What you get with a nanny state: A large, powerful nanny

posted at 4:15 pm on January 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The pragmatic reason for opposing a nationalized health service arises naturally from the fact that they just don’t work well, as we have seen in Canada and in the UK.  Philosophically, opponents of single-payer health care worry that once the government pays for our medical care, it will have the authority to dictate lifestyle choices to its citizens subjects day-care denizens.  Paul Hsieh points out how this has already begun to happen in Japan for the Christian Science Monitor:

Imagine a country where the government regularly checks the waistlines of citizens over age 40. Anyone deemed too fat would be required to undergo diet counseling. Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further “reeducation” and their communities subject to stiff fines.

Is this some nightmarish dystopia?

No, this is contemporary Japan.

The Japanese government argues that it must regulate citizens’ lifestyles because it is paying their health costs. This highlights one of the greatly underappreciated dangers of “universal healthcare.” Any government that attempts to guarantee healthcare must also control its costs. The inevitable next step will be to seek to control citizens’ health and their behavior. Hence, Americans should beware that if we adopt universal healthcare, we also risk creating a “nanny state on steroids” antithetical to core American principles.

Do you still think that diet and exercise choices are no one else’s business?  Not when other people pay your medical bills.  If I have to pay for my neighbor’s doctor bills, I’m going to demand that he stops smoking, stops eating pizza five nights a week, and starts getting some exercise.  If necessary, I’ll find a way to make him stop.

Of course, I won’t have much power to enforce the Ed Morrissey Rules on him, except to not pay his medical bills.  Replace me with Uncle Sam, and suddenly we have the massive power of the state behind those rules.  How has that worked in other government-run systems?  Hsieh gives us a few examples:

  • Britain banned some egg advertisments from television because they promoted an “unhealthy lifestyle.”
  • New Zealand refused entry to a British citizen and submarine cable expert because of his obesity.  After he lost some weight, New Zealand finally relented — but his wife is still persona non grata because of her weight.
  • The German government has campaigned to brand those who don’t eat right and exercise as “antisocial” for burdening the nanny state with their problems — which has certain uncomfortable historical echoes.

Don’t think it could happen here?  Los Angeles and New York City have already banned restaurants from cooking with trans fats.  A few California communities have banned smoking in private residences, which should be a real joy to enforce, and some states have sugar taxes on soft drinks.  That’s without a nationalized health service.

He who pays the piper calls the tune.  When we surrender our responsibilities to ourselves in favor of a nanny state, don’t be surprised to be treated like children … or worse.


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I have always feared the control that could come with single-payer health care.

I am glad to have concrete examples to share.

dc84123 on January 7, 2009 at 4:18 PM

Nanny Pelosi, will you care for me from womb to tomb? My parents didn’t teach me how to make my own decisions.

jgapinoy on January 7, 2009 at 4:18 PM

O/T: Condoleeza Rice says the United States will support the French-Egyptian ceasefire plan that would allow humanitarian aide into Gaza and give Egypt time to negotiate a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. Oy vey.

amerpundit on January 7, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Can I refuse to pay for Obama’s healthcare until he stops smoking?

myrenovations on January 7, 2009 at 4:22 PM

they’ll be watching every move you make, every breath you take…(the police)

right4life on January 7, 2009 at 4:23 PM

The pragmatic reason for opposing a nationalized health service arises naturally from the fact that they just don’t work well

Are you suggesting that the world’s most expensive system produces good results when compared to those systems which ‘don’t work?’

lexhamfox on January 7, 2009 at 4:23 PM

They know what’s better for us, they should tell us how to live! Right?

Neo on January 7, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Democrats are pushing “universal” care, but never forget that Democrats are under the thumb of the trial lawyers.

With socialized medicine, who would there be to sue? You can’t sue the feds. You can’t sue state governments. Try suing a public school. You can’t.

Democrats will keep private providers alive to the extent that the leeches in the trial lawyer lobby can sue them.

Bank on it.

Never expect anything other than corruption and gross incompetence out of the absolutely worthless Democrat Party.

NoDonkey on January 7, 2009 at 4:24 PM

If I’m not mistaken Australia denied citizenship to a German doctor’s family because the son had trisomy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/26/2429683.htm

I’ve heard Bill Bradley, on Maher and elsewhere, say the opportunity to tell people what to do is one of the features of government-run healthcare. It’s a steroid-meth-crack cocktail for every scold and busybody in the public health field.

DrSteve on January 7, 2009 at 4:27 PM

With socialized medicine, who would there be to sue?

NoDonkey on January 7, 2009 at 4:24 PM

You can sue the NHS in the UK where it is socialized.

lexhamfox on January 7, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Say hello to bans or massive tax increases on alcoholic beverages, fast food, whole milk, butter, and caffeine.

Music and art will be eliminated entirely from public schools as the health nannies demand phys-ed classes for all students every day.

Euthanasia will become commonplace as the government charges families for extended care for old or disabled people with no hope of recovery.

But of course, no negative incentives or taxes for people who contract AIDS or other STDs through unprotected sex. Instead, we will all pay billions for treatment.

rockmom on January 7, 2009 at 4:29 PM

National Healthcare means a 10 month wait for space in the maternity ward.

tarpon on January 7, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Another problem that Japan has specifically when it comes to health care is the way the citizens treat it. If it’s free (or heavily subsidized) you’re more likely to avail yourself of it. It’s a running joke in Japan that hospitals aren’t so much places to get well, but social clubs for the elderly. And if you have an emergency and need to get to the hospital by ambulance, they may have to “shop” you around to find one with a bed available.

