Archive for health care

Conservatives and Ethical Egoism

Posted in current events, opinion, politics with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Recently in my Philosophy class, we discussed the school of Ethical Egoism. Essentially, Ethical Egoism is the idea that everyone’s actions are based on one’s looking out for their self-interest. No one does anything to help out other people; rather, people are only charitable when it is in their best interest to be charitable, when they will gain something from being compassionate. The thought of assisting others in need doesn’t even occur to them until their interests cross.

I am not a huge fan of this school of thought. I consider myself a pretty compassionate person, and the thought that I am only helping others because it is in my best interests is disturbing. The only satisfaction I get from assisting others comes from the positive feelings I get from giving of myself. I don’t seek recognition in my charitable acts, and anyone that does is missing the point.

In class, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of subscribing to Ethical Egoism, and along with the reading, found that taken to the extreme, Ethical Egoism is bad news. One of the most conclusive arguments we discussed was that if everyone acts in their own interests, and do only those things that are beneficial to them, it opens up a wide world of pain wrong-doing (our book calls it “wickedness”). A physician, acting in his best interests of making a lot of money, will “water down” drugs but still charging the same amount of money. It is good for him, but terrible for his patients, who may die because of insufficient medication.

This made me think about our current political climate, and how it seems that our politicians are acting in their best interests and not ours. The most notable example of this idea comes with the health care reform bill.

For the record: I hate harping about health care reform. I hate hearing other people harp about health care reform. The issue is over and done with. It’s time to focus on bigger and better things.

Republicans, and some Democrats, tried their best to shout down the health care reform bill, saying that is wasn’t in the interests of the American people. On the contrary, reading a summary of the health care bill shows that it is in the interest of nearly every American: 32 million people will become insured, the deficit will be reduced by $143 billion in the first ten years, and by 2014, people with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied coverage. (It should be noted that a “pre-existing condition” can pretty much be anything, from heart disease and diabetes to asthma and hay fever. Yes, hay fever.)

Although health care reform was definitely in the best interest of the American people, passing the reform wasn’t in the Republican’s best interest. It’s a well-known fact that Republicans are BFFs with insurance companies, and out current health care system loves insurance companies (as shown by this video describing why we need “government-run, socialized, universal heath care”).

I don’t know about you, but here, I see a classic example of Ethical Egoism: it was in the best interest of Conservatives to vote against health care reform because they were getting a lot of monetary support from the insurance companies, which make huge profits by taking out huge chunks of the money we pay for coverage. The cost of pursuing these interests is leaving millions of Americans in the dust. How ethical is that?

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Letters to the Editor: A Potpourri of Opinions

Posted in opinion with tags , , , , , on April 9, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

When I have the window open for creating a new blog post, I get a list of the categories I’ve created, and the subcategories that go with them. And as I was looking through these categories, I noticed that my “Letters to the editor” category only had one post filed under it. “Surely,” I muttered aloud, “I will be able to find another interesting letter to the editor to reply to.”

Lo and behold, there are several letters in today’s issue of the Des Moines Register that are fairly short and pertinent to topics I’m passionate about. It’s like a dream come true, really.

The full list of letters can be found here. I’m posting, it their entirety, the three letters that I wish to resond to. I do have an opinion on the others, but I feel that these three are the three most pressing issues currently on my mind, so I’m better able to reply to them. Any italicizing or bolding is purely my own emphasis.

HEALTH CARE:

There were a couple of letters about the health care reform bill in today’s issue. And it was welcome to see someone supporting the bill rather than slinging partisan catchphrases to oppose it. I agree with this letter in its entirety:

In regard to Glenn Fanslow’s April 4 letter opposing the health care reform law that was recently passed: The American people spoke loudly when they elected Barack Obama president. They wanted change, and change is what they’re getting.

The opposition can continue playing the partisan game if they want to, but they’re going to be left behind in history. As time passes and more of the health care reform goes into effect, and people see the sky isn’t really falling, it’ll get harder to argue that it is.

