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The Success of Failure: President Obama

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Following the election, President Obama was hailed as a savior by some, and a devil by others. Those on the political left hailed his election as a victory for peace, tolerance and the end of worn out dogma. Those on the right shuddered in their three piece suits and cried that this was certainly the End Times.

Critics of his first 200 days say that he has failed to achieve anything except driving the nation deeper into debt. He has not achieved consensus on health care, climate change legislation, or our true role in Afghanistan and has put having a beer before the crucial issues facing our nation.

There are apologists on the left who blame the right for any failures and delays and who claim that any financial concerns are merely a holdover from the eight years of the Bush administration. If we have learned anything from our political history, it should be that truth is rarely found in the right or the left. For that matter, it is not even found in the middle, as that seat on the political spectrum is the result of compromise, where bits of truth come together to form a consensus which is merely a place of acceptance, not one of truth. Each side gets a little, but the solution is not necessarily the right thing to do, it is the expedient thing to do.

Have President Obama's first 200 days been a success, despite political failures? My answer is yes. Not because all kinds of new and progressive legislation has been passed; not because we are now at peace in the Middle East; and not because our budget has been balanced. It is a success because we are now talking about the crucial issues that affect our nation and the world. We are talking about climate change, health care reform, education reform, and about others ways to solve political tensions, other than by use our military might. We are thinking about new ways to do things, new approaches to pressing issues, and new solutions outside the old political boxes. To me, this is encouraging.

As a Republican, I voted for Mr. Obama. The old ways were crumbling and doing business as usual was no longer acceptable. There was little chance for dialogue, and information that was crucial for decision-making was fabricated or suppressed. Shoot first and and ask questions later was no longer an option. Our nation and our planet is at the edge. The decisions we make now will determine if we rise or fall. The real issue is not have we passed programs in 200 days, it is that we are trying to solve the issues and not hide them in some CIA vault. The remaining problem is that we cannot talk about solutions forever. Decisions must be made now. We know that the ways of the past were a failure. Politicians from both sides of the aisle must now come together and decide. If Obama fails, we all fail!

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About Philip F. Harris

  • Baronius

    Great description of the political middle, Philip.

  • Arch Conservative

    People are revolting against this fascist pig!

    His gestapo tactics of sending union meatheads out to intimidate people will not work but rather backfire horribly.

    It’s just a matter of time now.

  • This article is similar to what another ‘progressive conservative,’ David Frum, has been saying lately. The GOP and other opposition need some kind of substantive message other than “No.”

  • Arch Conservative

    I think saying no to fascism is pretty fucking effective handy.

  • i thought he was supposed to be a socialist and George was the fascist pig. Oh well. I guess when you go to far to the left, you end up on the right?
    Yeah, the just say ‘No’ is really getting boring. But, I suppose when you have nothing to offer, saying no is the safe way out.

  • Doug Hunter

    “I guess when you go to far to the left, you end up on the right?”

    The modern US idea of right-left doesn’t really apply to different times or different countries very well. The Nazis, or national Socialist, were socialist and their economic policies would definitely be more well represented by the Democrats than

    The Nazis despised big finance (run by the evil Jews of course). One of their original planks was the abolition of the corporation and it’s takover by government. They were very interested in social welfare policies (for native Germans of course). The parties origins were in a labor movement, they embraced rent control and profit limits, etc. All very left wing stuff.

    To be fair, they also believed in a strong national ‘defense’, had racist tendencies, and were nationalistic… all attributes currently associated with the right.

    They don’t really fit in anywhere in our current spectrum, but the fact that they’re always pinned on the right bugs me to no end. Those with a libertarian bent, who make up a good portion of the right in the US today, are almost completely in opposition to everything Nazis stood for. On a policy by policy basis we’re almost the definition of an anti-Nazi but we still get painted with that broad brush.

  • I am not sure who you mean by ‘we.’Almost any historical political system had some merit. From the Divine Right of kings, communists, Nazis, etc-you can always found something positive like making the trains run on time.
    But, yes, the old right vs left is outdated and many things do not fit. But I am not sure I would put the Nazis in line with the Democrats. The German war machine industries called a lot of the shots just like banks do today. Let’s be real, big business has always called the shots and to a degree, they are not in the political spectrum, they control that spectrum choosing to support whoever, right or left, serves their purpose. Add big religion to the mix, definitely to the right and not part of the Democrats agenda, and you have a system that controls all other systems-whether they know it or not. In other words, they control outside the spectrum.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Those with a libertarian bent…are almost completely in opposition to everything Nazis stood for.

    Thank God for that, too. Gotta stay current.

  • Jordan Richardson

    People are revolting against this fascist pig!

    Really? Where? Town hall meetings? You think the people picking up a cup of complimentary coffee and waving ridiculous slogans around signifies a “revolt?”

    It’s just rank immaturity, champ. These poor people don’t even know what they’re revolting against and your continued characterization of the Obama Administration as “fascism” is not only insulting and disrespectful to those who died under actual fascist regimes (ditto to the constant Nazi references) but downright stupid.

  • Good analysis, Philip. It’s good to have you here.

  • Clavos

    The people ARE revolting…

  • I think if we all made a gentleman’s agreement not to compare each other or anybody else in contemporary politics to Nazi Germany, the world would immediately be 25% less ridiculous than it is now. At least.

  • Coo-Coo for Odrama

    I appreciate your confidence. I myself was a Democrat who voted for McCain. Same story.

  • Jordan, tomorrow Russ Feingold is holding two townhalls in Wisconsin with SEIU thugs in attendance. Thousands of grassroots activists will be there. It’s not going to be pretty.


  • Actually, people did revolt, in a way, when they elected Obama. The old, throw out the rascal routine. It was a revolt against ideas whose time had long since should have passed. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for conservative ideas-it keeps things in check, just as the left keeps the right in check. The revolt was against ‘business as usual,’ i.e., no regard for the environment, undaunted control of our lives by big business, wanton consumerism, we’re right because of our might and all of the rest of the ills that plague our society. I think people finally decided that it was time to talk about these issues.
    Those rallying against health care have no clue what they rally about. Actually, most people have no clue. That is the sad thing and is what may just lead to our downfall. And I agree, running around and calling people fascist or communists is so very counterproductive. Those who do that have no grasp of reality and are totally ruled by emotions and have been duped by the very forces they think they are opposed to.
    The desire for change does not make you a fascist or anything else, it just means that something is not right and we need to talk about it.
    This nation and this world is on the precipice, like the Fool in the Tarot. We do not have a lot of time and mindless debate does not help things. It is clear, and this has been widely reported, that people are being paid to falsify information (coal lobby, climate, drugs) and there is a definite effort to derail legitimate debate on issues. Despite the election, the ‘old powers’ are still in power. There is still much to revolt about, the problem is that the enemy is unseen behind board room doors.
    So how about offering solutions and not just point blind fingers? People who shout and yell really have little to say. It is a sad commentary that America may fall because people simply could not have productive discussions and debates. Again, we do not have much time.

