Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/29/17

1.  The GOP’s travails as it tries to fix, replace or repeal Obamacare continues to be mocked in both the conservative and liberal media, and by the Democrats who caused the crisis in the first place. Ethically, the party is behaving like a responsible party should with major legislation: not moving in lockstep, with sufficient members of Congress withholding support until the new law appears to be competent and an improvement of the current one. The damned if you do/damned if you don’t game Democrats and the media are playing is wildly dishonest and calculated to win political points at the expense of getting a better system than the festering mess called the Affordable Care Act (irresponsibly passed with public misrepresentations and parliamentary tricks by the other party.)

True, many of the balking Republicans are basing their opposition to the current law less on principle than on polls, which now show a majority of citizens don’t like the proposed bill. On matters of complexity and national importance, polls should play exactly no role in legislation at all. How many of those polled have read the bill or understand it? A tenth of a per cent? Less? Uninformed opinions based on hearsay, ignorance and propaganda are worthless (and after the 2016 election, polls may be as well) ; this is why we have representative democracy and not a direct democracy. Legislators and executive who use polls as crutches are either incompetent, dishonest, cowards, or all three.

2. Especially in light of the despicable tactics of Democrats who are accusing Republicans of killing people by reforming Obamacare, the proper Republican response, which would have the advantage of being both fair and politically smart, would be to announce, through the President:

The failure of the Affordable Care Act is now no longer debatable. Projections for 2018 show massive premium increases. Insurers are pulling out of many markets. The optimistic CBO projections, which critics correctly called absurd at the time, have been decisively shown to be wrong. This law was passed by one party only, using public disinformation,  dubious methods and dirty politics. It has made health care for the public as a whole less affordable, and done nothing to lower health care costs or improve health care quality.

It is now clear that the Democratic Party’s strategy is to shift responsibility for this fiasco to Republicans, by viciously attacking any attempts to fix Obamacare while also preparing to condemn the party if the current law leads to disaster, as it almost surely will on its current course. The Democrats, in short, are placing political considerations over the nation’s health and welfare. Therefore, as of today, the Republican Party will not seek to pass, nor will I sign into law, any health care insurance law or any revisions of the current Affordable Care Act that does not originate from Congressional Democrats, and that Congressional Democrats do not accept accountability for in every respect. The Republican Party will support any such bill, reserving of course the right to suggest additions and changes, but only if there is no question regarding the Democratic Party’s ultimate responsibility for its drafting, as an admission that their original law was fatally flawed.

In the absence of such a bill, I and the Republican Congress will allow the  this “signature legacy of President Obama” to continue, with the understanding that its failure is a Democratic failure, and the lack of a timely fix is entirely due to the cynical tactics of the party that created it.

3. Unethical Quote Of The Day That Is So Predictable That It Isn’t Worth Posting As The Unethical Quote of the Day: Salon

This will be a short break, a one-day experiment: June 27 will be Trump-Free Tuesday here on Salon.

We’ve been thinking about this for a while, and it seems like the right moment. There are so many other things to talk about and think about, in politics, culture or our daily lives. We are stuck with this guy for the foreseeable future, which is a difficult truth for many of us to handle. If we cannot dislodge him from the White House anytime soon, maybe we can start to deflate the outsized role he plays in our national psychology. This is a baby step in that direction.

How will Trump-Free Tuesday work? We have established some rules for ourselves — which we are prepared to break under certain circumstances we have tried to define in advance. (Those circumstances seem unlikely. But who knows what counts as likely anymore?)

We will not publish the president’s name on Tuesday or use his picture. We will not cover his outrageous Twitter utterances or deride his surrogates for whatever stupid things they may or may not say on television. (We try not to do that the rest of the time, too.) We’re certainly going to cover American politics and the United States government, but we will avoid focusing on the dominant personality at the top of the pyramid. We will strive to focus on issues and policies and how they are likely to affect the lives of our readers.

Note the smoking-gun line “If we cannot dislodge him from the White House anytime soon…”

The stunt echoes the Huffington Post’s decision during the campaign to refuse to post anything about candidate Trump, because, as we all now know, his campaign was a joke. It also is redolent of various news sources (Like the Washington Post) that have declared they will not print the actual manes of sports teams whose monikers they disapprove of as politically incorrect. In today’s ethics-free, principle-free version of journalism and punditry, reality literally doesn’t matter. What matters is that the public’s opinion is managed to achieve the ultimate goal, and if a website has to pretend that the President of the United States doesn’t exist because they don’t like him, then so be it.

The translation of the quote, just for the few who don’t immediately get it: “We at Salon are so biased that we can’t even realize when we are pointing to ourselves and declaring: “We aren’t ethical journalists! We aren’t trustworthy analysts! We aren’t good citizens either, or supporters of democracy! We’re immature, unprofessional partisan hacks who have lost all sense of professionalism and propriety because we are so consumed by frustration and hate! ARRGHHHHHH!”

4. In a related note, from The Hill:

NBC News host Chuck Todd went after the Trump administration Wednesday for running a “war on the truth.” Todd’s was defending rival news network CNN from White House criticism.

“I’m obsessed with the White House’s war on the press and on media. Let’s be clear about this, that war is nothing less than a war on the truth,” Todd said on his show “MTP Daily.”

