The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Losing
41 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
48 Points

Many uninsured can afford health insurance but refuse to make it a priority.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/8/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,796 times Debate No: 5317
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (39)
Votes (14)

 

HandsOff

Pro

Ask a liberal why health insurance ought to be provided by the government, and they will tell you it is a necessity, and one that too many people cannot afford. I too agree that health insurance is a necessity. But if you look at how the uninsured spend their money you will see their spending habits hardly mirror their supposed convictions.

I've never been uninsured, even as a dirt poor college student. Instead I sacrificed elsewhere to make my monthly health insurance payment. I realize there are people truly unable to afford health insurance, but as with those who truly cannot afford housing and food, they are the exception and not the rule. In such cases, I have no problem with government subsidized health care. But I believe that the overwhelming majority of those who claim they cannot afford health insurance, and want the government to provide it, are simply choosing to allocate their money elsewhere. To them health insurance is "a major priority," but not one worth sacrificing for. Instead, they continue to demand that the taxpayers make the sacrifice on their behalf. What nerve.
Danielle

Con

47.5 million Americans are uninsured as of August 2008.

36 million Americans live in poverty.

The federal poverty line for a family of 4 is $21, 200.

That translates to $5,300 per person per year.

Do you think that someone - in these times, with this economy - can live on $5,300 per year and still have disposable income to "allocate elsewhere?" Perhaps, but probably not on frivolous luxuries as Pro implies. Pro also notes that he believes that people who 'really need' government-funded healthcare (as in cannot afford it on their own) should receive it. I argue that the poverty line is so low, that those living in poverty probably do not have the means to sacrifice hundreds of dollars per month (considering a family of 4) towards healthcare.

In that case, what does 'many' imply? Many times (no pun intended), this term can apply to less than one-half. However even if we use one-half as what is indicitive of 'many,' the fact remains that 75.8% -- more than 2/3 -- of the Americans who are uninsured live below the poverty line, suggesting that they do NOT, in fact, have money to spend on healthcare. Combine this fact with the reality that Pro cannot prove any of his claims (they're based on assumption, and Pro has Pro has provided no evidence), and you've got yourself a win for the Con.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

I will use your statistics, but keep in mind that "poverty" as a designation is typically used as a threshold to qualify for federal, state and local assistance. These income numbers are reported by the very people who are trying to qualify for government aid. As a result, these income figures are likely to be as accurate as those reported by someone trying to qualify for a stated-income loan. Applicants are literally trying to prove to the government they are broke. Any unreported income these applicants receive likely goes unmentioned, as it will only hurt their case. More importantly, income statistics for those classified as "poor" are no indication of their disposable incomes, since by virtue of their poverty designation, they are now receiving free housing, food stamps, free school lunches and other sources of welfare. Furthermore, poverty statistics are skewed by the millions of "poor" college students who do not choose to work more than a few hours per week because they'd rather take more units and finish school sooner. The poverty line for individuals over 18 year of age is $10,400 per year. Isn't that just about every college student you know?

Now back to your family of four. Is a family of four that makes $21,200 per year but does not have to pay for housing or food still poor? Could they not use $5,000 of that $21,200 to purchase basic health insurance? If they have car payments, Direct TV, cell phones, Internet, pets, X-Boxes, etc. (like so many of my Section 8 tenants do), then the answer is yes. And if a family is not wasting a dime and still cannot afford health insurance, again, my argument does not apply to them. I believe the truly poor should receive help TEMORARILY, and only as long as they can demonstrate they are improving their situations via work, school or training.

I would submit that the majority of those above the poverty can afford health insurance if they prioritize properly, and that a surprising number of those below the poverty line (especially single individuals) could do the same by reallocating their spending or (do I dare say it) finding ways to make more money. I hope together these two groups would qualify as "many." On a side note, and in my personal experience, I have had about 11 tenants whose rent has been almost entirely paid for by hard working American tax payers. Each and every one of them sought the designation of "poor," in order to receive the government housing voucher. I know for a fact that all of these families could afford to pay for health insurance if they were disciplined enough to forgo the purchase of other goodies-- goodies that were purchased with personal money freed up as a result of government handouts.
Danielle

