No health insurance: Can you look this man in the eye and tell him you want to let him die?


Our National Conscience, Nicholas Kristof asked the question in his column a week ago:  Are we going to let John die?

45,000 Americans die each year because of a lack of health insurance.  What do you think:  Should we allow John to die?

Which system saves John’s life, “socialism,” or “free enterprise?”

Here, you can help:

UPDATE: Several readers have asked how they can help or if there is a fund to help John. There isn’t any such fund, but with John and Esther’s permission I’m posting their mailing address: John and Esther Brodniak, 770 W Main St., Sheridan, OR 97378.

Check Kristof’s blog for more details, and nearly 400 comments.

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20 Responses to No health insurance: Can you look this man in the eye and tell him you want to let him die?

  1. cellular says:

    Nice…
    Thank you !!

    Like this

  2. “45,000 Americans die each year because of a lack of health insurance.”

    You mean, health Insurance can save life. Isn’t it? No, Its not so. Insurance can cover your expenditures and neither money can save life not get reborn. If really want to serve people, help them to get remedies which they can’t buy, provide medical facilities before getting ill. Serve with honesty and dedication.
    Medical is very expensive, please make it affordable so that even a poor farmer can life his life that is his rite. Use public tax contribution in health and development apart from war and corruption.

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  3. George says:

    Ya! Damn Socialists!

    Forget this socialized health care crap, and you know what else

    if you dont have health insurance, sucks for you!

    and while we’re at it, let’s get rid of our socialized police departments and fire fighters. Damn communists

    it’s time to privatize everything already!

    if George W Bush was still in office, he’d fix the economy

    boy i tell you what

    Like this

  4. Sara says:

    Oh, and if you have a problem with Grayson “getting free health care”, then why don’t you ask his Repubican colleagues in Congress to give up their “free health care”, that they, like Grayson, get too. Let me know how they respond.

    Like this

  5. Sara says:

    So Rideon, show me where I can get adequate insurance with a part-time $8/hour job, that will not charge me outrageous premiums, and will not reject covering treatments because of my asthma. If you know any, great. If not, STFU.

    And as Nick said, do you know what socialism really is? Give me a dictionary definition, not a Repubican/Fox News definition.

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  6. Rideon says:

    Nick,
    You should get in touch with the nutjob Congressman in Florida, Grayson, and have a circle jerk.
    Move to the UK if you want that Socialist healthcare you describe.
    If you hate the USA and it’s free market system so much leave or prepare to fight because that is where this progressive movement you are a part of is leading us to.

    Like this

  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Rideon, yes, we’ve heard — but we note that it hasn’t done him a lick of good yet — we still need rational national reform of insurance to get this guy treated. It’s not enough that he has insurance. He must also get treatment, and his “free health care” doesn’t do it. Go read the Kristof piece:

    John says the principal obstacle to treatment appears to be simply his lack of insurance. In August, he qualified for an Oregon Medicaid program, but he hasn’t been able to find a doctor who will accept him as a patient for surgery, apparently because the reimbursements are so low. Doctors tell him that his condition is operable — but that they can’t accept him without conventional insurance. He is increasingly frustrated as he watches his family crushed by the burden of his illness.

    “The mill won’t let me go back to work until a doctor gives me a note saying I can go back,” he said. “I tried with several doctors. I said, ‘Just give me a note. … I’ve got to do something for my family. But they won’t.” John and Esther agreed to tell me their story in hopes that somehow it would lead to medical help.

    John’s story is not so unusual. A Harvard study, to be published next month in the American Journal of Public Health, suggests that almost 45,000 Americans die prematurely each year as a consequence of not having insurance. John may become one of them.

    So, why are you “right wing liars” lying about this guy now? He’s dying, literally, because of the delays you’ve caused. Your inventing falsehoods about his status won’t save his life.

    Whose side are you on?

    Like this

  8. Nick Kelsier says:

    Oh and Rideon you can provide evidence of your claim right?

    Or were you just pulling it out of your ass?

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  9. Nick Kelsier says:

    Since I’m quite sure that those spouting the word “socialism” have no actual knowledge of economics and macroeconomics, this is what Keynsian capitalism is:

    Keynesian economics (also called Keynesianism (pronounced /ˈkeɪnziən/) and Keynesian Theory) is a macroeconomic theory based on the ideas of 20th-century British economist John Maynard Keynes. Keynesian economics argues that private sector decisions sometimes lead to inefficient macroeconomic outcomes and therefore advocates active policy responses by the public sector, including monetary policy actions by the central bank and fiscal policy actions by the government to stabilize output over the business cycle.[1] The theories forming the basis of Keynesian economics were first presented in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936; the interpretations of Keynes are contentious, and several schools of thought claim his legacy.

    Keynesian economics advocates a mixed economy—predominantly private sector, but with a large role of government and public sector—and served as the economic model during the latter part of the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war Golden Age of Capitalism, 1945–1973, though it lost some influence following the stagflation of the 1970s. As a middle way between laissez-faire capitalism and socialism, it has been and continues to be attacked from both the right and the left

    Oh look…it provided the basis for what was the Golden age of capitalism in this country.

