Poor personal choices

A longtime reader writes TPM with their personal sob story:

My story: My father is dying of Huntington’s disease. Before he dies in 8 to 10 years, he will need anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and drugs that fight dementia and his tremors and convulsions. He’ll need multiple brain scans and physical therapy sessions.

Current medical treatments can’t save him, but they will give him a few more years before the slow death strips him of his memories, personality and control of his body.

There’s a 50 percent chance the same slow motion death awaits me and each of my three siblings. If I ever lose my job I’ll become uninsurable, permanently. My sister already lost her insurance.

That means whatever treatment is developed for Huntington’s will be unavailable to us. There’s simply no way we could afford it. Not only high tech gene therapies or other interventions, but the medications and treatments that exist now that would buy us enough time to see our kids’ graduations or weddings, and would give them hope of not suffering their grandfather’s fate.

For all of its faults, the Senate version of the health care bill includes provisions that would prevent health insurance companies from denying such people coverage, or canceling their policies. The House could pass this bill as-is, and send it to the President to sign. Or, they could start the reform effort over from scratch and attempt to negotiate with the 41 Republicans in the Senate, who have already said that they would not support such provisions.

After all, most of us did not make the poor personal choice to be born to a father with a terrible hereditary disease like Huntington’s, so really, why should we or insurance company shareholders be asked to share the costs? That would be socialism, right?


  1. 1


    Under the unaltered Senate bill it’s very likely that the author of that letter would end up impoverished, and dependent on the support of family and friends–if the insurance companies don’t find a loophole, and get out of paying entirely, that is.

    Or we could pass the Senate bill with simultaneous fixes through reconciliation.

  2. 3

    splashoil spews:

    Marcy Wheeler has a very good response to this chain mailed “sob story.” We fight for something good and are always told to accept a POS because we “need 60 votes.” Not this time.

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Ah, but Goldy, don’t you know? If you’re born unlucky with a hereditary disease, and you can’t inherit or grab enough money to pay for treatment, you’re supposed to fucking DIE!!! Society owes you nothing!! Society is merely the mathematical sum of individuals inhabiting a land mass! Society was never meant to be more than the sum of its individual parts.

  4. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    From link @4: “MD would do better yelling at the Catholic Bishops, who think it’s more important for Bart Stupak to make choice less accessible to all women than it is to provide lots of poor Catholics health insurance, than he would yelling at Grijalva and Nadler.”

    Ah yes, the Catholic Bishops and the congressmen who pander to them are a rub. Not the only rub, but … a rub.

    The key phrase here is “all women.” No one, least of all I, proposes to tell the good bishops how to run their Church. And if someone wants to be a Catholic and let the Bishops tell them how to live their lives, that’s fine and dandy. This is supposed to be a free country.

    But how non-Catholic women choose to live their lives is none of the Bishops’ goddamned business; therefore I suggest they confine themselves to running their Church and pushing around their parishioners, and butt out of politics and public policy.

  5. 7


    splashoil @3,

    All well and good, but… problem is, if the House doesn’t pass the Senate bill as-is, we get no bill at all. I’m all for wringing out promises of fixing things in reconciliation, but that still means passing the damn bill as-is.

  6. 8

    mikek spews:

    Not only will there be no bill, but there will be no bill for the foreseeable future. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

  7. 9

    drool spews:

    I am going to a memorial service for a friend today. She was uninsured so no preventative/diagnostic care, caught the symptoms too late and died of cancer. When diagnosed she married her boyfriend immediately so his insurance could help pay for her treatment (which clearly added a few years to her life). She left a 15 year old daughter. This should not have to happen in America.

  8. 11

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @7: Why shouldn’t the progressives in Congress hold out for everything they can get? At this point, it’s we’ll pass the bill subject to the promise of reconciliation. Everybody else got a piece of the administration on this, why should we be left out?

    Plus: It appears now is the only time they have ANY leverage with our apparently none too excitable administration. If it weren’t used, well THAT would truly be stupid.