Of course, it isn’t free…it’s very expensive in fact. But it’s treated pretty much like anything else you get for free…

Asher on January 7, 2009 at 4:34 PM

So what you are saying is, buy stock in slimfast once Obama is inaugurated.

profgubler on January 7, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Many of the citizens of this country have become weak, dependent and cowardly. Their repulsive hedonistic nature is causing them to relinquish their liberties for a convenient but false security. I never thought I’d see this in a country that takes pride in its individual freedoms and pioneer spirit, but I am witnessing it now and it is very sad. Unfortunately, the left is eager to assume control of their lives and their behavior. Wake up people before you have reached the point of no return.

rplat on January 7, 2009 at 4:35 PM

This is how liberty ends; inch by inch, drip by drip.

Bruno Strozek on January 7, 2009 at 4:35 PM

I am afraid, very afraid…..

Ann on January 7, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Most people are just rolling down the Socialist Superhighway at faster and faster speeds not knowing that the bridge ahead has collapsed.

Done That on January 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM

You can sue the NHS in the UK where it is socialized.

Did not know that. But I imagine the awards aren’t anything like we have here.

I just know from federal experience that you can’t sue the Military Healthcare System, the VA or the Public Health System.

NoDonkey on January 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Of course they’ll do it here, and probably more quickly than elsewhere. I can’t wait until they start pushing euthanasia to keep costs down, too.

What a horrorshow this will be.

But I hope some will remember that that obese tend to die much much earlier, often decades earlier than the thin. That makes me think their healthcare “costs” are probably overstated a great deal for the sake of scapegoating.

Kensington on January 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM

“If I have to pay for my neighbor’s doctor bills, I’m going to demand that he stops smoking, stops eating pizza five nights a week, and starts getting some exercise. If necessary, I’ll find a way to make him stop.”

One thing you will never be able to stop is liberals from taking dope.

notagool on January 7, 2009 at 4:39 PM

How about opposing it because it is blatantly unconstitutional?

DrMagnolias on January 7, 2009 at 4:40 PM

NoDonkey on January 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM

In the UK, they just set rules to make it harder for people to get more expensive procedures.

Anyone who thinks that socialized medicine is better than what we got now, is fooling themselves.

Our medical care is expensive because of government intervention, pure and simple. Insurance companies profit from government rules that make it more expensive for you and I. And now, they’ve convinced people that more government intervention is the answer.

Remind you of anything?

lorien1973 on January 7, 2009 at 4:42 PM

DrMagnolias on January 7, 2009 at 4:40 PM

How about asking those that support it to pay for other peoples’ bills themselves.

If they are so keen on paying someone’s medical bills, there is no law stopping them.

Go for it.

lorien1973 on January 7, 2009 at 4:43 PM

One thing you will never be able to stop is liberals from taking dope.

notagool on January 7, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Or any activity that leads to a sexually-transmitted disease, including AIDS. That’s one area in which “choice” will prevail.

And a national health service will eventually lead to determinations that some people are too expensive to keep alive. Dame Mary Warnock, a leading ethicist in the UK, is now suggesting that Alzheimer’s patients be euthanized because they linger so long and cost so much.

Wethal on January 7, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Dems like Silky Pony helped drive up the cost of health care with their frivolous lawsuits.

And as rockmom pointed out, there would not be just lifestyle decisions made, but life decisions made.

This is so like the Left. It’s an idea that has been shown to be a FAILURE elsewhere, but that doesn’t stop them from pushing it here.

INC on January 7, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Remind you of anything?

lorien1973 on January 7, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Every other policy proposed by liberals.

Vic on January 7, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Wethal on January 7, 2009 at 4:43 PM

I didn’t see Wethal’s comment as I was writing mine, but I obviously agree.

INC on January 7, 2009 at 4:45 PM

I look forward to taking my place as an appendage of the State.

Cicero43 on January 7, 2009 at 4:46 PM

If becomes legally acceptable for the government to force citizens to stop smoking, lose weight, eat less junk food, etc. all in the name of reducing health care costs, what additional restrictions/punishments await those people using health care to deal with consequences of unprotected sex or any other “risky” sexual behavior that causes some set of folks to “use more health care dollars” than the rest of the general population? If the government is supposed to “stay out of the bedroom”, how can anyone logically argue that they now have a “right in the kitchen”?

kgs_mvs on January 7, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Do you still think that diet and exercise choices are no one else’s business? Not when other people pay your medical bills. If I have to pay for my neighbor’s doctor bills, I’m going to demand…

The whole universal health care thing just reminds me of the part in Atlas Shrugged where the bum tells Dagny about the motor company he worked for. He laments how the socialized system the company heirs employed turned everyone into snooping informants and from those who would voluntarily help a friend in need to hate and despise anyone who would become ill and being happy that an old lady who broke her hip died due to the costs they would have had to bear.

batter on January 7, 2009 at 4:47 PM

rplat on January 7, 2009 at 4:35 PM

You nailed it. +1

Cicero43 on January 7, 2009 at 4:49 PM

You can have my cheese steak sandwich and beer after you pry them from my cold dead hands…!!!

