Hooters and Also Health Care
I spent the first two weeks back from deployment almost exclusively with my son, who is 18 months old and doesn't really understand why I've been gone for half of his life. We had a terrific time, as you can see in the picture. We spent all day every day watching the Wiggles, playing together and hanging out. Red had to work most of the time, but we were able to get some time together as well.
I left Sunday to start school at the AEGIS Readiness and Training Center in Dahlgren, Virginia. I've been getting my butt kicked as I get all learned up - the AN/SPY-1 radar is all Big Gray Boxes and 'trons, folks. It's not easy, like pumps and engines. At the end of one week, it's readily apparent that more studying is in order. Thank goodness I'm the Engineer and I'm not actually in charge of this equipment.
I was perusing Technorati a bit and I noticed that over the course of the deployment I've gotten a little linkage, which is nice.
Amy Ridenour at the National Center Blog found my comments about military health care in an article about criticism of the National Center's paper SCHIP Expansion: Socialized Medicine on the Installment Plan. Though the SCHIP bill was vetoed, I still think it's relative because the advocates of socialism will not and have never stopped trying to scam an often unaware American populace.
I hold military health care up as a shining example of why not to elect anyone who intends to nationalize the health care industry. The only things the federal government really ought to be doing is defending its citizens and maintaining/building infrastructure, in my opinion - and that infrastructure part should be limited to what it takes to defend the country, like freeways and such. Local government is more than capable of filling that hole in front of your driveway.
Anyhow, Ms. Ridenour's linkage to me was in response to a column by Philip Boffley of the New York Times where he states:
No one has the nerve to brand this country’s purest systems of “socialized medicine” — the military and veterans hospitals — for what they are. In both systems, care is not only paid for by the government but delivered in government facilities by doctors who are government employees. Even so, a parade of Washington’s political dignitaries, including President Bush, has turned to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., for checkups and treatment, without ideological complaint. Politicians who deplore government-run health care for average Americans are only too happy to use it themselves.I believe that was exactly what I called the military health care system, but it's certainly much easier to write in sweeping generalities than to actually ask anyone in the military.
Meanwhile, the two current butts of the “s-word” are such hybrids of public and private elements that it is hard to know how to characterize them. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-chip, was denigrated by one Republican congressman this week as “a government-run socialized wolf masquerading in the sheep skin of children’s health.” It might better be thought of as a “double-payer system” in which the states and the federal government put up the money, the states take the lead in defining the program and the actual care is typically delivered through private health plans by private doctors and hospitals.What Boffley fails to realize is that states and the federal government have to tax their citizens in order to pay for things - that's what socialism is. It takes choices away from the individual and gives them to the government which doesn't earn a damn thing which seems to result in a lack of give-a-crap about spending the money it does take. He concludes by cautioning the reader about discounting any government health care plan as socialized, when that's exactly what it is when the government runs something instead of individuals running it for profit.
Ms. Ridenour also has a follow-up article today, well worth reading, regarding Rudy Guiliani's comments comparing the British and American health care systems' records on prostate cancer.
As I said a few months ago, I haven't had too many problems with the military health care system because I don't get sick much and usually just tough it out when I do. I haven't been seriously injured or anything - just a couple persistent chronic exercise injuries. My few negative anecdotes come from corpsmen (great at triage, sometimes iffy at regular medical care) and from my wife, who hasn't been in for a check-up in far too long, because she feels like the care she gets from military doctors is inadequate. She's used them much more than me, what with gynecological and prenatal care.
We stopped taking my son to the navy hospital for his check-ups because of having to wait hours sometimes for his shots and for the doctors. As long as there is an alternative that will accept our insurance provided through the Navy, we will use that instead of Navy doctors. Boffley also talks about Medicare in his column, which is indeed socialized. A comparison could perhaps be drawn between Medicare and TRICARE, which I use; the difference is that I earn my TRICARE coverage through military service while Medicare is provided by the government to anyone at all. Though both are government programs and taxpayer funded, one provides an obvious return on investment - taxpayers caring for the military professionals they expect to keep them safe and provided from and employer to an employee, while one is provided forcibly by taxpayers through the government to people for whom they have no self-interest in providing health care.
Please also realize that the doctors and corpsmen are most often good at their jobs, it is the system that doesn't always function well. So why shouldn't I be able to chose another place to receive health care when I am dissatisfied? Well, I can't - I have to go there, unless they refer me somewhere else for some reason. Red and Jack have the option of going elsewhere. For now.
EDIT: For something really weird, see this post translated into German!
Leute Haben in Fisch Bedeckt: Sirenen und Auch Gesundheitswesen