Con

Danielle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

Since my opponent seems occupied, I'll burn a round and talk about why those who can afford medical insurance so often choose to go without it. Let's imagine for a minute that the government did not force hospitals to treat people who do not have insurance or the ability to pay cash. That shouldn't be too hard to imagine, since the government does not require ANYONE OTHER BUSINESSES to hand over products and services for free. The absurd notion that some customers ought to pay while others do not is what got us in this spot to begin with. I mean, what do you suppose we'd be saying about car prices if some customers had to pay to make up for theft of nearly half the the dealer's inventory? If people were no longer allowed to legally steal health care services (even with an exception for life-and-death situations), the price of treatment for the rest of us would drop dramatically. Secondly, those who can currently afford insurance but have no real incentive to make it a priority (because it's legal to steal it), would likely start making it a priority. By adding millions of participants to the existing pool of premium payers, insurance rates can be brought down even further.

Unfortunately, many liberal ideas (like government-sanctioned theft) cause a mess. But in an effort to clean up the mess, liberals do not call for a reversal of the original liberal idea. Instead, they propose more bad liberal ideas (like taxpayer-sponsored health care) to solve the problem. It's a continuous loop of bad liberal ideas in response to bad liberal ideas has slowly pushed a once great nation to the brink of socialism.
Danielle

Con

Point 1: People Lie About Their Income

I agree that some people lie about their income (i.e. off-the-books jobs); however, the number of people who engage in this type of dishonest behavior has gone unreported or unproven by Pro. And even if Pro had proven that this were the case, the number of people who do this for personal gain would have to be equivalent to 'many' ... i.e. at least 30 million out of the 47.5 million uninsured Americans. That's a lot of people. Further, most people who work off the books do so for jobs that do not make a lot of money in the first place. For instance, many bussers at diners or restaurants work off the books; however, these people only make a few dollars an hour. The same logic applies in other professions where this practice is common; for instance, babysitting gigs. Illegal immigrants are another group of people who tend to have jobs that are off the books, and again, do not make a lot of money in these types of positions. Therefore Pro's assessment that these people (36 million) are not really impoverished is faulty, at best. While some may get away with not paying taxes, they are still probably living well below the poverty line.

2. Poor People Receive Free Housing, Food, Etc.

While this may be true for SOME people, the majority of people who are considered poor do not receive these 'luxuries.' One thing that really irks me is how people assume that they know everything about the welfare system when they are clearly misinformed. For instance, not every 'poor' person receives free housing or food stamps. They have to apply for that, and in many cases, they are denied (especially due to the lack of available housing). In reality, people who are on welfare... and let me be clear that these people must go through a significant amount of meetings with case managers and doctors who agree that this is the case... receive about $200 a month to live, which we all know is just about impossible. Further, even if some of these people ARE assisted regarding housing/rent/food, the amount of welfare that they receive is reduced accordingly, making Pro's statement a blatant untruth.

3. College Kids Are Considered Poor

Maybe, but only if they are trying to receive financial aid by claiming that they are 'independent.' In most cases (a significant majority), students continue to be considered dependents of their parents and therefore this is irrelevant. They may only earn $10,000 a year in part-time jobs; however, they are HARDLY considered poor.

4. People Who Don't Have Health Insurance But Do Have Cars, Cell Phones, Etc. Are 'Wrong'

I agree to some extent. In some instances, it is actually more cost effective to have a car than to rely on public transportation. However, I do agree that cell phones, Xboxes, the internet, etc. are all luxuries that should be put second to health insurance. The problem for this 'argument' is that Pro never provided any factual information to back this up -- he simply assumes that this is the case for "many" of those without insurance, which without evidence, is just a form of discrimination. Further, Pro's input regarding his personal experience is mute -- I can just as easily put in my 2 cents regarding personal encounters with people who are disciplined, hard working and even educated... yet cannot afford basic health insurance. This applies to a growing number of college graduates, for instance, who upon leaving the university are no longer eligible to receive healthcare under their parents' plans, but who struggle to find a job (even with several degrees). You'd be surprised for how many people this scenario is a reality.

5. "I believe the truly poor should receive help TEMORARILY, and only as long as they can demonstrate they are improving their situations..."