Liberty or Death on January 7, 2009 at 4:51 PM

We already pay the costs of other people through insurance (which is risk shifting/pooling), requiring hospitals to provide services for poor people without insurance and Medicare and similar state programs.

Many employer health insurance plans already require an annual health assessment with follow-up programs as a result of the assessment, require higher premiums from people that smoke (if the employer hasn’t decided to not hire smokers, which is legal) and penalize people who are overweight (or perhaps incentivize them to go to the gym often).

Ed–it’s already here in the U.S.

Oh, and BTW, Japanese citizens pay for part of their health care costs through payroll deductions and co-pays (from (from http://www.japan-zone.com/new/welfare.shtml):

“Medical insurance can be divided into two broad categories: the community-based system of National Health Insurance (kokumin kenkou hoken, or kokuho) and Employees’ Health Insurance (shakai kenkou hoken, or shakai hoken). Membership of one or the other scheme is compulsory. Monthly premiums are calculated slightly differently for each but are based mostly on salary. Coverage for medical costs also vary between the schemes.

Employees’ Insurance

Premiums are calculated based on the insured person’s monthly salary (not including bonuses, which are taxed separately), are divided equally between the employee and their employer and are deducted form the monthly paycheck. On average, the deduction is around 4 percent.

Members of this scheme pay only 20 percent of their medical costs. Family members pay 20 percent when hospitalized and 30 percent for outpatient costs. There may be minor additional daily costs for drugs. The insured shares the cost of medical treatment up to a certain ceiling, above which they receive full coverage. The insurance covers sickness, injury and necessary dental work. In the case of long-term sickness or childbirth, the insured (or their spouse in the latter case) will receive an allowance, based on the insured’s salary. In the case of the death of the insured or their dependents, an allowance for the funeral is paid.

National Insurance
If you are not covered by Employees’ insurance, and are entitled to stay in Japan for a year or more, you need to apply for National Health Insurance.

Members of this scheme and family members pay 30 percent for inpatient or outpatient costs. There may be minor additional daily costs for drugs. The insured shares the cost of medical treatment up to a certain ceiling, above which they receive full coverage. Foreign students are entitled to a reimbursement of 80 percent of their medical costs, meaning they pay about 6 percent.

Premiums are calculated based on the insured person’s salary, property, and the number of dependents. On average, premiums are around 4 percent of salary. There is a cap of 530,000 yen per year per household.

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 4:51 PM

The pragmatic reason for opposing a nationalized health service arises naturally from the fact that they just don’t work well, as we have seen in Canada and in the UK

Well, I can stand as a witness to this effect.

Of greater significance though, is the fact that there is no Constitutional authorization for the fedgov to intrude into the health industry – to any degree.

Apparently America decided that the Constitution is no longer relevant at some point….I must have missed it.

LimeyGeek on January 7, 2009 at 4:54 PM

DO NOT PULL HER FINGER!

REPEAT

DO NOT PULL HER FINGER!

Mr. Joe on January 7, 2009 at 4:57 PM

You can sue the NHS in the UK where it is socialized.

lexhamfox on January 7, 2009 at 4:28 PM

And it’s a good thing, too.

Current rules mean patients cannot top up NHS treatment with expensive private drugs, if they are not available on the Health Service. If they do so, they have to pay for the cost of the rest of their NHS treatment.

Insanity.

DrSteve on January 7, 2009 at 4:58 PM

National Healthcare means a 10 month wait for space in the maternity ward.

tarpon on January 7, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Although I know you were being facetious (or at least I hope you were), I really have to wonder where you Yanks are getting your info (or should I say, propaganda) from.
As a Canadian (and a Conservative one at that), I would not trade my ‘free health care’ for anything. I like knowing that if I, or anyone else in my family gets sick, I will NOT lose my house or life savings. And contrary to what you all might hear, No One in my family has ever had a bad experience with our Health Care system. That either makes us all the luckiest SOB’s in Canada, or the crap you are hearing is blown way out of proportion. Not sure which one of those I prefer…

pcbedamned on January 7, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Los Angeles and New York City have already banned restaurants from cooking with trans fats. A few California communities have banned smoking in private residences, which should be a real joy to enforce, and some states have sugar taxes on soft drinks.

Two places to never see my tourism dollars. Have you a list of states that have the sugar tax? Money talks.

Vashta.Nerada on January 7, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Although I know you were being facetious (or at least I hope you were), I really have to wonder where you Yanks are getting your info (or should I say, propaganda) from.
As a Canadian (and a Conservative one at that), I would not trade my ‘free health care’ for anything. I like knowing that if I, or anyone else in my family gets sick, I will NOT lose my house or life savings. And contrary to what you all might hear, No One in my family has ever had a bad experience with our Health Care system. That either makes us all the luckiest SOB’s in Canada, or the crap you are hearing is blown way out of proportion. Not sure which one of those I prefer…

pcbedamned on January 7, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Good for you but I’ve heard stories to the contrary. There’s another way of not losing your house . . . pay for your own damn health insurance.

rplat on January 7, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Can anyone name one Government Social Program that has not become a bloated bureaucracy filled with waste, graft, and abuse and has lost its way from initial inception to a self generating, ever increasing budget, freedom smothering cancer on our society?

