A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

07 March 2007

If Left Untreated ...

Seven gets you three he won't be staying at Walter Reed while the work's done.

Jon Stewart had something to say about the Reed fiasco. If that link's no good see it here.

It's noteable, Canadians, that the great health crises taking place right now have their roots in a lack of national health care.

1) Walter Reed neglect and mismanagement.
Caused directly by the privatization and crony contracting that are the hallmarks of the current administration.

2) The looming disaster of the United Auto Workers and the Big Three.
Back in the 1920s the auto makers were offered a choice: offer full health benefits packages or push for universal health care in America.

The auto makers chose to buy health insurance for their members, in a gesture which has resulted in the modern situation, where there are 90% fewer UAW members and where the remaining workers are paying dues to support pensions at a ratio of one active worker to two retirees.

GM and Ford especially are facing massive pensions and benefits defecits. And d'you think those dues-paying workers will be feeling charitable when the negotiations open up this year?

3) Forty-five million (45, 000, 000) people or so who can't/don't pay into the health system in any way, and who can't afford basic humanitarian standards of care.
When the uninsured are hurt, it costs money. In the US that money is covered by the individuals who do have coverage. This results in unequal rates, fine print, valid treatments not being covered, insurance companies whose first policy is "Deny the claim", and in some cases having to accept your employer choosing your physician.

Here, everyone gets treated and everyone pays for it. And physician choice is looked after by the fact that we're rather short on doctors--but find me an emergency patient who didn't get the treatment they needed when required--even if they had to wait 18 hours in a hallway.

4) Doctors and pharmacists who feel their personal prejudices are morally superior to their oaths and professionalism.

Just remember that when, for example, your provincial government wants to have a "conversation on health care" and approves of the introduction of purely-for-profit or "private" health care schemes.


At 12:43 a.m., Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Sehr geEhrter Metro

Again a worthwhile thought-provoking post. I flatter myself that you (& our Friend FFE) & I are of one mind on so many things, but I am puzzled

(2) I struggle to see how the decline of North-American Automobile Companies was caused by their (selfishly) opting in the 1920s for Health Cover for only themselves rather than for all Americans - what have I missed ?

(4) I appreciate your ex-Catholic sensitivities, but You seem to have fascist-religious tendencies of your own

You seem to expect & require Christians to act against their Christian Consciences and instead to follow your own personal non-Christian Metro-Ethical Code, whatever that is

If a Citizen cannot persuade a particular Christian to give a medical treatment (eg abortion or tattoo removal) the Citizen in the Land of the Free can go to another physician

Surely North-America has been a beacon to the World until now in allowing individuals to follow their consciences, even against the majority or Government view

How far are you prepared to take this ?

How many Christians are you ready & eager to deprive of Civic Rights (eg stopping them having jobs) - isn't this reminiscent of Ceaucescu's Romania or of Joe McCarthy

If you sack every Christian who doesn't slavishly follow the Metro=Ethical Code, won't the North-American health/adoption services collapse

How many non-MetroSlavish Christians are you prepared to jail - are North-American Gaols large enough to accommodate so many Christian anti-Metro Dissidents

Lenin & the Friends of Humanity Trotsky/Uncle Jo didn't find this a problem - they simply built many more Gaols, especially in Siberia where the convenient cold constantly created so many vacancies

Is it insensitive of me to wonder whether you have a similar (albeit different) moral certainty & hardness to Mlle Coulter

although this Lady is a phenomenon that I cannot claim to understand - I still don't kNow what she meant by "faggot", although I have my suspicions (not to be mentioned on a distinguished Blog visited by Ladies & Cephalopods)

What would George Washingtom make of all this ?

Your obedient servant etc


At 10:22 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Meineer Eagle:

Ford and GM's money problems stem from a number of causes. The saturation of the market, increased durability, consolidation and penetration of all sectors by all companies ... the list goes on.

The shrinking workforce and skyrocketing number of laid-off, newly-redundant (35,000 in the case of Ford only this year) and retired workers have caused a problem in that benefits continue past the end of the job in many cases, costing money without offsetting that cost in productivity.

And at the very least, health care is an increasing expense these companies would now doubtless be happy to share with the American people.

Please be careful tossing around the word "fascist"--I could put someone's eye out. Here is some anti-doctor/anti-patient fascism, if you would like.

And please tell me where I recommended jailing "dissidents". I believe in freedom of conscience to the limits of professional conduct. Which is the rub.

This discussion was covered much better over here at the Questionable Authority. And also here.

But if you want my opinion (and you do, or why would you have asked?):
Doctors are professionals, and highly respected ones. Why? Because we look to them as the source of medical knowledge. We endow them with damn-near-godlike powers of life and death, and put them on pedestals that place them outside the limits of ordinary mortals. We allow no-one to practice medicine without a license given by his or her peers and approved by government and society.

But that power is tempered by the requirement that it be used equitably and responsibly. Doctors may make professional judgements as to what treatments may be effective. They may advise for or against a course of treatment, with reasoned arguments.

But they may not judge who deserves treatment, nor what treatment will be effective, based on their own private behavioural codes.

Somebody who cannot put their prejudices behind them and do this should not be sacked or jailed. They should never become doctors in the first place. There's a reason you don't see a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses becoming thoracic surgeons.

If not held to this standard, doctors can no longer be professionals, they become hacks. As reputable and worthy of consideration as someone who advises a cancer patient to stop taking a chemotherapy course in favour of healthy walks and crystal healing.

Policemen are not permitted to enforce laws solely according to their lights. When we find ones who do, we call it corruption and stamp on it, regardless of whether the net effect is for good or ill.