Todd said the difference between the White House and the press is that if the media makes a mistake, they will “run a correction and in some cases people lose their jobs.” 

The NBC anchor suggested that the White House takes advantage of the press needing to correct and apologize for an incorrect story, while the White House can feed false information publicly.

“And of course that’s the point, isn’t it? Of course the White House attacks, delegitimizes the media to create running room for its own events. It is as old as the media itself. The White House is not above using anonymous sources to criticize the use of anonymous sources in order to promote what it admits is a lie to call others liars,” he said.

Is it possible that Todd really thinks the current news media is interested in “the truth,” rather than, as Salon says, dislodging a lawfully elected President from the White House, or as CNN producer Bonifield said,

“It’s a business, people are like the media has an ethical phssssss…All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business.”

Does he really think that the public is going to believe that a network run by people who say things like,“Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it,” in response to comment like Bonifield’s even knows or cares what “the truth” is?

Todd is lying unless he really believes that the news media retracts and apologizes for its fake news. It does this on occasion when it is caught, and then often incompletely. Maybe poor Chuck really does believe.  Does he not know that the news media’s ways of distorting “truth” go beyond outright falsehood to spinning stories to protect favored politicians and parties, hiding stories and distorting coverage, allowing false statements (“There is a vast right-wing conspiracy”) from political figures to go uncorrected—at least if they are Democrats—and misleading headlines? When have you ever seen a misleading headline retracted?

The New York Times falsely stated that Sarah Palin’s election map graphics were linked to Jared Lee Loughner’s Tucson rampage, as an attempt to minimize the Left’s accountability for the attack on Republican Congressmen in Alexandria. It quietly changed the text after an online assault (with an website statement that it was an “error”), but today buried the news that Palin is suing the Times for libel deep in its Business section. Did CNN ever retract and apologize for anchor Chris Cuomo’s idiotic statement on the air that only reporters could legally read the Wikileaks leaks from the DNC, and non-reporters couldn’t? (No.) Has anyone at CNN retracted and apologized for its false statement—from a “respected historian”— on election night that it is rare for the same party to hold the White House for more than 8 years in a row? (No—I know I mention this example too much, but it drives me crazy.)

Yesterday Bob Woodward, the non-partisan part of “Woodstein,” followed a screening of “All The President’s Men” in Washington, D.C. with comments about how biased the news media had become in its coverage of the Trump Administration. As an example, he pointed to the recent “Trump’s Lies” piece in the Times (exposed as the dishonest hit job it was   here) and chose as an example one of the same false “lies” I highlighted in that post, saying,

“Trump said he was on the cover of Time magazine 14 or 15 times when it was in fact 11 times… That’s not a lie. Tone matters, and headlines matter, and you want people to [trust you].”

The White House isn’t waging any “war on truth” when it attacks the news media. It is waging a war on an unethical institution that is betraying the nation and the public by refusing to abide by its own ethical principles, and thus is falsely representing itself as a reliable source of the truth. When Chuck Todd, unlike Bob Woodward, refuses to acknowledge this, he reveals himself as complicit in the problem.

5. Speaking of Trump on TIME covers, the Washington Post and others revealed that a framed copy of Time magazine hangs  in at least five of President Trump’s golf clubs, from South Florida to Scotland, featuring a photo of him with the text,

“Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash! TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS . . . EVEN TV!”

This is, of course, presented as more damning evidence of Trump’s dishonesty. TIME even got into the act by “demanding” that the clubs remove the things, as if they have a legal leg to stand on. They don’t, and they know they don’t, and yes, any lawyer who would write such a bogus demand letter is engaging in unethical conduct.

Is it unethical to hang these framed fake covers? Back when people really read TIME and cared about it, I remember fake “Man of the Year” TIME covers you could have printed up as a gag or a gift. This looks like an elaborate one of those to me; I wouldn’t be fooled by it, because I’ve seen too many TIME covers.

Is it intended to deceive? Oh, I don’t know. The message is the same whether it is a real TIME cover or not: this guy is insecure, craves praise and attention, and is a narcissist. I would no more plaster TIME covers—real ones— with me on them around my house or place of business than I would try burrowing to Peru like a mole. Strictly speaking, the wall hangings are art. Does Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can falsely represent that soup cans are that big?

Trump, as we just noted, has been on 11 TIME covers: the misrepresentation isn’t that he has been on the cover of TIME. The misrepresentation is that this was one of them. He was, of course, TIME’s 2016 Person of the Year, which would be a more impressive cover to hang as well as a real one.

OK, it’s a petty, silly, unnecessary misrepresentation of the most trivial sort imaginable. I wouldn’t do it. If Trump knew about it (that has not been established) he shouldn’t have approved it. He should have it taken down ow, and replaced with one of the real covers, or a nice picture of dogs playing poker.

Was this newsworthy, except as more gratuitous media Trump-bashing?

No.

 

72 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Professions

72 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/29/17

  1. Chris

    1. The GOP’s travails as it tries to fix, replace or repeal Obamacare continues to be mocked in both the conservative and liberal media, and by the Democrats who caused the crisis in the first place.

    What “crisis?”

