Back a few days ago Jon Stewart did an interview with Betsy McCaughey. While Jon did a good job of entertaining, I don’t think he did a good job of debunking the issues. In fact, I think he may have missed the point.
In the first segment …
Betsy gets into the subject of what folds into the rating of doctors and she raises (a) a criteria to introduce living wills, and (b) the measurement of the follow-through on those directives. In effect, what Betsy is saying is that when your healthy you more likely to say “no – I don’t want to go onto a machine that goes beep beep beep” – and her punch line is that when your staring God in the face things can be different. Thing is both Betsy and Jon stuffed up here because neither party provided any grounded facts. I mean, seriously, I could imagine signing a living will in which I state categorically that if I suggest that I would vote for Sarah Palin then please shoot me – but what if the alternative on the ballot was Carl Rove in drag? This is Betsy’s truth – when you reach the moment of biting the bullet – Sarah or Carl – are you really ready to stand by the living will – and should your doctor be accountable to the federal government on your “Oh no not Sarah” death wish?
In the second segment …
Forgetting about the doctor insensitive thing for a moment – let’s just move on into the second segment we get to the 500 million dollars cut from Medicare. Now – I know Obama has said that this is just eliminating graft in the system – but at the end of the day if you take 500 billion away from the insurance companies – it’s just going to move back on to premiums. Go figure – I don’t need an accountant to do basic maths. As Betsy suggests – the way you adjust things is to play with edge conditions – such as denial of coverage (granny does not get her hip replacement).
In the third segment ..
One item resonated with me – and that was the question concerning the life expectancy in the USA versus the rest of the world. Jon raised the point that the USA is a 46 in the international ranking of life expectancy. Betsy put up what I though was a very salient piece of information – she responded by raising the point that when you remove violent crime and car accidents the USA is no. 1.
Things unfold in the third segment and this gets really interesting because the subject moves to what America wants to spend it’s money on. Disposable income comes into play. According to Betsy, Americans have spent a declining portion of their income of food and energy, a steady level in housing, and this differential has permitted an increased expenditure in healthcare. Betsy goes on to suggest that this is basically a shifting in spending priorities.
At the end of the day – it’s difficult to disagree with the lady.
UPDATE: 28 AUG 2009
Ok, for clarification, while I don’t agree with Betsy’s conclusions, I respect the fact that Betsy has gone digging, I respect that she has constructed a foundation for an argument, I respect the fact that she has identified weaknesses in the opposing argument. I respect the fact that she has been ready to go toe-to-toe based on a written word – and the thing is, you can’t say that about media or the Senate. Before we crucify Betsy McCaughey we have a obligation to listen, a responsibility to evaluate her arguments, and a moral imperative to debate the questions she raises (irrespective of our political or moral alignment).