Seven Percent Solution on January 7, 2009 at 5:07 PM

My understanding is that it’s no longer illegal to have private health insurance in Canada on top of the governmental plan and that it’s now fairly common to have the supplemental private health insurance. Is that right pcbedamned?

And rplat, what about the people in the US who can’t get comprehensive private health insurance at any price because of pre-existing conditions?

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:07 PM

So if the guy in the office next to me farts too much, can I rat him out to the Feds to get him to change his diet?

Mallard T. Drake on January 7, 2009 at 5:07 PM

pcbedamned on January 7, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Wait times are not propaganda, friend. You didn’t even have national benchmarks until 2005.

Fraser publishes a report every single year. I guess you’ll dismiss them as a bunch of kooks, though, won’t you?

DrSteve on January 7, 2009 at 5:11 PM

So if the guy in the office next to me farts too much, can I rat him out to the Feds to get him to change his diet?

–Only if you faint and hit your head on the floor after you pass out.

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:11 PM

CBC promulgates vicious lies about Medicare.

The notorious propaganda organ!

DrSteve on January 7, 2009 at 5:13 PM

And rplat, what about the people in the US who can’t get comprehensive private health insurance at any price because of pre-existing conditions?

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:07 PM

They need legislative assistance and action that will force the insurance companies to implement something similar to an assigned risk health policy, but that condition does not warrant inefficient, ineffective, socialistic money sucking federal programs. Let the politicians earn their money instead of simply stealing it from our wallets and pocket books.

rplat on January 7, 2009 at 5:18 PM

It’s been twenty+ years since MC helmet and automobile seat belt laws were imposed on us using the exact same reasoning.

“Why should taxpayers risk being burdened with some biker’s hospital bills just because he likes to feel the wind in his hair”?

What a long, slippery slope it’s been.

Bob Mc on January 7, 2009 at 5:20 PM

I read the article at the link that DrSteve provided on January 7, 2009 at 4:27 PM. Basically, Australia is going to deport a German physician because his son has Down Syndrome and NHS says that caring for him will be too expensive.

It makes me wonder, if the US goes with NHS, would they start forcing women to have abortions regardless of any moral or religious objection. In progressive Democrat land, would all pregnant women be required to get an amniocentesis or CVS test? Then, if a severe disease or disorder was detected, would they be required to get an abortion because the cost of the child’s care would be too expensive for NHS? It’s a terrifying thought but is it really that far fetched based on what is happening in other “progressive” countries as well as cities here in the US?

Modern day eugenics.

ExcessivelyDiverted on January 7, 2009 at 5:23 PM

FYI: From http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122801117002966793.html.

Millions work long hours to make the fantasy a reality, and in these rough economic times, others have simply taken buyouts. But America’s patchwork health-care system is making those transitions harder.

Too young to qualify for Medicare and rarely covered by employers, early retirees can face premiums they never dreamed of — triple or more what they paid while working.

And that’s for the healthy ones. Others, who suffer from middle-age ailments like arthritis or back pain, wind up paying far more — if they aren’t simply rejected. Researchers at the Commonwealth Fund found that in 2007 about 35% of people between the ages of 50 and 64 were uninsured or underinsured, up from 26% five years ago.

Bought Out, Left Out
In the decades after World War II, most retirees could count on generous health perks. But over the past two decades, the situation has changed. Today, just 29% of large private companies provide insurance to younger retirees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This spring, the Society for Human Resource Management found that less than half of workers laid off or bought out were offered health benefits.

That leaves many younger retirees with only one place to go: the individual-insurance market, which is hardly friendly terrain for fiftysomethings.

Unlike in employer plans, where all members pay similar premiums, here each consumer gets examined for risk. Insurers often react to minor pre-existing health conditions the way an auto insurer reacts to accidents — by charging steep rates or rejecting the applicant.

Health-care advocates have documented instances of older people being denied coverage because of high blood pressure or mild depression after the death of a spouse. “I used to joke that just living past 45 was a pre-existing condition,” says Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access California.

Higher Age, Higher Risk
Insurance executives defend underwriting practices as necessary to keep up with the costs of care, pointing out that age makes customers riskier to insure. “It’s not like we’re running a pirate ship,” says Richard Collins, president of UnitedHealthcare’s individual-insurance unit.

Although states prohibit insurers from dropping consumers who develop health problems after enrollment, they do let insurers purge those who allegedly commit fraud on applications — leading some companies to comb patients’ medical records for signs they should have known a problem was looming.

Fortunately, some younger retirees tame the frontier. Holding on to group coverage helps: Retirees willing to work self-employed can get group rates in 13 states.

For those with health issues who must use the individual market, Carolyn McClanahan, a financial planner in Jacksonville, Fla., recommends applying for a special insurance pool that each state holds open to consumers for the 36 days after they exhaust their COBRA coverage — while benefits there can be spotty, the pools can’t reject anyone.

Early retirees also can boost their underwriting odds by losing belly fat and going over their medical records with physicians for errors.

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:24 PM

You can have my cheese steak sandwich and beer after you pry them from my cold dead hands…!!!

Liberty or Death on January 7, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Ok, who is with me on this sentiment?