    2. Especially in light of the despicable tactics of Democrats who are accusing Republicans of killing people by reforming Obamacare,

    The argument isn’t that they’re killing people by reforming Obamacare. The argument is that they’re killing people by passing a law that will, according to the CBO, cause 22 million people to lose their health insurance over the next ten years.

    the proper Republican response, which would have the advantage of being both fair and politically smart, would be to announce, through the President:

    The failure of the Affordable Care Act is now no longer debatable. Projections for 2018 show massive premium increases. Insurers are pulling out of many markets. The optimistic CBO projections, which critics correctly called absurd at the time, have been decisively shown to be wrong. This law was passed by one party only, using public disinformation, dubious methods and dirty politics. It has made health care for the public as a whole less affordable, and done nothing to lower health care costs or improve health care quality.

    Half of this is not true. The rate of premium increases has slowed since the passage of the ACA. Premiums always go up–the only question is how much they will go up. If you’re not comparing premium growth after the ACA with growth before the ACA, then simply saying premiums are going up is useless.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2017/03/employer-premiums-and-the-aca/

    In addition to 20 million additional people gaining coverage under the ACA, there is evidence it has led to improved health care quality:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obamacare-health-care-linked-to-reduction-in-cardiac-arrest-heart-condition-oregon/

    It is now clear that the Democratic Party’s strategy is to shift responsibility for this fiasco to Republicans, by viciously attacking any attempts to fix Obamacare while also preparing to condemn the party if the current law leads to disaster, as it almost surely will on its current course.

    They aren’t trying to “fix Obamacare.” How do I know this? Because Democrats have been trying to fix Obamacare for years, and Republicans have blocked every single thing Democrats have proposed to do that. What Republicans want is a) to eliminate Obama’s signature achievement, and b) cut taxes for the rich, in that order. Those are the goals of their healthcare legislation.

    Disagree? OK. Show me what part of the Republicans’ proposals would actually improve health care or increase coverage for Americans. You can’t. And that’s because they don’t care about doing these things.

    The Democrats, in short, are placing political considerations over the nation’s health and welfare. Therefore, as of today, the Republican Party will not seek to pass, nor will I sign into law, any health care insurance law or any revisions of the current Affordable Care Act that does not originate from Congressional Democrats, and that Congressional Democrats do not accept accountability for in every respect.

    They won’t pass any revisions that do originate from Democrats either, Jack, and it’s bonkers to think they ever will. How do I know this? Because of their past refusal to do so.

    I cannot believe you are rewriting reality to insist that Republicans have been the ones trying to fix the law while Democrats have just…sat back and done nothing. That is totally disconnected from the reality of the past six years.

    In the absence of such a bill, I and the Republican Congress will allow the this “signature legacy of President Obama” to continue, with the understanding that its failure is a Democratic failure, and the lack of a timely fix is entirely due to the cynical tactics of the party that created it.

    I really, really hope the GOP adopts this position. It will be political suicide for them. First, because Obamacare isn’t really “failing” yet; the “crisis” you’ve imagined has not materialized. Second, because it means the next time Democrats propose a revision to improve the law–which they have many times before–Republicans will have no excuse for their lack of cooperation.

    • What crisis? “Rural Nevada to lose all Obamacare plans next year” I’d say Rural Nevads considers this a crisis, and it’s not the last shoe to drop.

      From the WSJ earlier this year: “Republicans seeking to overhaul the Affordable Care Act face growing signs that there could be big increases in premiums for individual plans next year, which poses a challenge as the lawmakers try to rally support for the replacement legislation.”

      Gee, I consider a big rise in my health care premium a crisis.

      Forty-nine counties with at least 36,000 enrollees altogether may have no health insurance offerings in their Obamacare exchanges in 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services reported June 27.

      Bloomberg: “The county-level map of projected issuer participation in the Affordable Care Act exchanges released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services showed an increase in areas that could be without coverage in 2018. On June 9, the CMS projected there would be 47 counties with 35,000 exchange enrollees without coverage.”

      Business Wire: “A new analysis conducted by eHealth Inc., (NASDAQ:EHTH), finds that projected rate increases for 2018 health insurance plans would make health insurance unaffordable, according to the rules of the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or Obamacare), for 29% of individuals and 54% of families who bought their health insurance at eHealth during the 2017 open enrollment period. eHealth operates eHealth.com, the nation’s first online health insurance exchange.”

      No, you’re right, the ACA is working like magic.

      • Chris

        The same doomsday predictions have been made about Obamacare every single year, if you haven’t noticed. They’ve yet to transpire. When they do, there will be a crisis. Predictions aren’t a crisis.

        • Chris, healthcare premium have risen under the Democrats 300% for me personally. I consider that a crisis. So do all the folks who have insurance but cannot afford care. Open your eyes: even the media is beginning to admit that Obamacare is failing.

          • Chris

            Again, premiums were rising faster before Obamacare, and likely would have continued rising faster had it not passed.

            https://www.healthinsurance.org/blog/2016/07/29/health-premiums-after-obamacare-theyre-lower/

            Of course that’s cold comfort to someone who still can’t afford their premium increases. What do you suggest we do to further slow the rising cost of premiums for everyone?

            • Again, Chris, bull shit. My premiums were NOT rising anywhere near that fast, and your propaganda source is lying through it’s teeth. My coverage has taken a dive as well under Obama’s rules. I am paying more for less, and enough people have had the same experience to put the lie to your progressive narrative.