    And you morons want to confuse it with socialism? Oh knock it off, you have no idea what you’re talking about. You have no idea what actual socialism is. You’re just spouting that word because the people who do your thinking for you…i.e. the right wing whackos have told you to say that word. And like good unthinking parrots you gladly repeat it even though what they want is in direct opposition to your best economic interests.

    Like this

  10. Nick Kelsier says:

    Rideon writes:

    Haven’t you left wing liars heard? This guy has been receiving free health care for a month and he along with Kristoff are big fat liars.
    Socialism sucks and you fools will rue the day you went down this road.

    Then it’s a good thing what we want isn’t socialism but Keynsian capitalism. As for fools..tell me…are you so sure it isn’t you that’s a fool? After all..you are willing to let an industry kill 50,000 people a year and drive 60% of all bankrutpices for what exactly?

    The fool is you, child. Because you’ve bought into this right wing whackjob notion that the government isn’t to do anything at all..not even to protect the people from the ravages of companies that have no compunction against letting people die so they can pad their own profits. We’re not socialists, child, but you for damn sure are a fascist.

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  11. Rideon says:

    Haven’t you left wing liars heard? This guy has been receiving free health care for a month and he along with Kristoff are big fat liars.
    Socialism sucks and you fools will rue the day you went down this road.

    Like this

  12. Nick Kelsier says:

    To quote:
    And if you had $800,000 in the bank and it paid you just 5% interest you would bring home, in your retirement, $40,000 a year. And you would not need food stamps, medicare or medicaid and all manner of tax supported wonder that you have to ask for.

    Would you like to know how much my mom’s insurance company tried charging my dad when my mom died? 80 grand. For a four day hospital stay in which nothing extraordinary was done to keep her alive. The insurance company tried charging that…not the hospital…the insurance company. And this was after my mom had paid quite a lot for a pretty good set of health insurance for the entirety of her adult life.

    If you think most people can live adequately on 40 grand a year then you are a bloody idiot. Try it yourself. Because you seem to be conveniently ignoring all the big ticket costs. You know…like housing, cars and the biggest one of them all…adequate health care.

    Like this

  13. Nick Kelsier says:

    To quote:
    And if you had $800,000 in the bank and it paid you just 5% interest you would bring home, in your retirement, $40,000 a year. And you would not need food stamps, medicare or medicaid and all manner of tax supported wonder that you have to ask for.

    The average cost of health care in this country for the average family is $12,000…..per year.

    Oh and the average family makes $48,000 a year.

    Would you like to turn on your brain and think now or is that too much to ask?

    Or would you like to continue to be a social darwinist while continuing to pretend that you will never ever need outside help or be hurt by the health insurance industry?

    Oh and Jim..it isn’t socialism. You mentioned Keynes. A public option is the very definition of Keynsian capitalism.

    Like this

  14. Ed Darrell says:

    And if you had $800,000 in the bank and it paid you just 5% interest you would bring home, in your retirement, $40,000 a year. And you would not need food stamps, medicare or medicaid and all manner of tax supported wonder that you have to ask for.

    But banks today are paying 0.25% to 0.5% interest — ten to 20 times lower than you assume. That $800,000 investment would bring home $2,000 or $4,000 a year. Social Security sounds like a bargain in contrast.

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  15. ryan says:

    i belife it was the wrong system..!