    Thanks Roger.

  • “So how about offering solutions and not just point blind fingers?”

    Especially in the framework provided by the BC, free exchange of ideas forum, since we’re not tainted by the corridors of power. And if we cannot do it here, what chance is there for the usual movers and shakers?

  • My concern Roger is that those willing to actually discuss and not discourse is rapidly dwindling. I am on many sites and those looking for a true exchange of ideas are getting fewer. Too much time is spent on allegations, innuendo, arguing dogma (which is an oxymoron), and too little time looking for answers. I mean, there is always disagreement, and that is fine, but so many discussions get sidetracked on pointless concepts. We shall see where this all takes us.

  • Those rallying against health care have no clue what they rally about. Actually, most people have no clue.

    Phillip, your ignorance is dismaying, but at this point hardly surprising. You’re just repeating what your masters tell you. The truth is that these protesters are the ones who have read the legislation and know what they are talking about, but no one is listening to them.

    That is the sad thing and is what may just lead to our downfall. And I agree, running around and calling people fascist or communists is so very counterproductive.

    Not nearly as counterproductive as acting like those authoritarians.

    Those who do that have no grasp of reality and are totally ruled by emotions and have been duped by the very forces they think they are opposed to.

    This would explain how Obama got elected. I think the resurgence of reson in reaction is very heartening.

    The desire for change does not make you a fascist or anything else, it just means that something is not right and we need to talk about it.

    The desire for change isn’t the problem here. It’s the desire to silence dissent and expand the power of the state which makes you an authoritarian.

    This nation and this world is on the precipice, like the Fool in the Tarot. We do not have a lot of time and mindless debate does not help things.

    So let’s just all shut up and give up our rights as citizens.

    It is clear, and this has been widely reported, that people are being paid to falsify information (coal lobby, climate, drugs) and there is a definite effort to derail legitimate debate on issues.

    True, but what you aren’t seeing is that the falsification and attempts to stifle debate are coming from the left. Wanting to have TWO points of view

    So how about offering solutions and not just point blind fingers?

    I’ve offered solutions. People with higher profiles than I have are offering solutions. Those in power aren’t interested in real solutions.

    People who shout and yell really have little to say. It is a sad commentary that America may fall because people simply could not have productive discussions and debates.

    So stop silencing those who want to engage in the debate process.


  • “The truth is that these protesters are the ones who have read the legislation and know what they are talking about, but no one is listening to them.”

    That’s quite a stretch, Dave, and you know it. Being informed does not translate itself to this kind of angry, mob-like behavior. And thus far, judging by their behavior – and what else can you go by? – they are ignorant. Being angry, yelling and shouting is a substitute for rational discussion and for thinking, not an indication of it. But you know that of course.

    I’m not going to get into other points of your response to Philip, like “real solutions.” Were “real solutions” even half-way feasible in the present environment? I’m not in the position to answer but I’m glad that you are. So perhaps they did take a partial, piece meal approach to reform rather than overhaul the entire system, to include the single payer concept and doing away with “the middle man.” But do you really suppose any such radical reform would have even the slightest chance in hell given the opposition to what’s being proposed right now – inadequate as it may be? I’m glad you think so.

    Lastly, I do find it ironic you’re accusing Philip of trying to silence the debate process while he’s pointing out that anger, yelling, and shouting are counterproductive.

  • I’m sorry to hear, Philip, that this is not a unique situation on BC but prevalent on other internet sites as well. Of course, I suspected it.

    To tell the truth, the number of people here with whom you have a semblance of a discussion, those who are really interested in solutions in this rapidly changing world, is dwindling. I can count ’em on the fingers of my hand. I shan’t name names, but you’ll soon see how small a circle we form. This is what I find most discouraging.

  • Dave, umm, I take that kind of personal when you address the comment by name and THEN spell my name wrong. But, that is okay. Not sure what ‘masters’ you are talking about but I suppose we all have our delusions.
    here are some news reports:

    Violence Increasing At Town Halls

    Outbreaks of violence in Tampa. and St. Louis town halls. HuffPost notes in Tampa: “Many of the hundreds of protesters said that they had been inspired by a conservative activist group promoted by Fox News host Glenn Beck and some received emails from the county Republican party … some protesters carried racist caricatures of President Obama…”

    More from HuffPost on dishonesty from protesters: “Congressman Steve Kagen, (D-Wisc.) found himself interrupted during a town hall meeting on health care on Thursday evening which, considering the boisterous protests going on at these events all week, wasn’t much of a surprise. But towards the end of the Wisconsin Democrat’s health care forum something a bit peculiar happened. A woman who initially identified herself as ‘just a mom from a few blocks away’ who was ‘not affiliated with a political party’ was outed by a reporter as a GOP operative who worked for Kagen’s election opponent John Gard as well as the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Republican National Committee … [the] deliberate misleading of the local NBC reporter feeds into the suspicion that she – like other protesters at these events – are there because of political reasons not policy disagreements.”

    Steve Pearlstein lets loose on right-wing lies: “The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they’ve given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They’ve become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.”

    CNN’s Rick Sanchez grills scandal-marred chief of Conservatives for Patient Rights’ Rick Scott: “Some people are going to look at your record and some of the things that you and I just talked about and say, this is the guy who is leading this charge. Is he the one that we should be listening to? Not exactly a perfect past when it comes to what’s right for taxpayers and patients.”

    I would guess that your response to this is that these are left wing controlled media reports and truth only comes from right wing media reports like RUSH and company-who has a master?

    I have no desire to silence debate-but debate cannot occur when all people want to do is engage in name calling and labeling.

    It seems to me that the patriot Act took many rights away, but I am sure this was also a left wing event who controlled Bush and Cheney without them knowing it.
    If no one is looking for solutions, why bother with any kind of meetings at all and why not just abolish Congress. You see, the statements made make no sense-who are those in power who do not want solutions?
    Do the banks want solutions? Do big corporations who stole from the public to give more raises want solutions? Do those who oppose any consumer oversight want solutions? Do the biggest polluters who falsify reports want solutions? Do drug companies who pay for favorable reports want solutions? Do you really know who is in power?
    So what you seem to saying is that unless we all agree with your point of view-whatever that is-we are stifling debate and are under the control of some master that exists-well-wherever.
    All you are saying is that everything I say is wrong and manipulated. I do not call that a debate or a discussion.