              • Chris

                Again, Chris, bull shit. My premiums were NOT rising anywhere near that fast, and your propaganda source is lying through it’s teeth.

                I’m sorry…do you really think anecdotal experience is more valid than statistics?

                I don’t doubt there are people like you whose premiums have increased at a faster rate than the general population. I don’t think we can make laws that take into account every single individual…if you disagree, I’d love to hear how you’d do it. But the fact that premiums have increased at a slower rate under the ACA for the general population is just that…a fact. You can Google it just as well as I can.

                I am paying more for less, and enough people have had the same experience to put the lie to your progressive narrative.

                How many? I need numbers, slick, not anecdotes. If premiums for the majority of people have risen more slowly under Obamacare, then the law is worth it even if not every single individual has had that experience. If the majority of people have not seen decreases in the rate of premium growth, than I need to reconsider. But you haven’t provided any evidence to challenge this well-established fact.

                You also didn’t answer my question: what changes can we make to Obamacare to further slow the rising cost of premiums?

                • The election, Chris. You didn’t think all those voters voted for Trump?

                  “Last time I checked, Americans were far more concerned about health care than they were about tangential issues such as birtherism or whether Donald Trump has released his tax returns.”
                  https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2016/09/27/health-insurance-premiums-have-continued-to-rise-faster-than-worker-wages-under-obamacare/#644df7a3afe7

                  And your healthinsurance.org source if flawed, They cherry picked their statistics to make things look better during the election, and very carefully worded the article to cover that fact. Their staff is a Who’s Who of progressive hacks, and they are allied with and sponsor propaganda from far left progressive organizations: Ron Pollack of Families USA, Doctors for America, and The Center for American Progress (an LBGT allied group, nothing progressive to see there.)

                  So we battle sources:

                  “…there was no evidence that Obamacare had slowed down the rate of health insurance premium increases faced by workers relative to the rise in wages.” (from Forbes above)

                  “…for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent…”
                  http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/health-insurance-premiums.aspx

                  “Premiums for midlevel health plans under the Affordable Care Act will increase by an average of 25 percent next year, while consumers in some states will find significantly fewer insurance companies offering coverage, the federal government said Monday. [note this was the Obama Admin still saying this]

                  Premiums could not have risen that fast in the years before Obamacare, Chris. The math does not add up.

                  But you will spin, nit pick and continue to deny the reality common Americans face, even when it is an admitted fact Obamacare is a failure, one which was designed to fail to pave the way for Single Payer Health Care.

                  • Chris

                    The election, Chris. You didn’t think all those voters voted for Trump?

                    I don’t understand what this is in response to. Was it supposed to answer my question about what we can do to slow the rise in premiums? Certainly you can’t be arguing that Trump’s election alone can do that?

                    So we battle sources:

                    “…there was no evidence that Obamacare had slowed down the rate of health insurance premium increases faced by workers relative to the rise in wages.” (from Forbes above)

                    That does not contradict the fact that premiums increased slower than they did before the ACA.

                    “…for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent…”
                    http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/health-insurance-premiums.aspx

                    That also does not contradict the fact that premiums increased slower than they did before the ACA.

                    “Premiums for midlevel health plans under the Affordable Care Act will increase by an average of 25 percent next year, while consumers in some states will find significantly fewer insurance companies offering coverage, the federal government said Monday. [note this was the Obama Admin still saying this]

                    That also does not contradict the fact that premiums increased slower than they did before the ACA.

                    http://www.factcheck.org/2017/03/employer-premiums-and-the-aca/

                    • That also does not contradict the fact that premiums increased slower than they did before the ACA.

                      EMPLOYER premiums, not individual premiums.

                    • Chris, you are being disingenuous for the sake of political gain. We are talking about individual premiums, and you know it.

                    • And I do not accept Factcheck.org any longer as a non biased source. They are progressives, and not trustworthy.

                    • Chris

                      How was I supposed to know that, slick? Everyone was just saying “premiums.”

                      But fine. Thanks for conceding that employer premiums have grown at a slower rate after the ACA than before.

                      Can you show me stats comparing how individual premiums have grown before and after the ACA?

                      And stop with the source game. We’re never going to get anywhere if all you do is say that sources which are generally accepted by most of the nation are invalid. Address the arguments. FactCheck has problems, but still gets it right most of the time. It’s useful to point out when they don’t, but just saying you won’t accept any information from them is not productive, and means you won’t be able to have an informed conversation with people you disagree with.

                    • Chris

                      Probably another source you won’t accept, but the Brookings Institution’s research shows that individual premiums dropped after the ACA.

                      I’m open to seeing them proven wrong.

                      https://www.brookings.edu/research/affordable-care-act-premiums-are-lower-than-you-think/

            • On a personal level, my health insurance premium stayed essentially the same from 2006 to 2013. In November of 2013, Texas Blue Cross/Blue Shield sent me a letter declaring that they were pleased to advise me that my premium would only increase 39% (from $1200 to $1900 per month), with deductibles increased to $15,000 (tripled from $5000 per year), co-pays from $75 t0 $225, and my wife and son would no longer be able to see their doctors because they no longer accepted our insurance. So, it increased my affordable health care costs to more than $35,000 a year before I even started using the coverage. How is that not a crisis?

              jvb

              • Chris

                Because personal crises aren’t national ones?

