The VA and Liberal & Conservative Fallacies On Health Care

While in general the left is far more reality-based than the right, there are areas where segments of the left are mistaken.As I’ve noted several times in the past, there are some on the left who have been repeating arguments based upon fallacious data to claim far greater quality for the VA system than actually exists.

A problem with those advocating health care reform repeating the fallacious arguments in support of the VA is that those of us who have seen the results of their system know the claims are untrue. Every time there is new information about deficiencies in the VA system the credibility of those who support the VA model is undermined, which also casts doubt upon their legitimate arguments in support of health care reform.

We have another example of problems at a VA hospital with CNN reporting that VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV:

A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.

Carnahan said Tuesday he is calling for a investigation into the issue and has sent a letter to President Obama about it.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” said Carnahan, a Democrat from Missouri. “No veteran who has served and risked their life for this great nation should have to worry about their personal safety when receiving much needed healthcare services from a Veterans Administration hospital.”

Conservatives are right that government does not do a good job in managing  health care. A government take over of health care would be a bad thing. Of course health care reform is not a government take over of health care, and government regulation to counter the abuses of the insurance industry is beneficial.

Health care reform has nothing to do with situations such as VA hospitals. Similarly it has nothing to do with Canadian or British health care. If conservatives were really interested in freedom of choice they would be enthusiastically supporting health care reform. Of course the modern conservative movement is an authoritarian movement which has nothing to do with supporting freedom. They are far more likely to support the “freedom” of the insurance industry to limit health care options while ignoring the fact that only the use of governmental power gives people an ability to counter the power of big corporations.

Republicans Not Doing Enough To Weed Out The Lunatics

A couple of weeks ago I cited an article from Playboy on the influence of Republican operatives on tea party groups. One section I didn’t mention previously is about how the party people are trying to  make tea party candidates more electable:

Our candidate-interview process is pretty simple. The candidate is asked two questions:
(1) Are you a birther?
(2) Are you a truther?
If the answer is anything but “no” or “hell no,” the conversation ends right there. If the candidate answers correctly, the conversation continues, looking at viability and whether we can have a worthwhile impact. The reality of this litmus test is as patriotic as practical. Donors don’t contribute to lunatics.

It’s not a bad litmus test to start with, but they really need to do more to wean out the lunatics, such as Rand Paul. There are plenty of other conspiracy theories he subscribes to, such as the NAFTA Superhighway.

The litmus test should also go beyond weeding out conspiracy theorists. For example, anyone who believes in creationism really lacks the understanding of science to hold any position of authority in the 21st century–plus this is a sure sign that they have been brainwashed by the far right. Unfortunately far too many Republicans believe in creationism. Perhaps at very least they could get rid of the young earth creationists. Would they really miss Sarah Palin? How about one-third of Texas? It appears that Rand Paul might also would fail this test (or at least panders to those who would) after having refused to answer a question about the age of the earth. I hope others continue to press Paul to answer this one.