  9. 12

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    In general

    When I was in debate in the distant past the sob story argument came up repeatedly. ‘What would you do if it was your other?’

    It’s a logical fallacy. Public policy is about what’s good for society as a whole, not what benefits some individual members.

    Re 4 and 6

    “Catholic Bishops who think it’s more important for Bart Stupak to make choice less accessible to all women”

    Actually, reasonable people can’t disagree on this issue. Mass infanticide is wrong, and a womans choice consists of making good decisions prior to conception. Asking taxpayers to pay for mass murder in the name of choice is repugnant on every level.

    Re 9

    With all due respect for your loss, a general physical is not expensive, and could be afforded by anyone. Blaming your friends’ lack of insurance is creating a scapegoat to deal with your loss, not a real answer to a complex social problem.

  10. 13

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Correction, before Steve the spelling cop says anything about it- mostly because he can’t argue with the real points.When I was in debate in the distant past the sob story argument came up repeatedly. ‘What would you do if it was your Mother?’

  11. 14

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Governing and passing Legislation to deal with the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking occurences is ludicrous Goldy…but typical of KLOWN attempted thinking.
    With 300 million people in America, you should be able to come up with thousands of these tear-jerkers. So What??

    Deal with the exceptions…but don’t socialize medicine for them.

    The Fed, State & Local governments is filled with well-intentioned, tear-jerking Legislation that when glued together helps explain the mess we are in.

    Who can be against poor sick people??
    That’s a red herring.

    Is this what we can expect from the Progressive’s?? More government welfare with more government intrusion sugar-coated with anecdotal stories????

    Won’t work.
    Give it up Goldy.
    Democrat-leaning Rasmussen found this out:

    Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters nationwide now say Congress should drop health care and focus on the economy. Seventy percent (70%) believe that the health care issue was at least somewhat important in Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. Rasmussen Reports issued our final tracking poll for the proposed health care reform and found that 58% of voters remain opposed to the plan Congress was considering. That figure includes 50% who are Strongly Opposed

  12. 15

    splashoil spews:

    Only once, in months of calling to support Senator Dorgan’s drug reimportation ammendment did I get any kind of position from my Senators Cantwell and Murray. Senator Cantwell’s staff said the issue was “safety.” We know how they shafted Dorgan on this issue, even though they represent a border constituency that knows how much they could save on prescription drugs in Canada (made in USA.) It is many things like that that add up to the omnibus POS Senate bill that gouges employee benefits to pay for subsidies to pharma and insurance premiums (no guarantee of actual care.)
    From Obama, on down the line, they have crafted a worthless, devious package that most of us find of little redeeming value. Worse, their plan was laid out early on by the WH even as we were told Senator Baucus was in charge. The Jonathan Gruber PR rollout to sell the bill shafting middle class benefits and mandating insurance purchase without a public option was exposed to be very expensive shilling. The promise to pharma is sacred, like the 60 vote option, while unions had to stop the trainwreck before good benefits would be taxed to prevent “overuse.”
    Change we can believe in?

  13. 17

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 15

    If you really want to keep prescription costs down there is a way.

    If it were illegal for US companies to send drugs to Canada and Europe we wouldn’t have to subsidize their low drug costs. We pay high drug costs to keep them low elswhere. We pay R&D for Canadians and Italians to enjoy the benefits below costs.

    Pharma has less than 5% profit, usually below 3%. To accuse them of profiteering is ridiculous. Blame the socialist gangsters for extorting low prices from them.

  14. 18

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    “Actually, reasonable people can’t disagree on this issue.”

    Well actually they do, so that ends that. I mean really, insisting your opponent accept your premise before engaging in discussion is simply intellectual thuggery.

    As they say in the internet tubes, epic fail.

  15. 19

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    No, the kind of person who could support abortion is the kind who could live next to Buchenwald and pretend nothing was going on. They many have coated their conscience with a thick coat of rationale, but below that is the reality of condoning mass murder for personal convenience.

    Have a nice day.

  16. 20

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @17: That is simply ignorant. The marginal cost of making one more pill is next to zero. MC=MR. Pretty damned simple microeconomics 101.

