Will He or Won’t He?

I am waiting to see if radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh fulfills his pledge to move to Costa Rica, if so-called Obama-care were passed by Congress. The central American state is an interesting choice — the country has a pretty good government-run health care system. A website has been set up to buy Limbaugh a one-way first-class ticket.

Who was it who wrote, “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there”? I would have thought Limbaugh would do better with a time-machine and to return to an America pre-Theodore Roosevelt.

Of course, if he fails to depart — the most likely outcome — then he would be joining other notables who have threatened to fly off, but failed to do so, if this or that legislation were passed or this or that fellow elected. Cast your minds back to Obama’s predecessor. Actor Alec Baldwin threatened to go, if George W. made it to the White House. In the event he decided he couldn’t drag himself away from Hollywood.

Death Panels? They Are Called HMOs

Someone wrote an op-ed for Sarah Palin that is running in today’s Wall Street Journal. It couldn’t have been written by her because it consists of grammatical sentences. Being hard-core, Palin comes out with the old death panels argument against the public option and an increased government role in health care. She says: “But the fact remains that the Democrats’ proposals would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life or death health-care matters. Such government overreaching is what we’ve come to expect from this administration.”

So are our HMOs and PPOs full of elected bureaucrats? Because the situation we are in now is that our profitable insurance companies decide now what treatment we can have. Is it better when private organizations ration treatment or jerk around their customers?

It is also immensely amusing to read about how over-arching government is under President Obama. This after 8 years of George W. Bush and a consistent erosion of basic civil liberties and government spending at levels that would have made Bill Clinton blush.

A mixed system of public and private is what most OECD countries enjoy and on most international standards of assessment Belgium, Holland, Germany and Sweden came out way ahead in the end-product, i.e. life-expectancy, cure rates, etc. If you don’t believe that check with the OECD and their assessments. For almost any illness I would prefer to be treated in Belgium, Holland or Germany than the U.S.

The right-wing in the U.S. has got to get over its hatred of government. The public sector can perform well and sometimes better than the private sector. Of course, government should be kept small and avoid taking on too much. Of course, we don’t want a slave society, but mature countries are trying to work out how best to mix public and private in several endeavors. At bottom government should protect people and that includes protecting their health. Defense, law-and-order, health, social security should be the key roles for government.