    Like this

  16. Jim Hlavac says:

    The question is not really if we want to “let” John or 45,000 others die because of socialism or the free market. The question is how do we provide John and the rest the best option to ensure life. However, the reality is that sometimes it is just impossible to stop someone from dying. Indeed, the success rate for the, um, merchant of death is 100% over the long run, as Keynes so famously said. Sometimes the disease is so bad, the DNA, the very condition of the patient, including past lifestyles, is not going to allow the patient to live. It is true after all, that even in socialist systems people die. Sometimes by mistakes made by caregivers. There is no way around mistakes in humankind, is there? Or are socialists or free marketeers just so positive that their system is so perfect that no more will mistakes be made?
    On the other hand, it is impossible to determine that 45,000 died from a political and tax system, a health care system or an insurance company or the lack of same. It is a made up number. There is simply no way it could be calculated. Without direct action by the killer there is no way to know if the death is by the system somehow. If the free market is killing anyone it is only because the person who needs cure did not find the person providing cure. No economic actor in a free market has an interest in killing a customer — from where do you think free market profits come from? From dead customers? On the other hand, government run systems are often directly involved in killing, as any political prisoner can tell you, if they survived. That’s for the governmentalists among us to explain and defend.
    Still, 45,000 is bandied about because a politician in Florida said so. And where did he get that number? Beats me. Sounds made up. Indeed, logic dictates it must be made up. To believe it, to use it, to even utter the sounds is bizarre emotionalism run amok. Who among our people would even make such a calculation? Where is the agency or organization that keeps tracks of “death by free market”?
    Though even still, if in a nation of 300,000,000 not so nice free marketeers we killed only 45,000 people than, lordy, they ain’t trying. To argue that free markets “cause” death is to argue that it wants that outcome. Why? Why would it? But to kill only 45,000? Why that low a number? Is that the number that must be killed off in the name of profitable insurance companies and private doctors? It doesn’t make sense. It’s .01 percent of Americans — if the free market is “only” killing off such a miniscule statistical rounding error than it must be a very very good system for the 99.99 percent who live. Why, it’s almost like throwing a few virgins into a volcano for the good of society. That’s how irrational, though, the claim is that the free market is somehow killing off 45,000 people. It is spurious and political.
    Now, if the free market is terrible as one side says, and the socialist market — oh yes, socialists have markets, it’s just that the government owns the market, not the free people — is terrible as the other side says how about this solution to satisfy both:
    “Each American shall be required to save $25 a week for their working lives in the bank of their choice, insured by FDIC, and paying a 5% interest rate. Such account can be accessed only for medical expenses as determined by the account holder and the doctor of their choosing, and after the age of 60 for their retirement.”
    One damn paragraph to get us out of the morass in about 30 to 40 years. No government expenses, no bureaucracies with plans, no middlemen — it’s just you and your own money.
    You could even add the proviso: “Every American shall contribute $5 a week to sustain those who by natural physical disability cannot work.” The number of disabled is small.
    What happens when you save a measly $25 a week for forty years at 5%? (which is about what Social Security takes out.) Well, you get about $800,000 that is yours, to spend as you like, to live the good life, to find the doctor who might be able to cure you, and to consult and pay and do-gooder who thinks he has the answer for you.
    And what do you get for your $25 “investment” in the current social security system? You get, at most, 1400 a month or so, or $16,500 a year. And food stamps, and Medicare or Medicaid. And all manner of tax supported wonders that you have to ask for.
    And if you had $800,000 in the bank and it paid you just 5% interest you would bring home, in your retirement, $40,000 a year. And you would not need food stamps, medicare or medicaid and all manner of tax supported wonder that you have to ask for.
    And if free marketeers can’t see the wisdom in a required savings plan, they are not thinking.
    And if socialist can’t see the wisdom in keeping your own money then they are not thinking.
    And that, I believe is the so called “third way.” The Government should at the most require you to have a savings account to handle your own affairs as you see fit.
    Beats me what to call it, other than social market rationalism.

    Like this

  17. Nick Kelsier says:

    Hattips writes:

    Oh come off it!

    The “free market” (as if we have one) is not “killing” this man, socialism will not save him. It is just hogwash agitprop and a completely false dichotomy. The taxpayer is not responsible for the welfare of everyone on the planet. John and hs family are responsible for John.

    And once again, Hattip, you have no idea what socialism actually is.

    Tell me, Hattip, is it ok with you for an health insurance company to tell a pair of sons that they will lose their health insurance if one of them donates a kidney to their father to save him?

    And I’m sure you’re willing to give up your right to Social Security and Medicare, right?

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  18. Ed Darrell says:

    So, we can put Hattip down as favoring Joe to die.

    Seriously, you’ve made one of the most hardened and calloused comments I’ve ever seen.

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  19. hattip says:

    Oh come off it!

    The “free market” (as if we have one) is not “killing” this man, socialism will not save him. It is just hogwash agitprop and a completely false dichotomy. The taxpayer is not responsible for the welfare of everyone on the planet. John and hs family are responsible for John.

    Enough with the bleeding heart nonsense.

    You want to bankrupt and immiserate us all for one of your anecdotes, and yes, that is just what this person is so far as your argument goes. What about the lives of the people you impoverish and stunt with your vile socialist slavery? What about them? (And I really doubt that you really care about this person, you just want to use him for political ends and to wallow in moral vanity.)

    Let him move to a completely socialist country and see what sort of treatment he gets. Then again, he may not have to move, it will c0ome to him.

    Listen bub, in the old USSR, almost all of the people that get first rate treatment, and often treatment of any sort, were connected to the Party, and there was only one. The same is mostly true in China today. The Corrupt State under a corrupt party was all, controlled every aspect of everyone’s life. Why can’t people like you get through your heads what a hell on earth socialism is.
    The Socialist counties of the EU are coming apart at the seams. There is little opportunity for advancement or independence. Socialism has all but destroyed the europen soul. The emerging EU is just the old USSR all over again, and will result in the same slavery and oppression. Why would you trade the traditional liberties, opportunities and prosperity of America in for this? You are goignto destroy us with your democrats foolishness and your arrogant selfishness.

    Now you democrats what to bring that sort of serfdom over here.

    There are probably more MRI machines in califronia than there are all of the EU.
    Are you seriously suggesting that socialism is viable alternative to capitalism?

    I will tell you what: the socialists killed around 100 million people inthe last century ann blighted the lives of untold millions more.

    What dishonest, false choices you present.

    The average persons health care WILL DETERIORATE in a socialist system.

    And Kristof is a sensationalist and a liberal hack, not a “national conscience”. What vainglorious silliness.

    If you want a middle lkass lifestyle then go out and work for it. Stop stealing other peoples money to pay for it and stop trying to cover up your thievery and incompetence ss a human being by warping yourself in moral self-righteousness. Socialism is a great evil, one of the greatness in history. Stop imagining that by supporting it you are doing anything but evil.

    grow up. enough already.

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