Browning versus Klein

Stuart Browning and Ezra Klein appeared on Kudlow & Co to discuss SiCKO. It was an interesting juxtaposition of communication styles: Browning’s straightforward discussion of the film versus Klein’s fretful attempts to change the subject. A typical example of the latter involved Klein’s gratuitous lurch to the VA:

Rand corporation ranked VA highest on quality. The Annals of Internal Medicine ranked it highest. The New England Journal of Medicine ranked it highest on quality. They keep healthcare costs down and they have slower spending growth.

Not only are these tired Lefty talking points off-topic, they ignore recent revelations about phony VA statistics. Kevin,MD has a number of posts on that scandal, a couple of which can be found here and here. Additional information refuting Klein’s rosy picture of the VA can be found here and here.

Browning, unlike Klein, actually dealt with the subject under discussion. When asked his opinion of SiCKO, he responded as follows:

I have a lot of problems with it. It spreads a lot of disinformation not only about the U.S. healthcare system but about the healthcare systems of Canada, U.K. and other countries in Europe.

This general theme is, rather ironically, echoed by Klein’s review of SiCKO, which admits that the film’s “portrayal of Cuba is, indeed, absurdly rosy.? Browning’s “disinformation? charge is supported by a variety of commentators who have reviewed the film. 

So, the Kudlow & Co. segment was really a microcosm of the larger debate over health care reform. Browning, like most advocates of free market reform, put forward clear, easily-verifiable assertions. Klein, like most advocates of government-run health care, dealt in straw men and dubious statistics.

Comments 10

  1. Noah Bennet wrote:

    Ah, so now cost comparisons and public health statistics are “disinformation.”

    Posted 24 Jun 2007 at 4:58 pm
  2. Stuart Browning wrote:

    No, politically exaggerated numbers of uninsured and bogus life expectancy averages comparisons are.

    Posted 24 Jun 2007 at 5:46 pm
  3. Lisa wrote:

    Wow, Stuart… Is this all you do for a living? I’ve been wandering around the web and it seems like you’re the only one with this weird vendetta. Even responding to random people on youtube. It’d be like if MM was individually responding to every web comment about him.


    Anyway…just wanna say that, ok, fine…Government financed healthcare is rationed. But so is free market financed healthcare. One rations based on what we can all afford, the other rations based on what individuals can afford. Considering how immoral it is to ration based on your INDIVIDUAL ability to pay (healthcare isn’t exactly a luxury), I’ll take the former.

    The free market is great for some things. I don’t mind that some people get yachts while others get canoes. Some have big houses, some small ones. But like justice and education, some things should not be based upon your individual ability to pay.

    I have no doubt in my mind that in 50-100 years people will look back on this time in history and judge us as harshly as we judge slave-holders today. They’ll shake their heads.

    And, as a veteran, by the way, I am someone who HAS used the VA system and it was EXCELLENT. They offered me more than I even felt like I was entitled to.

    Posted 28 Jun 2007 at 11:10 pm
  4. Catron wrote:

    But like justice and education, some things should not be based upon your individual ability to pay.

    Someone has to pay, Lisa. There’s no such thing as “free” health care. So, what you’re really saying is that you want someone else to pay. Where is the “justice” in that?

    Posted 29 Jun 2007 at 5:50 am
  5. Robert wrote:

    In a free market though healthcare is rationed by one’s individual discretion. They make the judgement individually if a visit is worth or a procedure necessary, not the goverment saying that even if you think it is necessary you still cannot have it. Notice that lack of justice.

    You are willing to give away your agency, ability to choose and direct your own life by giving government control of those important decisions.

    Yes history will judge us harshly just like the slave owners of the past becasue the people let the goverment become slaveholders again. Taking my wages by force and making me beholden to your individual wishes and desires for healthcare is slavery, where is the justice in that.

