Stephen Hawking never stood a chance

Stephen Hawking is so cool he can fly!

Poor, poor Stephen Hawking. You know Stephen Hawking: media personality, author of A Brief History of Time, Lucasian Professor for Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. You know, Cambridge. The one in England.

Why should you pity him? Because his life is in imminent danger!

A no-doubt-soon-to-be-unemployed editorial writer at Investor’s Business Daily is strongly of the impression that the brilliant British physicist owes his life to having been born and raised in the Good Old U. S. of A.

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

via TheVanityPress

Let us not disturb baby’s dreams. It would only be cruel. After all, the poor boy can’t help it: he undoubtably went to American schools.

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66 thoughts on “Stephen Hawking never stood a chance

  1. Oh the Health Care Quagmire! I’ve been struggling mightily (as a wannabe philosopher) to come up with some brilliant insights for this issue, but all I’ve managed to do is invoke a monstrous headache a la the front cover to my blog. Will their plans fix that? :-D

  2. The fact that Stephen Hawking has long outlived the life expectation for ALS in the social medicine haven that is Britain, should quash all the arguments. It hasn’t however. I won’t comment on some of the other crap being put out by the opposition that makes me nuts. Including a comment or two here.

  3. Read carefully, because I’m only going to say this once: Bunk is right.

    Until they have tort reform, they’re never going to move on this, because of fear. Once they have tort reform, they may be in a position to actually move forward and apply true reform to the healthcare situation in the US.

  4. How House Bill Runs Over Grandma
    By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 4:20 PM PT
    Editor’s Note: This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.

    Heh. Heh heh. heheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheh.

    Looks like I picked a good time to get out of the pseudoliterary biz.

  5. Jawohl, meine Gräfin RegenKüstner

    Der kluge Senor Bunk hat recht
    Verdammte Rechtsanwalter

    [That sagacious Raccoon is sagacious,
    let’s hang the Lawyer, as Shakespeare suggested]

  6. Uh, that’s not actually true, the “no intrinsic right to healthcare.” You can come up here and get in a car accident without insurance to prove it if you like.

    And tell me, how fast can you get a CAT scan scheduled? I got one within twelve hours of seeing my doctor.

  7. So Bunk, ignoring for a moment that what’s being proposed isn’t even close to nationalization: What’s the solution for the near-50-million Americans without health insurance?

  8. rain– I believe we’re talking about health care insurance, not major medical. Emergency medical treatment is already provided for the uninsured.

    Metro– True, but the way the program is being touted puts the government in competition with the private sector. When employers find it cheaper to pay the penalty in lieu of paying private sector insurance, they cost the private insurers dearly, driving costs up even more, and eventually resulting in nationalization.

    The the 46.6 million census figure that’s being bantered about includes the approximately 10-12 million illegal immigrants, the approximately 9 million already on Medicare, the 3.5 million who are already subsidized, the millions who choose not to pay for health care insurance due to young age, or the millions who earn enough or have adequate assets to be self-insured. Take into account the recently unemployed who are temporarily without health insurance, and those foreign nationals that are legally here on student or work visas, and the number drops even further.

    One study estimated that once you subtract those millions of individuals listed above, only about 7% of the US population is chronically uninsured.

    The article I linked to previously has some good ideas for reform that I needn’t repeat here.

  9. Bunk, since I’m a Canadian and have full coverage (except for recreational procedures like elective rhinoplasty) I don’t know the difference between the two terms. Please explain.

    And I refer you to Barbara Ehrenreich’s excellent work on healthcare coverage for the working poor. She covered it quite extensively in her book Nickle and Dimed, as well as on her blog. This link should work:
    http://www.google.ca/search?q=healthcare+site%3Aehrenreich.blogs.com%2Fbarbaras_blog%2F&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    if not, try this for starters:

    http://ehrenreich.blogs.com/barbaras_blog/2007/02/medical_larceny.html

  10. rain– Health care insurance covers preventative procedures like physicals, ob/gyn, blood tests, prescriptions, minor illness, etc. It is often less expensive to pay for basic health care out of pocket, as I do for eye exams and dental work. Major Medical covers the big ticket items.

    Ms. E. is a far left socialist activist with a radical organization (DSA) that espouses the abolition of the free market and the elimination of privately owned corporations. Not a very credible source of information.

