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My view: Charity cannot replace Medicaid expansion

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  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 12:19 a.m.

    This is an excellent and humane letter. Getting on in life is largely about finding ways for people to share risk. That is what the nuclear family, extended family, clan, tribe, religion, commune, or nationhood is about. All arrangements in society are social - there are human beings in back of all arrangements. But the modern capitalist state with all of its commercial arrangements obscures this fact. Extending medicaid furthers a social arrangement. In refusing to extend medicaid, the state of Utah is deciding to let our brothers and sisters go without health care, to suffer, and perhaps die. This is unconscionable.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 4:51 a.m.

    Re: ". . . it is clear that government can accomplish some important things by taxing their citizens and spending the money wisely."

    Which has absolutely nothing to do with Medicaid expansion.

    The "charity" the good Doc suggests is lacking in Utah, is over and above the nearly half our income that is currently filched from us by bloated, unaccountable government at all levels. Admittedly, it is tough to for real people to dig deep and help out, when Docs do so well, dramatically inflating medical costs, and when there's so little left over after bloated government is through taxing us.

    So, they impose the leftist, elitist solution -- brutally enforce more "charity" by increasing the weight of government's heavy heel on America's neck.

    Hmmmmmm.

    Here's a better solution -- reduce taxes to realistic, constitutional levels, and unleash the goodness of America to freely engage in real, not forced, charity.

    Leftist haters simply have no regard for, or confidence in America.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 5:45 a.m.

    This doctor is talking about two people who definitely need help and I believe the majority of us would want to help. As is often the case helping the truly needy is far different than helping many who are on Medicaid right now and most of us have personnel stories of those people .
    We should help no doubt about it but there is only so much money available, somehow when we pick and choose we must be very wise in our choices.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 24, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    Is government the answer? Do all doctors work for the government? Who pays them when they receive "government" money, the government or you and me? Does the government own all hospitals? Who pays them when they receive "government" money, the government or you and me?

    Doctors have taken an oath to help everyone, regardless of the patient's ability to pay. That puts an unfair burden on the doctor if the patient cannot pay, but really, should the doctor expect that you and I pay for his patients' health-care?

    Perhaps a better way would be to have public clinics and hospitals where doctors and staff who were "sponsored" by the government would "enlist" for six years in exchange for their training (simliar to active service requirements for ROTC). The government could actively recruit doctors and nurses to work in those clinics and hospitals.

    The net result would be MORE doctors and MORE healthcare. Those clinics and hospitals could handle the needs of those who could not pay.

    No doctor should be burdened with giving free service nor should any doctor expect you and me to pay his wages if we are not his patients.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    Re: Mike Richards "Perhaps a better way would be to have public clinics and hospitals where doctors and staff who were "sponsored" by the government would "enlist" for six years in exchange for their training (simliar to active service requirements for ROTC). The government could actively recruit doctors and nurses to work in those clinics and hospitals."

    Not a bad idea.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    No charity can replace a proper health care system, nor should it be expected to. We can provide health care for one and all, at reasonable cost, if we just find the will. People all over the world prove it.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    Charity has had 2013 years to solve poverty and suffering.

    If it had, why are we discussing more alternatives, like Medicare, healthcare, social security, etc?

    Let me use another example.

    If 'trickle-down' economics worked under Reagan…why did George W. Bush need to bail out Wall Street?

    Because, although a good theory, and while the previous idea did contribute to a solution, it do not factually solve the problem.

    So, together, lets work to solve problems. Not just complain.

    My example would be Democracy. Sure, it has problems. But to 'shut everything down' because of a few problems takes us back. Not moves us forward together to a solution.

    I will even use a phrase by winston churchill.

    'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for everything that came before it.'

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    Re: "No charity can replace a proper health care system, nor should it be expected to."

    Liberal sophistry.

    No liberal health care institution runs as well or as efficiently as a Primary Children's, or a St. Jude's, or a Toronto Sick Children's. No emergency assistance system can operated as well or efficiently as the LDS Church's Welfare Program, Catholic Charities, or the Red Cross.

    Liberals love to mock and point out an occasional failure of a charitable institution, but cynically turn a blind eye to the fact that all government programs are unmitigated disasters. None achieves its stated goal, all are rife with corruption, and all produce unintended second and third order effects that loom larger than their target problem.

    That's primarily because the goal of "progressive" government programs has nothing to do with helping people, everything to do with controlling people.