    “An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? [Freedom is] not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the “right” to education, the “right” to health care, the “right” to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.? -PJ O’Rourke. “The Liberty Manifesto”

    Posted 29 Jun 2007 at 11:43 am
  6. Catron wrote:

    Excellent quote by O’Rourke, Robert. He is right that the more we allow ourselves to be “taken care of” by the state, the less autonomy we have as human beings.

    Posted 29 Jun 2007 at 12:35 pm
  7. Lisa wrote:

    Oh for the love of god.

    Catron, I never said “free”. Read the post for god’s sake and take your libertarian blinders off, this time! I talked about ALL of US (including myself) paying.
    YES, through our big evil taxes. AND I’M OK WITH THAT! My house has never been on fire and I’ve never had to call the police and there are some roads I have never used and I have no children to educate and I’ve never needed a public defender or a trial by jury and GOD KNOWS I don’t NEED my government spending a trillion dollars a year “defending” me, but I don’t complain because PAYING TAXES IS THE PRICE OF CITIZENSHIP. JESUS! Get it through your thick skulls! We have a right as citizens in a democracy to have a voice in questions of WHO pays taxes, HOW MUCH, and WHAT they are spent on. All legitimate questions.
    But this libertarian crap that equates taxation to theft (I’m talking to YOU, Robert) has gotta STOP. Justice? How about “majority rules”? How about THAT, Catron? WE THE PEOPLE (read your history about how the income tax came about), through the democratic process decided on income taxes as an equitable way to provide what WE THE PEOPLE decided we need/want from our government (meaning, ourselves, collectively, as a society – read some Locke, damnit). You have every right to try or hope that one day we decide against it, but until then, please leave the taxes=theft argument where it belongs, with nutjobs holed up in places like New Hampshire watching ‘Freedom to Fascism’ with their trusty AK by their side, about to rightly get womped.
    Robert, you would rather a profit based company deciding that instead? And you all act like health is something that is just completely in our control, like wealth. What free market laissez-faire fantasy land are you living in? People CHOOSE to get cancer? Or are you gonna tell me about how it’s all about personal responsibility. If we all eat right, we wouldn’t GET cancer, blah blah, healthy food cultist, blah blah.
    I am sick to death of people like you. It’s like you have HALF the idea right…you know you want liberty, etc… but you think the way to achieve it is to return to a time when “freedom” meant the right to be poor and die in factory fires, etc. You’re like a bunch of chickens who KNOW that Colonel Sanders is bad, but think that Popeye is their salvation.
    It is SO tiring.
    In the end, through the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS, we the people decide what RIGHTS we think we collectively have. We may just someday decide that healthcare is a right. If you want to call the democratic process ‘slavery’, go ahead.

    Posted 29 Jun 2007 at 3:27 pm
  8. Catron wrote:

    You shouldn’t skip your meds, Lisa. It’s bad for you.

    Posted 29 Jun 2007 at 6:40 pm
  9. Lisa wrote:

    Wow. Funny. You are a hoot.

    You frat-boys! Such CARDS!

    YOU’d be frustrated and need medication, too, if you had to constantly be aware of the existance of people like yourself who do not understand the most basic fundamentals of democracy 101… let alone an argument that we had and that was resolved SEVENTY FIVE YEARS ago.

    I also can’t help but notice that there is no actual response. Like, to the substance.

    That’s ok… you go on about your happy little deluded life…ONE day, you’ll know I was right. And you’ll be SO embarrassed.

    Posted 29 Jun 2007 at 7:34 pm
  10. Daniel Gilbrech wrote:

    Lisa, Keep up your good work. Just remember that there are those in our country who still have “Blind Faith” in the private sector to do the right thing. If this was true are fire departments would still be private.

    A “Single Payer” system that only cuts out the insurance company will benefit everyone.

    We can take the best from our system and the best from others.

    Also, the only Tort reform we need is to make insurance companies accountable and to fight frivilous lawsuits and disbar bad lawyers. Do not take away the little mans right to justice.


    Posted 19 Feb 2008 at 8:41 pm

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