                I know that sounds heartless. But that’s why I’m asking what we should do about it…and no one will tell me.

                But the fact remains that premiums for the majority of Americans, premiums are rising slower than they did prior to the ACA. Show me something that contradicts that fact; your personal experience does not contradict that fact.

                I am genuinely sorry that what’s true for the majority of Americans is not true for you. Tell me what we should do about it.

                • I have shown Chris that his fact is a lie: premiums have risen faster under Obamacare and his sources are crap.

                • Get the government out of health care altogether. Allow health insurance to be purchases in a true free market, across state lines.

                  That is a start. It won’t fix things quickly, but it took years of progressive meddling to get to this point, and it will take years to unravel it.

                  • Chris

                    Can you cite a historical example of a “true free market” health care system working on a national level? In what countries has this been tried?

                    Or is it simply based on ideology rather than reality?

                    • USA, from 1910 to 1940-ish. Before price and wage controls (Democrat/socialist ideology) got far enough to ruin the system.

                      Every country in the world, before about 1870.

                    • Chris

                      I’d really love to see you try to demonstrate how healthcare was better worldwide prior to 1870, but we both know that’s impossible. Why don’t you start by showing how healthcare was better between 1910 and 1940?

                    • Chris, you are deliberately being obtuse, I suspect because you have no real answers.

                      How was I supposed to know that, slick? Everyone was just saying “premiums.”

                      ALL of the evidence you dismissed was personal stories of premium increases, Chris. You said that these were ‘anecdotal’ and asked for stats, which I provided. No mention of employer premiums at all. You knew what we were talking about, and are just covering up now.

                      “But fine. Thanks for conceding that employer premiums have grown at a slower rate after the ACA than before.”

                      You are so full of BS your eyes are brown. 🙂 Still luv ya, Chris, but we were never discussing employer premiums. That WAS funny, though.

                      Can you show me stats comparing how individual premiums have grown before and after the ACA?

                      Read the links I already provided. They give the stats you seek.

                      …sources which are generally accepted by most of the nation…

                      Chris, you are missing the point. Most of the nation DOES NOT trust the media any longer, and for good reason. Factcheck is as bad as Snopes, these days. Not my fault that the progressive media has soiled itself by deliberately lying for 40 years, to the point even they no longer see truth as truth. They have been outed as partisan propaganda, and cannot be trusted to assert that the sun is shining without Americans checking for themselves.

                      …saying you won’t accept any information from them is not productive, and means you won’t be able to have an informed conversation with people you disagree with.

                      I means I won’t have to have a conversation with misinformed people with whom I disagree. Again, how many times have your sources lied to you? How many times do we find that what ‘most (progressive) people’ accept as true is not? How long will you bitterly cling to your ‘gun control and religious bias?’ (sorry, it was fun to write) The media plays you for a fool, Chris. So do politicians (Trump included)

                    • Crud, cross posted the above to the wrong rabbit trail. I was responding to Chris at June 30, 2017 at 11:59 am with the posting at June 30, 2017 at 3:25 pm.

                      To continue:

                      I’d really love to see you try to demonstrate how healthcare was better worldwide prior to 1870, but we both know that’s impossible. Why don’t you start by showing how healthcare was better between 1910 and 1940?

                      Nice strawman, Chris. I never asserted that healthcare was better than today during those eras, just that they were free market solutions that worked, as you requested.

                      Of course health care has gotten better as knowledge has increased. So has the combustion engine and intercontinental communications. That is not what we were talking about.

                      Unless you think that health care has gotten better BECAUSE of government tampering? Government is the most inefficient and inept solution to any problem they have taken up, be it Social Security, Veteran’s hospitals, or school lunches. Why would you want them in control of your health care?

        • wyogranny

          “The argument is that they’re killing people by passing a law that will, according to the CBO, cause 22 million people to lose their health insurance over the next ten years.”

          Loss of health insurance is not a cause of death.

          • Chris

            People absolutely do die as a result of not having health insurance, wyogranny. I don’t think it’s fair to accuse Republicans of outright “killing” people, but it is fair to acknowledge that people will die as a result. And of course, Republicans who ranted about “death panels” have no moral high ground here, but two wrongs don’t make a right.

            • Chris, to steal a line from another thread, bull shit. You have drawn a false equivalence. If people were dying in the streets for lack of insurance it would be trumpeted from the rooftops by progressives. As it is, no hospital can deny treatment for lack of coverage or payment. Stop spinning.

              • Chris

                They’re not dying in the street. Plenty are dying at home, or in hospitals. You really don’t accept the fact that not having health insurance puts someone at a higher risk of dying of a preventable condition? That’s absurd. Of course it does. And progressives *have* highlighted stories of people dying from illnesses that could have been treated if they had coverage…that you’re unaware of certain information being out there doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

                As it is, no hospital can deny treatment for lack of coverage or payment.

                This is only true in an emergency situation. But if someone doesn’t get treatment for a condition early on, that increases the likelihood that their condition will worsen and be life-threatening. Hospitals can of course deny certain treatments if the patient cannot pay in a non-emergency situation.

                This is so obvious I can’t believe I just had to explain it. Why do you even have health insurance if you think you don’t need it to get treatment?

