atlas.

    I’m an 8 year prostate cancer survivor, still cancer-free. To reach this milestone, I had surgery, radiation, and 3 years of hormonal therapy. According to my doctor, a European who studied medicine at the Sorbonne, had I lived in Europe at the time, my treatment would have been substantially reduced, to only the surgery, because of cost-saving guidelines in European health care systems. Consequently, my chances of survival this long would have been significantly diminished.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos -

    America’s “35th place” that I referred to doesn’t come from the WHO. If you’ll check the Wikipedia, you’ll see that the 35th place is according the 2008 (Bush Administration) CIA World Factbook. I also e-mailed factcheck.org, and they said the CIA’s stats are reliable.

    We are behind two third-world countries – Jordan, at 27th place, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, at 29th place. All those above Jordan (the top 26 now) are modern democracies with some form of single-payer health care.

    You see, I do try to ensure my references are good – but of course I can see the normal conservative retort: “Those numbers can’t be right because it’s the US government who compiled them!”

    *sigh*

    When it comes to cancer survival, you’re not getting the point. America’s care for those with cancer or critical trauma injuries is the best in the world – problem is, our care in so many other areas is not so.

    For instance, I just got told this morning that my brother’s about to have his foot amputated at the ankle. You see, diabetes had compromised his body’s ability to fight infection, and he had an infected big toe. Instead of going to see the free (or almost free) doctor like all citizens of any other modern democracy in the world can do, my brother figured he couldn’t afford it and didn’t tell me about it (he’s a libertarian and wanted to tough it out on his own). A simple and timely doctor’s visit could have prevented this…but now, since he hasn’t had health insurance for over forty years, how much is his surgery, care, and permanent disability going to cost the taxpayers? Even worse, if his body can’t heal after the amputation, well, any longtime nurse can tell you how amputations progress with diabetes patients – it’s often terminal…with all the taxpayer-funded surgery, hospitalization, and end-of-life care that includes.

    All because my brother couldn’t afford a simple doctor’s visit (and was too proud to ask me for help). I think that he could have seen someone at a free clinic for the poor (I think there’s one) there in the small MS town where he lives – but I don’t want to second-guess his reasons for not doing so.

    THIS, Clavos, is a prime example of why it is more expensive to continue to let millions of Americans go uninsured than it is to go ahead and pay for their basic care as is the case in all other modern democracies in the world.

    The health of the nation’s population really is a “pay me now, or pay me later” proposition…and the more the uninsured are financially forced to put things off, the more the American taxpayer (that’s YOU, sir) will pay in the end.

  • Clavos

    @#9:

    I didn’t argue either what place we occupy or whose stats you’re quoting, Glenn.

    I addressed the reasons for the 35th (or 37th) place, which has little to do with our health care delivery, and lots to do with…well, Barnes says it very well.

  • http://whatsnotso.blogs.com Tom Hagan

    As a businessman, I am libertarian like Ron Paul, until the free market runs up against something it can’t do, like lighthouses – or healthcare. Then I become socialist, like Dennis Kucinich.

    The problem with “free market” healthcare insurance is that the business model doesn’t work anymore.The only “value add” the insurers provide is risk pooling, the actual purpose of insurance in the first place. It’s worth about 3 or 4% of policy price. But healthcos find they must impose a markup of 45%, mostly for the cost of limiting “medical losses” – i.e., denying treatment.

    Result:a waste of about $350 billion per year, an outraged public, and an insurance industry that knows it is staring into an abyss of declining enrollment and rising prices.

    So the industry, and the politicians they have bought, want ‘reform’ – as mandates, subsidies and higher insurance prices (induced by imposing limits on loss control practices that enrage policy holders).
    Enough of this nonsense. Time to socialize health insurance. Kucinich’s single-payer Medicare For All HR 676 will save $350 billion per year of usless “overhead”, avoid $1 trllion of subsidies to healthcos in the next decade, make businesses more competitive, and free up people to change jobs or start companies without worrying about health insurance. It is paid for woth taxes, mostly an increased patroll tax. But no one will ever have to buy insurancne again, because it covers everyone.

    See Arnold Relman’s “A Second Opinion” to understand why consumer driven healthcare can’t work, and how single payer can rein in costs by replacing fee-for-service medical care with large competitive group practices. Even Friedrich Hayek would approve – see “The Road to Serfdom” on socialized healthcare.