  11. That you don’t like her politics doesn’t mean her facts are incorrect. She’s quite meticulous about sources and so on.

    And thanks for the definitions. What an unnecessarily complicated system; it sounds like car insurance, but worse.

  12. I’ve been pondering just how to speak about this ridiculousness back in the country of my birth.

    So here’s what I think I’m going to write (more or less): I’m coming to a conclusion: I’ve lost patience. I say to them, You Americans (and I used to count myself as one of you) don’t deserve health care. If you think you can get along with some ‘market-based’ system where insurance companies spend all of their energy working on finding new ways of denying people coverage, then fine. Have it your way. Die of heart disease, obesity and diabetes at the age of 50. Go blind and deaf. Slide into irrelevancy. I’ve had it expecting you to get over your idiocy.

    I’ve never been more ashamed of the level to which discourse in the US has sank. You don’t deserve health care, because only a civilized society gets a perc like that. You’re showing themselves pretty much as easily-manipulated, uncivilized rubes. No health care for you? Good riddance.

  13. rain– The complications come from the over-regulation of the insurance industry. Basic health care choices should be left up to the individual and those licensed to practice medicine, not a bunch of lawyers circling over our heads.

    I’m not disparaging Canada’s system, or that of any other country. The US already has some government-run medical programs in place, and they’re disasters: the VA is a prime example and Medicare has been so mismanaged and wrought with fraud that it’ll be bankrupt in a few years.

    Hawaii tried a statewide system of state-sponsored healthcare for children, and it was abandoned within 7 months when they found out that parents decided to drop their own insurance for the program “provided” by the state, and threatened to bankrupt the system.

    As for Ehrenreich, I give her credit for declaring herself a socialist (rather than hiding behind euphemisms like “liberal” or “progressive,” but she’s still a honorary chairman of the DSA, and a nutcase from the Bay Area. The DSA’s own charter describes their preference for fascism.

    David– News flash: We have health care. Petulant attacks are not discourse.

    izaakmak– Um, why are you ashamed? What did you do?

    But wait… I thought we were joking around about the minor gaffe (since corrected) in an opinion piece in the Investor’s Business Daily Editorial Section.

  14. I dunno Bunk. I just don’t see the point of a system that costs more in direct costs alone than the Canadian equivalent, takes about 2% off the top of a what, three-trillion-dollar economy (?), and still leaves people out in the cold.

    Also, while the 46 million may include a number of folks you might not think should be covered, it definitely doesn’t include those with inadequate coverage, nor those who think they’ve been paying full freight to get the best, only to be refused because “We don’t cover that.” Or who deliberately underinsure because it’s cheaper.

    Rationing is already inherent in the system. The question is, how best to benefit society. And the current system isn’t doing it. Providing a basic package of government-provided health care will likely help.

  15. Bunk, I’m not good at this sort of dialog so I hardly know where to begin. To start with, from a philosophical/political/economic standpoint, I’m a strict laissez faire Capitalist kind of guy. So if I could cause an instant reversion to a time before this system became so mixed up with the whole ‘social contract’ thing, I would do so in a heartbeat.

    But I live in this world. I’m a disabled person dependent upon Social Security Disability for an income and the VA for the health care it will provide. I avoid having to pay the premiums for Medicare Insurance because, as a vet, the VA provides the same services for free. However, because my disability is not service connected, I’m not eligible for the dental and eye care that you can afford to pay ‘out of pocket’ so easily.

    So I’m ashamed that a country that I grew up believing was the greatest country ever – is not. I’m ashamed that, in spite of that, we still insist on throwing our weight around like we know best. And lastly, I’m ashamed that, rather than making an effort to regain some respect by proving that we can get our act together and solve our problems through a process of sane and rational discourse, we’re perfectly fine with looking like a bunch of backwoods jackasses performing our clown act on an international stage.

  16. Bunk, News Flash: Some Americans may have health care today, but millions don’t, and those who do will be spending more and more on it, until nobody but the very rich can afford it. Everybody knows this, except for, apparently, you and the Neanderthals I see on the US network newscasts.

    You also mistake my post for a ‘petulant attack’. It isn’t. Petulance would be more whiney, and I’m not attacking. Nope, I’m just saying that if Americans want to drive themselves off a cliff, then they are welcome to do so. I’ve all but written them off when I got out of the car (and just in time, I see).

