Things That Should Surprise No One

John Stossel to Fox News.

Remember John Stossel?  He brings the stupid like very few can.

Grocery insurance? That might be the stupidest thing ever.

But wait, there’s more:

Stossel’s errors are often so obvious that one wonders how they could have ended up on the air. In a 20/20 report on medical research (10/11/99), Stossel complained that too much funding was going to AIDS research, claiming that spending on the disease was “25 times more than on Parkinson’s, which kills more people.”

In fact, AIDS killed more than 16,000 people in the United States in 1999–down from 43,000 in 1995. Parkinson’s, which is not itself generally fatal but contributes to other illnesses, has a mortality rate of 2 per 100,000 to less than 1 per 100,000, depending on the demographic group (BC Medical Journal, 4/01)–which works out to a death toll in the United States of less than 4,000 per year.

Stossel once reported (11/12/99) that “98 percent [of Catholic school students] graduate, vs. 49 percent for the public schools.” Actually, according to data from the Department of Education, no state reports a public high school graduation rate as low as Stossel’s figure–in 1995-96, the last data available when Stossel made his claim, the rates ranged from 53.2 in the District of Columbia to 89.9 in Vermont (Postsecondary Education Opportunity, 9/99).

What may seem like honest, even careless mistakes are in fact distortions in service of Stossel’s agenda. In the first case, Stossel was slamming the “AIDS lobby,” who know how to “make money and influence the government,” for getting too much government research funding. In the latter example, Stossel’s point was that private schools are more efficient than what he calls “government” schools. When Stossel gets a fact wrong, it’s nearly always in a way that promotes his ideology.

What a fucking idiot.

Stossel’s treatment of sources varies greatly depending on whether or not they agree with him. His “question” to an OSHA consultant (1/21/00): “Your critics say you’re a bunch of clueless busybodies trying to micromanage everybody’s life.” In a segment on New York’s welfare-to-work program (3/9/98), Stossel tells workfare participants that “you didn’t get a real job on your own. Everybody says this is a great program.” As if to prove that work was plentiful, he proceeded to show them the help-wanted ads.

Or consider Stossel’s retort to Linda Greer of the Natural Resources Defense Council, referring to the group’s criticism of the chemical Alar (4/21/94): “Isn’t it possible you killed people by making apples more expensive?” Interviewing a lawyer who focuses on violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (11/8/02), Stossel suggested that he was really just running a shakedown racket: “What would you call it if I came up to you in a parking lot and said, ‘Give me money or I’ll smash your car?'”

At least he’ll be on a smaller soapbox at Fox Business.


I honestly don’t know who watches him. His soapbox was on Friday nights, fer FSM sake.

add: wonder if Sawyer getting the World News gig got him all butthurt.

I met this fucktard. He’s a fucking egomaniac, I urge anyone to read one of his “books,” he is a paultard, randian, nutcase, of middling intellect but convinced he is the smartest guy since einstein. Asshole, with a capital Fucktard. Seriously the most loathesome piece of shit I ever met in person.

That doesn’t surprise me. He did the most childish, ignorant, biased “report” on organic foods that I have ever seen. Presented “evidence” that would only be acceptable to a birther with a Palin brain transplant.

I suspected as much. I’ve had the misfortune of meeting some of his Canada City fans (he does indeed have some) and they’re of the same personality type.

So what do you mean, asshole? When I get cancer I need to hang out in hospital parking lots and get quotes from oncologists? “Hey, hey, mister, fifty bucks and I’ll get you blown if you pull this tumor out of my guts! Hey, hey, ok, $75! Hey, asshole, I am fucking talking to you!”

Look, Stossel may not get his facts straight sometimes, but I think he’s right on the money with this healthcare story. Don’t try to discredit him based on OTHER things he’s done, try to make a counter-point to what he said in THIS particular piece. I think it’s a no-brainer that costs cannot be contained if the consumer isn’t conscious of it. The problem is that on one hand, we want to have an incentive for people to seek early treatment to prevent things from getting worse and costing more later, and on the other hand, we don’t want to make co-payments TOO cheap, which will just encourage people to over-use the system. Generally, insurance should be in place to protect people against catastrophes (as was mentioned in the article), which would mean $50 copays, $1000 deductables, etc. But nobody seems to want that. When you buy car insurance, don’t you weigh the cost of a policy with a $100 deductible vs. one with a $1000 deductible to see where the break-even point is, and almost always, you’re better off with the $1K deductible? It’s the SAME THING for health insurance.

