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Why America Should Not Become Europe

August 5, 2009

There is a reason we broke from Mother England.  There is a reason we have not wholeheartedly embraced the socialist techniques of Europe.  It’s the same reason we are the most desired destination for immigrants (legal and illegal) around the world.  It’s the same reason our soldiers volunteer to fight in distant lands and put their lives and limbs on the line.  It’s the same reason our Founders pledged their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor.”  Freedom.  That state of existence which allows us to  make our own way, like the pioneers of the West, to pull out what is best inside of us and achieve, and accomplish and, yes, have that American dream of our own place, with a garden, a car and a family.  In America there is no limit to where you can go with a can-do attitude and the right amount of effort.  Let Europeans affect disdain for our way of life — but take note how many come to live here. 

And so, the great genius of American know-how prospers in a context of capitalism and free markets and limited government.   Our innovations in medical science surpass all other nations because people are allowed and encouraged to work hard and create and invent, make mistakes and start all over again.  In fact people from all the world come here to receive medical treatment.  John Stossel did a recent great piece on the American medical system compared to others.  Check it out here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab8cDxLNRkE&NR=1

And yet there appears to be a desire to be like Europe from our leadership in their desire to have a single-payer Government-run medical system.  This video shows how our President has  suggested in the past that this type of system is really what America needs:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-bY92mcOdk.  The current push for reform could just be the first step because, after all, once the alternative Government system is in place, either (i) private insurance will fade away being unable to compete with the uncompetable or (ii) Congress and the White House will continue to attack the profits and “unfairness” of private insurance.   After all,  President lambasted the insurance companies for making large profits in a recession so if they continue to make profits they will be stopped.  And how is that relevant exactly?  We want people to make money in and out of recession.  That is what makes our country free.  How is it that an American President can be criticizing people for legally making profits in tough or good times!  American entrepreneurs breathe for the opportunity to make money in any  economy.   

Why do we want to be like Europe?  It is not in our nature.  Americans prefer independence and innovation, not dependence and stagnation.  Let us solve the problems of the uninsured through state and local efforts and through charity, not through the horribly inefficient Federal government.  It doesn’t matter who is in the White House.  This is not the American way.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2009 2:15 am

    I do not believe that America wants insurance companies to make profit at the expense of the health of its citizens. That is why the health reform law will contain, among other things, a ban on policy non-renewal as the result of pre-existing conditions. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation on earth that does not have universal healthcare and we do not have much to show for it except shorter lifespans, higher infant mortality rates and a generally more sick population. Nevertheless, the healthcare reform law which emerges from this administration will not include a single payor system. I do however, agree with you that the new system will bring us one step closer to a single payor system and thank goodness for that. That is what we will eventually achieve in order to keep our citizens as healthy as those from the other industrialized nations.

    To the victor goes the spoils. The American people have spoken and as a result, the Democrats overwhelmingly control the executive and legislative branches of government. The wishes of those that elected them will result in substantive healthcare reform and there is nothing that the Republicans can do about it. They should just sit back and enjoy the benefits of said reform.

    -lynnrockets.com

    • August 7, 2009 2:16 pm

      We are also the only industrialized nation to have a Federal Republic, an independent judiciary and a greater degree in freedom in deciding you own path in life. Automakers make profits though their product kills 40,000 people every year. Sure the Government could force them to make cars like tanks and less people would be killed, but that is impractical and no American wants that. Americans don’t view life expectancy as the measure of the good life — freedom is the basic measure. If life expectancy were the measure, our Founders would not have pledged their lives to found our nation. Furthermore, as the polls are showing and these various town halls are showing, people are not in favor of Government mandates when it comes to healthcare choices. Your starting point is not shared by many Americans, namely, that healthcare is a basic Government obligation. It is not in any constitution, nor the Declaration. Show me one instance of where a US Government takeover actually made an industry more efficient. But apparently you disagree with the the President’s idea that the public option is simply to make insurance companies really compete.