  17. By definition, Insurance is a sort of bizarro world form of gambling where each premium payment is a bet, placed against yourself, that you pray to never win. To make matters worse, these days your insurer (bookie) is very likely to toss you from the game if you have the nerve to “win” your bet.

  18. Metro– I didn’t want to get into a big hoohah over this, but you’re wrong. The proposed system (as touted) would cost more in non-essential medical services than in actual treatment for genuine necessary treatments.

    izaakmak– You and I agree more than you know. You’re already covered by the existing government programs for Veterans and SSD. I have absolutely no objection to using subsidies for that. It appears that you are satisfied with your needed VA services.

    My question to you is, why should the rest of us be forced into a system that the majority of citizens don’t want?

  19. David– You’ve proved my point by restating what I posted previously. The health insurance industry will collapse once the government gets into the game, and everything will become more expensive.

  20. Bunk, I never said that I was “satisfied with your needed VA services.” The fact is that the things that aren’t covered – I can’t get. I simply can’t afford them. And I don’t want to “force” anything on anyone.

    Sure, I’ll scrape up the bucks to buy new eyeglasses when I can no longer FORD the ones I have (the VA will write me a prescription because eye exams are covered because of my diabetes). But my teeth are an absolute mess, and I absolutely can not afford to pay for the work I need to have done. Neither the VA or Medicare will cover any part of the costs. And there’s no way I can afford private dental insurance.

  21. izaakmak– That confirms other reports I hear of the quality of treatment by the government-run VA.

    So let’s do something positive. How much would it take to fix you up? Give us a number, and we’ll set up a donation fund, all volunteer, with rain’s permission. She’s got thousands of readers every day and shouldn’t be adverse to donating to your own charity.

  22. Bunk, I absolutely do not know how to respond to that. That’s very last thing I would’ve expected, and the last thing I would ask for!

    The strange thing is that I’ve always said that people in need should be taken care of by their own community – the people best able to judge whether or not the need is real and the person is worthy.

    I just never expected that I would be that person. I also never expected that the only real “community” I’d have would be one that exists in cyber space! But I guess that’s the price of being an urban hermit.

    Frankly, I’m uncomfortable with saying any more.

  23. izaakmak– I just offered a challenge to all of rain’s readers. Rain has experience in fund raising, I don’t. If you really need funds to fix your teeth, post the cost of it with backup.

    You complained that the government-run VA program (paid for with our tax dollars) won’t pay for your dental work, so we’ll take care of you in the free market.

  24. Your Grace

    I hope your Commenters will forgive an Eagle’s impertinence in observing how interesting & perceptive their observations have been in this Welcoming Space of Friends

    This is a difficult and anxious matter, to which they have all brought valuable somethings to such an important Party

    It must be a sign of the Mid-Life Crisis when one is simultaneously persuaded by mutually-incompatible arguments – eg from that sagacious Racoon (Senor Bunk)and the most interesting Mr Mak

    …Well, I hope it’s not the post Mid-Life Crisis – this Eagle is very Grey and currently applying for his Senior Citizen’s Free Bus-Pass

    On the NHS, I am Bemused – I know a great deal about it … but there’s a lot that I do not know – there is a lot wrong with it …. but there is a lot of great value

    BUT I am very glad it is there and it helps so many Folk with such surprising Kind-Heartedness on the part of the Little People (Nurses/Therapists, as you North-Americans style them)

    At least if I need an Operation, my Family is not faced with the prospect of financial bankruptcy to pay for it

    Yr Grace’s obedient but now better-informed Servant

    G E

  25. Herr Eagle– Again, I am not arguing against the UK system, or the system of any other country. The problem I have is with the current version of ObamaCare (and the version seems to change daily).

    Forcing citizens to buy either private or government healthcare is wrong, and the way that the current administration is going about it, i.e., that it must be passed whether anyone has read the bill or not, is very suspect. Obama has not read the bill. No member of the Senate has read the bill. No member of the House of Representatives has read the bill.

    Why? Because the bill is being rewritten daily. No one knows what’s going to be hidden in the final draft, and the way the leftists are pushing it, no one will have the chance to prior to the vote on the floor.

    Puke.