I’m telling you this as someone who is actually in FAVOR of healthcare reform — I am NOT one of those Conservatives that is shouting down anyone who wants change. Unfortunately, the only ways to have meaningful reform that would result in low premiums for everyone is to have higher deductibles and copays AND REQUIRE everyone to have insurance (which I understand is a big problem). One of the problems we have now is that healthy people often opt out of insurance and then expect to get covered AFTER they are sick. The system CANNOT work this way. I am fearful that if I lose my job, I won’t be able to get health insurance at all because of a pre-exisiting condition with one of my family members. I could be financially wiped out because of that. I don’t think that’s right, but I don’t have any good answers of how to fix it, and unfortunately, I haven’t seen anyone, including the President, that has a good answer either.

@FlyingChainSaw: According to p27159, yes, that is what you would do, the invisible hand requires it.

The problem with Stossel is that he doesn’t care about reason. Only what matches up with the brilldunce that is John Stossel’s world view.

He still thinks that food inspection is overrated.


we don’t want to make co-payments TOO cheap, which will just encourage people to over-use the system

Wait, now going to the doctor is bad? One of the reasons I want to see everyone insured is so they go see the doctor when they need to. No one relishes a trip to get poked and prodded, but there’s no sense in encouraging people to stay away from the doctor’s office until they need treatment, vs. preventative medicine.

I agree with you, though, that the only way to we can cover everyone is if everyone carries insurance. I’d like to see everyone carry good insurance as well, instead of whatever the market will bear (which will end up being catastrophy insurance instead of keep-’em-healthy insurance). I wouldn’t suspect that overuse of the system is going to be the problem — it’s always been difficult to get people in to see the doctor when they should.

If Congress can knock out the pre-existing exemption, and rate hikes based on claims (ie, charge your ass way more once you get cancer), those will be huge. Even better would be if they could establish a Federal insurance company, subsidized or not — if the private insurers can compete, bully for them. If they can’t, I’ll be happy to see them go. But if all that comes out of this session is a law saying, “You gotta go buy insurance, right now!” then I’m going to be sorely disappointed.

@IanJ: Looking forward to the “TITAN UP!” health care insurance jingles, and the Progressive girl in a doctor coat. Oh, and the lizard and the Allstate guy also: “When you get fucked up in the crash, well, we can throw you some cash for that, too.”

@IanJ: So whats wrong with medicare for all?

Noone can “over-use” a system if the doctors simply refuse to go along. No ethical doctor would permit it.

Have you seen that the republican governors are now looking to assert “state sovereignty” and the 10th amendment and are planning to refuse to have their states participate in any health care system that passes? Their fucktardery knows no bounds.


“Coverage for all” sounds great, but the products the insurers want to sell simply won’t make sense as a requirement.

One example: at my last consulting gig, they offered an insurance package through Anthem Blue Cross. Premium was ~$350/mo, with a $1000 deductible and 40% coinsurance on most major medical stuff, topping out at $5k out-of-pocket for an individual. This was at a job making <$40k, so if you actually got sick you were looking at 25% of your pre-tax income going to health expenses.

Even worse: another old company (Pearson) offered an "insurance" plan to us temporary employees. (link) That plan is pretty close to what I think will end up being pushed onto low-income workers if the mandate passes without a public option. For a premium of $175 a month (almost half a week’s pre-tax pay with what we were getting) you get absolutely piss-poor coverage. For example: $750/day coverage for a hospital stay, with only 50% of Medicare rates for surgery. Essentially, you get sick -> you go broke, but you’re paying premiums WHILE going broke. Did I mention that the plan is also paid directly by the employee, so doesn’t get the tax advantage of a real employer plan?

The only thing worse than forcing people to pay for that kind of coverage is subsidizing that coverage – the insurer gets rich, the sick still go broke.

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