      As for the cause of higher life expectancy, is it universal healthcare or are there other causes? Can you prove the cause? Finland, Germany and Denmark (each with their own versions of socialized care) have lower life expectancies than the US. [I realized later and noted below that I misread wikipedia figures on Finland and Germany, though I understand that the wikipedia source for ranking has been criticized by the OECD. One problem is that the U.S. is much more accurate in its data collection and reporting regarding life spans of its people.] Maybe Germany’s ranking has something to do with diet, smoking etc? Russia’s life expectancy is abysmal despite huge Government supports from its once cash rich treasuries. And with that country its not only diet and drinking, but mismanagement. You see, Americans have a natural distrust of centralized government. They rightly sense that accumulation of power in a bureacracy with a few overseers leads to inefficiency in the former and corruption in the latter. Americans sense that power given to the Government can lead to denial of services simply because they have ceded their authority to the Government.

      As for who won the election. Yes, the President won the White House. But a coalition of Democrats hold Congress. Witness the blue dog defiance of late. Also witness what happens to cap and trade in the Senate. Your statement is but a vain hope or strange effort to dispel a will to fight. Where legislators Republican and Democrat don’t like a proposal of the White House or Congressional leadership of course they will fight.

      • August 7, 2009 3:52 pm

        Despite your assertions to the contrary it is known fact that most Americans support health care reform. I defy you to find one objective poll that says otherwise.

        By the way, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany and Switzerland are all federal republics. Also, Finland, Germany and Denmark are ranked 33rd, 39th and 47th respectively in terms of life expectancy. the U.S. is ranked 45th and well below the national health care nations of Japan 3rd, Hong Kong 6th, France 8th, Switzerland 9th, Sweden 10th, Australia 11th and Canada 14th.

        Also the Constitution in its preamble calls for efforts to “promote the general welfare.” Providing health care would without doubt promote the general welfare.

        As for government takeovers of industry making said industry more efficient, have you ever considered the highly efficient French energy industry?

        As for your example of the U.S auto industry, have you ever considered that it is already heavily regulated by the govt. for safety standards (i.e safety belts, crashworthiness etc.) and fuel efficiency?

  2. August 7, 2009 4:59 pm

    Here is a 2000 discussion from a report on Japan and US life expectancy at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FSL/is_3_72/ai_65539094/:

    “Of the 191 countries ranked by WHO, Japan has the highest healthy life expectancy (ie, 74.5 years). The remainder of the top 10 are Australia, 73.2 years; France, 73.1 years; Sweden, 73.0 year; Spain, 72.8 years; Italy, 72.7 years; Greece, 72.5 years; Switzerland, 72.5 years; Monaco, 72.4 years; and Andorra, 72.3 years.

    Factors such as a low rate of heart disease associated with a traditional low fat diet and relatively low smoking rates contribute to Japan’s ranking. Scientists at WHO, however, note that the Japanese national diet is changing as red meat becomes more common, and lung cancer rates are expected to increase as the long-term effects of post-World War II smoking popularity begin to hit.

    The United States ranked 24th in the DALE rankings, with an average healthy life expectancy of 70.0 years. In further classification, US women are expected to outlive US men by 5.1 years, as the life expectancy for women in the United States is 72.6 years versus 67.5 years for men. This trend, however, is seen in most advanced countries.

    Researchers found life expectancy for Americans to be rather surprising, as it is lower than most other advanced countries. Reasons given for this include high coronary heart disease rates; high levels of violence, particularly homicide; the HIV epidemic; high tobacco use leading to lung cancer and chronic lung disease; and groups such as Native Americans, rural African Americans, and inner city poor having extremely poor health more characteristic of a developing country.”

    Diet, violence, smoking are the leading causes cited by this research. Oh I don’t disagree with you regarding the desire for healthcare reform. I disagree that this means people want Government run healthcare. As for polling, here is a late July one from NBC/WSJ: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32206998/, which shows that more people think the President’s idea is a bad one than a good. A similar late July result here: http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2009/07/27/daily51.html. And check out newsbusters take on the apparent pro-White House NYT/CBS poll here: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/06/21/nyt-cbs-stock-pro-obamacare-poll-obama-voters. They call the poll a “truly disgraceful deception” because the poll intentionally overpolled Obama supporters.

    Regulations for safety, fuel efficiency are one thing. Setting up a rival car company with an unlimited budget and politicians on the board with an agenda to destroy the competition is quite another.

    Our Federal Republic is defined by our Declaration and Constitution. And none of these other countries, however labeled, have the protections of Federalism that are guaranteed by our Constitution.