    Oh, I forgot, your big knock on anybody who disagrees with you is your ignorant assumption they “don’t know how to make money”.

  17. 24

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    I hate Windows Vista and those dopey finger pads, but…

    Volume isn’t the point. The point is that the gangsters and thugs in socialist governments force low drug prices, prices below costs of production. We don’t. Pharma companies make the money lost in socialist countries up in the US. So low British prescription drug prices are possible because you pay for it.

  18. 25

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 21

    Do you understand the difference between net and gross profit? Look it up and when you understand basic business we can have a conversation.

  19. 26

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @19: Reduced to reductio ad Hitlerum, eh? You have just proved Godwin’s Law….and it only took two entries! Perhaps a world’s record.

  20. 27

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 26

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The opposite is true. Murder by the name of abortion smells like the moral decay it is. Comparisons to Hitler of Bush or Obama are laughable. Comparisons of state approved murder on that scale to abortions are simply true.

    You can try to rationalize your support of formalized infanticide. But it’s still the murder of many more human beings than Hitler and Stalin between them had killed. You may try to run from that fact. I’m not going to help you do so.

  21. 28

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    I’m certain many people who treated their families well, paid their bills, took care of their homes and participated for the good in their communities intentionally blinded themselves to the Nazi attrocities. That doesn’t make them blameless.

  22. 29

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    25: Those were net (EBTD). Gross margins are used rarely. The assertion that drug prices in Britain are priced “below the cost of production” is simply laughable on its face. What we see is a classic case of market segmentation.

    Drug companies in the US derive huge economic rents due to patent protections and taxpayer supported basic research.

    You really don’t have a clue, do you?

  23. 31

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

    So what should be the penalty for murder?

  24. 32

    don spews:

    Actually the problem with the high cost of drugs in the US is that pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars advertising drugs for diseases we didn’t know we had. Like WTF is “restless leg syndrome”?

  25. 33

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 31

    The drift of this is presumably to get me to advocate violence against providers of abortion, or those who seek it. Violence begets violence, and I don’t condone or encourage it, even to those who are themselves guilty. I feel deeply sorry for young women who feel they have no choice but to have an abortion. My pity doesn’t excuse the action.

    As with rascist based segregation, the only cure is to change the law where it provides for the abomination, and educate young people to understand and avoid the errors of the past.

  26. 36

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @33: Hey, you’re the guy throwing out the loaded terms here (“murder”, “nazis”, etc.). I am only trying to get you to see the total intellectual incoherence of your position.

    If a law is to be invoked, as you repeatedly say, what should be the penalty? If a law is not required, then why are we having this so-called conversation?

    And frankly, nobody gives a rats ass about your pity.

  27. 37

    Doc Daneeka spews:

    All well and good, but… problem is, if the House doesn’t pass the Senate bill as-is, we get no bill at all.

    I can’t help but wonder just what in the hell is getting in the way of people grasping this fairly simple concept?
    Are we really this bad a math?

    The Citizens United decision will break loose an absolute flood of corporate spending the like of which this political system has never seen before. There is absolutely ZERO chance of passing any new reform legislation in the face of that kind of spending during the upcoming mid-terms. And following these mid-terms you and I and our friends, family and neighbors will no longer be even mildly represented in Congress. From 2011 onward it will be the United Corporations of America, Inc.

    If the Senate bill doesn’t pass, nothing will pass. We don’t have to like that. We don’t have to be happy about it. But, like cancer, it has to be faced. Like any cancer patient we are faced with a choice. We can deny the diagnosis, go out and buy a juicer, stock up on Laetrile, get some self-healing meditation CDs, and read a bunch of self-help softbacks. Or we can face reality, bite the bullet and go in for the radiation and chemo. Sure we can always hope for a miracle cure down the road. And what the hell? The wheat grass tea won’t kill us. And it might even help. But if we choose to pretend that soothing music and a raw organic diet is going to fix the system, then health reform is dead.

