A Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

A letter from Judith W. Gardner in the September 23 edition of Foster's Daily Democrat advocates a "single-payer" health-care system, and inveighs against insurance companies who "skim off profits from money that should go for caring of the sick."

An article by David Goldhill in the September 2009 issue of the Atlantic magazine throws cold water on the simplistic notion that if only we could eliminate profit from the health care system all would be well. He noted that if we were to (somehow) confiscate all the yearly profits of the "famously greedy health-insurance companies", that money would pay for about four days of health care for all Americans.

If you throw in the profits of the ten largest US drug companies, another favorite whipping boy, that would buy you another seven days.

And finally, even if you were to grab all the profits from all American companies in every industry, you "wouldn't cover even five months of our health-care expenses."

Ms. Gardner doesn't like Senator Baucus's proposed legislation; neither do I, probably for very different reasons. But scapegoating private companies, and pretending all would be well if not for their "large profits" is fallacious. We need reality-based discussions on this issue; a good place to start would be to realize that there's no "free lunch" to be had by plundering private enterprises and their profits.

Yours truly,

Paul A. Sand

URLs du Jour

2009-09-23

  • I still remember the first time I heard Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run. Late fall, 1974: I was sick, miserable in my dorm-room bed at the University Near Here. I had Boston's WBCN on the stereo. And it started playing…

    I swear that song healed me. My heart started doing about 120; I got up feeling fine.

    All that was brought back by Louis P. Masur's Slate article about Born to Run. If you remember the song fondly, check it out.

  • The title is "Five Health Care Promises Obama Won't Keep." That's not news to Pun Salad readers, I hope; but I'm kind of surprised that the link goes to CBS News.

  • I don't usually link to the GOP either, but they have an excellent point about the disparate treatment given to Humana (noted yesterday) and the AARP.

    This week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it was investigating Humana for providing "misleading" information regarding the Administration's proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage policies-and prohibited other Medicare Advantage plans from providing similar information on how Democrat health "reform" could take away their current coverage.

    Yet the Administration's edict prohibiting plans from communicating with their beneficiaries failed to include AARP, which sponsors a Medicare Advantage plan but has been a prime advocate of Democrats' government takeover of health care-quite possibly because AARP has been supporting a health care overhaul from which it stands to gain overall handsomely. Even as AARP advocates for cutting Medicare Advantage plans by more than $150 billion, an analysis of the organization's operations reveals that it stands to receive tens of millions of dollars at the expense of seniors' medical care-with Democrats' full approval […]

    This is why I throw all AARP mail in the trash on my way in from the mailbox.

  • I have yet to see a Michael Moore movie, but Sean Higgins is braver than I. Also funnier:
    Just before the film started, Moore asked the audience to turn off any recording devices because the studio did not want bootleg versions of the film getting around. Apparently this socialism stuff has its limits.

Glory

[4.0
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Somehow I missed seeing Glory until now. But something made me put it in the Netflix queue, and it eventually worked its way to the top. IMDB has it squeaking into their top 250 films of all time at #249 (as I type). Denzel Washington won his first Oscar for his role here.

The main character is Robert Gould Shaw, played by Matthew Broderick. This was only three years after Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and … well, you couldn't think of two more complete opposites than Shaw and Bueller. As the movie begins, Shaw's seeing his first combat action in the Civil War. Unfortunately for him, that action is the Battle of Antietam, which (as George F. Will points out) is "still the bloodiest day in American history." Shaw is wounded, and returns to his parents' home in Boston.

Even though his performance was undistinguished—a fact which Shaw is clearly aware of—his political connections allow him to wangle a command position: he's put in charge of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, made up of free black men. Glory follows the regiment through training, looks at the inevitable friction between white and black soldiers, and culminates in the assault on Fort Wagner in July of 1863.

It's a fine war movie, well acted. (Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, and Andre Braugher are in it too, all great.) In addition to Denzel Washington, the cinematography also netted an Oscar.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 2:23 PM EDT