Liberty or Death on January 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:07 PM

What most people do not seem to understand is that our ‘Universal Health Care’ here in Canada is not completely inclusive. For example, it does not cover prescriptions, dental, chiropractic, etc. Many of the services have co-pays (like physio). If you are fortunate enough to have a job with benefits, these things may be covered, or you can ‘pay for your own damn health insurance’. What our system does cover is Dr. visits, emergency care, surgery (non-cosmetic), hospital stays in a ‘ward’ (4 beds), maternity (at least in Ontario), etc. So as I said, it is nice to know that 12 years ago when I ended up in an emergency room with an ectopic pregnancy, my family didn’t have to worry about financial ruin. Or last year when my 11 year old son broke his leg, all it cost me was the price of the crutches (it would have been more if we went for a funky red cast). So before people spout off about how Canada is a ‘nanny state’ (yes, even I have problems with a LOT of our policies), know what it is you are talking about!
Also, from some of the comments I have seen about the cost of health insurance in the US (don’t know how accurate they are – could be people spouting like those that disparage our health care system in Canada), I am pretty sure that my taxes to cover our system isn’t costing me as much as seems to be costing Americans.

pcbedamned on January 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM

If Nationalized Health Care passes I demand that income taxes be indexed to your Body Mass Index (BMI).
If you are fatter, you pay more.
It makes just as much sense as the fact that if you earn more you have to pay a higher rate, right?

redshirt on January 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM

ExcessivelyDiverted, Australia has very restrictive requirements for anyone wanting to become a permanent resident. Basically, it’s impossible to become one if you’re over 45 unless you have around US $800K and agree never to work in Australia. There are similar, but lesser, restrictions for younger people.

That’s what’s going on in the case of the doctor and his Down’s son.

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:29 PM

DrSteve on January 7, 2009 at 5:11 PM

Then that just proves that me and mine must be the luckiest SOB’s in Canada…:)

pcbedamned on January 7, 2009 at 5:30 PM

You can have my cheese steak sandwich and beer after you pry them from my cold dead hands…!!!

Ok, who is with me on this sentiment?

–Will you pass me the fries and Rolling Rock?

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:30 PM

What most people do not seem to understand is that our ‘Universal Health Care’ here in Canada is not completely inclusive. For example, it does not cover prescriptions, dental, chiropractic, etc. Many of the services have co-pays (like physio). If you are fortunate enough to have a job with benefits, these things may be covered, or you can ‘pay for your own damn health insurance’. What our system does cover is Dr. visits, emergency care, surgery (non-cosmetic), hospital stays in a ‘ward’ (4 beds), maternity (at least in Ontario), etc. So as I said, it is nice to know that 12 years ago when I ended up in an emergency room with an ectopic pregnancy, my family didn’t have to worry about financial ruin. Or last year when my 11 year old son broke his leg, all it cost me was the price of the crutches (it would have been more if we went for a funky red cast). So before people spout off about how Canada is a ‘nanny state’ (yes, even I have problems with a LOT of our policies), know what it is you are talking about!
Also, from some of the comments I have seen about the cost of health insurance in the US (don’t know how accurate they are – could be people spouting like those that disparage our health care system in Canada), I am pretty sure that my taxes to cover our system isn’t costing me as much as seems to be costing Americans.

pcbedamned on January 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM

I get about $55/ for dental, vision, and health coverage and my plan doesn’t have a co-pay for preventative care. So I highly doubt that I’m paying more than you. In fact, you’re probably paying a heck of alot more than I am in taxes to fund your nanny state.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2009 at 5:32 PM

How’s the U.S. gov’t going force pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of their drugs?

Pharma’s profits are used towards R&D to discover, test & patent new therapies.

If the gov’t strips away their profits, the drug pipeline will dry up faster than a puddle in the desert.

Research scientist make BIG BUCKS, and rightfully so.

omnipotent on January 7, 2009 at 5:32 PM

And we must never forget,,, the laws are meant for us peasants. Never for them.
We are to be controlled. They are the controllers.
Our work is for them. Our money is for them. Our property, if we have any at all, is for them.

JellyToast on January 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Just think of the military health system and the VA – and PRESTO – a model for NHC.

It’s a nightmare and we need to keep that genie in the bottle and blow the bottle to H E double hockey sticks!!!

catmman on January 7, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Illinidiva, is the $55/month what you pay without any contribution from your employer, or is that the actual market cost? If you’re in an employer plan, most employers pay 75% to 80% of the actual cost and charge the employee 25% or 20%.

Omnipotent, the U.S. generally pays all of the R&D costs for new drugs. Maybe there are some drugs that should be developed elsewhere or not at all unless they promise significant advantages over what’s currently available or unless they are targeted at diseases which aren’t now being adequately addressed.

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:42 PM

–Will you pass me the fries and Rolling Rock?

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:30 PM

You bet, have a double order of fries and a 32oz Rolling Rock on me my friend!

Liberty or Death on January 7, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Do you still think that diet and exercise choices are no one else’s business? Not when other people pay your medical bills. If I have to pay for my neighbor’s doctor bills, I’m going to demand that he stops smoking, stops eating pizza five nights a week, and starts getting some exercise. If necessary, I’ll find a way to make him stop.

Tyranny.