  28. 38

    Blue John spews:

    It’s not a great analogy but should a person marry an abusive partner just because that person is willing to pay for basic cable? That’s what this bill is like.

  29. 39


    lost @ 17

    If you really want to keep prescription costs down there is a way.

    If it were illegal for US companies to send drugs to Canada and Europe we wouldn’t have to subsidize their low drug costs.

    A libertarian advocating protectionist regulations to kill a market.

    Or, and here’s a novel idea, permit us in the USA to negotiate drug prices.

    Odd, isn’t it?

    Progressives want market solutions benefiting consumers.

    Whereas regressives (trogs) only support market solutions that benefit their cronies.

  30. 40


    lost @ 17

    Pharma has less than 5% profit, usually below 3%. To accuse them of profiteering is ridiculous.

    You’ve heard of google, right?

    Just some friendly advice: fact check yourself before posting.

    A more correct answer, from 2003, is a high of 23% with an industry average of 17%.

    Blame the socialist gangsters for extorting low prices from them.

    Remarkable. Negotiating with suppliers is now called socialism.

    Why do you hate the free market so much?

  31. 41


    lost @ 12

    Mass infanticide is wrong

    Having an abortion is an economic decision. Republican policies lead to greater economic uncertainty, raising the abortion rate.

    If you’re opposed to abortions, why are you voting for Republicans?

    The Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the West. Because their people have economic security.

    If you want us to be more like the Dutch and reduce the abortion rate, you’d support universal health care with a single payer.

    Any other position is hypocritical.

  32. 42

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 36

    Well, I don’t recall invoking a law so much as a moral imperative. As it stands the law sanctions wholesale murder.

    In that regard where an action is legal but morally repugnant the solution is to make the action illegal, in the manner I outlined in 33.

    So how about the itellectual incoherence of this-
    2 babies are conceived. In one case the mother is involved in domestic violence and is murdered along with her baby. The perpetrator is charged with 2 murders, one of the mother and one of the child.

    The second baby conceived is unwanted by the mother. She murders the baby and walks the streets untouched by the law. So, Proud, intellectual incoherence?

  33. 43

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 39 and 40

    Fair points, and I should have done research before simply repeating something I had heard.

    Free markets are more troublesome to me. Despite what Rabbit and company think I realize the world has more shades of gray than black and white. The only way to effectively act is to determine what is abosolute morally or ethically for me and navigate the less certain with that as a compass. Otherwise it’s just flying blind.

    Having said that we can’t compete with the underdeveloped nations. We shouldn’t. We can’t support socialism at our costs in Europe and we shouldn’t. And negotiating with someone who has legislative authority isn’t negotiating. It’s extortion.

  34. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 Great follow-on to #9; are you out to prove how snarky and shallow you can be? Save yourself the effort; we already know.

  35. 46

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 “Actually, reasonable people can’t disagree on this issue.”

    Bullshit. Reasonable people can and do disagree on this issue. Assuming we all agree that “infanticide” is a moral wrong and should be against the law, the problem is, how do you define “infant” and when does a fertilized egg become a “person”?

    The Supreme Court justices couldn’t figure this out, and neither can you. What’s extremely clear is that an egg in the moments after fertilization is a cell, not a baby. What is equally clear is that a fetus is a sentient human being in the moments after birth. Somewhere in between, an egg becomes a cell mass, and the cell mass becomes a baby. But when?

    The problem with your argument is that aborting an egg or a cell mass is not “infanticide” because there’s no infant until the egg or cell mass becomes an “infent.” The moment you run into this definitional problem, people start applying their own personal value judgments. You have the right to do that for purposes of running your own life, but you don’t have the right to impose your value judgments on strangers for purposes of running their lives. That’s infringing on their liberty.

    So, no, the issue is not simple or clear-cut like you think it is, and as far as your assertion that women’s choice exists only prior to conception, that’s neither the law of the land nor a sound logical or moral argument. I would add that the good Bishops take it even farther than you do; they’re not only against abortion, they’re also against contraception — a position that has resulted in untold human suffering in overpopulated, poverty-stricken, Catholic countries.

