Free Markets, Free People

Health Care: It Is Getting Hostile Out There

An interesting video here – you could entitle it “What The Hell Is The Rush?!”

It is Arlen Specter at a healthcare townhall meeting being given whatfor when he says that they have to rush on the health care bill. Also speaking is Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. It would be hard to characterize the crowd as “warm and welcoming”.

The one thing I think politicans will hear almost universally is the public demands they read and understand the bill they’re voting on – not their staffers. And until they do and can discuss it rationally and actually bring it to the floor and debate it – giving debate all the time it needs – they don’t want them voting on it.

Now, that’s not to say that some of those making this demand don’t want to see health care reform passed as a result. But I think even they understand that there is no crisis and their is no rush to pass such legislation quickly. That’s a self-imposed political desire – passing it quickly – because Democrats understand that not doing so risks getting nothing passed at all.

We’ll see if politicians heed this message or, when they head back into the atmosphere prevalent inside the beltway, again fall into line with party leadership and try to rush this turkey through.

If the video is any indication, doing so could end up being a very big electoral mistake.

~McQ

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30 Responses to Health Care: It Is Getting Hostile Out There

  • This is going to get messier and uglier.  I think it’s pretty clear that nationalized health care is Obama’s “legacy” legislation, the one battle above all others that he feels he cannot lose.  The administration has to be putting incredible pressure on everyone and anyone within reach, because it seems clear that there isn’t anywhere near enough support for it.  This, IMO, will wind up an albatross around Obama’s neck.  Regardless of whether or not it passes, he will have expended so much political capital in pushing for it that, barring a miracle, he will effectively face a hostile congress for the rest of his term.
     
    With any luck it won’t pass.  Because if it does, there is no comfort in thinking that at least he blew his wad and has no more cards in his sleeves.

  • The rush is getting the meat off the shelves before the public realizes it’s rancid.  It is a manufactured crisis to encourage the idea that they MUST do something, and do it NOW, even if it’s only a good plan (which, it even isn’t) because we just CAN’T WAIT for this!   Dooom to follow!  Destruction!  The regrettable ability to sit on Capitol Hill and sadly shake our heads and say “we told you so!” while billions of Americans die in the streets all for want of proper health care.  It’s for YOU, it’s for the Children! It’s for all those people out there with NO HEALTH COVERAGE who are, possibly unbeknownst to themselves, within a mere instant of a harsh, prolonged, medically preventable DEATH!
     
    Never let a good crisis go to waste, even if you have to create it yourselves.
     
    And did you enjoy Sibelius’s comment about not voting for  Senators who are not reading a health care bill that hasn’t been written yet…uh…yeah….precisely why you shouldn’t be TRYING TO SELL IT YET , DIMBULB.

  • Understand the bill, but NOT read it.   Senators and Congress people virtually never read the actual bills because they get written in a lawyerly way to make sure that bills do what they’re supposed to do.  That makes a bill far longer and more complex than what is necessary to actually know what’s in the bill and to understand it.  That’s why busy Senators employee staff with the duty of making sure they get it right and explain it right.

    • “because they get written in a lawyerly way to make sure that bills do what they’re supposed to do”
      It’s that lawyerly way that makes these bills BS, and gives K street a reason to exist.

      • That makes a bill far longer and more complex than what is necessary to actually know what’s in the bill and to understand it.

        To ACTUALLY KNOW what’s in it… Uh huh…. as opposed to “understanding” it. Uh huh.
        Is that like saying – I understand calculus is used to perform high order mathematical calculations – oh, you want me to calculate a derivative? Oh, uh, talk to a member of my staff, I just know that Calculus is used to do these things, I don’t uh, actually know HOW, I just, uh, understand what it does.
         
        Now…hmmm…how does that work in the real world of the American economy and health care – well, let’s see.   Here’s YOUR version.
         
        This bill is intended to provide health care coverage for all Americans! See, I understand what it’s supposed to do (and for the moment, I’m pretending there’s not funding in there for a study of gay leper monkeys in Doughnutholeru Africa for $2,000,000, as well as money for a new 70 foot sidewalk in the town of Nehant where Senator Kennedy’s driver’s sainted grandfather first lived when he come over from the Old Sod itself…to the tune of $18,000,000, and some other really cool zippy stuff that people (my friends here in the Senate) need, but, uh, probably, honestly, doesn’t have much to do with HEALTH CARE….).  Where do I sign?
         