I’m thankful every day that Congress, at the president’s urging, has taken the difficult steps to first lead us out of the recession. These social issues are going to get resolved instead of being talked to death by the Republican Party.

Sen. Chuck Grassley even has the gall to tout sections of the health care law that he put in – then, in lockstep with his party, voted against.

I especially like the last paragraph of this letter, because it shows what many Republicans are doing and have done with this bill. They complain about how there was “no discussion” about the health care reform bill, and how the Democrats “shoved it down the throats of the American people.” Yet when there was ample opportunity to have discussion and to be bipartisan, they fouled it all up by not talking about it, and instead wanting it to be forgotten and to “prove” that Democrats can’t keep their promises. It’s disgusting to think that the people who are leading this country are driving it into the ground with ignorance and faulty rhetoric.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE:

Speaking of ignorance and faulty rhetoric:

I strongly disagree with the Rev. Chet Guinn’s assertion that the issue of marriage is “insignificant” compared to issues like global warming (“Churches Must Renew Shared Global Values,” April 2).

As Pope Benedict XVI has pointed out, social issues and environmental issues are intricately linked. It all relates to God’s creation. Respect for nature includes respect for human nature.

If we seek to defend part of God’s creation by protecting the environment, it is important for us to defend other aspects of that creation as well. This includes defending marriage as the natural union of the two complementary sexes.

There are several problems I have with these sorts of arguments, the main one being that people assume that marriage is a gift from God. It’s not. Marriage is a part of all cultures, way before the invention of religion, and even remote, God-less, “savage” cultures, who have no exposure at all to world events, have marriage ceremonies.

Also, there is absolutely no correlation between global warming and same-sex marriage. Letting gays marry won’t increase the global temperature, and cutting down carbon emissions won’t turn gay people straight.

The fight for same-sex marriage isn’t to push some radical, homosexual agenda to turn everyone queer. The fight for same-sex marriage is one for equality: same-sex partners want to have the same benefits that Mr. and Mrs. Robinson get when they say “I do.” That’s it.

Same-sex couples want to visit each other in the hospital, they want to adopt children, they want their belongings to go to the other in case of death. They don’t want to start Hetero-Concentration Camps and kill straight people who don’t want to kiss a member of the same sex.

(I’m reminded of a webcomic that I frequent called Surviving the World. The link given is to Thursday’s comic about how blood donors are similar to gigolos, but it’s the text underneath that I’m a huge fan of. Read it, and let me know what you think).

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY:

This topic came in a two-fer: the editorial cartoon, and a letter to the editor. The cartoon has a caption at the top that reads, “Who has the ultimate responsibility for preventing obesity in children?” On the left is Ronald McDonald; on the right, “Parents”. To me, it shows that parents are quick to blame others for their faulty parenting, and never take the blame themselves. The letter, though not about obesity, sends an equally strong message:

How do basketball players get good at shooting three pointers? They practice – a whole lot. How do children become better readers? They practice – at home – a whole lot.

If parents do not require children to read every night, or read with them, better reading scores will not happen. We do not need to spend money on an investigation to solve this problem.

We need parents to take charge of their children, and work together to make daily reading a pleasurable part of their lives.

It’s true: parents are quick to say, “Well, it’s not my fault that my child doesn’t know how to read. If the teachers would teach more effectively, then it wouldn’t be an issue.”

However, part of the responsibility of being a parent is to also be a teacher. When your child is still young and impressionable, it’s your job to teach your children right from wrong. The parental teaching doesn’t stop when the child goes to school. You teach your child to sit, crawl, walk, talk, tie their shoes, apologize, wash themselves, dress themselves, use the toilet, and a myriad of other tasks. Why does reading–along with healthy eating habits, and so much more–have to take a backseat to all of this?

I appreciate any comments agreeing or disagreeing with this post. Remember to be a fan on Facebook and follow this blog on Twitter.

Enough is Enough

Posted in current events, politics with tags , , , , on March 26, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Republicans, Tea Party protesters, conservatives: This has gone too far.