Perhaps Pro should read another debate of mine regarding long term welfare. In that discussion, I have detailed the regimented case plans that welfare recipients have to endure if they would like to continue receiving government assistance. The fact of the matter is that the government wishes to drastically reduce the number of people who receive aid, so they have hired outside companies (i.e. FEGS, WeCARE, etc.) to try to weed people out of the system. Those who remain a part of it have been proven by doctors and case managers alike to be in dire need. For Pro to suggest otherwise is once again his biased opinion. Consider the fact that maybe he does not know all that he thinks he does regarding the lives of his supposed tenant leeches, hmm?

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My Points:

It costs about $12,700 to insure a family of 4 per year.

[http://www.nchc.org...]

Again, 36 million people live on under $21,200 (family of 4...).

For those people, health insurance would be 60% of their total income. That is frankly unfeasible when considering other unavoidable costs of living. Thus, even with 'luxuries' aside, health insurance is just not practical for these people.

These truths aside, let us not forget the high costs of co-pays and other charges and fees for seeking medical attention. The "affordable" basic insurance that we have been discussing lacks an exorbitant amount of substance, to say the least. This type of 'care' applies only to preventative measures. That is, a regular check-up with a PCP may only cost someone $20; however, if that PCP detects the smallest inclination of a health problem, the chances are highly unlikely that basic insurance will substantially cover anything that needs significant medical attention. Likewise, a trip to the ER could cost thousands of dollars even if one is insured. Thus, many people feel that money put towards health care is essentially wasted -- they might be better off saving that money for a rainy day where they actually need service instead of just medical tests, or small, relatively affordable procedures.

But back to the topic at hand, I am hardly a flaming liberal NOR do I consider health care to be a necessity, per se. However I do highly disagree with Pro's assessment that "those who truly cannot afford housing and food are the exception and not the rule." In fact this is an ignorant and unfortunately widespread assumption about welfare, poverty and those that it affects. Now I understand the resentment people feel when it comes to parting with their hard-earned money; however, simply because they have a problem with policy does not mean that it is OK to make up blatant lies to coinside with one's beliefs... or to disregard the necessity of assistance for those in need.
Debate Round No. 3
39 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
The breakout of the 47 million includes about 15 million illegals, maybe 10 million who qualify for Medicaid but who haven't applied because they are not ill, then lesser numbers of people who can afford insurance but choose not to get it (e.g., young entrepreneurs), and finally poor people in poor states that cannot provide enough funding for Medicaid. Neither side researched the issue, so the debate was mostly hot air. Most poor people receive Medicaid. It's difficult to say how many it takes to qualify as "many," but it's not a majority who can afford care but choose not to get it.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"However, you have a huge military to maintain, and high-tech warfare is very expensive (especially when it's charging is corrupt.) Currently it seems that the US is spending between 500 and 700 billion dollars a year - money that's not going to anything useful (probably quite the opposite) http://en.wikipedia.org......
So that sounds like $2000/person per year you have to find for each member of your family (probably quite a bit more because you earn more than most)."

Oh yeah, I agree it's ridiculous. That's the other problem with republicans. I mistakenly refer to real conservatives as modern-day republicans. Not the case these days. Even war efforts should be limited to was is affordable based on fair and reasonable taxation, with no borrowing.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
HandsOff,
"There's nothing ulta fringe about libertarians. I'd bet most americans (...) would probably agree that no one owes more than a quarter of their lives to the government".
I'm sure you're right.
However, you have a huge military to maintain, and high-tech warfare is very expensive (especially when it's charging is corrupt.) Currently it seems that the US is spending between 500 and 700 billion dollars a year - money that's not going to anything useful (probably quite the opposite) http://en.wikipedia.org...
So that sounds like $2000/person per year you have to find for each member of your family (probably quite a bit more because you earn more than most).

I completely agree about borrowing. That's just crazy.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"My understanding of wingedness is determined by the amount of government involvement in the economy."

Mine would be government involvement in our lives period. The dems want the goverment in my wallet and my bank account, the repubs want the government in my bedroom. What do you get when take the best of both worlds and become consistent with regard for freedom? Libertarianism.

"In an ultra-right-wing economy everything would be run by individuals."

Don't confuse us with anarchists. We think the government should exist to do some basic things that a reasonable amount of taxation would be able to pay for.