  • I’m reprinting a comment from another thread, concerning the ignorance of the average citizen:

    Bill Maher:

    Just because a country elects a smart president doesn’t make it a smart country. And before I go about demonstrating how, let me just say that ignorance has life and death consequences. Take the health care debate we’re presently having: members of Congress have recessed now so they can go home and “listen to their constituents.” An urge they should resist because their constituents don’t know anything. At a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his Congressman to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” which is kind of like which is kind of like driving cross country to protest highways.

  • Clavos

    It seems to me that the patriot Act took many rights away…

    It certainly did.

    Strange that the Obama administration has not seen fit to rescind it.

    Could it be that they, too, find it useful?

  • I am sure they do-I cannot help but wonder if you screamed bloody murder, fascist pig, Nazis dog, etc. when they were discussing it.

  • Baronius

    Philip, we do talk specifics sometimes. Sometimes we don’t. Looking over your article, I see that you didn’t get too specific either.

    Dave’s been pushing for a single-payer plan. Tort reform often comes up. There are a couple of commenters who get medical care through the VA or Medicare, and they’ve offered some pretty constructive comments.

    And yes, a lot of BC people on the right screamed bloody murder over the Patriot Act.

  • Including Clavos, I’m certain.

  • Baronius,

    It is kind of news to me that Dave is for a single payer plan. I know he had said it in some of his comments, but I can’t recollect any of his articles in which he makes it a central point.

  • As to tort reform, I too am in perfect agreement. I just can’t understand the refusal to see the extent to which the skyrocketing of the malpractice insurance contributes to overall costs of administering healthcare. Is it because the trial lawyers make such a powerful lobby?

  • You are right, I did not include specifics as my intent was not to talk specifics as much as to say that finally, major issues are being discussed. Under the previous administration, things like climate change, the economy, etc. were taboo. To me, Obama’s success is that we are debating needed topics-but, that one can only debate so long and then actions must be taken. Obviously, I did not write about health care reform in detail since that was not the point. It is rather interesting how most political articles often end up discussing things, while germane, are beyond the scope of the original post. But that is okay.

    There are many powerful lobbies that do not want too much reform;lawyers and drug companies to name a few. The bottom line is that we need to figure out how to provide the best health care to our citizens. Too often, it becomes who will make how much $$$ or who will lose $$$. That is a finance debate, not a debate on what is the governments role in health care and how do we ensure that all are covered and that care is not income dependent. Just my thinking.

  • Thus far, I think you’re right. It’s all about money, who will win and who will lose.

  • And it is never about the people. Money has been the driving force in our history-perhaps this to, shall pass.
    Thank you all for your comments!

  • Clavos

    Roger #28:

    Excellent point!

    Not only are the trial lawyers a powerful lobby, the Senate and House are both replete with lawyers in their respective memberships.

    I favor the Shakespearean solution to the problem myself.

  • And so, they protect their own kind.

  • Julie Jordan

    The point that everyone seems to be missing is that we are talking about 200 days – and in what has proven to be essentially a hostile environment! It took a lot more than 200 days to get us to where ‘change’ suddenly seemed to be the way to go. I say we give President Obama a chance.
    The Republicans have been quoted as saying that they want to see him fail. OK, so, what if he does fail? Do the Republicans have anything to put up in place of the plans President Obama has? No, they don’t. They have former Governor Palin declaring that ‘Obama’s plan is evil.’ I was unaware that a ‘former Governor’ (of the opposite party, to boot) is privy to every little thing going on in Washington these days. What does she know (except that maybe – and no one knows for sure – she has designs on the presidency)?
    It’s a crazy, mixed-up world out there, and until people can forget the labels – Democrat, Republican. fascist, communist, etc. – and simply work together for the greater good, not much can be accomplished.
    Today’s generation is the ‘what’s in it for me’ generation, which, frankly, scares me to death. Why does there have to be ‘something in it’ for individuals? Just what was in it for each of our founding fathers when they created the United States of America all those years ago? Quite frankly, if things had gone badly, those gentlemen could well have lost their lives for the signatures they penned to paper. But, it didn’t go badly.
    Today, however, things are going badly because people won’t work together – not at the highest level, all the way down to neighborhoods (Main Street) and even in families.
    We must give President Obama a chance to prove his mettle. It appears that the recession is losing steam, that it isn’t all bad news in the financial realm these days. Whether his policies are responsible or if it was going to be this way anyway will be debated for an eternity. The point is, it’s happening. Give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He has surrounded himself with many experts in their respective fields and is providing the leadership to at least try to make things better. Give him a break! 200 days is certainly not long enough to judge. The American penchant for ‘instant gratification’ is very much alive and well. 200 days is not enough time to turn around a global recession! 200 days is little more than a Bush vacation on his ranch!

  • Nice post, Julie.

  • Bliffle

    Archie says:

    “#2 – Arch Conservative

    People are revolting against this fascist pig!

    His gestapo tactics …”

    I invoke Godwins rule. You lose, Archie. Sorry.

  • zingzing

    “People are revolting”

    no more than usual.

  • Bliffle


    “…And yes, a lot of BC people on the right screamed bloody murder over the Patriot Act.”

    Who? When? Where?

  • Bliffle


    “As to tort reform, I too am in perfect agreement. I just can’t understand the refusal to see the extent to which the skyrocketing of the malpractice insurance contributes to overall costs of administering healthcare. Is it because the trial lawyers make such a powerful lobby?”

    How powerful IS that lobby?

    And what is the extent to which the skyrocketing of the malpractice insurance contributes to overall costs of administering healthcare.?

    Do you have numbers, facts, etc. Or is that too bean-county for you?

    How many billions do malpractice lawsuits add to the cost of healthcare? Or is it just “a lot” because you’ve heard that so often?

  • I don’t see why you should launch an objection to tort reforms. Don’t you believe there should be reasonable limits to compensations that are now being rewarded as a result of malpractice? Even on general grounds, the principle of it all?

    No, I don’t have facts and figures, but I’m certain they’re ascertainable. But my sister and brother-in-law both are physicians and they can attest to the rise of their malpractice insurance as a result of lawsuits. I realize it’s anecdotal, and may not carry much weight.

    The question still remains: Why do you object to some such reforms on general principle?

  • Good job, Julie. That was one of my points. In 200 days you cannot undo all of the negative work of the previous 2,920 days. My feeling is that the Success is that we are at least dealing with the issues, even if programs are not yet in place-due, of course, to the Say No party. Yup, a bunch of Bliffle!