        I UNDERSTAND the bill is intended to provide health care coverage….HOW?
        Well, uh,  I don’t KNOW that EXACTLY.   I just UNDERSTAND that it does that, because, uh, someone on my staff who ‘read’ it TOLD me that’s what it does. They assured me there’s savings in there! and that the projections on costs would be….reasonable…(code for skyrocket after I’ve left the Senate or died). My staff is SOOOOOOOO good at the micro AND macro level of health care in the country that they practically could tell you what your personal out of pocket deductible was before we forced you into this created this new better plan that will save you money and give you great world class coverage!
         
        SEE! How easy was that? Man, this Senatorin job is pretty tough. Oh, I DO understand that, as a Senator, I’m still entitled to the coolest health care options, and will be even after I retire, and that, uh, my plan isn’t exactly the same as, uh, this one we just signed into law.  I read that part, and the little porky projects for the folks back home, I, uh read those too.
        Again, where do I sign?
         
        Let me just ask you, Dr….why did the framers of the Constitution take MONTHS to hammer out the very very small document they founded the country with. Why did they, despite it’s shortage of verbiage, discuss and even fight over EVERY clause and wording in the document?
         
        Do you honestly think they would have let someone else READ it, assure them it was okay, and SIGN IT, as long as they “understood” it was intended to set the foundations for government of the United States?
         
        There was reasons they didn’t write documents that were 1000′s of pages long. First because the idea that the government, however much legalize is employed, would NEED to exert such control at such a detailed level that it would require 1000′s of pages of paper to express would have instantly told them whatever that bill was, it was NOT a job the government should be involved in. (Well, honestly, it was because, first they’d have had to draft them in LONG HAND with ink and quill, see my web site for my study on how the typewritter has actually helped destroy the American Republic….)
         
        Secondly, because they didn’t just let someone else READ these things for THEM to sign without knowing both WHAT was IN the document, and UNDERSTANDING what it meant with pretty damn good precision.
         
        And yet these yahoo @ssholes think nothing of ramming through bills that they haven’t even read themselves, let alone fully comprehend what it is them.
        Damn, you continue to amaze me.

        • Bravo looker – you done good!  I mean, you had my full attention with “why did the framers of the Constitution take MONTHS to hammer out the very very small document they founded the country with”, but I truly laughed out loud when I read “see my web site for my study on how the typewritter has actually helped destroy the American Republic….”  CLASSIC!!!

    • These bills are bloated and written in a “lawerly way” largely because of intentional obfuscation. Even mean-nothing bills are written in the same unintelligible manner. One of the reasons is to bury all the bullsh*t riders that get attached to them to make sure that all of those congressional criminals get their cut so they can brag about them in their next campaign cycle.

      When Congress needs 1,000-plus pages to explain something in a “lawerly way” and then attempts to invent an “emergency” to ram it through the legislature as quickly as possible, alarm bells should be going off in people’s heads.

    • Bollocks to the claim they understand it. I read the first stimulus bill that passed the house. The information content of that bill, even stripped of the lawyer-language bulk factor, is such that there’s no chance in hell anybody understood it before it was passed. Not even the first-order approximation that is all I would really ask for, let alone the really deep sort of understanding you’d like to see for a bill that steers so many billion dollars.
      Now, if the debate had taken even a week after the final bill was presented you might be able to pretend that a handful of people understood it, but in the timeframe we saw? Hell no.
      Bills are like computer code; the slightest clause, the change of a “must” to  a “should”, can profoundly impact the bill. If our congresspeople are voting on the basis of unverified “understandings” of the bill imparted to them by biased sources, they just plain aren’t understanding the bill. There is no substitute for reading it.
      And if our congressperson can’t understand that lawyerly language then they can damn well resign on the spot!

    • It’s a new low in posting for Erb!  Every single time I think he can’t be more obtuse, he tops himself! Congratulations professor.

  • “That’s why busy Senators employee staff with the duty of making sure they get it right and explain it right.”
    I thought that was their job…..wait! can i hire someone to do my job? Im pretty busy myself.

  • I wonder if Sen. Specter is looking for work after the 2010 election, because it appears he wouldn’t get ANY votes.  The natives, they are restless.