  36. 47

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Well, if a Republican was making that decision, I suspect he’d give her arsenic to speed up his inheritance.

  37. 49

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 What evidence do you have that we’re subsidizing Canadian drug prices?

    @17 & @40 — It’s true the pharmaceutical industry’s bottom-line profits aren’t out of line with other industries, but what both of you are missing is the industry’s enormous marketing expenditures, which amount to over half of total revenues.

    Think about it. The industry spends billions on TV ads and marketing reps to get us to ask our doctors to prescribe their pills. Why is this necessary? It isn’t. Americans are the most overmedicated people on earth. Have you seen the TV commercials for the pill that treats “restless leg syndrome”? How the hell did our grandparents ever get along without that one? It’s a wonder they survived long enough for our generation to be born! My point is the industry spends half or more of what we pay for drugs on marketing to push those drugs on us, whether we need them or not. Cut back on the marketing and you can sell American-

  38. 51

    delbert spews:

    So crappy care for all (see the NHS for daily examples) with no profits to fund research and development ensuring the next generation of drugs come late, or perhaps, never. Great.

    You dumbshits won’t accept that for everybody to be equal means equally miserable.

  39. 52

    ArtFart spews:

    “When I was in debate in the distant past the sob story argument came up repeatedly. ‘What would you do if it was your other?’

    It’s a logical fallacy. Public policy is about what’s good for society as a whole, not what benefits some individual members.”

    Yeah, right. Then all you have to do is apply a little slice-and dice. Since society is made up of individuals, by that reasoning you don’t have to do anything for anyone.

  40. 54

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Where is the Democrats willingness to discuss Tort Reform?
    You have successful skirted the issue with all the other stupidity your KlownMates have heaped onto this discussion with backroom deals with the Unions, Louisiana, Nebraska et al.

    You keep blaming Conservatives for the monstrosity you have created. If Dems had stuck together, you could have passed whatever.
    It may feel good to blame others…but you are actually lucky you didn’t foolishly pass something the majority of Americans dislike and would have disliked more once they understood the true costs, unfairness, backroom deals and other implications.

    You were actually saved from your own zealousness.

    Now let’s talk TORT REFORM!!
    Let’s talk Interstate competition.
    Let’s go back and look at the Price-Waterhouse-Coopers Study—or are you still so shallow & stupid you don’t want to work together????

    Here is the link–

    To deny the true cost of Defensive Medicine triggered by your ambulance-chasing campaign contributors shows you have no intention of truly addressing the issues.

    No sacred kows klowns.

    Then let’s get something done that truly benefits ALL Americans with no secret union deals or secret state special deals or avoiding the true cost of Defensive Medicine caused by ambulance-chasers.

    Anyone interested?

    I thought you wouldn’t be.

  41. 56

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @51 Hey dumbshit, drug companies don’t pay for R & D, taxpayers and universities do. The drug companies don’t invent new drugs, they merely commercialize and market what comes out of university and government labs.

  42. 57

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Economist, a conservative British news magazine, pointed out at page 31 of its January 16 issue that, in theory, senators representing only 10% of the population can block legislation (i.e., 41 senators from the 21 smallest states).

  43. 58

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In the same issue, at page 32, the Economist said the U.S. population grew by 30 million between December 1999 and December 2009, but the U.S. job market grew by only 400,000 jobs during that time. (And lost all of them this month — RR.) That means we’re adding only 1 new job for every 75 new people every decade. At that rate, Americans will be hijacking boats to get to Haiti by 2050.


  44. 59

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @54 Right. The Republican “solution” to our health care crisis is to take away injured patients’ right to sue negligent doctors and hospitals.

    It’s entirely consistent with their “bankruptcy reform” that allows corporations to tear up their union contracts and dump their pension obligations on taxpayers in bankrupcty court, while denying relief to sick people who lost everything because their crooked insurers refused to pay for their treatment.

    Why the fuck would anyone vote for these assholes?

  45. 60

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I honestly don’t know what people in Massachusetts were thinking. Did they really believe electing a Republican will bring jobs or improve health care?