"Like fundamentalism of almost any kind, the pure/ultra varieties do not work except on the very small scale."

There's nothing ulta fringe about libertarians. I'd bet most americans (although they say they are not libertarians) would probably agree that no one owes more than a quarter of their lives to the goverment (federal, state, city combined). Right now when add all that up, it comes to about 50% for the middle class. Money is nothing more than time traded for it. Time is life. If they were to scale back to taxation levels in harmony with a decent amount of freedom, the gov. would only have enough money to provide the basic necessities and not much more. Most americans are reasonable, so I think most would be libertarians if they knew they were giving half of their time to gov. or if they knew the the spouse in a two-income family was working entirely for the government.

"Borrowing by itself isn't left or right wing"

It's what happens when the left AND right want something but can't afford it. It is how they "compromise." "You give me what I want and I'll give you want you want. If we can't afford the cost of pleasing the both of us, we'll borrow the difference." What they don't realize is that it is taxation but worse; it is taxation plus interest. If they called deficits taxes, we'd be closer to 70% taxation.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Ahh this is why we define things in debates.
My understanding of wingedness is determined by the amount of government involvement in the economy.
In an ultra-left-wing economy everything would be owned and run by the state.
In an ultra-right-wing economy everything would be run by individuals.
Thus, libertarianism is (in my understanding) ultra-right-wing.

Like fundamentalism of almost any kind, the pure/ultra varieties do not work except on the very small scale.
This is why there is a balance in every country in the world.

Borrowing by itself isn't left or right wing. If it's by the government, then they are increasing their involvement = left.
As to whether or not it's a good idea depends on the outcome.
I get the distinct impression the members of the share market have decided the growth is over.
Given that growth in a finite world is impossible, they must ultimately be correct.

Are they correct now?
Well, I dare say they are.
Peak oil, peak coal, peak gas, peak uranium are all happening about now. Yes, I know peak coal is a few years away but peak oil may well have happened already, and that determines the ease and cost of extraction of everything else.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"It's very interesting to hear the the right-wing point of view and consider the possibility it has some merit."

Right-wing point of view? I'm a libertarian. I'm taking 100% of what the democrats have right (protecting lifestyle freedoms) and combining it with 100% of what conservatives have right (protecting one's money), and ditching the hypocricy. By the way, are people who do not condone borrowing themselves, their families, or their country into oblivion "right wingers?"
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
HandsOff,
It's very interesting to hear the the right-wing point of view and consider the possibility it has some merit.
It may well be that if the US is as rapacious, and selfish a place as you have painted it, that an NHS wouldn't do as well as somewhere where the initial attitude is; "Good, this will help the poor" and later; "This is an asset to all of us".

There are a couple of graphs putting the current US national debt into historical perspective:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
It's bad, but certainly not insurmountable.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
The interesting part is that, although the national debt is the biggest problem our country has faces since the Germans in WWII, it has been brushed aside completely in this election. Imagine that.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"People have been shamed out of racism and sexism. Couldn't it apply to other things?"

As long as attacks on individual liberty (socialism, wealth redistribution, unreasonable taxation, wasteful spending, big government, etc.) are growing in popularity, you can count on them becoming more acceptable versus more shameful. Perspective is relative, and changes with the wide-spread acceptance of bad behavior. Your comments about each of our candidates being right-wing is a perfect example. Luckily, one eventual remedy is that when that when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, there can be a backlash in the other direction. I suppose the lessons learned in Iraq will keep us out of unnecessary military conflict for years to come, just as the perceived failures of the Carter administration brought us 12 years of republican leadership in the white house.

Unfortunately, that pendulum has not swung in the direction of libertarian leadership. Personal responsibility and small government is just too tough of a concept for today's citizens to grasp. They're spoiled, and their perspectives are warped. Also, there has been no real consiquences for our profligate spending and unlimited borrowing. I think it will take another great depression for our country so finally realize we literally cannot afford republican nor democratic leadership. I'm looking forward to Obama helping that great depression along. We are right on the verge of finally having to pay the piper.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Owwww Constitution!
You used the F-word!
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Reasons for voting decision: lol look at the vote bombs. But pro overall did better, but con put u a good fight. pro gets conduct b/c he didnt FF
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