    It's sad that liberals -- whose policies have destroyed more lives and wrought more misery than any other American movement -- are not laughed out of the room each time they claim to be on the side of the "little guy."

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    Thank you, Dr. Ward, for reminding us that most of us are one serious illness or one tragic accident away from not being able to provide for our own health care. We need to join the civilized world and stop treating health care as a marketable commodity available only to those who are fortunate enough to be able to afford it.

    And Mike Richards, yes, government is the answer for many, many things that the market is not capable of providing. Health care is one of them.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 24, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    Thank you Dr. Ward for the dose of reality.

    We have a physician in our ward who primarily treats those of low income. He also sees the need and supports the expansion of Medicaid.

    But here in the U.S. we have people who rail against govt waste in programs which help save people's lives, but nary a word about waste in the part of govt that makes bombs.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    Gov. Herbert should say no to more government control over our lives through medicaid expansion. It will only result in higher taxes for Utahans and more waste, fraud, and abuse, with the poor being ill-served.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    The writer asks some specific questions to Senator Christensen. It would be nice if the good senator responded.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Dec. 24, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    Thank you, Dr. Ward. Please don't be disturbed by the vicious voices here accusing you of "liberal sophistry." The young, the poor, the chronically ill and the extremely old are the most vulnerable people in our society. Private charity has never and will never meet their needs because it is hit and miss and subject to the whims of the occasional philanthropist. A truly civilized society organizes itself systematically to assist the most vulnerable. But given the comments here, there are a lot of heartless ideologues in Utah, aren't there?

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal

    "Leftist haters simply have no regard for, or confidence in America."

    I have no confidence in thinking that people who think 47% of people don't take responsibility for themselves are going to be willing to donate significant amounts to those people. The food stamp cuts alone (Senate version, the House had much larger cuts) are equal to the entire food pantry donation level in the nation. Are donations to food banks doubling next year? Of course not, heck, many of you wanted food stamp levels cut as some sort of incentive to get people to work. If you think handouts are causing people to be lazy... then why would you then significantly increase charitable giving that effectively becomes a handout? (Especially since any cuts to the safety net would be deficit reduction so we as people would have no additional untaxed income to work with).

    And then many of us would just become more charitable towards the people we know who are struggling. The benefit with gov't programs is that they can reach across the nation and fill in holes of people who don't have much in the manner of family/friends/church connections.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal
    "reduce taxes to realistic, constitutional levels"

    You can't cut taxes. Your side believes in deficit reduction and tax cuts would only harm that. Granted, I realize your side believes in the mythical idea that lowering taxes increases revenue and leaves enough left over so everyone can have a pony... My Little Economy: Tax Cuts Are Magic.

    The first 700 billion in spending cuts is going to balancing the budget. Your change in charity would be based off of much larger need and no extra money for you to work with since taxes wouldn't change. Good luck with that. You can say I don't "believe in America" (... probably not helping my cause by using a German word for a username...) but I think you don't believe in math.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    Mike Richards, in his effort to castigate Medicare actually makes a great case for the Affordable Care Act. The ACA will actually REDUCE government spending by pushing all citizens toward the conservative ideal of personal responsibility. We will all actually have to PAY for our medical care instead of foisting it off on those who do pay.

    But he and others still persist in trying to put forth the myth that Medicare and ACA are somehow handouts to the irresponsible among -- when actually is is the exact opposite.

    I guess they're still hoping to make Obama a one-term president.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Re: "You can't cut taxes."

    Yeah, yeah. We're all very familiar with that cynical, disingenuous, party-line, liberal sophistry.

    But, as even liberals know, but don't like to admit -- it's simply not true.

    Nothing but liberal-mongered fear prevents us from the return to greatness that real America deserves.

    Or, in other words -- "All we have to fear is [liberal-mongered] fear, itself."

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    Dec. 24, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    TO "Raymond Ward" you are missing the bigger picture while being sucked into the lies presented by liberals.

    First, saying that Medicaid runs an overhead of 7% is a lie. That is like saying your billing department has an overhead rate of 7%. The government has an overhead rate of 20% to 30%. You have ignored the cost to get money from your pocket to the government's hands.

    A few years ago a Doctors group said they would be able to do more charity work if they could get deduct the cost of the supplies used while helping the poor.