                • Plenty are dying at home, or in hospitals. You really don’t accept the fact that not having health insurance puts someone at a higher risk of dying of a preventable condition?

                  Sources, Chris? Numbers? ‘Plenty’ is sloppy.

                  People die of Dihydrogen Monoxide poisoning every day as well, but it does not make it such a problem as to have laws passed banning it. If I get exposed to enough of this ‘poison,’ I have a greater risk of dying of it as well. That does not mean a significant number have done so. People are going to die, and blanket assertions that lack of insurance caused it is lazy and fraudulent.

                  Hospitals can of course deny certain treatments if the patient cannot pay in a non-emergency situation.

                  This is simply not the case. If the person’s life is imperiled, something will be done. Federal law mandates this, and hospitals write off such treatment all the time. Think of the headlines and bad PR for any hospital that acted as you describe! This is absurd.

                  • Chris

                    If the person’s life is imperiled, something will be done.

                    That’s what an emergency is, silly.

                    • wyogranny

                      There is a place for regulation in health care and in health insurance. I don’t think anyone would argue with that.

                      I have a friend whose father died of pancreatitis because he was turned away from the hospital for lack of ability to pay. This was in the ’50’s. That should never happen. But, socialized medicine is essentially doing the same thing. In many socialized countries and in our own country’s VA hospitals people die because they can’t get timely care.

                      Being turned away from emergency health care doesn’t happen in a fiscally efficient system using private insurers. Government regulation mandates emergency care be given regardless of ability to pay, which is the proper role of government. Government should protect its vulnerable citizens. Government out of the health insurance business insures that affordable insurance is available to the non vulnerable public who use it based on their own needs and responsibility.

                    • No sources, Chris? That reply pretty much concedes the point.

                    • Chris

                      My god, slick. Everyone knows that the requirement for hospitals to treat patients only applies to emergency situations. No, I am not going to provide sources for this obvious claim. Google it. It’s embarrassing that you don’t know this.

                    • Everyone knows that the requirement for hospitals to treat patients only applies to emergency situations.

                      Another thing everyone knows… that ain’t so.

                      Does it happen? It might. Is it the usual? Nope. People get treatment, even if they have to pay for it over time. The system is set up for that. Hospitals and providers will take long term notes for such things. As I stated, the negative PR would bankrupt them if they did not.

                      My mom could not afford treatment for her stage 4 cancer. She was broke.
                      She got the treatment anyway and paid between $15 and $25 per month per provider until she died, never coming close to retiring 5% of the debt.

                      Spare me the ‘people dying for lack of treatment’ progressive hogwash: I have been through that system personally too many times to believe the progressive narrative.

          • Many of those never wanted health insurance in the first place. Those pesky ‘young and healthy’ kids who were forced to pay a penalty on their taxes to avoid even more expensive premiums for something they did not need.

        • Does that mean you’re not worried about climate change, then? Because I still am.

    • crella

      ” The average deductible for 2017 bronze plans marks the first time this average has crossed the $6,000 threshold. Compared to 2016’s average of $5,731, the 2017 average bronze plan deductible for individuals is 6% higher ($6,092). For families enrolled in bronze plans, the average deductible is over $12,000 in 2017.”

      That crisis.

      Families with tripled monthly payments, less coverage, and huge deductibles that make their insurance catastrophic care insurance and not health insurance. Who will spend $12,000 out of pocket annually to actually be able to use their “health insurance”? This means that people are skipping appointments, not going to the doctor until they are in pretty bad shape, and cutting pills in half and staggering dosages because it’s unaffordable to take care of themselves like they used to. I’ve been reading these accounts all over the net for the last couple of years, so unfortunately I cannot reference them all for you, but here’s an early one, from 2015-

      One from last year-

      https://www.healthpocket.com/healthcare-research/infostat/2017-obamacare-premiums-deductibles#.WVVyKbGRWhB

      ” For example, when examining an individual who makes $48,000 annually (just above the $47,520 cut-off for individual premium subsidy eligibility in 2017, 60-year-olds would need to spend 22% of their income to afford that average silver plan premium while 30-year-olds would only need to spend 9%,” the report said.”

      If this isn’t a crisis, what is? Obama Care is a failure, this is far from ‘affordable care’.

  2. Rusty Rebar

    I am going to have to disagree on point 2. People campaign as members of a political party, but they are sent to congress as Senators and Representatives of their respective districts, not as representatives of a political party. They have an ethical responsibility to put the needs of their districts and the nation above petty partisan bickering. For them to abdicate this responsibility because it is hard to find consensus is despicable.

    Even if I take everything you wrote about the failure of the ACA, and how it was passed as true (I have no reason not to treat it as true enough) it does not relieve the obligation of congress to fix it. It implores them to fix it in fact. I don’t know what the answer is, but the Republicans have been screaming since the ACA was passed to repeal it and replace it, but it does not seem they had anything in mind to replace it with. They need to get off their asses, put this Trump / Russia witch-hunt behind them and get on with the work they were sent to Washington to accomplish. Republicans have a majority, and a willing executive, they need to take action and not squander this opportunity, because as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, the political winds will change again, and they will be left behind.

