Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CT and the Insurance Industry

Here is a PDF I found on the insurance industry in the state of CT. I don't know how accurate it is.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Call for Public Option Support

What does it mean that the government will take over health care?

A suspicion of big government is cited by libertarians and conservatives alike. But, what does it mean? The implicit commitment is that we are less free if the government has more authority to enforce a set of provisions that affect all our lives. Citizens are less free the bigger the government. However, this is all smoke and mirrors. This is only meant to further the interests of those capable of already flourishing in a free enterprise system. Moreover, this type of fanatical skepticism impedes people and legislators to often come together and address a massively huge injustice, like health care. We should put our skepticism a different way.

I propose the more just a society, the more free the people since morality protects everyone impartially from the predilections of strife and injustice that plague human beings. We are a vicious species to each other, and the law and our civil institutions keep us in check. As Aristotle said so long ago, the object of government is to inculcate good habit so that we can all flourish. The ultimate end of our society is human happiness (by happiness, I mean flourishing). Are we to think that the United States government is any less responsive to the needs of its citizens? The United States, also, has the end of happiness in mind when it governs; otherwise, I would never vote if it weren’t true. Our Congress just needs to be reminded of the basic duties of morality.

If the bill passes the Senate, it will meet the public option in the House bill in conference committee. We should support the public option in health care reform since it will benefit everyone to have free accessibility to health care needs that the insured take for granted. I have lived in two countries where the public option is a reality and found it very comforting to know that no matter what happened to me, I could still have at least my most basic medical needs met. I had this right as a visitor to the UK and Canada while a graduate student. You would think that the most basic rights of health care could be achieved in the wealthiest country on earth.

Health Care Reform

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the death of any public option, I am skeptical the health care reform bill will do much to solve anything. In a telephone conversation, I called Lieberman's staffer and called him "a prick and a coward" (had it out with their staffer). It probably wasn't the most productive call. Still, I can't help and wonder why Republicans and this independent in the Senate are worried about the cost. They are fine supplying a military budget for two theatres of war ($70 billion), and they are fine with a budget of $515 million in the early part of this fiscal year.

Consider this statement from his website

While I objected to some provisions that I believed would unnecessarily add to the national debt, raise taxes, or endanger the fiscal solvency of the Medicare program, there is much that is needed and worthy in the core bill that I support.

So, this is the only thing I could find on his website as to why he wouldn't support a public option. His worries are all financial, better put with the phrase 'financial solvency'. This seems either really concerned to the spending or a completely vague rhetorical trick. It's a little ambiguous given how much we are shelling out in stimulus spending (Lieberman voted for HR 1 Economic Package which allocated 317 billion and increase tax credits on 2/13/09), and military budgets. And the unpopular observation by me is the American public does not pay enough in taxes like other contemporary Western democracies that all have public health care as a basic right.

What's more is the ethical argument. Whatever the cost financially, the public option is a right, and should be fought on these grounds alone. Rights are secured by the people and respected in the practices of governments. At least, one hopes this is so. Moreover, if a large portion of the population is either under-insured or un-insured, then their suffering prohibits the flourishing of our society. So, the philosopher in me has not really unpacked these two intuitions, but at the very outset, I would defend a public option along deontological and neo-Aristotelian grounds.

One could also find the backing of our Founding Fathers when Jefferson says that "Freedom and happiness of man are the sole objects of all legitimate government" and he also said "The most sacred duties of governments is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens." This talk of justice and duty are exactly what is needed, and a public option does just that, allows for everyone to access basic health care needs. The problem is that we think in terms of cost. How much will such accessibility cost me (the individual) in taxes? The problem is to think like that is already to think outside the commitments of morality and justice. Once we put the burden and cost before us to see if it is prudent to do something, we have already succumbed to the same basic instrumental rationality that befit Wall Street moguls to maximize what was beneficial for themselves at the expense of an entire nation's economy. The massive injustice of both health care reform and the economic meltdown turn on those that maximize their own benefit at the suffering of others.

Morality requires we take the interest of others "to heart." To live a moral life is to be committed to the simple fact that our actions must take others into account. Even if Republican assessments about the cost are right, do we dispose of the very option that meshes with the need to address an injustice. Lieberman's talk of financial solvency can be solved. It's called stop supporting Israel, war and a huge ass military that fights unnecessary wars.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Break

So, I will stop posting for a while, and take a break for the holidays. I will post a series of links of upcoming call for papers with cool Continental departments shortly. Of course, these are just re-statements of Continental Philosophy Blog, but the more people post the CFP, the more calls will get out there. I will be taking up Nussbaum, Aristotle and a host of commentaries on the Nichomachean Ethics. New problematics in Kant's ethical writings and Levinas will appear on my radar.

Take care and have a good holiday break.

Carbondale Chasmite!