The Political Compass revisted
One thing about the health care debate is that all of the people who were unbearably annoying about the Presidential election are at it again. Ugh. I was talking about it with some friends and we decided that most people are just ignorant about the whole thing. A friend said it best when she wrote:
I think what is irking me the most is that so many people are for this bill, solely because they voted for Obama and they are anti-republican. Well fine, but read up on it before you go all pro-Obamacare. How is it really going to affect you as an individual or family. I think this whole thing is more about keeping this vicious political divide than it is about creating a great universal health care plan. I may have voted for Obama, and I may not agree with most conservative views. But to me this seems like too much of a "democrats sticking it to the republicans" than something beneficial for the American people.
We got to talking about agreed that most people don't even have a clear idea of what party best represents their views and took the Political Compass Test. We've taken tests like this before here, but it's always enlightening to again see where you stand and if your views have changed over time. I see that mine really haven't. I'm still stuck in my lonely lower right quadrant along with Milton Friedman.
Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: 1.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.95
Feel free to take the test and post your own results in the comments. Maybe you'll surprise yourself!
Posted by kris at March 23, 2010 09:07 AM
The trackback entry for this page is : http://www.inthehat.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1805
|# March 23rd, 2010 5:54 PM themandownthehall|
|I was up a couple and over to the right about 4 from you Kris.
Economic Left/Right: 5.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.23
|# March 24th, 2010 8:39 AM james|
|i'm with ghandi, yo.
Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -2.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.67
|# March 24th, 2010 9:01 AM james|
|The advice to "think about how this will affect your family" is something most people can't do, because most people have never been seriously ill and are hence gleefully ignorant of the realities. They don't have any idea how much insurance costs, because their employer pays the bulk of the cost and they never see the bill.
It costs an employer about $2,000 per month to insure a young family of 5. If you get sick, or if you lose your job, you'll find that out the hard way. You'll also find out that the way insurance companies "compete" with one another is by trying very hard to deny claims and not insure unprofitable individuals.
With this bill,
- Insurance companies can't drop you if you get sick.
- Insurance companies can't deny you for having a preexisting condition.
Both are excellent provisions, and I have a very hard time understanding why anyone would be opposed to either.
Rep. Grayson has a short bill that he plans on introducing soon, if he hasn't already. The bill would allow anyone to "buy in" to Medicare at cost, a cost that will be much lower than a private insurance plan. Since Republicans' main issue seems to be "b-b-b-but it'll cost too much...,' they should fully support the bill, right?
|# March 24th, 2010 9:28 AM BVBigBro|
|Two things, james:
1. If I can't be denied coverage for a preexisting condition why should I buy insurance?
2. Medicare isn't funded.
|# March 24th, 2010 9:32 AM kris|
|I don't think anyone seriously does disagree with those aspects of the bill or having portable insurance eventually. But why does that have to cost the taxpayers anything? Really - just change the laws, right?
I mean, I think there are some benefits to this bill, as much as we've seen of what's actually in it.
My issue is that it does cost a lot and the money seems to be going from the taxpayers to insurance companies. I'd support a buy in to Medicare or even some kind of national insurance that provided everyone with high deductible plans and gov't subsidies for those who couldn't afford the deductibles.
I dunno - it seems like there's some good and a lot of pork in this bill at a time when we can't afford the pork.
|# March 24th, 2010 9:36 AM kris|
One thing I think you're overlooking about the preexisting condition thing is that as long as most insurance is employer provided if you get sick you're kinda at the mercy of your employer in a way - you can't move from job to job like you might want to. I was worrying about that just this AM, about how if I got cancer or something I'd be stuck at my job because I couldn't get insurance from a new provider.