    The general welfare clause was not meant to be an open-ended grant of power to Congress to do whatever it saw fit. The very structure of the Constitution shows that to be true from the specification of enumerated powers to the reservation of all else to the States and the people. Why spell out specific powers of Congress if you add “and anything else Congress thinks is the right thing to do?”

    It looks like I did mistake the rankings of Germany and Finland, but not Denmark, nor Russia. I mistakely mixed one column with another at wikipedia. Ireland, Taiwan and Chile are below the US and all have nationalized healthcare.

  3. August 8, 2009 2:27 am

    Nonetheless, health care reform will become reality this time around. Also you do not seem to give much credence to the quotation you provided above which states, “Native Americans, rural African Americans and inner city poor having extremely poor health more characteristic of a developing nation.” That proves that Americans need better health care. There is no excuse for the richest country on earth to have health care “more characteristic of a developing nation.” The private sector has failed at health care. The nationalized health care nations dominate the highest rankings of health care, not the the U.S. Change is gonna come, thank God.

  4. kgmadman permalink
    August 9, 2009 7:35 pm

    I think in honor of the American soldier, people like Palin and her media friends should “quit making stuff up”.

    • August 9, 2009 9:54 pm

      Kgmadman, can you be more specific please?

      • August 10, 2009 3:19 am

        I’ll be more specific. She should stop making up things like the foolish idea that Obama’s health care reform plan contains the establishment of “death panels.” Before making a fool of herself, she should have done some homework and she would have learned that the section of the House bill that she criticized was inserted by Republicans. And I hate to admit it, but it is a darned good provision to counsel folks (if they so desire) on how to prepare living wills and durable powers of attorney. Palin is now imploding before our very eyes.

  5. August 10, 2009 3:32 am

    Lynnrockets,

    You clearly did not read the Governor’s Facebook statement. I have reproduced it in full in my latest post in case you wish to and in case you wish to think before you write. Once you do read it, you will see that there is no reference to the “life counsel” language that has gained so much attention. (Also, please identify exactly which Republicans proposed this language.) Instead, Governor Palin’s has criticized the very idea of Government health insurance because she believes it will inevitably lead to rationing of care, which, of course, means decisions about who gets to live and who will be left to wait and die. Her insight is that with Government bureacrats in charge the “unproductive” will not get the rations. Perhaps the Governor could have said “life and death panel,” but her choice of words is more effective.

    • August 10, 2009 3:50 am

      From ABC News, read this and weep:

      Asked specifically what the former governor was referring to when painting a picture of an Obama “death panel” giving her parents or son Trig a thumbs up or down based on their productivity, Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton responded in an email: “From HR3200 p. 425 see ‘Advance Care Planning Consultation’.”

      That’s a curious reading of page 425 of the House Democrats’ bill, which refers to “advance care planning consultation,” defined as a senior and a medical practitioner discussing “advance care planning, if…the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years.”

      This includes an “explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to,” an “explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses,” and an “explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.”

      It directs the medical provider to give the patients “a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families with advance care planning,” and an explanation “of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title,” as well as “an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar orders.”

      Factcheck.org disputes this interpretation, saying “accepted definition of end-of-life planning means thinking ahead about the care you would like to receive at the end of your life — which may include the choice to reject extraordinary measures of life support, or the choice to embrace them….the bill would not make these sessions mandatory.”

      Likewise, Politfact suggests that this interpretation was “Pants-on-Fire” untrue.

      Oh, poor Sarah, you’ve stepped in it again.

      • August 10, 2009 6:04 am

        Have you seen the email? Have you seen the question? Forgive me, but I usually try to fact-check anything the major news media says about Gov. Palin after debacles like Eisenstadt and MSNBC. In any event, I have already explained the Governor’s criticism which is more fundamental than a particular provision of the bill though that provision is a feature of how such statutory language could be interpreted by agencies that will be faced with an overriding mandate to ration care. Furthermore, this particular provision says nothing about Downs Syndrome children as it apparently is a reference to a “senior.”

        Keep it up Governor!

  6. August 10, 2009 4:29 am

    Oh, I forgot. It was Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine) that initially proposed advance care planning in the House bill in question and then endorsed passage of the bill once it was included therein.

    • August 10, 2009 5:58 am

      You should check out Sen. Snow’s voting record. Not quite your loyal Republican.

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