Speakup on January 7, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Illinidiva, is the $55/month what you pay without any contribution from your employer, or is that the actual market cost? If you’re in an employer plan, most employers pay 75% to 80% of the actual cost and charge the employee 25% or 20%.

Omnipotent, the U.S. generally pays all of the R&D costs for new drugs. Maybe there are some drugs that should be developed elsewhere or not at all unless they promise significant advantages over what’s currently available or unless they are targeted at diseases which aren’t now being adequately addressed.

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:42 PM

The rest of the plan’s cost is part of my work compensation, so I am really paying for the entire plan. Employers are just giving it to me in the form of tax free medical insurance rather than providing me the additional salary. I say it’s a fair deal and really prefer having good employer insurance than having a crappy gov’t plan. In fact, from what I remember from Hillarycare, the gold level insurance plan would cost $200/month, which would definitely pinch me financially. I’d have to go into the sucky, basic health coverage provided to the poor. So really single payer health system would redistribute health care away from me and to someone else, which strikes me as pretty unfair.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2009 at 5:51 PM

New Zealand refused entry to a British citizen and submarine cable expert because of his obesity. After he lost some weight, New Zealand finally relented — but his wife is still persona non grata because of her weight.

Ed, this is farking insane (the NZ Immigration & Health idiots, in this case). Here’s why.

There are three undersea HVDC power cables linking the North Island and South Island electrical grids. These cables were laid decades ago, and there was a failure last year that reduced the three cables to one (where the second cable had previously failed, IIRC). Info on the replacement and upgrade project is available on this fact sheet. Bottom line is, without that cable being replaced, the NZ grid is hosed.

These cables are unique for their length, power rating, and environment (if memory serves, the link is almost 30 miles long). Finding skilled engineers to support the replacement and upgrade project would likely have required a worldwide search.

And then here comes NZ Immigration, ready to shoot its own country in the foot over worrying that a skilled engineer is too fat.

Cost to care for grossly obese engineer: at most, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Cost to delay the cable replacement project because grossly obese engineer is not allowed to enter the country and work: potentially hundreds of millions of dollars (all it takes is one cold, dry winter to realise these costs).

There is absolutely no one as dumb as a government bureaucrat with his head buried completely up his a$$.

/shaking head

Wanderlust on January 7, 2009 at 5:52 PM

Pasadena has banned smoking in public, anywhere, including at the Rose Parade!!

Smoking Ban Enforced at Parade

PattyJ on January 7, 2009 at 6:01 PM

You can have my cheese steak sandwich and beer after you pry them from my cold dead hands…!!!

Liberty or Death on January 7, 2009 at 4:51 PM
Ok, who is with me on this sentiment?

Liberty or Death on January 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM

+1

Disturb the Universe on January 7, 2009 at 6:02 PM

Bring it on, more regulation, and jail fat people.

As a smoker who does not consume alcohol, I hope to see everyone else suffer because of higher prices. How about a $50 sixpack? $15 bag of potato chips? $8 Hershey Bar? $200 fifth of whiskey?

Also I am tired of the enlargement of America, I cannot find slacks in size 32×34 in a department store anywhere. I have to buy 34×34 or 32×32 and take them for alterations.

I weigh 10 pounds more than I did in 1970 (when I was 23 years old). Maybe Randy Newman could write a song “Fat People.”

Pelayo on January 7, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Omnipotent, the U.S. generally pays all of the R&D costs for new drugs. Maybe there are some drugs that should be developed elsewhere or not at all unless they promise significant advantages over what’s currently available or unless they are targeted at diseases which aren’t now being adequately addressed.

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 5:42 PM

Exactly, if the U.S. passes NHCare, you Canadians will pay TRIPLE for our drugs than you do now, because our gov’t isn’t going to eat those R&D costs.

Also, no company is knowingly working on a disease that already has a cure.

omnipotent on January 7, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Omnipotent, the U.S. generally pays all of the R&D costs for new drugs.

jim m, I’d love to see you substantiate that. Basic science and drug research are very, very different things.

You might be talking about the effect of the R&D tax credit too, but I don’t think the math gets you “all” the way there.

DrSteve on January 7, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Just think of the military health system and the VA – and PRESTO – a model for NHC.

It’s a nightmare and we need to keep that genie in the bottle and blow the bottle to H E double hockey sticks!!!

catmman on January 7, 2009 at 5:37 PM

That’s what my husband and I tell everybody who brings up how great socialized healthcare will be.

As to this:

and jail fat people

I have not done anything illegal, nor do I deserve to be sent to jail just because you can’t find pants in your size (seems to be a height problem, in any case). I can always get skinny, but people with that sort of attitude will always be an ass.

Anna on January 7, 2009 at 6:12 PM

We are just one more election away from this…

right2bright on January 7, 2009 at 6:18 PM

ARE COUNTRIES PAYING THEIR SHARE OF R&D COSTS?
Purchasing Power Parity and Average Patented Drug Prices (2001)

PPP % Patented Drugs %
U.S. 100.0 100.0
Italy 74.7 49.6
France 74.7 50.8
Germany 75.1 59.7
Canada 82.5 59.2
U.K. 74.8 63.4
Switzerland 85.4 64.3
Sweden 74.1 58.0

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2003, Table No. 1334, and Patented Medicines Prices Review Board 2002 Annual Report.

