Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Myth of Health Care Rationing

Of all the idiocy being spewed against any attempted reform of our health care system in an attempt to cover all Americans is the myth that any government provision of health insurance (not care, mind you, but just the payment for it) will lead to rationing.

Contrary to what some idiots on the right will tell you, all properly functioning free markets lead to rationing... by design!

If this were not true - if we could all easily afford anything we wanted without work, saving, or sacrifice - we'd all be driving Porche's to our weekend homes in Aspen before hopping on our private jets for dinner in Paris.

It's called supply and demand and for most products and services it functions well and gives us an incentive to work harder. Freely functioning, self-rationing markets, lead to innovation, competition, and economic growth. God bless America.

Then there are those few things we deem necessities and so we allow government tinkering to make sure rationing doesn't occur. Public education (that helps us all by providing a [minimally] literate workforce), housing subsidies (not just HUD, but development incentives, mortgage interest deductions, etc.), and food subsidies (from Food Stamps to agriculture supports, etc.) are a few items that spring to mind.

At this stage in US development, however, we've done more to ensure that everybody can afford a pint of milk and a loaf of bread than a visit to the doctor. I'm pleased that we consider hunger unacceptable (at least, for those with dependent children), but I'm horrified that we still consider a basic level of good health to be a perk of success.

Leaving the provision of health care coverage entirely to the private sector and market forces has - as it is designed to do - left us with a situation where health care is currently being rationed, with tens of millions of Americans - many with good jobs and families - left out, unable to pay for their own or their loved ones' medical needs.

Now, I'm not 100% thrilled with the current Obama plan or the way it's been handled politically, but I still say that overall, it's about damn time we step in to stop the rationing of health care that our free market has left us with.

(Oh, and thanks to Phil aka "Fantastic Babblings" for inspiring this post)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Behind the Orange Curtain

This morning I left the liberal comfort of the Bay Area to take the 90 minute flight into John Wayne Airport in Orange County, then grabbed a taxi to just outside of the Disneyland Resort, where I'll be spending the next five days participating in Indie Fest USA, where my short film Gravehunting With Steve: A Journey Beneath Los Angeles will have its theatrical premiere Wednesday night.

Today was about getting here, getting settled at the hotel, and checking in with the Festival folks to pick up my "VIP Filmmaker" passes. The Festival is taking place at the AMC Theaters in Downtown Disney® - a place that did not exist the last time I went to Disneyland, well over 20 years ago.

Downtown Disney® is an outdoor mall/restaurant district placed between Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure on one end and the hotels of the Disneyland Resort on the other, featuring such restaurants and shops as House of Blues, Rain Forest Cafe, Sephora, and at least three different Disney stores that I could count.

If bad haircuts, inappropriate shorts, and fanny packs are in this year, then this is definitely where all the cool people are hanging out. I was also warned ahead of time that the rules of conduct on all Disney property is quite strict, so I checked ahead on the FAQ of What items are not permitted within the Downtown Disney® District.

On that FAQ I was surprised to see "Cremated remains (e.g., urn, vase, box)" included on the forbidden list. Luckily, my friend Bill enlightened me at to why it was necessary. According to the Mice Age website, there's quite a problem with people wanting to spread their loved one's cremains around the Happiest Place on Earth (scroll down to "A Pirate's (After) Life For Me"). The Haunted Mansion is the top choice, followed by the Pirates of the Caribbean, but some tone-deaf Disneyphiles actually choose to spend the rest of eternity listening to It's a Small World.

Of course, not only do they not spend eternity at Disneyland, but they rarely spend more than a few hours on their favorite ride as Disney "cast members," armed with special vacuums with HEPA filters, quickly dispatch them to their true final resting place - somewhere decidedly less campy, and certainly without the animatrons and constant music.

Anyway, Indie Fest starts in earnest tomorrow, and I'll spend the next several days watching movies non-stop - a favorite activity I haven't indulged in like this for several decades.

If you're in Southern California, and are willing to brave Downtown Disney®, please consider joining me Wednesday night for Gravehunting With Steve. Click here for ticket information....

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