    Yes, we have lost the ability to work together and that is disturbing. Part of the reason is that those who call others fascist pigs also have power and they have all of the money-including our stimulus money. Their answer to climate change is that there is no climate change. There solution to the economy is to just to give Big Business more money and they will ‘take care’ of us. There solution to health care reform is that we really don’t need it-can’t afford health care-get a job. Problems with terrorists, Nuke’em.

    I echo the who, when and where sentiment.

  • Baronius

    Bliffle and Philip, you must be fairly new around here. Off the top of my head, I’d say that Dave, Clavos, Obnoxious, Dan Miller, and Kenn have all complained about the Patriot Act. Considering the “right” on BC tends to be libertarian, this shouldn’t surprise you.

    Philip, considering that the president has both houses of Congress, I don’t see how you can blame the “Party of No”. Of Obama’s four biggest initiatives so far, two of them (health care and cap-and-trade) have stumbled due to the Democrats in Congress, and the other two (Sotomayor’s nomination and the stimulus package) didn’t need Republican help.

  • Yup, new here, but certainly not new. There are many kinds of Democrats and many kinds of Republicans-which, as was mentioned earlier-is why silly labels don’t work. When asking “who,” I was kind of referring to political leaders-no offense. Were their major Republican leaders who opposed the Act? I know individuals with any semblance of reasoning opposed it, but where was the right on the issue?
    What you raise is a valid point and I think you give credence to what others have said-the political spectrum cannot be classified in a neat package, There are many “Democrats” who are as right thinking as Cheney and the same for Republicans.

    As a Republican, I still say that the party has no direction and no platform. All it is doing is destructively criticizing and not offering valid alternatives.

  • It’s good to hear the enlightened voices from the right, like yours, Philip, and that of Silas Kane. If only there were more of you, I could almost feel hopeful.

  • Bliffle


    “I don’t see why you should launch an objection to tort reforms.”

    Because it reduces court access for individuals. It’s already hard enough for a simple citizen to get a decent hearing, let alone a settlement, let alone a settlement that survives the numerous appeal levels that are open to corporate defendants. Now it is popular (among, e.g., Credit Card companies) to preemptively require “arbitration” contractually to foreclose the possibility of court proceedings. Arbitration firms are notoriously pro-company, after all, that’s how they get paid.

    ” Don’t you believe there should be reasonable limits to compensations that are now being rewarded as a result of malpractice?”

    Why take this out of the hands of a jury? Because jury people might have empathy with a guy who gets the wrong leg cutoff by a careless doctor?

    ” Even on general grounds, the principle of it all?”

    What principle?

    “No, I don’t have facts and figures, but I’m certain they’re ascertainable.”

    Arrogance in defense of ignorance. I suppose your airy philosophies are too sensitive to be affected by mere facts.

  • Bliffle

    Phillip says:

    “…the Say No party. Yup, a bunch of Bliffle!”

    You will probably have shocked the rightists around here with this statement. As for me, I welcome insult from all sides.

  • Principles trump facts, Bliffle. I’m not talking about elimination of court access or the ability to sue, only about the size of the rewards. They are excessive and there should be a cap, just as there should be a cap on executive pay.

    You can’t now hold on to two different standards, can you? And if you do, then I say you’re being unfair.

  • Big lawsuits do more to enrich attorneys than protect clients. The rest of the world stares in disbelief at our tort system.

    Sort of the same way they stare in disbelief at our resistance to universal healthcare and our resistance to the metric system and our clinging to capital punishment.

  • Clavos

    Their answer to climate change is that there is no climate change.

    Not quite. The usual assertion questions the extent of anthropogenic global warming.

    There is also the objection to cap and tax, and sundry other proposals, many of which may well further cripple our economy while making little to no difference in total global emissions, thanks to the growth and pollution of countries like China and India who will NOT do anything to cripple their economies, which are the fastest-growing in the world.

  • Clavos

    Big lawsuits do more to enrich attorneys than protect clients. The rest of the world stares in disbelief at our tort system.

    Quoted for Truth.

    It is the biggest financial problem with our health care; not because of the size of awards, or even the number of successful suits, but because the mere threat of liability results in excessive use of questionable but expensive tests and defensive medical measures.

    According to a recent survey of 900 physicians in Massachusetts conducted by the University of Connecticut,

    About 83 percent reported practicing defensive medicine, with an average of between 18 percent and 28 percent of tests, procedures, referrals, and consultations and 13 percent of hospitalizations ordered for defensive reasons.

    Such practices were estimated to cost a minimum of $1.4 billion per year in Massachusetts.


    “The fear of being sued that is driving physicians to defensive medicine is dramatically increasing health care costs and threatens the success of health reform efforts,” says Dr. Manish Sethi, a researcher with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. Sethi is a member of the Medical Society’s Board of Trustees and its Committee on Professional Liability.

    That is probably a gross underestimation, but unfortunately, the UConn study is only one of the very first such to be conducted, so no one really knows the full extent of the cost of defensive medicine on a nationwide basis.

    Even more unfortunately, none of the current plans proposed by the administration or either party even attempts to establish norms for tort reform as part of health care reform.

    Probably because all the politicians are themselves lawyers…

  • I do not think cap and trade will solve anything. If I had my way I would tell every major polluter that they have 12 months to clean up or shut down until they do. On climate, I am a fanatic-we do not have time to piddle around. Yup. I’m one of them! The argument that we won’t do it because they won’t do it has really worn thin. If we do it and solve the problem then we will be back on top with people beating down the door for our technology-which I believe we already have.
    As far as tort reform-yup, high time. I don’t mind limits but they should be set very high in favor of the patient.

  • Bliffle

    Tort reform will inevitably reduce court access for injured individuals.

    Would you also limit awards to companies as part of ‘tort reform’?

  • Cannonshop

    Bliffle, help me out here, for a moment..

    Dear Leader Obama is a lawyer, right? He passed the Bar, he’s touted by many of his followers for his knowledge of the law…

    5 USC 552a states (in part)

    “…(b) Conditions of Disclosure.— No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains, unless disclosure of the record would be—

    (7) to another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law, and if the head of the agency or instrumentality has made a written request to the agency which maintains the record specifying the particular portion desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought…

    …(e) Agency Requirements.— Each agency that maintains a system of records shall—

    (7) maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity..”


    Okay, Whitehouse.gov is soliciting names and information on people who oppose Obama’s “Health Care” plan.

    Per the law, they can only do this as part of an investigation leading to criminal prosecutions. Now, the only ‘crime’ in disagreeing with Obamacare, is opposing the Messiah and his Messengers-which, I suppose, might be taken under the Sedition Act of 1917, though the PATRIOT ACT has loose enough guidelines that an unethical prosecutor with sufficient political cover COULD employ it-by labelling the persons targeted as “Terrorists” and exploiting the suspension of Habeas Corpus rights (which require that a crime actually be proven before someone is charged with it.)