See http://ipi.org/ipi%5CIPIPublications.nsf/PublicationLookupFullText/E8C319D5BAF9DA2E86256ED6006CA1CD. This study is from a pro-capitalism organization,

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 6:26 PM

So, no more red beans and rice.

No more fat back and greens.

No more sweet potato pie.

I hear the race card being shuffled.

madmonkphotog on January 7, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Quit smoking and your pants problem is solved, Pelayo.

SarahW on January 7, 2009 at 6:41 PM

The one thing people seem to ignore in the health insurance discussion is how we use that health insurance. Isn’t insurance used to cover expenses that would otherwise be a burden or bankrupt a household? If so, then WHY DO WE USE INSURANCE TO SEE A DOCTOR ABOUT A COLD??!!!!!!! In a sense, we’re all over-insured.

The one thing McCain had right was supporting the HSA (Health Savings Accounts). Basically, a tax-free account which is used only for health care costs and can be claimed after retirement for any use like an IRA. Then have catastrophic insurance on top of that. Individuals take care of the small stuff, and insurance takes care of the big stuff – as it should be. The onus is on the individual to keep healthy. Ah, personal responsibility.

All I can say is I hope some close relative of a politician has a chronic disease in the same category as I do. That will ensure it gets covered.

InCali on January 7, 2009 at 6:44 PM

Imagine a country where the government regularly checks the waistlines of citizens over age 40. Anyone deemed too fat would be required to undergo diet counseling. Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further “reeducation” and their communities subject to stiff fines.

Liberals will say that sounds like a great plan. Conservatives don’t want to suffer the consequences of the bad decisions other people make, but liberals do not want anybody to suffer any consequences, ever.

angelat0763 on January 7, 2009 at 6:48 PM

Illinidiva on January 7, 2009 at 5:32 PM

Serious question (as I do not understand the workings of your system), do Americans pay for Medicare or Medicade (or whatever it is called for those on the dole who can’t or won’t pay for themselves) out of your taxes?

pcbedamned on January 7, 2009 at 6:54 PM

Yep, and (ironically for a nanny state )the next step is to ban children because they cost taxpayers money (think of how much we spend to educate the little buggers) and they pollute the planet, or something.

Buy Danish on January 7, 2009 at 7:03 PM

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax is a United States payroll (or employment) tax imposed by the federal government on both employees and employers to fund Social Security and Medicare—federal programs that provide benefits for retirees, the disabled, and children of deceased workers. For 2008, the employee’s share of the Social Security portion of the tax is 6.2% of gross compensation up to a limit of $102,000 of compensation (resulting in a maximum of $6,324.00 in tax). The employee’s share of the Medicare portion is 1.45% of wages with no limit. The employer is also liable for separate 6.2% and 1.45% Social Security and Medicare taxes. Self-employed people generally have to pay both portions (employee and employer).

jim m on January 7, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Liberty or Death on January 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM

I’m with you on the cheese steak but I hate alcohol. I doubt the libtards like my Dr. Pepper a lot more than they like beer though.

Darth Executor on January 7, 2009 at 7:11 PM

The same can be said of abortions, tobacco use, motorcycle helmets, and seatbelts.

Abortions (which the Court stated was a private right) are funded by the state — Planned Parenthood gets quite a bit of money from the Feds to help those poor teen incest victims cross state lines. People who use tobacco and then have resultant health problems get state aid (unlike poor Ulysses S. Grant, who had to deal with the throat cancer from his stogies all by himself). People who ride motorcycles almost always do so without medical insurance provided by their vehicle insurer — thus putting the onus for treatment for flattened brain pans on the State. Finally, indigents ejected from cars also get their flattened brain pans treated “for free” by the state.

If the state didn’t have a hand in all this, we would all be a lot freer. But since they do, I think we the people have a right to limit rights.

unclesmrgol on January 7, 2009 at 7:18 PM

I think we the people have a right to limit rights.

unclesmrgol on January 7, 2009 at 7:18 PM

Ok comrade, I limit your right to post on this and any future posts.

You’re right, that felt great!!!

omnipotent on January 7, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Doesn’t Japan have the highest percentage of smokers in the world?

JeffinSac on January 7, 2009 at 7:29 PM

Why go after the obese? Because its the only one of the “Seven Deadly Sins” that you can’t hide in public. We’re swinging with the pendulum, folks, from the “conformity” of the 50s to a new conformity, brought to you by our “elected officials”– who have now become so enboldened as to slowly start revealing their true Socialistic natures. Political Correctness gone berserk and in control. These are trying times, indeed.

Rethuglican on January 7, 2009 at 7:33 PM

I see . . . and who decides the limits?

rplat on January 7, 2009 at 8:43 PM

Serious question (as I do not understand the workings of your system), do Americans pay for Medicare or Medicade (or whatever it is called for those on the dole who can’t or won’t pay for themselves) out of your taxes?

pcbedamned on January 7, 2009 at 6:54 PM

As was stated above, Americans pay something called FICA taxes from their paycheck. A common joke when people enter the work force is who is FICA and why is he taking my money. The majority of FICA is for SS; the Medicare portion is minimal. I pay perhaps $30 or so per month on my salary. My employer pays FICA as well. The money from the taxes goes into a “trust fund” and pays for retirees. Everyone has Medicare once they turn 65.