I get that you’re upset about the passage of the health care reform bill. I get that you didn’t like some of the language in the bill. I get that you didn’t like how the bill was “shoved down your throats,” even though this was 100 years in progress, and major campaigning had been going on for a year.

What I don’t get is how inappropriate, violent, and childish this backlash has been. Take a look at what’s been going on since the health care bill was passed:

  • Two different people on Twitter called for the assassination of Barack Obama.
  • Rep. Bart Stupak got an obscene voice mail, calling him a “baby-killing motherf___er” and hoping that he “bleeds out [his] ass, gets cancer, and dies.”
  • Rep. Louise Slaughter had a brick thrown through her window and a voicemail threatening to have snipers kill all of the children of people who voted for the bill.

This has to stop. This is absolutely unacceptable. I get that there was a better way to go around getting health care reform, but there is also a better way to go around voicing your discomfort.

People had their qualms with President Bush when he was in office. And I’ll even admit that I had a few choice words for the man every so often. But nobody threw bricks, nobody left voicemails, and definitely nobody so publicly and adamantly called for his assassination!

Where have our heads gone? What kind of world has this turned into that everything that is said is taken at face value, and that no thought goes into our actions anymore?

And these aren’t rebellious teenagers! The stereotypical demographic that would be causing this much destruction and mayhem are actually the peaceful once! It’s older Americans, people over 40 years old, that are acting like children, throwing tantrums like children do, and making nuisances of themselves.

The main argument I keep hearing from people is that as taxpayers, they don’t want to pay for abortions, the way the new health care bill proposes. Guess what? As tax payers, you’re already paying for stuff you don’t even realize you’re paying for. This website lays out where taxes currently go:

32% Social Security, Medicare and Other Retirement

  • Income support for retired and disabled persons
  • Medical care for the elderly
23% National Defense, Veterans and Foreign Affairs

  • Equip, modernize and pay our armed forces
  • Fund national defense activities
  • Veterans benefits and services
  • Military and economic assistance to foreign countries
  • Maintenance of our embassies abroad
19% Social Programs

  • Medicaid
  • Food stamps
  • Health programs
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Assisted housing and social programs
8% Net interest on the debt

  • Interest payments on the national debt
12% Physical, Human and Community Development

  • Agricultural programs
  • Natural resources and environment programs
  • Transportation programs
  • Aid for elementary and secondary education
  • Direct assistance to college students Space, energy and general science programs
2% Law Enforcement and General Government

  • Federal law enforcement
  • Prisons
  • General costs of the federal government
  • Collection of taxes and legislative activities

I’m a taxpayer. I don’t want to pay for military support, because I don’t feel we should be a warring nation. But I pay it anyway. I also pay for illegal immigrants to use the emergency rooms at hospitals. I don’t want to, but I pay it anyway. I don’t want to pay for prisons or unemployment, but I have to, because that’s what taxpayers do.

This is the only con I’m hearing. I don’t want my taxes to go toward something I oppose.

Too bad.

There are much better pros to the whole thing: better health care, more available treatments, better insurance, and so on and so forth.

You say you love America, but you can’t even help your fellow Americans. It’s pathetic. It’s horrific. It’s unChristian.

Something must be done, and it starts with the American people. Find better ways to express your disgust. Write a Congressperson, makes phone calls, campaign.

Don’t be losers, throwing bricks, making obscene phone calls and death threats. And for God’s sake, if you’re going to “threaten” to move out of the country, do so. Find out for yourself how well you have it here.

Words cannot describe how disgusted I am with you people. Shame on you. From the bottom of my heart: shame, shame on you.

Politics and the Playground: Democrats are Geeks and Republicans are Bullies

Posted in current events, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Normally, I don’t let my political views sway what I write about. I believe I mentioned earlier–perhaps a couple of times–that my views are strictly my views, and I rarely, if ever, push them on people.

That being said: Republicans are bullies.

And also: Democrats are geeks.

And further still: Politicians are children.

