Monday, July 27, 2009

Speaking in tongues

[I have more to say about Section 1233 of HR3200 and will be doing so in a series of (probably) four posts. This is the second in the series; the first is here. I highly recommend reading the Jane Galt article linked here before reading this series.

All the posts in the series will be filed under the category “Me And 1233”.

I am a frequent reader and almost never commenter at MaxedOutMama’s website. Having read that she was slogging through HR3200 (aka the House health care bill, aka TriComm; aka American Affordable Health Choice Act; aka AAHCA) I emailed her on July 22 letting her know I had deciphered Section 1233 of this bill and expressing the hope that if she hadn’t yet completed that section my analysis could save her some eyestrain. I pointed her to my “Cry wolf” post, also noting that one of my commenters said he was a lawyer and was providing some analysis in the comments which she might find useful.

I did not hear back from MaxedOutMama and have no idea if she read my email. Still I had hoped to be of assistance so you can imagine my dismay when I read on her blog that, alas, she did not find my analysis at all helpful:

Firebrand's work is admirable, but she completely missed the point about what is required under the legislation and therefore the effect.

I disagree. The point that MaxedOutMama believes I missed is not the point I was making. MaxedOutMama’s point is:

So there is an incentive in place. This section should be read in tandem with the measures for measuring end-of-life treatment quality and of developing patient aids for education. Basically this whole section is created to try to get people to set advance directives, which usually do limit care.

I did not miss that point nor did I argue against it. It simply was not my point. (I’m beginning to feel like I’m speaking in tongues over here.) My point was:

A number of those who oppose HR3200 claim that Section 1233 compels Medicare patients to receive end of life counseling. That claim is untrue.

I wasn’t writing about incentives, trying, and usually; I was writing about fact versus fiction, accuracy versus inaccuracy, truth versus falsehood. Different point.

It’s clear from some of the comments to my original post that a significant number of people do not consider “factual accurateness” particularly important. (It’s a charming delusion of the Right that all those people reside on the Left.) If these people - let’s call them conservative post-modernists or CoPoMos for short - are certain that Section 1233 is intended to curtail treatment for the elderly then a consideration of what the Section actually says - its plain textual meaning - is simply irrelevant. Anyone who would write an entire post on what the language actually says must be “young”, “dense”, “obtuse”, “naive”, and “nefarious”. (I’ve always wanted to be nefarious.) And anyone who believes in holding those who drafted Section 1233 accountable for what the bill actually says rather than for the “subtext” of the language has simply missed the point.

It’s a free country so the CoPoMos are, of course, well within their rights to take that stance. I don’t think it’s any more constructive coming from them than it is coming from the PoMos on the other side of the aisle but if Grim is right then being constructive is not the goal.*

I, on the other hand, am dreadfully old-fashioned so I continue to believe “factual accurateness” is not merely important but crucial. The next post in this series will review MaxedOutMama’s reading of Section 1233.


* It’s fascinating that both the Left and the Right are making the same accusations with regard to health care. The Right is claiming that the Left wants to kill old people by passing universal health care. The Left is claiming that the Right wants to kill poor people by not passing universal health care. Surely each side should be somewhat reassured about the other’s respect for human life if both sides consider a disrespect for human life to be the worst insult they can hurl at their opponent.


Anonymous said...

The left has never respected human life. Look at their stand on abortion. If they dont respect the life of the baby in the womb, why should we think they will respect the life of the elderly.

Elise said...

Ah, the "a" word. First, fair warning. I have little patience for slanging matches about abortion so if anyone decides to respond to this, keep it very, very polite. That applies equally to both sides in this dispute.

Second, since my very best friend in the world is quite liberal I am not going to buy the claim that "the left has never respected human life."

Third, it's not just people on the left who support abortion. There are people on the right who support abortion in the case of rape or incest. There are people on the right who support birth control methods that may be abortifacient.

Fourth, as far as I can tell we can't even agree when life begins: conception or implantation.

Fifth, favoring abortion is radically different from favoring euthanasia. There are two competing interests in a pregnancy: the personhood of the fetus and the bodily integrity of the pregnant woman. I realize that most fervent opponents of abortion do not consider the latter interest at all relevant but the fact is that the interest does exist.

Sixth, yes, I'm going to do a post on this in the near future.

Seventh, very, very, very polite.

Doggie said...

Would you agree that the moral climate of the United States has been in decline since Roe v. Wade and prayer and God being removed from classrooms and public places? Please base your answer on a specific Biblical barometer of "moral" for the sake of this discussion. You may not ascribe any value to the Bible; however, my question specifically uses Biblical moral standards as the basis of the question. Please don't bother to respond if you must use a "new age" definition of moral character and behavior which professes neither morals nor character thereby nullifying the value of further discussion. Thank you so very much. fetchball

Elise said...

Doggie - If you are implying that those events are the cause of a decline in morality, then no, I don't agree.