Why? Because they have power that extends to life and death. So do doctors.

A person visiting a doctor with a life-threatening condition, where any delay will either complicate treatment or possibly kill the patient, doesn't have the freedom to shop around for a health-care professional whose prejudices won't get in the way. And where the shortage of doctors is acute (such as here), there is usually no-one else to see.

In Canada and England, where the doctor draws his pay from the taxpayer, then there is even more reason to recognize the unethical nature of such behaviour.

I'm not anti-Christian, by the way. A Jewish or Muslim or Atheist doctor who behaved the same way would deserve a thorough drubbing too.

Oh--and I doubt that any of the above actually prevents doctors from making the moral judgements that they sometimes must. But it helps eliminate overt prejudice as a motivating factor.

Miss Coulter is a phenomenon of American "conservatism". At one time she was recognized as a fringe element. Now, unfortunately, the "mainstream" has swerved to join her. Look for more of her as the movement becomes even more separated from reality.

What she meant by "faggot"--follow the link:

Amongst her peers this is the worst thing you can say about anyone ... and of course the US conservative movement is absolutely stuffed with them (see Haggard, Foley, and uh, Rod Majors, usually very repressed and extraordinarily angry.

Not unlike Ms. Coulter herself, whose several unsuccessful engagements lead one to believe that she is as pleasant privately as she is publicly.

At 2:22 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

If another example of fascism is required, may I offer this, which dovetails nicely with this discussion.

Coulter repeats her remark to the bloody-minded missionaries of "Reclaiming America for Christ" and says she's down with murder.

At 12:55 a.m., Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Wow, M Metro

An interesting & informative Metro-Response. As ever - again I (& your visitors) thank you for your thoughtful comments, which merit a wider readership

Like you, I do not like the facile "cleverness" which rubbishes an Opponent (who seems to be on the back-foot in Life & is presumably like all of us, "doing his or her inAdequate Best") by tossing out some "nasty" dismissive like "f....t"

and here I am, perhaps wth insufficient care, tossing out phrases like "fascist-religious tendencies"

What a hypocrite this Eagle is, flying anonymously above his eyrie beyond Canuckistani eye-poking, albeit accessible to rational Metro-arguments

It is interesting how Eagles (& I suspect many homo pSeudo sapiens) do not like their own faults in other people

Perhaps I am the fascist-religious, seeking to impose my own religious views ... certainly, Christians have so often behaved so badly/tyrannically, when power has given them opportunity

but how many non-Aquilan dissenters would lose their Careers under the Aquilan system - hopefully none - accomodations would be allowed

and how many non-Metro dissenters would face deprivation of civic rights - presumably, all nonMetro-dissenters who were not prepared to act against their consciences

I have the honour to remain your much better-informed & obedient servant and

Best wishes to M & Mme Metro

G Eagle

At 3:08 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Not at all. The honour is mine.

If my views are to be considered worthy, they must stand at least a test of defence. That is, I must be able to defend them at the very least to my own satisfaction.

Challenges are feared only by those who see the silliness of their own viewpoints, which is why Ms. Coulter continues to make money.

You forced me to try to adequately express my views on doctors and freedom of conscience, heretofore much less well-defined.

As always, I appreciate it.

At 10:21 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Oh my, Metro, you know so very little about the way healthcare is administered here in Canada. Don't get me started...except to say that no, it is not done the way you wish and believe it is done, nor is there any real push to change the status quo. Canada is just better at working around individual choices in the healthcare system and FAR more sophisticated at defining certain procedures and medications as "medical" or "elective." And it's more political than you imagine in your worst nightmares.

BTW thought you might like to see the General's take on how the problems at Walter Reed relate to the use of medical personnel in torture.

At 10:24 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Grrr, have I mentioned I hate Blogger? I do.


At 6:35 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

I did indeed read the General's post. But I feel that what he describes is in fact infecting all of America, which glows like a rotting ham under a full moon from it.

In my language classes we called this dysphasia or dismorphism, where an image doesn't match the facts. The America of myth and legend never truly existed, the beneficent and benign colossus of freedom. But it was closer to that six years ago than it is now.

Now the citizens of America have had a chance to look outward, in many cases for the first time. They're seeing themselves reflected in a number of mirrors and wondering why the image they are shown doesn't match the way they perceive themselves. It's the moral equivalent of hearing your voice on the answering machine for the first time.

The country has been made crazy trying to fit the actions of a repressive, cruel, rapacious pack of rat-bastards, hight "foreign policy, Bush-style" into a self-image of heroism. Now they're realizing that they can't talk freedom while their masters practice something other.

The fever is almost breaking, I think. The conviction of Scooter Libby is a hopeful sign. Next up, the Dark Lord and soon thereafter, Bush. I'll take Rove if they can make anything stick, too.

As far as Canadian medical care, you are quite right. Doctors here harbour prejudices as well, and are likley cleverer at disguising them. Why? Well because we don't take it for granted that a philosophy trumps the Hippocratic oath, for starters.

But that's the point. At some point, lip service to the behaviour is indistinguishable from the behaviour itself--which is why anti-hate-speech laws are important to have.

One cannot create acceptance, but one can create a climate in which a basic level of respect is the default behaviour, or at least a reasonable pretence thereof.

I don't want to change anyone's beliefs. But I demand a basic standard of respectful behaviour.

Every law ever created opened up a new way to graft--Heinlein, I think. People will always have their views, but we can ensure that they don't interfere with the delivery of professional services, to the extent of the law.


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