And one more for good measure: Americans are just as childish.

If anyone watched any part of the health care vote on any news outlet last night, they were treated to probably one of the most immature demonstrations of American governmental procedure of all time. Everything you expected (Tea Party protesters shouting racial slurs at House Democrats), and some that you didn’t (A Republican calling Rep. Bart Stupak a “baby killer”), and some that are just so completely off the wall you’d think it was a surrealist play or something (Bricks being through through Democratic Party office windows).

The House was rarely, if ever, in order. Though the Representatives were formal in there procedures (yielding time, “Mr. Speaker,” etc.), there was an obvious hatred and disdain for the other party.

Absolutely no Republicans at all supported anything about the health care reform bill. At all. At times I wondered if it was because they truly thought the bill needed some work. But looking at the campaigning against the bill, the hateful propoganda against the bill, and the constant references to the bill as “ObamaCare,” I realized that it was only apposed because of it’s Islamo-socio-fascist tendancies.

If we’re to believe the gross exaggerations the most vocal Republicans were throwing out, you’d think that the Health Care Bill required that all American citizens were to become Muslims, be euthanized at 65, and have a manditory abortion twice a month, regardless of gender. You’d think that all of your money is going toward illegal immigrants getting cosmetic surgery, and that if you so much as thought about speaking ill of the bill, you were to be shot on sight.

That’s not to say that Democrats are perfect. Far from it: if they had been more vocal about what was actually in the bill, and would actually take a stand against Tea Party protesters who simply attended hearings to down down the Senators and Representatives, something more might have been done with the bill. Maybe there would have been a more productive discussion. Maybe there would have been changes made, and an actual compromise to the bill, rather than, and I’m quoting every Fox News “journalist” here, “shoving it down the American people’s throats.”

The whole debacle reminded me of my days as a child, playing on the playground, and watching the bullies and the geeks abuse and be abused.

Play this scenario out with me: Republicans are bullies, Democrats are geeks, the American people are the rest of the playground, and the health care bill is tag:

A friendly game of tag is being played, when one of the geeks realizes that the game is kind of becoming unfair, so he proposes a new game of tag. Maybe they were playing normal tag, and this geek would like to play freeze tag.

One of the bullies says, “You just want to change the game because you’re sick of losing all the time!”

The geek says, “Actually, I just don’t like how this game works, and I want to play a version that works for everyone.”

And the bully says, “The game is working fine as it is. We don’t need to change it.”

And other geeks start saying, “Actually, I’m not really having fun with it. And neither are other people on the playground.”

And the rest of the playground says, “Yeah, let’s change the game.”

And the bullies say, “You guys are just wussies. You’re just bringing up a change in the game because you want to avoid the fact that you’re losing!”

And the geeks say, “Well, everyone is losing right now. Let’s just play freeze tag.”

And the bullies say, “Look around you! Nobody else wants to play freeze tag!”

And the rest of the playground says, “Actually, I don’t mind changing the game.” But a few say, “Actually, yeah, I don’t want to play freeze tag.”

So the bullies start shouting. And the geeks can’t handle the shouting. They try to reason with the bullies, to get a compromise, maybe just tweak the rules, but they end up getting beat up after school.

Finally, the time comes when they want to change the game once and for all. The geeks gathered a lot of support for freeze tag, but the bullies know that it’ll never get changed, and they hope to play one last game of tag before the bell rings, signaling the end of recess.

They take a vote, the way all kids do when they want to be fair about changing the game. None of the bullies want to change the game. More geeks than bullies want to change it. The motion passes.

Then the bullies start calling the geeks names, evil names, and threaten to beat them up again unless they change their mind. But the game has been changed, and there’s nothing the bullies can do about it except whine and moan some more and pout because they didn’t get their way.

This is an important, 100-years-in-the-making decision that could mean better health care for everyone in America, and the Republicans don’t like it, only because it is Islamo-socio-fascist-ObamaCare.

Kids these days and their running the country. Whatever shall we do with them?