  46. 61

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If “tort reform” is so great why have health insurance premiums gone up in states that adopted “tort reform”?

  47. 62

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    “Where is the Democrats willingness to discuss Tort Reform?”

    Right here, KKKlown. Bring it on. You have no case. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

    And don’t bring bullshit raving about lawyers. Bring fucking facts….like real numbers.

    So here’s a challenge for you: Texas has tort “reform”. Demonstrate the cost savings realized as a result (hint: the answer is virtually none). Med malpractice settlement costs are a mere 1-2% of totaL health care expenditures. So how much can the cost curve be bent from that bedrock FACT you doofus.


    But tell you what, you bold faced liar. I’ll give you both your sacred tort reform and let insurance companies sell anywhere they want in exchange for universal single payer.

    Step up KKKlown. Take your medicine.

  48. 63

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    “So crappy care for all (see the NHS for daily examples….”

    Please explain to the peanut gallery why the free and sovereign people of Great Britain have not thrown off their socialist yoke and adopted our wonderful approach to health care.

    You can’t. Why izz’at?

  49. 64

    delbert spews:


    You shouldn’t put your ignorance in writing. NIH sponsors a huge amount of basic research, but drugs come from big Pharma.


    Watch the next election in old Blighty.

  50. 65

    john spews:

    @60 I honestly don’t know what people in Massachusetts were thinking

    That’s evident . . . despite the post-election surveys.

  51. 66

    don spews:

    If everyone had universal coverage there would be no need for tort reform. Most medical malpractice lawsuits are filed to recover costs for future medical needs. This is why insurance premiums for obstetricians are astronomical, since a baby will require expensive medical care for the next 50,60,70 years.

  52. 67

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Today’s Poetry Reading

    “The gods of the market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew.” — Rudyard Kipling

  53. 68

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @64 “NIH sponsors a huge amount of basic research, but drugs come from big Pharma.”

    Did I say differently, dumbass?

  54. 69

    manoftruth spews:

    if michael bloomberg gave half of his 6 billion dollar fortune to a trust fund, he could insure thousands of people….instead of just handing out a few turkeys on thanksgiving.

  55. 70

    Tim F spews:

    My Cynical,

    Tort reform is a state issue. Why do you think it can be done at the federal level? Are you in favor of the Federal government strong-arming state governments to make this happen?

    For someone who comes from the party who can’t stand government interventions of any type, how can you possibly be in favor of the government putting a value on the human life? Doesn’t that violate everything that you small government folks stand for?

    Tort reform violates every fiber of a conservative’s world view. Of course, they’ll never allow that to get in the way of a good talking point.

    Also, the senate bill DOES allow for inter-state competition. It’s a pretty bag part of the bill, in fact. I thought you folks have read every word of the bill and know it forwards and backward?

  56. 71

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I just pulled up the Jan. 15 Value Line report on Abbott Labs. Let’s look at some numbers:

    Sales (2008): $29.53 billion
    R & D spending (2008): $2.7 billion (9.1%)
    Net profit (2008): $4.73 billion (16%)

    We all know drug prices drop drastically when they go off patent. Some people assume branded drugs have to be expensive in order to recover development costs. That’s false. In Abbott’s case, R & D expenditures are less than 10% of what you pay for the drug, and barely more than half the profit margin. That’s fairly typical. The main reason for the big price differential between branded and generic drugs is that generics don’t advertise. The biggest portion of the money you pay for branded drugs doesn’t go to development, production, or even profit — it pays for those expensive TV commercials, multipage magazine ads, and armies of generously-compensated reps the drug companies deploy to the nation’s doctor offices and health clinics. In a word, the majors spend gobs of money on marketing to persuade you to ask your doctor to prescribe their drug. There is neither a medical nor an economic necessity for this; it is simply the business model that produces the most sales and highest profits.

