September 26, 2008

Obama And McCain On Mental Health Coverage

Applicable to their perspective on a wider range of issues.

NAMI released the results of their questionnaire to the candidates.  Obama answered the questions (24 of them) while McCain sent a formal statement.

On the whole, neither response is heavy on content, but I made one interesting observation:

Obama: 2 out of  2000 words
McCain: 8 out of 450 words

the word "cost"






Comments

Other than Johnny specifica... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2008 6:11 AM | Posted by Dave: | Reply

Other than Johnny specifically NOT answering specific questions, I was most impressed by the closing of his boilerplate response: "I believe America needs strong leadership and a commitment to bold solutions to address the challenges that it faces. We can provide quality mental health that is more responsive to our needs and is delivered to more people at lower cost."

Obama did answer the questionnaire and did specifically comment on all the questions (hence the 2000 words, in addition to specific answers). Tell me doc, (aside from the undefined "whole"), relatively speaking, who's heavier on content?

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Obama's answers are pretty ... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2008 8:32 AM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

Obama's answers are pretty good, considering how the questions are framed.

One thing he didn't address - and, given the circumstances I don't blame him for it - is the growing suspicion that, in some circumstances, psychiatric treatment serves only to enrich the doctors and pharma companies, at the expense of severe harm to the patients. The rest of medicine used to have a equivalent of this - quack medicines that don't work and sometimes kill the patient.

If a treatment doesn't actually work and harms the patient, the case for ensuring that it gets provided is, to say the least, less compelling.

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I'm not arguing with you... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2008 9:26 AM | Posted, in reply to Dave's comment, by Alone: | Reply

I'm not arguing with you. Obama definitely answered all the questions, but neither candidate really got to the "how" of their ideas, which is fine, given the venue. My point was that clearly McCain sees healthcare as an benefit with costs; while Obama sees it as an entitlement, important enough to pay any price. Would thaat be fair?

That said, here's a joke I made up: McCain vs. Obama: more of the same, vs. less of everything. HA! I kill me! (P.S. No I don't believe either characterization is accurate.)

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To me, it shows McCain sees... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2008 1:26 PM | Posted by Dave: | Reply

To me, it shows McCain sees health care as an expense, somehow different in quality from the largest government in US history, the largest military budgets in US history and the largest bailout of companies (with little thought to the middle class, except in a trickle-down way) in US history.

Whether it's roads, schools, military budgets, tax policy or health care, it's about priorities. It's ALL a matter of funding and expenses.

Finally to characterize Obama's approach to healthcare as an entitlement is correct. To add "at ANY price" is the product of a fevered imagination.

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I missed it on first readin... (Below threshold)

September 28, 2008 6:28 AM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

I missed it on first reading, but Obama said:

...to ensure that Medicare recipients are protected from fraudulent claims by marketers and drug plan agents

So he managed to cover that angle too. Props to Obama on this one.


Yesterday, it occured to me that there's a parallel between banks no-one dares invest in (because the potential investors think they'll lose their money) and drugs people won't dare take (because they suspect the clinical trials were fradulent). The common theme is that some action may be needed to restore trust in institutions.

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Good post. I believe the re... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2008 9:47 AM | Posted by MedsVsTherapy: | Reply

Good post. I believe the reason for the "entitlement" theme is this tacit belief: someone HAS the means to provide this, and it is being WITHHELD from the rest of us. The rest of us are entitled to this, just as whomever it is that HAS all of this. This philosophy slips into many of these debates without us even recognizing that it has been invoked. But who HAS this resource? Who is withholding it from the rest of us, unfairly? The answer is either: 1. no one (there is no central person or group with all of it, unless the govt takes it all over), or 2. all of us (if we decide to buy/deliver through a govt program, such as how we all have freeways and fire depts.). APA does not hold it all. BC/BS does not hold it all. Lilly does not hold it all. Menninger Clinic does not hold all of it. In my mind, there is no conspiracy to withhold all of this from "us." So, this entitlement philosophy doesn't really get me motivated to vote for Obama. Who are the "them" that have everything that "WE", the rest of us, are demanding to share? Who are "them?" The ivory tower, world-traveling, Harvard-educated, Grad-School-Educated, fancy-neighborhood, Mega-Church Christians? Oh, wait - that would be Obama.

McCain acknowledges that WE (all of us) make choices abt what to get for our tax dollars, so WE need to prioritize, since everything that WE want to get has a cost. Sounds a little more realistic, although less emotionally rousing.

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"McCain acknowledges that W... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 3:09 PM | Posted, in reply to MedsVsTherapy's comment, by Joseph Bergevin: | Reply

"McCain acknowledges that WE (all of us) make choices abt what to get for our tax dollars, so WE need to prioritize, since everything that WE want to get has a cost. Sounds a little more realistic, although less emotionally rousing."

Thomas Sowell touches upon a similar them in many of his essays. His theory is that people want big events or problems to have an obvious cause and cure. If something is wrong, some person or agency is responsible (oil companies, short sellers, George Bush), and some person or agency can and should fix it (politicians, usually). This is tidy, and, according to Sowell, emotionally satisfying. Moreso than appreciating the complex and decentralized nature of a problem and acknowledging that perhaps we can't fix the problem with a new policy.

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I have for a period of time... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2008 12:26 AM | Posted by Fraulien: | Reply

I have for a period of time believed in a somewhat libertarian approach to government...less is better. I think the current financial crisis is a good example of this. Government pushes for home loans....loans go bad....government bails out companies....tax payers foot the bill.....people are angry. I think this goes back to the entitlement issue listed above. However.....I am also beginning to doubt that we are ever going to get around to limiting government and I am beginning to think that we are going to be locked into a cycle of government intervention creates problems.....government steps in and solves some things and creates other problems. It is becoming discouraging. Ultimately, at least one of the issues in health care is going to be like the issue in housing. We cannot have everything we want...and simply wanting something does not make it a "right". A liberal friend of mine made the comment to me recently that, "If you are really interested in limiting government, why are you voting Republican?" Although I am uncertain of how I will vote at present....their point was well taken.

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