    At this point, I would be satisfied if they relieved insurance companies of the obligations of the ACA, offered Medicare to everyone, and put anyone under 350% of the poverty line on a sliding scale. It really does not seem that hard to accomplish. Problem is, that would not be such a boon to the insurance industry, which tells us exactly where the loyalties of congress lie.

    • Chris

      One of the few comments of yours I’ve agreed with entirely, Rusty.

    • Rusty;

      I’m not saying you’re one of them, but, IMHO, the majority of people that clamor for Medicare for all don’t really understand it, what it covers and it’s exceptions and limitations

      I and my wife deal with it and its beneficiaries nearly every day, and I assure you it’s not the catch-all/end-all that’s claimed.

      My favorite bumper sticker (I happen to know the creative genius responsible):

      “If you like FEMA, you’re gonna LUV National Health Care!”

    • But Rusty, this is placing ideals over reality The Democrats are using the Obamacare trap to set them up for a Congressional takeover. Politics involves accountability. This was always a trap: pass a bill that makes things generally worse while fixing one problem (Uninsured), then take credit for the benefits while making the other party responsible for the rest. Health Care is not the only issue that faces the country. It is the duty of each party to maximize its ability to achieve policy goals in all of those areas. Allowing a cynical partisan trap to work and endanger the rest of the GOP agenda is bad governance as well as incompetent politics.

      People, once having received a benefit, will never give it up. That was the trap. Once pre-existing conditions are in the mix, it isn’t insurance any more. This was the trap….plus the huge Obama deficit that makes any expensive fix irresponsible. There is no solution now. At very least, the responsible party should be held accountable.

  3. First thing, Jack: These morning updates are fast becoming one of my favorite reads. We get more stimulating information and opinion from all directions because more topics are presented. This is a great use of your time, IMHO, more bang for the buck, if you will. Tell your wife you are more efficient these days…

    1. “either incompetent, dishonest, cowards, or all three.

    Let me get you the word you are groping for: establishment politicians. They DON’T WANT to fix anything, as it gives them power, and party means nothing to this end. Witness all the times the GOP passed legislation repealing Obamacare when they knew it would go nowhere yet did not have a plan once they had a chance to really do so.

    2. I fear that the media and progressives (wait, the media IS progressives) would still find a way to spin this approach. This unfair slimy behavior is low even for progressive politicians.

    3. Salon is staffed by self absorbed, bubble living progressive shills: res ipsa loquitur

    4. The progressive main stream media is saying what you would expect them to say. More and more common Americans are waking up to the Democrat party and their propaganda arm’s dirty tricks, and that scares them. Many are beginning to use their own tactics against them, which scares them even more. Look at the recent smears used, like the ‘conservative news have no real journalists’ and ‘conservatives will get violent’ screeches. More evidence will out that this Russian thing is a conspiracy from the left, as the narrative boomerangs on the Obama Administration and Democrats. It is an open secret.

    5. I have a fake Sport Fishing magazine cover on my desk showing that catch from a fishing trip titled ‘Master if the Seas.’ Did I catch all those fish? Nope, 25 fishermen on the 42 hour cruise I was on did. Does it mean anything? Nope. Just a nice way to remember the trip. It does not mean I am a liar, or have any other purpose. Time magazine has had Trump on the cover before, but even that does not matter. It is golf club artwork, for crying out loud. To a progressive, it is another thing to be upset about, like they always find every day of their lives.

  4. Neil Dorr

    Jack,
    The one benefit to a Trump-free day is that it wouldn’t eat up your entire Ethics warm-up. There is other ethical malfeasance happening here in the States and throughout the world. Yet, any time I turn on the news, comedy shows, or the radio, our esteemed Jerk-in-Chief dominates every cycle.

    What about this disturbing news item about a YouTube video gone wrong:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/29/he-thought-a-book-would-stop-a-bullet-and-make-him-a-youtube-star-now-hes-dead/

    Or more sexual abuse from the Catholic Church (all the way at the top):

    Or one of your favorites, aging infrastructure:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/governor-declares-state-of-emergency-in-nyc-transit-system/2017/06/29/dd0f2028-5cda-11e7-aa69-3964a7d55207_story.html?utm_term=.36ad67d22008

    Or this disturbing piece (the dangers of socialized medicine, medical ethics, parental ethics):

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449079/charlie-gard-united-kingdom-court-defies-parents-wishes-rare-disease-die

    I’m not suggesting you ignore Trump or the stories that follow him everywhere (you’re not Salon, after all), only that many of the ones you post deal with the same ethical issues ad-nauseum. Meanwhile, hundreds of other news items and ethical tidbits slip by without comment.

    Just a thought. Although, I’m sure you know that I’ll keep reading either way.

    • 1. On the runway already
      2. Old news.
      3.Local news.
      4. Saw it. Generics “socialized medicine is bad” story.

      The US news media/journalism abdication of ethics is the #1 ethics story of our time.

      • Yes, but one you cover almost daily. Besides, the point of the warmups was supposed to be interesting stories that aren’t deserving of a whole post. The Anti-Trump media bias IS deserving of it’s own post.

      • Warren

        “The US news media/journalism abdication of ethics is the #1 ethics story of our time.” You have given me the out I need to stop taking this blog seriously — and to stop reading it. If an ethicist can’t see that the #1 ethics story in our time is the unhinged, mendacious, and vindictive conduct of our chief executive, then I have to wonder about his priorities, and his biases. You have lost a reader.