  26. Well, Bunk, with regard to Izakmaak’s care: What’s in it for us? If profit is the prime mover for the private sector, why should we forgo it? Just wondering.

    Anyway, the argument that the insurance industry would instantly collapse seems wrong. The free market is about competition, no? If the government plan is as inefficient and wasteful as you say, then it will die from both a lack of customers and its own inefficiency, leaving the private sector the clear victor.

    On the other hand, if it’s not the monster it’s painted as, it will provide valuable competition for the private sector, improving efficiency, quality of care, and patient outcomes–All through market mechanisms.

    More to the point, you haven’t yet answered the question I asked: What system do you think would work better and still cover the uninsured?

  27. You know, I think I must back-step a little on the criticism of my fellow Americans. Considering how crass the comics can be, especially in light of the current tensions, I have yet to hear any of the prez’s detractors refer to America as an Obamanation. I predicted this to everyone I know right after the election and had even forgotten I’d done so.

    I don’t know whether to cheer for our tattered but intact dignity, or to fear that I may have started the ugliness myself by daring to mention my fears. :-D

  28. Pingback: Military robots, the latest models; Quantum computing at Univ of Toronto; Cultural Cognition Project at Yale; Carla Bruni and Stephen Hawking « FrogHeart

  29. Metro– C’mon, dude. I linked to Mackey’s article yesterday at 11AM. I agree with his suggestions for true reform. And I go back to my basic argument: millions of people either don’t need or don’t want health care insurance. As for the 7% left out in the rain, I propose that they be deported to Vancouver, assisted in obtaining Canadian citizenship, grant them US work visas for life, and let them come home. Like THIS GUY.

  30. I read Mackey’s article. As far as I can tell he’s arguing for much the same system, though perhaps with more paperwork. I was surprised to find that current free-market insurance apparently doesn’t include the ability to compete across state lines, though.

    May I recommend <a href = "http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13899647&quot; target this article in return?

    And I go back to my basic argument: millions of people either don’t need or don’t want health care insurance.

    I agree completely. What people is health care.

    As to the video–He might want to rethink that. Hasn’t he heard what we do to our citizens abroad?

  31. Who wouldn’t want to Wake Up Canadian? Do you have any IDEA how difficult it is to change a man’s pyjamas without waking him up? Does YOUR country have workers as skilled as that?

    My country protects not only the health but also the dignity of its citizens by offering universal coverage, so nobody has to pass a hat to get basic medical services.

    However, our country does not, but SHOULD define non-cosmetic dental care as a basic medical service. I haven’t been to a dentist in close to 15 years, myself. That’s one thing the NHS has that we don’t.

    Also, I don’t believe it’s been mentioned but Stephen Hawking and his family are well able to afford private care, which is available in Britain and always has been, but they have chosen to go the NHS route.

  32. I think that perhaps it’s “free love, boob jobs, and mind altering substances” that worry the “conservatives” the most about the “socialist agenda.” Hah! LOL

  33. i dont know why the comments in here are about health care and all this nonsence mr.hawking is one of the smartiset people alive and i am happy he got to experince 0 g’s . this mans life has been decated to space and unlocking mysteries of the universe for the majoity of his life,he writes books and lectures that are renowned by top minds all over the world, and can also put these same theorys is a format that can be understood by poeple that have never had any more then a wonders or thoughts on anything from just looking up at space or even just trying to figure out how we got here or where we ar going. he looked like he was havving fun so im glad he got to experince a small part of what he loves so much

  34. It would have been a disservice to the world as a whole if he could not share his talents as he has – regardless of your healthcare debate. I hope that we may ride the coat tails of another mind as great as his, but none come to mind.

  35. Look, if you have to take someone’s advice about talking to aliens, are you going to take Stephen Hawking’s, or are you going to take David Ickes’s?

  36. Ah, hello again Umberto, good to see you.

    I don’t have any comment on Heath care, except: I don’t care.

    By the way, I have to disagree thoroughly with the necromancer’s first comment, most Americans think that anyone who is famous and brilliant must be foreign.

  37. Nobody knows where DT is from, except he has a slight American accent.

    Write as much as you like; you’re good and you enjoy it. But it’ll do you much more good to have your own blog. Try http://Tumblr.com which is much easier than WordPress.

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