  • I am afraid they will pass it.

    IN the house they will brow beat everyone they can to get a majority to vote for it.

    In the Senate they have Susan “Clueless” Collins, and Olympia “Stupid” Snowe to vote with them so all they need is 48 dems out of 60 to vote for it since they will use the nuclear option to pass it.

  • Senators and Congress people virtually never read the actual bills because they get written in a lawyerly way to make sure that bills do what they’re supposed to do.  That makes a bill far longer and more complex than what is necessary to actually know what’s in the bill and to understand it.

    That’s odd, it took less than 30 pages to give us our interstate highway system.

  • It’s a piece of crap, whether they spend a week reading it or a year.

  • I for one am thrilled to see this happening in the so-called “health care debate.” I want more of this. I want to see Democrats squirm. I want to see Democrats taken to the woodshed and beaten to a bloody pulp. I want to see Democrats made to believe that they are more unpopular than the clap. I want to see the likes of Arlen Specter and every other Democrat lose their seats in Congress and the Senate next year in a political bloodbath unlike anything seen in over 100 years, since the election of 1894, when Democrats lost 125 seats to go from a 218-124 majority to a 254-93 minority. That oughta teach those thugs a lesson, and it will go a long way towards making The Clown™ a one termer.

  • Judging by the results over the years they do not understand what is in them or the effects they will have.

    As far as understanding what is in them without actually reading them, that is pure BS. It is a plausible sounding excuse for those who think they know what is in the contracts or mortgages they sign without reading, relying on the word of someone else. The kind of people who buy waterfront property in Florida sight unseen, or who invest in mortgage-backed securities because someone says they are good. In other words, fools.

    • The other kind of @ssholes we’re now bailing out who signed mortgages they neither understood, nor could afford and who are now getting our support because they’ve BLAMED IT ON THE GUY WHO PUT IT IN FRONT OF THEM TO SIGN (which they did, because they “understood” what he said, ya know, about how the rates uh, might go up, or how if they didn’t make their payments, they, uh, might lose their house…ha ha…but let’s be serious…just sign folks it’ll all be great!).

  • Like Cash for Clunkers Scott? How “right” did they get that one?

  • McQ – “The one thing I think politicans will hear almost universally is the public demands they read and understand the bill they’re voting on – not their staffers.”

    If the members of Congress actually read the bills, I suggest that it would make them accomplices in the various graft and corruption schemes that many (if not all) of them engage in, and naturally they don’t want to do that. If they DON’T read the bills, they can honestly claim that, “I had NO IDEA that Sen. Foghorn was using his committee position to funnel money to his contributors!” O’ course, the odds of corruption ever being uncovered are slim as the people in the position to do it are… the members of Congress. It’s nice when you get to police yourself.

    As an example, let’s recall “Countrywide” Dodd and the AIG bonuses: he claims to have had no idea that he’d put into a bill the amendment that made it perfectly legal for those AIG execs to get their bonuses. Notice how MiniTru never bothered to ask whether any of the other senators knew that amendment was there: they knew in advance that the senators would all answer (probably honestly) that they didn’t know.

    Compared to the way bills become law, watching sausages being made is a relaxing, soothing experience.

    As for this particular bill… Any member of Congress who votes for it, or indeed for nationalized health care in ANY form, should be tarred, feathered, and horsewhipped. And, no, I don’t mean that hyperbolically. I mean it literally: they should be physically, painfully punished for doing this to our country.

    But it WILL pass in some form; too many powerful people want it. The American people have been sold on the ideas that health care is a God-given right; that our current system is broken; and that a federalized, nationalized system is the ONLY way to solve the problem. Once you agree with those things, SOME form of national health care becomes inevitable.

    I also believe that, once it passes, people will grumble a bit, but learn to live with it. Why? Because I’ve learned that you can f*ck people raw so long as they think that everybody’s in the same boat AND you throw them a bone here and there, or at the very least, you only f*ck 49% of them. Consider our income taxes: we are systematically robbed every time we get a paycheck, yet we don’t really grumble too much about it; it’s just the way things are. Consider Social Security: to hear some people tell it, the elderly eat dog food and shiver in tiny, unheated homes because the system barely pays them enough to live on, yet we don’t really grumble too much about it; it’s just the way things are. So, in the future, when people die from diseases that we CURRENTLY cure, or when Uncle Sugar tells the sick or elderly that they just need to take a pain pill because it’s not “cost effective” to send them to the doctor, people won’t really grumble too much; it’ll just be the way things are.

