At Least He Tells the Truth - The Blake Ashby Podcast

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The lies that the “Medicare for All” crowd tell about Private Insurance

In a previous podcast, I talked about the four hard healthcare questions that we avoid. In this podcast I am going to talk about private insurance, and specifically how the Medicare for All crowd comes close to telling bald-faced lies about private insurance to justify the need for Medicare for All.

So here are the four big lies or misstatements about private health insurance:
1. That insurance companies are driving up healthcare costs
2. That health insurers have excessive, unnecessary bureaucracy that helps drive up costs
3. That health insurers deny claims to protect their profits
4. That it’s the insurance company’s money

None of these statements are true. I understand that insurance companies make an easy target to blame for costs and lack of coverage. But the insurance companies are the least responsible for the significant increase in the cost of care over the past four decades. Instead the increase primarily comes down to two factors: technology and utilization. The hardest truth in healthcare is that we can’t afford to spend an unlimited amount of money to save any one person. We just can’t. At some point, we have to stop paying the healthcare costs to keep a person alive.

No amount of fantasizing or demonizing insurance companies is going to change this. And until we stop demonizing insurance companies, we aren’t going to have the conversation on healthcare that we need.

Trump, Flynn and Conservatives

I just am baffled that Trump so hates the FBI, and even more baffled that the President is convincing long time law and order conservatives to hate the FBI along with him. What is going on with the conservative movement? What is going on with Hugh Hewitt?

The President should be thanking the FBI, and yes, Mueller. Because without the Mueller Report, the cloud of collusion would have hung over his administration forever. I’m sorry, but it’s just completely irrational that the President hates the FBI. They did their job, collected the information and answered the questions. And the answer confirmed what the President had said. 

It really seems as if the President has turned hatred of the FBI into some kind of loyalty test. Maybe it’s just my perception but he seems like he is encouraging, even demanding, that conservatives have the same hatred of the FBI that he does. And again, I’m sorry, that’s just completely irrational.

And now the President’s loyalty test extends to the prosecution of General Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI.

My Faith In God

This podcast isn’t about religion or faith, however religion and faith do figure into the questions facing our country. And my personal faith is part of the foundation of everything I write.  Sometimes people seem to expect that I don’t believe in God, as if atheism was the natural state for an analytical mind.  Certainly true, believing in God is a leap of faith. But so is believing your life has a purpose.  Pretty much all of us make a leap of faith, pretty much all of us believe, whether we are conscious of it or not.  We all have a religion, whether we choose to call it that or not.  

I know some people think believing in God is a form of intellectual laziness.  I view it as a form of intellectual honesty, of not pretending that one’s leap of faith is something other than faith. Not to suggest that being a believer in God is easy, but at least for me it’s far, far easier than trying to intellectualize a structure to support my belief that my life has meaning.  I can’t describe how comforting it is for me to just believe - to believe there is a God and through God I find my purpose.  I can’t describe how empowering it is to believe that I am part of God’s plan.

Healthcare 1 - The Hard Truth and 4 Hard Questions

This might be the most honesty you have ever heard about healthcare in one place.  Mind, you, that’s a really low bar.  Unfortunately our conversation on healthcare is not characterized by a high degree of honesty at the moment.  Instead we get shadings of the truth and ducking of the hard questions.  Everybody does it, but at this moment in time it’s the Medicare for All people that are doing it the most, that have the most tenuous connection with the truth. 

But we will have to face the hard truth and answer these hard questions if we are ever going to fix our healthcare system. The hardest truth in healthcare is that we can’t afford to spend an unlimited amount of money to save any one person.  We just can’t.   

Starting from that hard truth, we have four really hard questions:

1 How much money do we spend to keep any one person alive?

2 Do we spend the same amount for everyone, or different amounts for different individuals?

3 Does the amount we spend on a person depend on how responsible that person is?

4 And finally, Are the death committees run by the government or by private insurance companies?

No amount of magical thinking by the Medicare for All crowd will make these questions go away..

Donald Trump is Undermining the FBI

President Trump will certainly have his accomplishments. But he is also doing damage to our national institutions, including the FBI. Trump just called the FBI agents that interviewed General Flynn “Dirty, filthy cops”. The president of the United States of America is calling our country’s leading law enforcement agency “dirty, filthy cops”. And conservatives now echo his attacks.  Conservatives are calling the FBI a corrupt organization that, through its actions, has lost the confidence of the people of the United States.

Somehow President Trump has gotten conservatives to question the patriotism of the FBI.

Episode 4: Republican Heads Exploding

It’s just amazing that Republicans’ heads aren’t exploding right now. I’m not some Trump hater. I don’t think he’s some Russian plant sent to destroy our way of life. But I do think he is an intellectual train wreck, who can barely look beyond the next news cycle. And as a result, almost everything the Republican Party has held as sacred, this President in destroying.

Episode 3: Trump as the Chosen One

I’m not a Trump fan or voter, but sometimes I think the people that hate Trump, are so anxious to present him as wicked that they purposely distort or misunderstand what he says. An example was when Trump was talking about his China policy late last year and said “I am the Chosen One”. He was immediately accused of comparing himself to Jesus. Trump wasn’t comparing himself to Jesus. He was just noting the role that he was playing in our history, and he was right - he is an agent of change.

 

Episode 2: It’s Going to Be Okay

It’s a rough time for our country, but everything is going to be okay. We will contain the coronavirus. We will get through the recession and then our economy will start growing again, just like it always has. Life will go on – the life we had before will go on. The coronavirus wasn’t a failure of our system of protections; it was a failure of our leadership. No future president will ever again make the mistake of ignoring a pandemic. We will get back to the old normal.

Episode 1: At Least he Tells the Truth: The Whole Truth

It’s not that the conversation between left and the right are dishonest. It’s more that they are less honest, leaving off a little part of the truth, because it hurts their positions, or is too harsh for the voting public. And those little, unspoken parts of the truth, and the questions they bring up, are what’s tearing our country apart. The podcast purpose of this podcast is to speak that unspoken part of the truth, to bring up the hard questions that we are avoiding.

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