    If so, then there’s a probable violation of First Amendment (free speech) rights in the works here, and if no prosecutions…then the Government of The One is committing a CRIME. (per the applicable code, they can’t delete the info, either…)

    Care to comment/defend?

  • Of course I would. It’s time to stop the ethos of greed.

  • Doctors can make big errors. Even smart doctors and good doctors. Tests provide needed information. Defensive medicine is medicine where tests are used. We have them, use them. Defensive medicine is smart. Only doctors who practice it will be my doctors.

    Use the tests. Cut out the profit. That’s what costs too much.

  • #54

    Greedy people suck.

    (Hi Roger 🙂

  • Clavos


    By definition, defensive medicine is medicine for the sole purpose of protecting the doctor from litigation, not to benefit the patient. The first MRI isn’t defensive; in most cases subsequent ones immediately following the first and ordered by different doctors are.

    I am in no way advocating that we eliminate tests altogether, but even the doctors will tell you (read my link in #50, above) that they often administer tests for no good medical reason other than to cover themselves in case of future liability.

    Case in point:

    My wife’s doctors have scanned her head with an MRI no fewer than 6 times in as many weeks. Each of those scans has turned up nothing new and each has cost the taxpayers 2k. The only reason they’ve done so many is because several new docs have been brought in on her case, and each orders his own scan instead of looking at the existing scan(s).

    That’s just plain ridiculous. She’s my wife, but as a taxpayer, I say it’s a waste of money. So, too, does my wife. The honest docs admit to us that it’s mainly to cover their asses in the event of litigation.

  • Hi, Cindy.

  • You do sound different than your normal self.

  • I believe you Clav, that your wife got 6 MRIs. That doesn’t sound like defensive medicine, just wastefulness. Unless they are ordering a different type of scan, simply ordering another of the same scan isn’t going to protect them.

    I would think of defensive medicine as sending the patient with the swollen ankles for a heart ultrasound instead of just a chest x-ray–just to be sure. I wouldn’t consider it defensive to order the same test 6 times–just stupid. If it doesn’t defend them, how is it defensive?

  • (oh, the kitty cat was in my e-mail. Remember when we were in touch with Mark S. about his evolutionary psychology stuff? What is her name again?)

  • Perhaps preventative vs. defensive is a useful distinction.

  • (Roger, I sound different because I think I was captured by aliens and then returned. 🙂 I always end up sounding different when they do that.)

  • Also I came home today and someone had stolen everything in my house and replaced it with an exact duplicate!

    I was shocked!

    (Remember that? I love Steve Martin.)

  • Clavos

    Unless they are ordering a different type of scan, simply ordering another of the same scan isn’t going to protect them.

    Maybe not, but that’s not the point. The way they think is, “Although Doctor A ordered a scan, If I’m the one who gets sued, the lawyer will question why I didn’t order a scan.”

    And they’re probably right.

    In any case, I didn’t invent the concept of “defensive” medicine, or the definition of it. It happens, a lot, and it adds billions to our national health bill.

    La gata se llama Minnie.

    She had a twin sister named Moocher (get it?), but Moocher fell overboard when we were living on the boat, and likely got eaten by a shark or barracuda.

    Minnie is now 12 y/o, gettin’ up there for a cat…

  • I know, I know, you didn’t invent the idea of ‘defensive’ medicine. You know Clav, you remind me of the French. They have a different word for everything!

  • Whatever. It’s nothing serious then. Bye.

  • Clavos

    Drôle, très drôle, Cindy.

  • Clavos
  • I just want to thank ‘all’ of you for taking the time to respond to this post. Interesting people, interesting comments.

  • Clav,

    That cat is cute and chubbly. I think it’s called a Scottish Fold.

    We had a tiny little declawed (as obtained) Persian girl who fell in love with my husband and wanted me dead. (If she had claws I would have been as she would ambush me at every opportunity.) Then I massaged her head and she fell in love with me too.

    Teeny weeny little ball of attitude, she would scare the giant black male cat right down the stairs with that attitude.

  • Clavos

    That is a Scottish Fold, named for its ears, which don’t stand up.

    When Nancy and I first started living together, we were in college and living in a 8′ x 19′ travel trailer on blocks, which we rented (in the sixties) for $30 a month, utilities included.

    During that time, we were adopted by a six-toed DSH which had run away from its previous owner, the acid dealer who lived around the corner from us. We named her Superfoots. She wasn’t mean, but she WAS the craziest feline I’ve ever shared living quarters with. After a few months of observing her antics, which were nothing like any other cat I’d ever seen before, I went over to the dealer’s house and asked him if he’d ever fed her acid. His reply, which I won’t repeat verbatim here, was in the affirmative, which explained the poor animal’s nuttiness.

    Sadly, after living with us for a couple of years, she chased a squirrel into the street and got run over by a car.

    The squirrel evaded the car and the cat.

  • Bliffle

    Cannonshop is exercised, in #53, over the whitehouse solicitation for contrary emailings. The offending webpage is gone from whitehouse.gov (time marches on), but as I recollect from scanning it briefly a few days ago, what they were soliciting was content of the contrary, not the identifying info for the authors. I don’t think the whitehouse had an email jihad in mind, but maybe they did.

    Anyway, anyone who forwards an email and leaves the original author intact is being quite rude: who wants their email forwarded to strangers who may then put you on an email list, or bombard you with solicitations? Anyone who sends out a broadcast mailing can expect that it may be forwarded, even to someone one would not necessarily want to see it, because one mailed it to strangers in the first place.

    As they say, sending an email is like sending a postcard: anyone who handles it can abuse the privilege. You may as well publish your emails on the local newspaper.

    I think it’s bad (and probably illegal) that the government would accumulate email addresses for some kind of Enemies List, but then spammers do this kind of thing every day just to sell you potions to enlarge various body parts.

  • zingzing

    google “maru”

  • Baronius

    Bliff, the White House webpage in question is still there.

  • Bliffle

    Well, it’s not obviously there when I go to whitehouse.gov. Instead, there’s a glossy high-production webpage to BHO speaking in a video. The original page, as I remember it, was very plain.

    Maybe you can crib the text.

  • White House page in question.

    The relevant copy is:

    There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there…If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

    If the White House were really setting up an ‘enemies list,’ would they really do it so blatantly? This is a campaign-style ‘rumor control’ effort. I can understand both why they are doing it and why it bothers people. But it seems aimed at mass e-mails, not at individuals.

  • Bliffle

    If anyone doesn’t want their missive sent to flag@whitehouse.gov, then they wouldn’t broadcast it out to an email mailing list.

