12 August 2009

Crazed and Confused

I am puzzled.

Watching cable news while on the road I see reports of masses protesting the health reform plan because government is too inefficient and incompetent.

Another report says we should worry if the same government allows browser cookies when people visit .gov sirs because it could lead to government monitoring your actions and ideas.

Help me out. How can the government be too incompetent to run a health plan and yet sneaky enough to monitor all our web surfing?


Bill Baar said...

The concern is not that the government will be inefficient or incompetent. The concern is the government will make decisions about your health care that are not in your interest. The concern is the government will use your web browsing habits in ways not in your interest.

Look at the Illinois Health Facilities Planning board. The State Agency that certified capital investment to build hospitals. It issued the certs that allowed hospitals to build. Politicians would shake down providers for donations. They would take bribes to decide things.

It was very efficient although not in the interests of the people of Illinois.

Same thing with Obama Care's evidence based panels. Pharmaceuticals and the rest of the Health Care Industrial complex will have a huge interest in influencing the benefits package and practice protocols that the Health Exchanges (and their Commissioners) will propogate here.

It could be a very efficient system although no reason to believe it will work in the interests of the patients vs those with a very deep financial interest in how those protocols work... and of course the politicans who, as in Illinois's Health Facilities Planning board, get huge donations.

Make sense?

Revwilly said...

You are very right, the government cannot do either of those things.

Joel Monka said...

You probably didn't expect an answer, but there is one. For deeper thinking conservatives than Glenn Beck, we of the old pre-religious-right-Goldwater persuasion, the argument is not that the government is inherently incompetent- there are a lot of things government does well, and virtually every department of government has, at some time or another, shown signs of competence. The argument is that absent the Damocles sword of bankruptcy hanging over your head, as all private businesses and citizens have, there is little incentive to be ever-vigilant about practices and budgets. If you can be fired, or lose your vendor contract, you provide good service and good customer care; government offices frequently have no such fear. For a private company, quality of service and customer relations are demanded on a daily basis, and you can go out of business overnight for failing... but government offices are- at best- no better than what the supervisor demands. Notice how Congress had to pass a taxpayer's bill of rights for dealing with the IRS- who, after all, are theoretically mere public employees... but not even Congress could fire bad government employees; they had to pass new laws to force them to provide service as good as what you would get from a mall kiosk tax preparer. Government isn't automatically incompetent; but when it is, there's little you can do about it, and the problems build up quickly- best not to give it anything you don't have to.

But one of the things government *IS* good at is being sneaky. That doesn't require the best talent, it only requires access- which the government can force with a piece of paper. I have the skill/knowledge to discover things about you that you don't even know and your mother has forgotten- but I'd go to jail if I did it; *I* can't hide behind the Patriot act, etc.. I can't shove a gun in your face and demand cooperation- way too many government agencies have the authority to do that. Monitoring every aspect of someone's life merely requires money and legal authority.

WFW said...

You guys are so cool to say something new and interesting. As I am on the road and have neither the time nor keyboard (I am doing this by phone right now) please give me a day or two to read and think and type.

Joel Monka said...

CC, in this thread on a different subject, stated what I was trying to say above in a more succinct manner: "Y'all are boycotting because the CEO (of Whole Foods) spoke out against single-payer health care, right? And single payer health care has the government acting as the sole health insurer for the entire country.

So, if you get your single payer health care, and you're not happy with your insurance, who are you going to boycott?"

PG said...


Except that every proposal regarding a public option has said that after initial startup costs, it must be self-supporting. In other words, if it spends too much more than it takes in, it will die just like any other business.

Joel Monka said...

Really, PG? Quick- name three government programs that were allowed to die because they were spending more than they took in.