        • Chris

          Two things, Warren.

          1) Yes, the #1 ethics story of our time is the ascension of one of the most openly unethical presidents in our nation’s history. That the news media sometimes unethically slants its coverage of this unethical president is but a footnote to that story.

          2) Despite my disagreement with this site’s priorities, it is still immensely valuable, and nearly every participant here–especially, of course, the master of ceremonies, Jack–is capable of great insight. I wouldn’t want to leave this place if I were asked to. I hope you’ll reconsider.

        • Bye, Warren. Your own statements show you are not worthy to comment here. res ipsa loquitur

    • That last story is about socialized medicine doing what it does by design: death panels.

  5. Congress has exemptions, Chris. What you said is the technical propaganda truth, but doesn’t matter because they don’t pay for it. Illegally, I might add.

    From The Hill:
    http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/healthcare/326384-congress-should-end-its-exemption-from-obamacare

    “Buried in the law’s 2,000-plus pages was Section 1312(d)(3)(D), which requires members and their staffs to leave behind their generous Federal Employee Health Benefits Program health plans and instead purchase their health insurance directly through the ObamaCare exchanges, without benefit of an employer subsidy. That requirement, like the individual and employer mandates, would kick in on January 1, 2014.

    After heavy lobbying by leaders of both parties on both sides of the Capitol dome, President Obama came to their rescue. He directed the Office of Personnel Management to issue a rule – now codified as 78 Fed. Reg. 60653-01 – declaring Congress itself a small business (!), the necessary subterfuge to set them up for the kicker: Because Congress was deemed a “small business,” “the DC Health Link Small Business Market administered by the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority is the appropriate SHOP from which Members of Congress and designated congressional staff will purchase health insurance in order to receive a Government contribution.”

    —————–
    By the way, your precious FactCheck.org shows it’s bias by asserting that Congress must buy from Obamacare while not revealing that they are not buying anything. Half a truth is a lie.

    Factcheck is a progressive hack site, just like Snopes, Politifact, and Politico.
    http://www.floppingaces.net/2016/03/25/concrete-proof-that-politifact-and-factcheck-org-are-biased-liars/
    Politico bragged about being biased: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/31722_Politico-_Yes_Were_Biased._So_What

    As an aside, how does one get into a Washington Post link? I cannot read what you linked to. Can you quote from an open source? Not complaining, as I got the gist of your point, just asking to make follow up easier.

    • Sorry for the run on HTML Bold tag. It was supposed to only run for the word ‘bragged.’

    • Chris

      He directed the Office of Personnel Management to issue a rule – now codified as 78 Fed. Reg. 60653-01 – declaring Congress itself a small business (!), the necessary subterfuge to set them up for the kicker: Because Congress was deemed a “small business,” “the DC Health Link Small Business Market administered by the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority is the appropriate SHOP from which Members of Congress and designated congressional staff will purchase health insurance in order to receive a Government contribution.”

      Can you show me where exactly the regulation does that? I searched the page of the regulation and did not see the phrase “small business” mentioned anywhere:

      https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2013/10/02/2013-23565/federal-employees-health-benefits-program-members-of-congress-and-congressional-staff

      But subsidies aren’t “exemptions.”

      As for WaPo, I have a subscription; usually it lets you read a few articles without one before cutting you off.

      • If you do not have to pay that is an exemption from paying, Chris. Fair to call it one.

        You again duck the point: Congress does not live under the same system the rest of us do, as that system involves the price we pay.

      • Can you show me where exactly the regulation does that? I searched the page of the regulation and did not see the phrase “small business” mentioned anywhere

        Fair enough, you have to dig into the legalese to get where this boils down a small business.

        Under ‘Comments on Government Contributions’, third paragraph (but everything above is pertinent):

        “Because a Government contribution is, in essence, an employer contribution, the final rule clarifies that Members of Congress and designated congressional staff must enroll in an appropriate SHOP [The Small Business Health Options Program] as determined by the Director in order to receive a Government contribution.”

        SHOP is the rule by which small businesses contribute to employee Obamacare.

        • Chris

          Thanks, slick.

          I looked up SHOP and found this informative article:

          https://www.cagw.org/media/wastewatcher/congress%E2%80%99s-claim-be-small-business-brings-ethics-complaint

          You’re right, it is crazy that this happened–it is obvious Congress does not meet the requirements of a small business. I’m still not sure if I’d call that an “exemption from the ACA,” but they definitely seem to be taking advantage of subsidies that are not theirs to claim.

          • You’re right, it is crazy that this happened–it is obvious Congress does not meet the requirements of a small business. I’m still not sure if I’d call that an “exemption from the ACA,” but they definitely seem to be taking advantage of subsidies that are not theirs to claim.

            WELL!!! We agree to agree, at least a little. Glad I could see my way clear to your point of view (and vice versa!) 🙂 🙂 🙂

            Seriously, though, I can see where you would come up with your position regarding the exemption, as most media are not talking about this factually. It is a case of Congress robbing the public treasury (again) for their personal benefit.

  6. Chris

    Trump’s tweet today about healthcare made me think of Jack’s suggestion for what Republicans should do about Obamacare. Trump himself has another idea: Repeal it immediately without any plan to replace!

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