  • Clavos

    This administration’s ineptitude extends even to their inability to spell:

    “President Obama calls health insurance reform critical to our nation’s long-term economic strength and dispells the outlandish rumors being promoted by those who are defending the status quo. (emphasis added)

    How embarrassing.

    The damn White House!

    It’s no typo, either; it appears in at least two places.

  • Oh, give ’em a break, Clav.

    We know President Obama is good at dispeaks. It’s asking a bit much for him to be good at dispells as well…


  • Clavos

    Point taken, Doc.

    OTOH, maybe they’re sorcerers.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “This administration’s ineptitude extends even to their inability to spell:”

    reallty. your goink tu goh thar. at (sorry) thiz poynt. afftur bushe.

  • zingzing

    wee haz ammoo. meow.

  • Cannonshop

    #82 Yeah, but Barack Obama’s supposed to be the intelligent, reflective, intellectual Lawyer, rather than Bush’s drunken-frat-boy. Measured by the standards of his followers’ rhetoric, (i.e. the standards he himself presents OF himself in two Autobiographies written before he’d actually DONE ANYTHING worth writing about), it’s a gaffe.

    Simple really-judge people by the person they CLAIM to be, and MOST politicians fall short, the Obamessiah is not excluded from this.

    Indeed, he’s more lived up to the image made of him by his critics, than that made by his handlers. So far, every criticism of him from the campaign (that’s SERIOUS criticisms, not that goofy birth-origins shit) has borne out in practice. He can’t manage a speech without a teleprompter, or a debate without a script. He’s appointed tax-evaders to the Treasury, tripled the deficit BUSH left behind in less than a year, and pursued a series of destructive economic policies in the middle of a bloody RECESSION.

    In short, he’s turned out to be everything his critics have said he was, and nothing he claimed to be, and people are starting to figure this out, the gleam’s coming off the “Historically historical moment of history” involving his skin-tone, and what’s revealed is rather unflattering, but for some of us, not unexpected. When you win using the criteria of “American Idol” instead of either a solid record, or solid policy, well…reality is colourblind, it doesn’t thumb the scales for selected demographic groups based on affirmative action.

    Unfortunately, Democrats, unlike reality, are NOT colourblind, but they ARE easily dazzled.

  • Baronius

    Handy argues that anything as obviously capable of tracking the administration’s opposition couldn’t be used for that purpose, because it’s so obvious.


    Bliffle says that if you don’t want to be overheard, don’t talk.

    B+ for originality

  • When Congressional Republicans in floor speeches, and Sarah Palin in a recent online post, directly and explicitly accuse the administration of planning euthanasia and setting up an ‘evil death panel,’ some kind of anti-disinformation effort is in order.

    [To me, these wacky idiots provide their own debunking, but some people out there apparently believe them.]

    If the White House just wants to come up with rebuttal talking points, I think that’s ok.

    If anyone can offer proof rather than paranoia that this is setting up informant squads, let’s see it.

  • zingzing

    “Yeah, but Barack Obama’s supposed to be the intelligent, reflective, intellectual Lawyer, rather than Bush’s drunken-frat-boy.”

    if i understand your correctly, you believe that obama wrote that. but i don’t understand you correctly. really, i don’t understand you at all.

  • Baronius

    Handy, that doesn’t make sense. If the administration wants to know what to rebut, they should just check the floor speeches and Palin’s postings. This stuff isn’t hard to find.

  • I’m sure they do that already, Baronius.

    But suppose there is some deliberate disinformation and/or wacky rumor just starting to circulate. The White House might get some advance notice if several people sent the same info in.

    And for all I know, this may turn out to be a failed experiment and the page and address may be down within a week.

    Enemies Lists seem like a mismatch with this administration to me. But it may seem like a perfectly reasonable supposition to you or to Dave Nalle.

    This is what makes the horse race.

  • And yes, a lot of BC people on the right screamed bloody murder over the Patriot Act.

    No, they didn’t.

    They said, “Tsk, tsk. Bad show. Just not cricket.” Or whatever the equivalent set of mildly admonitory Americanisms would be.

    I don’t recall any Archie-style vitriol or Dave-style propagandism on the subject.

  • It’s because fear of terrorism was a greater menace. Clavos should have been outspoken, though.

  • I’m all for conspiracy theories, but I think some of what is being said defies logic and reason. To my knowledge, Obama is not Skull and Bones, JASON or in other such group. Some of his followers, perhaps, i will have to check our records, but some of the assertions being made here are ludicrous.

  • Bliffle

    Wait a minute: the Townhall protestors claim that they want their positions heard, and now some object to their positions being emailed to the whitehouse?

    What could be better, if they want their positions known?

    In fact, isn’t it better that the whitehouse get those positions in advance so that congressmen attending townhalls are in a better position to deal with them?

    They say they want to be heard, then they say they don’t want folks to read their position papers. Is there some explanation around this apparent contradiction?

    One might well ask: “what do they REALLY want?”

  • Bliffle

    Baronius is erroneous (again) in #85:

    “Bliffle says that if you don’t want to be overheard, don’t talk. ”

    That’s a misrepresentation through unnecessary use of a metaphor.

    Please stop misrepresenting me.

    At the very least you would have to say if you don’t want strangers to hear you speak then don’t shout in a public place.

    But the nature of the web and email is understood by almost everyone over age 10: anything you put in email may be read by strangers, especially if you make NO attempt to hide it with cryptography, etc.

  • Cannonshop


    The question still goes back to the Law, Bliffle-the Government Can Not Solicit Personal Information (including web addresses) except in the course of a CRIMINAL investigation.

    Last I checked, .gov addresses are Government addresses. So, either the Administration’s breaking the law and won’t use the information for pursuing prosecution, or it’s pursuing criminal prosecutions directed at people who exercise their free-speech rights.

    They also can’t destroy the information they’ve already collected under the SAME law.

    Obama’s a lawyer. He’s got Lawyers on staff as well. If a dumbass like me can find the relevant statute, so can the staff of the White House. It IS what it IS. (and no. there is no doubt about what “IS” is.)

    Now, mind you, think about what you’re saying here- that people should be encrypting their E-mails against…Government and its stooges? That we should be afraid of, or in fear of, our government reading our mail, and that it’s essentially right and good that we should be in fear of that?

    In the words of the Cable Guy, “What is this, Russia?” NO.

    This isn’t communicating internationally with hostile foreign agents or agencies here-this is domestic communications about a domestic political issue that is somewhat controversial. It’s not bomb-making plans or death threats or any of the things NOT covered under the 1st Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Someone having to hide their identity on THIS sort of issue, that’s a pretty fucking dangerous precedent, Bliffle, made moreso by a government urging citizens to report on each other. It indicates a really nasty mindset, one that does not and can not tolerate criticism. Such mindsets often result in regimes that ARE repressive.