  • The latest politician to look foolish over this is Kathleen Sibelius. She gets taken down nicely by Yuval Levin at the Corner:

    President Obama and I are working closely with Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate and health-care experts to make sure we get the details of health reform right. But we can’t let the details distract us from the huge benefits that reform will bring.

    Can’t let those “details,” like what the plan will actually consist of and what it will cost, distract us from the huge benefits.

    This demonstrates the utter intellectual bankruptcy of the fools who claim senators and congressmen don’t need to read and understand the bills they vote on. They are really doing the same thing as Sibelius is: supporting a concept and not a bill. They don’t really know if the bill will do what they hope; it’s too complex for any one person to analyze it, and the piecemeal analysis by staffers is subject to all kinds of conflicts of interest. Plus any bill that complex is *guaranteed* to have things sneaked in to benefit various special interests, and the “lawyerly” prose is great camouflage for such mischief.

    This entire setup has evolved as a convenient way for politicians to come out ahead on all points. They don’t have to actually, you know, work at legislation. Someone else does that. Plus they get plausible deniability on all those pesky details. Meanwhile, in the back rooms, they get to chortle with their special interest supporters over all the goodies that got included which were so successfully camouflaged that the rubes never saw them. Quite a racket.

  • Erb: “That’s why busy Senators employee staff with the duty of making sure they get it right and explain it right.”
     
    Oh.  I see.  So, what you’re telling us is that “representative democracy” is a fraud.  People who are not elected do all the work on us, and those Potemkin representatives are simply the pitch-people doing a song & dance for the noble Stakhanovites behind the scenes.
     
    I understand all this perfectly, Professorboy.  And I don’t wonder that you can live with it, being what you are.

  • When I worked in Washington for a Republican Senator it was obvious that if they read everything they voted on, well, that would be physically impossible.   They do read sections, have committee staff and lawyers explain and go over other sections, and communicate about it.   To sit down a read a final bill is usually not necessary (nor would many of them understand a lot of the technicalities).  That’s the way the world is, and members of both political parties are alike.
    I don’t think this is perfect, Billy — in fact, I think representative democracy is a kind of fraud for polities as large as the US or probably anything over a few million.   If I were to design something I’d make polities much smaller, rely more on custom and tradition than laws and enforcement, and try to make the system as participatory as possible.   But that’s not going to happen any time soon.  Yet life goes on.   I’m not going to ever let dissatisfaction with the system or what others do cause me not to live my life the way I believe best.    My personal rule of thumb is to try to change things I believe need changing and which I can influence, and adapt to things that I absolutely cannot change (or things that my efforts to change move slowly).   Being enraged or angered by something one is powerless to change is a waste of time and energy.

    • When I worked in Washington for a Republican Senator it was obvious that if they read everything they voted on, well, that would be physically impossible. And that’s not either evidence that the system is broken, so stop saying that. All senators, even Republicans, have completely bought in to the idea that the federal government ought to just run EVERYTHING, and that just means too much work for only a hundred guys.

      They do read sections, have committee staff and lawyers explain and go over other sections, and communicate about it. No, those people are not elected, why do you ask? What does that have to do with anything? I’ve already explained how it’s impossible for a hundred senators to do it alone, so we just have to have them. I decree it.

      To sit down a read a final bill is usually not necessary (nor would many of them understand a lot of the technicalities). Running a whole country is complex, and we just have to depend on unelected smart people, many with PhDs, to take the place of senators who don’t have the time and are just politicians too dense to understand the nuances anyway (especially the Republican ones, some of whom are as dense as Sarah Palin, and I sure wish all those accusations of corruption I floated about HER had taken hold). That’s the way the world is, and members of both political parties are alike. Thank goodness that we finally got the Republicans to go along with this enlightened way to let the proper elites make all the decisions.

      I don’t think this is perfect, Billy — in fact, I think representative democracy is a kind of fraud for polities as large as the US or probably anything over a few million. So we enlightened elites have to step in to make it all work, since the rubes are so devoted to the whole silly idea. Very sporting of us, really, since you rubes would just running around in total confusion if we didn’t run your lives.

