Thursday, June 23, 2011

On Knowing

History, of course, is one long argument.  I saw Steve Forbes on TV this morning and he was, as usual, very certain of everything he said. He said the Great Depression of the 1930's was caused by government regulation, and, of course, government regulation is always BAD. And that's what's keeping our economy from recovery. (Never mind those unregulated bankers and stockbrokers who were raping the system with their incompetence and arrogance and regulators did not keep them from driving the economy into a tree.) Steve Forbes KNOWS.

He knows because he has core ideology which is never wrong. In his religion, GOOD is unregulated business which makes everyone money and creates jobs and businessmen are GOOD and government types are cowardly salarymen trying to rein in the stallions. No matter what happens, what facts may be presented to the contrary, Steve knows what he knows. Same for Rush and Glenn and Sean. They all have that core belief which is unshakable.

They are, of course all Republicans and millionaires and what they really know is they want to keep all their money and they really don't care whether you are rich or poor, as long as they can get more of what they want. They are not good people.

Steve Forbes and Paul Ryan and the Republicans all talk about the horrors of government spending and they want to "Reform" Medicare and Social Security because these are government programs (which they will never need) and they limit freedom, because everyone must participate whether or not they like it.

What really kills the Republicans about Social Security and Medicare is these are very successful programs and everyone but the very rich love them.

The Republicans talk about Medicare Fraud, which they claim is epidemic.

That's a lie.

Let me tell you about Medicare Fraud. If a doctor sees 2 patients one morning, both are new patients and both have diabetes. One patient arrives wearing a mink coat, dripping in diamonds, with her chauffeur. The other is dressed in overalls, having taken the morning off from his job as a laborer. The doctor charges the rich lady $300 for her new consultation and he charges the laborer $50 for the consultation. He spends an hour with each, does pretty much the same thing for each. The Medicare police arrive the next day and tell the doctor he has committed Medicare Fraud.

"But why?"  the doctor asks. "I charged what the traffic could bear."

"No, you must charge every patient the same for the same service. If you were willing to accept $50 for the consultation, that is your true fee."

Now consider the radiologist who does a CT on a man's chest and then gives the man contrast and does some views to see what the chest looks like with the contrast. He has studied the same patient with the same CT machine, but he charges for two CT scans, one for the "Before contrast" the other for the "After contrast." 

Medicare Fraud?

No, perfectly legal.

But the first doctor makes the newspapers and the public does not understand.

Should we change the rules so rich people pay more for services under Medicare? Of course. But let's not think we KNOW there is Medicare fraud rampant out there or that the only way to change the system is to kill it.

That much we can all be confident, we KNOW.

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