I think eventually insurance should absolutely not be provided by employers, but in the meantime, this really helps people who want the freedom to move from job to job, among other things.
|# March 24th, 2010 9:38 AM BVBigBro|
|I'm not overlooking that. Why should you carry insurance at all? If you can't be denied coverage you can wait until you get cancer and then sign up and demand coverage. |
|# March 24th, 2010 9:41 AM kris|
|I'd say it's because it's not just about cancer - it's also about preventive care, screenings, breaking a leg, etc. |
|# March 24th, 2010 9:43 AM BVBigBro|
|The cost of all that is a lot less than an insurance premium. |
|# March 24th, 2010 9:47 AM kris|
|It depends what your insurance is like, doesn't it? Plus, I don't know that you know what things actually cost, do you? Most people don't. I know when I was interviewing at a hospital one of their big marketing initiatives was providing more detailed billing so people actually knew how much everything cost.
|# March 24th, 2010 9:59 AM james|
|BV, my understanding is that this bill requires all individuals to buy insurance. So you don't have the option to do what you propose.
Beyond that, isn't your concern just an argument for universal coverage? If people are not going to buy insurance, and are going to end up 'waiting until they get cancer before doing so,' shouldn't they be taxed for the cost of universal coverage their entire lives?
I don't know what you mean by "medicare isn't funded."
|# March 24th, 2010 10:04 AM james|
|Kris, you said "My issue is that it does cost a lot and the money seems to be going from the taxpayers to insurance companies."
I'm no fan of insurance companies either. As you know, I think insurance shouldn't be a for-profit industry. But if it's true that "We all pay the costs for the uninsured through higher premiums," what's the difference? Won't this plan lead to more preventative care and thus a lower overall cost to the taxpayer/policy holder?
|# March 24th, 2010 10:06 AM kris|
|Why do you think more preventive care will lead to lower costs to the taxpayer? It might lead to lower costs to the insurance companies over time, but I don't know of anything in this bill that would lead me to assume that those savings will ever be anything other than insurance company profits. If you took the insurance companies out of the equation then maybe?
I dunno. I kind of feel like I'm talking out of my *ss about all of this stuff. I shouldn't claim to have any real understanding of it.
|# March 24th, 2010 10:22 AM kris|
It's funny - the friend who I quoted in the post is the daughter of people that run a small business in Rapids and she's like you in that her parents never had insurance and paid out of pocket for everything. I think, though, that health care costs have just surged and I don't know how practical that is anymore. I was reading something about how the cost of having a baby went from like $200 in the 1950s to in the 5 figures now.
|# March 24th, 2010 10:24 AM james|
|I'm no expert either. Few people are - this is a very complex topic. I view this bill as "step one." It's not perfect, but it's a start.
I agree with what you just said about benefiting insurance company profits. That's part of why I believe that insurance shouldn't be a for-profit industry. There is no competition in this arena, as people don't shop around. Thee entire industry is controlled by a very few corporations. Since everyone needs health care, to protect their profit margin insurance companies need only raise rates - people have no choice but to pay them. Because, like it or not, you will likely get cancer one day, or will have a heart problem, or will need dialysis, or whatever. People get sick. If they live long enough, they get very sick. It's a fact of life.
I suppose what I'm really saying is that I view health care more like a public utility, ala MG&E, it should be regulated just as strictly.
At this point, I believe that the only thing that can fix the problem of health care costs is the muscle of the Federal government. They need to step in and say, "No, breaking an arm will not cost $5,000, it'll cost $800, tops." This is the very sort of problem government exists to fix.
|# March 24th, 2010 10:24 AM BVBigBro|
|Well then, james, forcing someone to buy insurance is a considerably different propostion than simply asserting a pre-existing conditions clause and the reason people are opposed to it should then be obvious. Second, the $750 penalty is still less than insurance premiums.