    To "one old man" how does the ACA cut expenses? The poor still can't afford insurance, so we subsidize it with tax money. Then, when they get medical treatment, they can't pay their deductibles, so tax payers end up paying that too. It now costs more to treat the poor because the money is transferred between private and government hands a couple of additional times.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    Dec. 24, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    Mr. proc, just WHEN was that greatness you refer to in your last post? And what did medical care cost in relation to income during that golden era? Should we plan to mandate medical charges downward while we're setting people free to find their own solutions? After all, you can only have so many self-organized benefit softball games.

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    Dec. 24, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    Medicaid expansion does not address the problem of why medical care has become so expensive. And that is part of why I don't support the ACA and most Americans don't support it. If you want to support reduced costs you must return insurance to what insurance should be and all people the poor included should bare some of the responsibility for their medical needs (this means we are responsible for being healthy) then after all other avenues (family, friends, charity, etc) are exhausted then we can have state governments step in to help with costs of care. Cadillac corprate and union plans, Medicaid and Medicare have been adding to the healthcare inflation problem for years and they are what need to be addressed before we expand medicaid to cover people.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 24, 2013 4:12 p.m.

    What is really going on on this thread? It seems that there are those who tell us that me must love our neighbor, that we must open our wallets, that we must let the government tax us any amount to help those "poor". When did government become God's helpers? Was it just after the government banned prayer from our schools? Was it just after lawyers made us take down the "crosses" honoring fallen troopers? Was it just after Obama tried to force the Catholic Church to provide contraceptives and abortions to those who worked for that establishment of religion?

    Government cannot tolerate competition. It will force us to be charitable and then it will take all the credit for OUR actions. Obama is very good at doing that. When things go wrong, he blames Bush. When valiant soldiers do their duty, he takes all the credit.

    If Obama wants to help the poor, let him open his wallet. He has plenty to give. He lacks for nothing. He needs no salary. The rest of us already give our excess to charity. We don't need a boot at our neck to force us to be kind.

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 24, 2013 9:47 p.m.

    I think we need both.

    IF we were perfect people we may only need one, but we aren't.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 25, 2013 1:06 a.m.

    Re: procuradorfiscal "Here's a better solution -- reduce taxes to realistic, constitutional levels, and unleash the goodness of America to freely engage in real, not forced, charity."

    What government does with the ACA is not "charity" nor should it claim such. "Charity" is a peculiarly Christian concept - where the giver can give or not at his discretion depending on the worthiness of the beneficiary, and where the giver acquires greater virtue by giving.

    In the societies of antiquity the prevalent concept is "reciprocity." Under this notion cooperation requires yet more cooperation, as per tradition.

    What government does is distant from Christian charity and is more like reciprocity or socialist doctrine. FYI.

    And BTW, as to the goodness of America, my late mother struggled with severe asthma, caused by being downwind from unscrubbed cement plants. She did receive voluntary care from an MD relative (who likely saved her life, God rest his soul), but after that she was never able to afford adequate care until medicare (God bless that).

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 25, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    Thank you Marxist for the reminder that cooperation is not charity and charity has nothing to do with government sponsored safety net programs, especially the ACA.

    There is a good book out now that explains just this point called moral tribes. The point is that morality developed to aid necessary cooperation among citizens of different sociities/tribes.

    Morality morphed into religion along with it's principle of charity, as an enforcer but at it's core religion and morality are simply a means to an end. The end being cooperation.

    Cooperation, can be decided on, and is every day, without the need for religion or charity. In fact a good argument could (and I personally would make it) that charity is an inferior principle to cooperation.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Dec. 26, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah
    Is government the answer? Do all doctors work for the government? Who pays them when they receive "government" money, the government or you and me? Does the government own all hospitals? Who pays them when they receive "government" money, the government or you and me?

    Perhaps a better way would be to have public clinics and hospitals where doctors and staff who were "sponsored" by the government would "enlist" for six years in exchange for their training (simliar to active service requirements for ROTC). The net result would be MORE doctors and MORE healthcare. Those clinics and hospitals could handle the needs of those who could not pay.

    8:20 a.m. Dec. 24, 2013

    =========

    Interesting rant from a man less than 2 years away from signing up for Social Security, Medicare, and a host of other Government Senior Citizen Social programs.

    But I must be making some progress with you (finally),
    Since I have been a always been a strong proponant of using --

    A Socialist concept of Government service to help repay the Government costs to Medical Education and Training like our Socialist United States Military does.

    There's hope for you yet...