      If I were to design something I’d make polities much smaller, rely more on custom and tradition than laws and enforcement, and try to make the system as participatory as possible. That way, we wise leftists could use proven post-modern principles more easily to force everyone into line much more easily, since that “custom” thing is very, very flexible in the right hands. And the fact that I support all of Obama’s big government programs that cover hundreds of millions isn’t the least bit contradictory to me wanting smaller polities, so stop saying that! I’m a pragmatic, libertarian sort of guy who really yearns for small government in my heart. I do! But that’s not going to happen any time soon, and life goes on. So, since we’re stuck with huge, socialistic government, might as well make the best of it and have wise leftists running it. Certainly you dense righties might try something stupid, like forcing political leaders to actually read and understand the laws they pass. How naive!

      I’m not going to ever let dissatisfaction with the system or what others do cause me not to live my life the way I believe best. Yes, my life up here on this peaceful campus teaching young minds to understand and respect the holy writ of post-modern leftist political science is the way I want to live, and it’s not either a flight from a reality that I’m too cowardly to face, so you mean dense righties should just stop thinking that! My personal rule of thumb is to try to change things I believe need changing and which I can influence, and of course all the things I believe in are wise leftist socialist policies, and adapt to things that I absolutely cannot change (or things that my efforts to change move slowly). Such as better ways to control the minds of you dense righties, or even figuring out the details of how our socialist paradise would actually work, because that’s just too hard, as I’ve already pointed out. It requires wise, specialized experts, and certainly not you silly thick righties with your naive “freedom” this and “responsiblity” that stuff. Being enraged or angered by something one is powerless to change is a waste of time and energy. And since you people are powerless to stop the coming socialist paradise, you ought to stop being angered by it and just accept it, the way I accept that the world will never be perfect enough to be purged of all dense righties that resist the wise leadership of people like me

    • You know, the other option is for them not to try and manage the universe from Capitol Hill.  To carefully craft thoughtful legislation in the areas that are their Constitutional perview.  This will prevent them from having to write multi-thousand page bills that they can neither read, nor understand.
       
      Oh, but THAT would end feeding at the trough, and would require them to be more than rich bags of hot air who spend all their time campaigning for office and building up multi-million dollar war-chests to ensure they are Senators and Representatives for life.  To me it’s pretty damn simple, if they don’t UNDERSTAND THIS STUFF THEY AREN’T QUALIFIED TO MAKE JUDGMENTS ABOUT IT, AND THEY SHOULD THEREFORE STAY OUT OF IT.
       
      Would you go to a Doctor who let his staff examine you and then, without verifying they were right himself or herself, made a recommendation you undergo a major operation?  If common people can read these bills and find, and understand, some of these off the wall provisions, I would hope to hell Harvard, Yale and high dollar college educated Senators and Congressmen could as well!
       
       

  • “My personal rule of thumb is to…” {bite}
     
    Disappear, you lying fraud.
     

  • Still afraid of me, eh Billy?

  • Billy Beck is afraid of a real discussion.  He hides behind insults, bravado, and ad hominems.  I have to conclude he’s simply a chicken.   He knows I could beat him in an argument where reason, evidence, and rationality are considered important.  So he calls names and hides.  He’s yellow.

    • Billy Beck is afraid of a real discussion. And those discussions he has with other people that go on and on don’t count. I decree it. He hides behind insults, bravado, and ad hominems. And I don’t either deserve those insults! I’m out here trying to have a content-laden discussion, and all you dense righties like Billy just don’t understand that if you would simply let me set the ground rules for arguing (which I’m eminently qualified to do since I’m a wise leftist), then we can go back and forth forever with you thick righties asserting things that I dismiss with a wave of my hand.

      But Billy won’t do that. I have to conclude he’s simply a chicken. What other reason could he have? He knows I could beat him in an argument where reason, evidence, and rationality are considered important, and in which I get to determine all the ground rules, which is only fair. All he would have to do is go back and forth with me about a hundred times, and in the end admit my brilliance and that all the point he made are wrong, and that would demonstrate that he’s a serious debater. But he isn’t.

      So he calls names and hides. He’s yellow. That’s right, he’s the coward. Not me! Stop saying that!! Just because I flee from reality every chance I get, that doesn’t mean I’m a coward! I decree it!