  57. 72

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @70 Government bureaucrats dictating what a patient’s life is worth obviously is a stupid idea. Historically, we’ve always allowed juries to do this. One of the elements of damages in a wrongful death case is the family’s loss of the future earnings of the deceased. That’s obviously different for a doctor or a business owner than it is for a waitress or a laborer. The age of the children also is a factor in terms of loss of parenting and financial support. And the calculation is entirely different for patients who died, who survived with permanent disability, or survived with temporary injury. The notion that you can reduce all these varying elements to a one-size-fits-all compensation schedule is ridiculous. And the argument about “runaway” juries is a myth. The problem is just the opposite; most juries are tightfisted to the point of frustration for plaintiffs and their lawyers.

  58. 73

    The kid with the Lightbulb Head spews:

    re 12: “It’s a logical fallacy. Public policy is about what’s good for society as a whole, not what benefits some individual members.”

    I’ll bet you can’t name 3 types of logical fallacies off the top of your head.

    How does it benefit society to have sick members. Also, you seem to be in favor only of public policies that benefit no individuals, only the en-masse.

  59. 74

    manoftruth spews:

    And the argument about “runaway” juries is a myth.

    i love when you call anything you dont agree with a myth. and what authority declared it a “myth”? YOU???? LOL

  60. 76

    proud leftist spews:

    The 7th Amendment to the Constitution provides:
    “In Suits at Common Law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried to a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the Common Law.”

    Why do rightwingers like Cynical and manoftruth love the bullshit decision from the SCOTUS declaring corporations to have rights, but hate the 7th Amendment? Why do you folks pick and choose amongst your amendments, loving the 2nd but hating the 7th?

    And, by the way you freaking idiots screaming for tort deform, why is it in a personal injury case that it is always the defendant (the insurance company) who requests a trial by jury? We on the left defend the right to trial by jury to the death. The right wants to abolish that right. On the other hand, juries have been so conservative, in this state at least, that plaintiffs never request them. I think I know what I’m talking about a little more than you do, Cynical, when it comes to this subject. Damn, you’re a liar.

  61. 78

    doggril spews:

    Lost – You’re full of shit, and an asshole to boot. People note stories of the personal effects of a social problem, like their friends dying, and all you can do is respond with snarky, heartless, asinine comments. You have no compassion for the uninsured. But you compare pro-choice people to Nazis-presumably as demonstration of your ample “compassion” for zygotes.
    Then to bolster your comments you make up some fantasy about the poor drug companies and how they lose so much money in those evil socialist countries. Here’s a question for you, asshole: if they’re not making money in a country because all the prices are too low, why the fuck do they do business there? The answer is that OF COURSE they make money in those countries. You’re stupid enough to believe their obviously self-serving claims to the contrary.
    Too bad you have so much compassion for zygotes and corporations but so little for actual, you know, people.

  62. 79

    doggril spews:

    @74 – Of course the notion of runaway juries is a myth. Snopes addresses the myth and dispatches it pretty well. There are plenty of other reputable sites that also debunk that myth. It’s pretty easy to debunk–so easy that anyone who still believes it has to be either naturally or willfully stupid.

  63. 80

    The kid with the Lightbulb Head spews:

    People sue doctors so thry can cope with the expenses of a doctor’s mistake. They are going to need that money to pay for medical care they would not otherwise have needed.

    Universal Health care would be automatic health reform.

  64. 81

    kirk91 spews:

    I just don’t buy the all or nothing argument ‘if we don’t pass this POS Senate bill we get nothing’. Bull. We could expand Medicare. We could separately pass ‘no pre-existing conditions’ and bring back the drug re-importation bill for starters.
    Further as 15 points out about, since when does having insurance mean that these types of conditions will be fully paid for anyhow? As you should know 70% of medical bankruptcies are from folks with insurance. What in the bill prevents companies from charging an arm and a leg and/or capping lifetime benefits at a very low figure? Having health insurance is NOT health reform.

  65. 82

    hey right wingers spews:

    the contingent fee system is about the most entrepreneurial risk taking venture we have in our economy. think about it…tons of small businesses called lawyers evaluate cases, they put up tens of thousands in case costs, and they don’t win unless the suit wins. if the suit loses, they are out of pocket sometimes $20,000 sometimes millions. Uh huh.