Medicare has no money. It isn't cheaper than private insurance or private care. It simply makes no provisions for the future, doesn't count the cost of borrowing the money it already borrows, charges arbitrary costs and presumes money will appear to keep the scheme going.
|# March 24th, 2010 10:27 AM BVBigBro|
|Insurance company profits are rather small in the health insurance area, about 4%. Preventive care at this point in time raises costs, although that may change in the future. |
|# March 24th, 2010 10:29 AM kris|
|I've heard that while the AMA supports the bill, most doctors don't - do you have any insight into their reasoning? |
|# March 24th, 2010 10:32 AM james|
|BV, I suppose people should be opposed to paying for roads that they don't use, too. Or schools. Hell, I don't have any kids - why should I have to pay for other people's kids to go to school? Screw them. Not like it's my problem.
Speaking of schools, last I heard they don't have any money either. Since schools are always underfunded, they should be shut down & privatized, right? From now on, we will only educate the kids whose parents can afford it.
|# March 24th, 2010 10:33 AM BVBigBro|
|AMA probably sees government insurance as a way for AMA to both experiment and dictate procedures. |
|# March 24th, 2010 10:36 AM kris|
|I'm more interested in why doctors might not support it. Is it a workload issue? |
|# March 24th, 2010 10:39 AM BVBigBro|
|Schools are being shut down where they are unused and there are privatized schools. In addition, if they cannot justify themselves economically they will eventually shut themselves down regardless of anyone's intent.
The federal government doesn't establish schools beyond DC (actually a DC government but effectively federal) and the military, and there are essentially no federal roads beyond DC, the national parks and a handful of similar roads.
|# March 24th, 2010 10:41 AM BVBigBro|
|Why would doctors choose to work with federal government if they could avoid it? They probably also realize they are going to get an increased number of clientele who don't take care of themselves and couldn't care less. they probably also realize their salaries are about to be drastically cut. |
|# March 24th, 2010 10:43 AM james|
|I don't know anything about doctors generally supporting or not supporting the bill. I've heard some say they don't support it because they're worried that their salaries will go down while their workload goes up. It's a valid concern, I suppose. I don't think that'll happen, but if they're that concerned, they're perfectly free to give up their $250,000+/year medical job and get a job in another field. Because, you know, people who make just $50k/year always have a lighter workload.
I've also heard some doctors say "I don't want the government telling me what I can or can't do to a patient." But they have the same frustration with insurance companies - I know docs who really want to prescribe drug X, but have to settle for drug Y, which they believe will be less effective, solely because the patient's insurance carrier will not allow drug X. So it's a horse apiece.
This whole issue has pitted groups of people against other groups of people. It's so wrong. The problem lies with the insurance companies - not the smokers, not the poor, not the unemployed, not the doctors, not the trial lawyers. It's all the insurance companies.
|# March 24th, 2010 10:46 AM BVBigBro|
|It has nothing at all to do with the insurance companies. They merely pass on cost. When they say no it is an indication that the cost is unsustainable because they have to account for the future. The federal government has no such mechanism. It simply borrows money until eveything explodes. |
|# March 24th, 2010 10:49 AM kris|
|I think the only thing with doctors is that they typically rack up a lot of debt to get into the field with the expectation of X salary to pay for it and if their salary did go down radically it kind of pulls the rug out from under them, but, of course, no differently than what has happened to the rest of us when we've lost our job, lost our investments, etc.
I like talking about stuff like this - I think it's what's missing in the coverage. I get really mad when the "analysis" I read was all about what it means for Dems or Republicans. I don't care about that. I care about what it means for the rest of us, you know?
|# March 24th, 2010 11:05 AM james|
|No federal roads? Then I suppose you haven't heard of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System. Let me tell you about it, because it's wonderful...
When you distinguish Federal government programs from State government programs, you're making a distinction without a difference.
Why don't we get to the real issue here? You just plain don't like the Federal government. In much the same way that an Apple zealot hates Microsoft, or typical cell phone customer hates their (and every other) cell-phone provider.
You think the government is wasteful and just screws everything up. Yes, there are a lot of opportunities for abuse with a large government program, and they need to be policed. But a lot of those problems come from sheer size - you service 300 million people and I'm sure you'll find a lot of people with complaints.