    Even the drunken frat-boy and Uncle Dick didn’t ask americans to report on their neighbours for opposing GWOT.

  • Bliffle

    As I read the offending text, they are asking for content, not addressing info.

  • Rufus Brown

    Da current healthcare system is racist. Its designed to keep da black race down. We need that government shit like they do in Canada. Works fine for dem.

  • I am all in favor of a public option. It cracks me up-we spent a trillion on banks and got nothing in return but we are about to go to war over making sure everyone has health care-How warped is that?

  • Clavos

    The difference is the trillions spent on the banks was decidedly not done with input from the public, it was rammed down their throats with no dialogue nor recourse.

    Tired of that kind of governance, the public is now insisting on being heard, much to their credit.

  • No problem with being heard-not shouted at. We certainly need discussion and real information, not a lot of the BS going around. And yes-input was not sought and now they are-is this not a positive step? Agree, we need more time for the pieces to be studied and debated, but at least the question is being asked and if something is approved-the people will benefit, not just banks.

  • It was ‘rammed down their throat’ by Republican officials during the Bush administration. Frank and Pelosi said Paulson and Bernanke told them, if we don’t get this money, the economy collapses. [I happen to think Paulson and Bernanke were right.]

    Phillip says ‘we got nothing out of it.’ Hard to prove a negative, but there are many smart, reputable people who believe we dodged a bullet because of the bank intervention — that we really were in danger of a New Great Depression.

    And much TARP money remains unspent, and some of it has even been paid back.

    It’s easy to make populist declarations on here. Most of them are false.

    And comparing the bank bailout to healthcare is flawed too. The public is divided on health care, but a majority support, for example, a public option and increasing taxes on the wealthy to pay for expanded coverage.

    Conservatives like to pretend that everybody is screaming in anger against reform. Nope, sorry, not true.

  • Clavos

    It was ‘rammed down their throat’ by Republican officials during the Bush administration.

    Republican or Democrat, they’re all autocrats. I don’t like Republicans any better than Democrats; especially Bush Republicans, I just like Democrats, especially Obama Democrats, even less.

    A lot of people would have liked to see the big banks (and the auto companies) go under, but nobody ever asked the voters’ opinion, they just did it, and then the Democrats got into power and continued it. The sad part is, the auto guys, especially, are going to need more before it’s all over.

    Now, the people are finally putting their collective foot down.

    Good for them.

  • I agree that it was rammed down OUR throats by the Bush people. And, it is easy to say there would have been a great depression if it did not happen-that is what we were told. They are paying back so as to avoid regulation and it is clear that public money has not been returned to the public. Oh, we did get higher interest rates and we did send billions to foreign banks-basically, they paid themselves and we did get more bonuses and more bank consolidation. But hey, whose counting? Of course any money paid back could go into health care. I do not believe the bullet is dogged yet. if we go back to business as usual, the public and the planet are still screwed.
    It is also easy to say that populist declarations are false. I guess i could just as easily say that those who say populist declarations are false are wrong and just spewing propaganda.
    I agree, there is a desire for reform. I agree that there is support for a public option and the wealthy should foot part of the bill-wealthy also being multi-billion dollar corporations. To me, it is the ultra-conservatives that are screaming against reform-but that the average person would like to see something done. I still think it ironic that much of the screaming is about no more debt but few screamed when we had the bailout. It seems that if it good for Wall Street, it is okay, but if it helps the common guy-better be careful of deficits.

  • EL DORADO, Ark. — A vocal critic of health care reform bills being debated by Congress Thursday said that Rep.. Mike Ross, D-Ark., Wednesday predicted that the final version of that legislation will not include a controversial government-subsidized health insurance plan that’s been dubbed a “public option.”

  • I predicted that a couple of weeks ago, Philip.

    The public option is probably doomed, as are tax increases for the wealthy, even though those are are two provisions that have considerable public support.

    So maybe we can collaborate on a sweeping populist generalization based on this. [The reason they are doomed may be the political/financial ties of Washington to the insurance companies and to the wealthy.]

    I do think your ‘analsis’ of the bank bailout is not exactly, um, rigorous. There are both favorable and unfavorable aspects and outcomes from TARP. It’s only fair to discuss both good and bad.

    Your thesis is that it all stinks and we got nothing. That puts you at odds with: Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Pres. Obama, Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Paul Krugman…and many other pretty smart people.

    I’m just saying: avoid the one-sentence, sweeping condemnations of entire programs.

  • Now, the people are finally putting their collective foot down.

    Not all the people, Clavos, and not all in the same direction. There are a variety of opinions out there — some of which, held by a majority of voters, are definitely at odds with your own.

  • What Clavos means is “the unwashed masses.”

  • I just wrote a great response and then got a DNS error that wiped it out. So, greatly reduced response-I agree-money is power. The ‘pretty smart people’ got us into the mess, and one sentence condemnations are efficient.

  • Bliffle

    I’m starting to agree with Handys assertion:

    “100 – handyguy

    …Frank and Pelosi said Paulson and Bernanke told them, if we don’t get this money, the economy collapses. [I happen to think Paulson and Bernanke were right.]”

    I think we were successfully fleeced by a criminal financial system that held our futures hostage, and we paid the ransom.

    But we haven’t solved the underlying problems. Hundreds of bankers and other financial operators should be prosecuted and jailed for perpetrating palpable frauds, for example CDSs, which are simply fraudulent insurance for financial deals with NO reserves: fraudsters were selling insurance that they could not cover. Also, we haven’t done anything about the 12:1 paper money (extrinsic value) that burdens our capital value (intrinsic value). Lacking reform, eventually all our capital will be swept away by a desperate government, which, dominated by vested interests will throw everything of real value into the maw of empty promises on behalf of a few financial crooks.

    It’s a lot like Madoffs Ponzi scheme. The whole economy and it’s derivatives. I don’t know how we can survive it, and I’m not counting on it.

    It seems to me some very foolish people have been playing with fire by betting the USA economy on some very superstitious political/moral/economic ideas.

  • Wow, I actually agree with you, Biffle. And, the other thing is, the fire may burn the kindling-namely us-but to avoid being scorched themselves-‘they’ hide underground, ready to grow a new crop of twigs. The very same people who are playing with our economy, are in charge of all of the economies-it matters not to them where and from whom they extract their toll.

  • And the funny thing is, how quickly we forget.

  • Sorry, spelled Biffle wrong!
    Yes, Roger, we do indeed have get amnesia very quickly-probably something they put in the feed.