    Plus, their time for one, two, three, four or more years. Often, the defendants just appeal and appeal and appeal (the filing fee cost for an appeal is about $200 bucks) to delay delay delay…..so that trial lawyer you right wingers love to hate so much is a very pure capitalist who engages in personal responsibility taking risk for reward and functioning as the ultimate screeening device in meritorious v. unmeritorious lawsuits.

    it’s those defense lawyers who get paid win or lose who clog up the system with frivolous positions, they don’t give a shit if their client loses, they’re happy to charge $300 an hour for YEARS while on a losing course.

    So the right wingers for so called tort reform betray their supposed devotion to choice, risk, capitalism, and rugged individualism.

    More proof they’re a bunch of yellow bellied liars. They lie all the time. Everything they say is a lie. They aren’t really for capitalism….because the one third contingent fee system is a fairly pure form of it. They are not for what our founders were for, because as noted, our founders understood very well we need juries and these right wwingers want to do away with juries and limit their power. Hey right wingers. You’re a bunch of cowards and liars. The jury system is the archstone of our judicial system and it is one part, with due process, that the founders put in the constitution along with a few other things like the right to confront witnesses and right to counsel. Founders knew very well that fair procedures are essential to limiting government and achieving social goals and you the right wingers always want to do away with what the founding fathers crafted. Go to hell.

  66. 83

    Roots spews:

    we have more health care than we can afford, false expectations, science has outstripped our wallet, let’s go to China and get some more money!! I’ve buried friends and parents, death is part of life. Everyone inherits their own death clock, sorry, I know mine and it will get me, and that’s why I’m going sky diving this summer.
    America gives us a chance, it isn’t supposed to give us eternal life…..it’s the pursuit of happiness, not the guarantee of happiness…give me a break!

  67. 85

    Puddybud Likes Flying Dutchmen spews:

    Puddy watching y’all comment over a bill y’all created. We were told the adults were in charge. We were told to say Senator Al Franken over and over and over. When Arlen Specter left we were teased.

    Back in the spring 2009 when John Boehner wrote Odumba saying the Republicans would work with him Odumba told Boehner no thanks. So did Pelosi. Reid has his 59 pals.

    Well what did we learn during the summer? HA Libtardos screamed nagative thoughts against big pharma and insurance. They were the devil. Well, who did Odumba, Pelosi & Reid make big deals with? The “big pharmanad insurance devils”. And you leftist fools can’t see the “irony” in that? We went allowed to play in the sand box.

    You took your toys and closed the doors. Now you reap the consequences of your selfish actions.

  68. 86

    righton spews:

    to goldy’s orig point; why not insulate us from the nasty economic hit that strikes randomly and unfairly…

    ok, goldy, does that also mean i don’t need to work as hard as i do; instead sleeping on the couch like half the populace?

    that is, if the gov’t is in the role of protecting my downside, why should they allow me any upside?

    (socialism goes beyond spreading costs, it also kills personal initiative)

  69. 87


    Mr Cynical @ 54

    We’ve already covered tort reform. Please try to keep up.

    Universal health care with a single payer largely negates the need for malpractice insurance, mooting the issue.

    The progressive proposal halves the costs of healthcare, whereas the GOP’s proposals (tort reform, “interstate competition”, whatever that is) may save a few bucks.

    GOP: Passing over dollars to pick up pennies.

  70. 88


    Puddy @ 85

    You referring to yourself by name is a bit weird.


    Where were the voices of dissent during the Bush Regime?

    Me and everyone I know criticizes or praises Obama as warranted.

    You know this. Pretending you don’t just to make a stink is silly, and frankly, is beneath you.

  71. 89


    the idea of free market insurance is not afraid of insuring people with deadly illnesses.

    the system we all know and hate is not based on the free market. it is created by government granted monopolies and competition busting legislation.

    obamacare or any other public option is the biggest fattest monopoly of all. if we all have no choice but to pay into the system, then what incentive does the government have to keep prices low?