Don't you realize that if the government always chose the path you're advocating, the Rockefeller family would own all of the land in America and you'd be paying $2,000/month for the "luxury" of having electricity? That a phone call to your sister would cost you a few dollars per minute, since no one would be allowed to use AT&T's lines to carry phone calls? It's all fine and great to have to a an idealized concept of what government should be, but it's a completely different thing to ignore the reality of not only our system but of society in general.
I'm as wary as government intervention as the next guy, probably much more so. But sometimes it's necessary, and this is one of those times. It's very easy to stick your head in the sand and pretend that there isn't a problem, especially when it doesn't immediately affect you.
But it will affect you, one day. It'll eventually effect all of us. And something needs to be done before it does.
|# March 24th, 2010 11:10 AM kris|
|You know, maybe the best way for things to happen is like this - for liberals to pass grand programs and then for conservatives to police them. I mean, govt does sometimes need to do SOMETHING and liberals seem like they're philosophical best suited for the big idea while conservatives are best suited for the implementation. I hadn't really thought of it that way, but it kind of makes sense to me. |
|# March 24th, 2010 11:12 AM BVBigBro|
|The Eisenhower system roads are not federal highways. They are built, owned and maintained by the states.
The federal government simply has no mechanism for cost control beyond price control which inevitably causes supply shortages.
|# March 24th, 2010 11:20 AM james|
|That's pretty much how the system works, Kris. Though I don't think it's liberal/conservative thing. It's a yea/nay thing. The yeas want something, and the nays are opposed for some reason or another, and they work to police the idea if implemented.
You know who has absolutely no credibility on "cost" issues anymore? Republicans. They used to be about great ideas like freeing slaves, but now they're all about spending billions upon billions on a foreign war while complaining about the comparatively piddling cost of health care at home. It's inane.
|# March 24th, 2010 11:23 AM james|
"Funding for the Interstate Highway System comes from the Federal government's Highway Trust Fund. The trust fund was originally started at $25 billion in 1956, but it's continually replenished through gasoline taxes. Additionally, the cost of building and maintaining an Interstate is not covered entirely by the Federal government - the Federal government pays 90% of the bill, and the state the highway is located in pays the rest."
|# March 24th, 2010 11:28 AM BVBigBro|
|They can pay for a lot of them, james, but they don't have to, and they cannot mandate them. |
|# March 24th, 2010 12:24 PM james|
|Oh lord, give me a break. Yes, the Federal government does pay for the Interstate Highway System. You were wrong. Just admit it, instead of falling back on some crazy freeper argument. What's next, are you gonna tell me about how we don't really have to pay income taxes because the Federal government doesn't technically have the right to tax its citizens?
I'm sorry, but your opinions and views seem based on your concept of how the system "should" work, not how it does work.
Yes, in theory, the US is a loose conglomeration of nation-states that rely on the Federal government only for national defense. But it hasn't worked that way for 234 years. Which is to say that it's never worked that way. You're arguing a viewpoint based in fantasy land.
|# March 24th, 2010 1:08 PM BVBigBro|
|I don't know what the freepers are arguing these days. We passed an amendment to legalize the income tax.
Either we have a constitution or we do not. If we do not, then we are hopefully about to enter a period of constitutional crisis, because if we do not have a constitutional crisis then we are likely to see a violence crisis judging by the reaction of a great number of people.
|# March 24th, 2010 3:00 PM kris|
|So the pre-existing condition thing doesn't happen until 2014 - for children it happens in 6 months. Why the difference? |
|# March 24th, 2010 3:20 PM kris|
|So after much searching, here's the text of the health care bill.
I don't understand 99% of it - but there's still some crap in there like abstinence education, a young women's breast health program, grants to minority health care programs, revamping a bunch of computer systems, etc. I mean, there's nothing wrong with that, but it costs money.