  • Sorry, but I think all the paranoid ranting about “them” [which cuts across ideological lines here at Blogcritics — voices on both left and right do it, all the time] is simply so much BS.

    It’s an excuse for not paying attention to or acknowledging the nuances, the shades of gray, in all these situations.

    And do you think that you could do a better job faced with a financial crisis? Answer honestly.

    Simply reciting, singsong fashion, “The same people who caused the crisis are now pretending to fix it, but actually they’re screwing us, lalala,” is a rather childlike response to a complex issue.

    The urge to oversimplify and blurt out stupid banalities is apparently a powerful one. It results in a great deal of entirely useless chatter.

    Facts and evidence are not trivial matters.

  • Baronius

    “And do you think that you could do a better job faced with a financial crisis? Answer honestly.”

    Handy, I think that you or I could have done a better job than Paulson and Geithner did. You probably wouldn’t do anything I would, but either of us would have been consistent. The way the pro’s lurched from policy to policy managed to damage everyone’s confidence in the banks, the bond market, the stock market, the real estate market, and the government.

  • The policies may have had their flaws, but, although we are not out of the woods yet, things have improved considerably from the way they were last Oct-Jan.

    As Paul Krugman, no groupie for Geithner or Paulson, puts it: we’ve managed to take a couple of big steps away from the edge of the precipice.

    Bernanke gets a lot of credit from economists, people who may be more knowledgable about this than you or I.

    It’s easy in hindsight to say, “Bernanke and Geithner and Summers should have seen this coming and done something about it.” But hardly anyone saw it coming, left or right. Or even if some people had misgivings about reckless risk-takers, they didn’t foresee the damage cutting so deep.

  • Baronius

    Handy, you can quote Krugman all you want; I’ll still think you’re capable of handling the financial crisis better.

  • This health care debate is another smokescreen. What really concerns me is the retail numbers for July — .8% lower than forecasts. While the Administration and the Right were celebrating the “end of the recession” the retail numbers weren’t even out yet. And any small business owner could have told you that the “celebrations” of a few days ago were premature ejaculation.

    This economy remains sick. The cost of health care is central to the illness. Corporate raiders are back in full swing collecting hefty paychecks. As far as regulation goes I’m ready for a a new one: regulate pay and bonuses in publicly trade companies. The amount of money earned by the CEO of United Health cinched it for me. $1 in every $700 spent in health care goes to ONE individual, that is obscene, immoral and unconscionable.

    Let the protests continue. Let the pundits spin their tales. The bottom line is that nothing has changed and the special interests have a lock on Washington which is as strong as it ever was. Rather than Left and Right battling with each other, they should join forces and battle the real enemy — K STREET.

  • Some of you might be interested in this:

    Why I Am a Conservative on Health Care Reform
    Dr. Andrew Weil

    Founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine

    I appeared on Larry King Live Wednesday night to discuss health care reform with a panel of respected, high-profile physicians. I sounded the themes I wrote about in The Wrong Diagnosis: that Americans must change the content of health care, not just access to it, or we’ll remain among the unhealthiest people in the developed world, and the costs will sink us.

    Bill Frist, a physician and former Senate Republican majority leader from Tennessee, responded with what has become the conservative line: that “we do have the best health care” and what Americans principally need is “insurance reform” rather than improved health care practices. Later in the program were video clips of what host Wolf Blitzer termed “conservatives” disrupting town hall meetings on health care reform. Clearly, the prospect of change in health care is highly emotional and disturbs many people.

    But here’s my question: Since when is it conservative to embrace new, overpriced, corrupt systems, like the health-destroying and ruinously expensive protocols of much of modern medicine? “Conservative” has several meanings, but two central ones are “favoring traditional views and values,” and “avoiding excess.”

    I hold that nothing could be more wild, unconstrained, and downright liberal than the path medicine has taken in just the last 20 years — an unprecedented bacchanalia of excess and contempt for traditional American values.

    Pharmaceuticals, once just one of many therapeutic modalities, are now synonymous with medical care; more than half of all insured Americans are taking prescription medicines for chronic health problems. Medical journals, formerly bastions of objectivity, are today often ghostwritten shills for moneyed interests. And physicians, once free to make healing their only goal, must now obey the dictates of lawyers and stockholders by ordering endless tests and dangerous, dubious surgeries for even minor conditions.

    While billions of dollars are shunted into very few pockets via such abuses, insurance premiums skyrocket, leaving 47 million Americans with no coverage. The result of medicine’s libertine spree? The relief agency Remote Area Medical, established to bring health care to rural parts of third-world nations, now sends 60 percent of its missions to U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, California and Knoxville, Tennessee.

    By contrast, integrative medicine (IM), the system we teach at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson (and that is taught at more than 40 other medical schools nationwide including Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic) is profoundly conservative in at least three ways:

    1. It is philosophically conservative in that it aims to restore core values of medicine that were strong in the past, such as a reverence for the healing power of nature and the importance of the therapist-patient relationship.

    2. It is medically conservative in stressing prevention and advocating lesser rather than greater intervention — the least invasive, least harmful, least expensive treatments that the circumstances of illness demand. IM practitioners always observe the Hippocratic precept of “First, do no harm,” relying in simpler interventions whenever possible and turning to more drastic ones only when the former fail to produce desired outcomes.

    3. It is fiscally conservative in its willingness to look beyond the blinders of high-tech medicine to identify inexpensive therapies that may be useful and in its insistence that they be held to the same standard for clinical- and cost-effectiveness in well-designed outcomes trials.

    I urge Senator Frist and all Americans to join me and thousands of physicians and patients in demanding a return to sensible, sustainable, conservative values in medicine. The liberals have had their day.

    Andrew Weil, MD, is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and the editorial director of http://www.DrWeil.com.

    Copyright © 2009 HuffingtonPost. com, Inc.

  • Andrew Weil is a maverick and proponent of alternative medicine to the kind that’s practiced by the medical establishment.

    Would you care to comment on his statement?

  • I concur

  • I think President Obama has been a success.

  • Garrett

    I would think that Americans has matured to the point where they can shove HATRED out of the lives of every human being. The generation of this era is not caught up in that “white is right syndrome”. The days of the “Klan” are over !

  • Garrett,

    Come over and read a fresh article…blatant self-promotion.


  • Garrett,

    Please come over and read “A republic, If We Can Keep It.”

  • Garrett

    This is not a personal attack. Human decency is the catch phrase here. I reiterate! I would think that Americans have reached a a degree of maturity wherein they would have acquired the capability of shoving “HATRED” out of the lives of Human Beings. This generation is not caughr up in that “Klan” syndrome! Prayer to God is the key to understanding. If you do not allow this comment, you’re part of the problem !