When a 2,000 page piece of legislation traverses the legislative sausage making process, it is a large target for those who want to take pot shots.
Let’s remember what we are trying to fix.
The system does not cover everybody. Estimates on the number of uninsured range from 30 million to 70 million depending on whom and how you are counting.
It’s expensive. Our economy already sets aside more resources per person than any other country on the planet. We pay more in taxes for health care than any other country on the planet.
We are not a healthy country. Relative to other industrial countries, we don’t live long. Our babies die before they reach their first birthday. Our pregnant mothers die in child birth.
That’s a lot of fixes.
In fact, the 2,000 pages is a pretty mediocre start. If either the House or the Senate version survives intact, it still will not cover everybody. It still will be expensive. And there isn’t much reason to believe that we will be any healthier as a result.
But it is a start.
And let’s not forget that simple in the form of single payer (HR 676) was taken off the table very early in the process.
The irony is that the easy fix, a government or quasi government operated health care system, was never a serious contender in the debate. Congress instead has drafted a Rube Goldberg contraption designed to fix the current system. It will allow the insurance industry and the rest of the health care industry to continue to pillage tax payer pockets for private profit.
And the working poor, those intended targets of reform, will be poorly served by the reforms.
And what is the criticism.
That it is a government run health care program!!?
Can you begin to comprehend the twisted logic of these nut cases, these nattering nabobs of negativism, these bobble headed pundits who put the interests of insurance companies ahead of poor working Americans struggling to stay in the work force.
I know facts and logic have very little to do with this debate, but let me tug on superman’s cape and examine two of the more outrageous claims.
Fascism and Socialism
I’m sure someone must have said that if you repeat something often enough it becomes true. Was it Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda? Why else would right wingers keep equating fascism with socialism. The two are diametrically opposed.
Germany, under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, institutionalized the world’s first system of health insurance. It was part of a package of proposals that included bans and restrictions against the socialist parties of the day. The health insurance system was intended to shift worker loyalty from the socialist parties to the state. But even the “Iron Chancellor” had to compromise and the German system of health insurance funds, called Krankenkassen (sickness funds), stayed under private control. In fact, governance was not unlike that of today’s Taft-Hartley funds. Employers and workers ran these very private and usually very local systems.
Forty years later another iron ruler, this time Hitler, was in power. An essay in the book, Political Values and Health Care: The German Experience, describes how the Nazis tried to purge the sickness funds of Jews and Socialists. They did have some limited “success”, but they also had to deal with the very real political reality that these were the experts who controlled this very private system. Purging them threatened to dismantle health care delivery to the Nazi base. After the war, governance of the sickness funds was restored to the more private structure that existed before Hitler.
So what is the lesson here?
Fascists like health care for the people they like and oppose it for the people they don’t. Who does that sound like in the current debate? A health care system cannot be both fascist and socialists.
Guns and health care
Gun owners seem to think that health care legislation will threaten gun ownership by imposing reporting requirements on gun shootings. Don’t they know that there is already an elaborate coding system in place that allows emergency rooms to report all kinds of accidents, including shootings?
They also resort to the tactic of assuming that because the law doesn’t prohibit something it therefore permits it. The legislation does not specifically define gun ownership as a healthy behavior and therefore gun owners want us to believe that the government can and will define gun ownership as an unhealthy behavior and therefore charge gun owners higher premiums.
While there might be a compelling idea there somewhere, there is no logical basis for this conclusion other than their own rabbit hole minds. Isn’t there something in the Constitution that limits the power of the federal government to those specifically designated to it? Do these people make any sense at all?
Remember the woman in Bridgeville, PA who was shot while at a health club and had no health insurance. Gun owners could at least acknowledge that the system needs to be reformed to permit treatment of people like Heather Sherba.
If not, perhaps banning guns as a preventive health care measure might be an option if this legislation fails.
It would be logical and supported by facts.