Medicaid is paid for from income tax revenue. The states get specific block grants to pay for Medicaid. There are also quite complicated rules regarding pricing. The pharma. companies have to provide the lowest prices to the gov’t on Medicaid claims. There’s also a program that allows hospitals with significant # of poor patients to get gov’t prices. I work with pharma. pricing, so I have an idea about some of the more complicated stuff.

In addition to the above programs, there are lots of other health programs in the budget. CHIP is the most infamous one. It was supposed to provide the children of the working poor with health care and is ironically funded by the cigarette tax. The issue with this one is mission creep; the states administer this program like Medicaid due to COL differences (it costs more to like in NY than Arkansas) and all programs have their own limits but some of the limits are too high. The Dems. actually wanted to make people making over $80K eligible for this program. $80K is a pretty good living even in somewhere like Chicago and could easily afford a monthly health insurance plan. Moreover, the only people making that money who aren’t insured are self-employed and cheap.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2009 at 8:46 PM

Of greater significance though, is the fact that there is no Constitutional authorization for the fedgov to intrude into the health industry – to any degree.

Apparently America decided that the Constitution is no longer relevant at some point….I must have missed it.

LimeyGeek on January 7, 2009 at 4:54 PM

the Constitution was tossed out years before LimeyGeek.

seems to me that folks are just now waking up to those so called “reasonable” controls passed years ago.

heh … and everyone thought the government had their best interest in mind with

- seat belts
- trigger locks
- 1 gpf toilets
- gov’t mileage mandates
- …. pick one …

… everyone see where it got you? nothing but a nanny state.

ready for the sacrifice to fix it?

AZ_Redneck on January 7, 2009 at 9:15 PM

The money from the taxes goes into a “trust fund” “ponzi scheme” and …

Illinidiva on January 7, 2009 at 8:46 PM

fixed it …

AZ_Redneck on January 7, 2009 at 9:18 PM

Test

Charles Martel on January 7, 2009 at 10:31 PM

January 7, 2029

Greetings global citizen,

You are to please report to the nearest End Journey Station at the conclusion of your last work day. As you are aware, in accordance with the Society Healthcare Cost Reduction Act of 2027, any citizen that is no longer gainfully contributing to the greater good and is over the age of 60, you are granted the privilege of making your End Journey.

The great, global society sincerely thanks you for your many years of service to the people.

You have until Noon tomorrow to comply or you will be collected by force.

Thank you,

Ministry of Service and Health

cryptojunkie on January 7, 2009 at 11:06 PM

Comment of the Day: rplat at 4:35 PM
.
But redshirt at 5:25 PM is nanny of the day.

Mark30339 on January 7, 2009 at 11:27 PM

Forced prenatal testing and genetic counseling. We don’t want to be paying for children with Down syndrome if we can help it! Mandatory terminations for “fetuses” that are unacceptable. Then of course there is the Groningen Protocol for those babies that slip through the cracks. A master race for all. Good times – universal healthcare – good times…

Candy Slice on January 7, 2009 at 11:57 PM

It makes me wonder, if the US goes with NHS, would they start forcing women to have abortions regardless of any moral or religious objection. In progressive Democrat land, would all pregnant women be required to get an amniocentesis or CVS test? Then, if a severe disease or disorder was detected, would they be required to get an abortion because the cost of the child’s care would be too expensive for NHS? It’s a terrifying thought but is it really that far fetched based on what is happening in other “progressive” countries as well as cities here in the US?

Modern day eugenics.

ExcessivelyDiverted on January 7, 2009 at 5:23 PM

I think it’s a definite possibility. And those of us who already are blessed with a child with Down syndrome may find that our children will be denied life saving treatments because of the burden on the system.

Candy Slice on January 8, 2009 at 12:15 AM

It already happens here. Smokers are charged a higher premium than nonsmokers. Older people are charged more than younger people. What utopian fantasyland do proponents of national healthcare live in where they think the same thing wouldn’t happen if the government were footing the bill? Insurance, by its very nature, is a game of risks. Take a big risk, pay a bigger premium — regardless of who is covering the risk.

Hey, here’s a novel idea: What if we didn’t subsidize healthcare AT ALL except for those (handful of) truly indigent/disabled citizens? What if we paid every able-bodied full-time worker a salary where they were able to cover the cost of their own care? I wonder what would happen? Might the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs actually go DOWN? Why, I think it would.

NoLeftTurn on January 8, 2009 at 12:41 AM

Are you suggesting that the world’s most expensive system produces good results when compared to those systems which ‘don’t work?’

lexhamfox on January 7, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Not that you care about reality but:

1) The US is not the most expensive, not when all factors are considered.
2) The US does provide the best health care in the world.

MarkTheGreat on January 8, 2009 at 8:36 AM

You can sue the NHS in the UK where it is socialized.

The UK has loser pays rules.

MarkTheGreat on January 8, 2009 at 8:38 AM

Question: Each time we criticize universal healthcare we point to the obvious failures, the UK. But proponents of universal healthcare point to Sweden.

Can we use the failures of the Swedish healthcare system to show why it’s not a good idea sometime please?

ballz2wallz on January 8, 2009 at 9:16 AM

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