Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Right-Wing Health Care Harangue

"Well-intentioned bureaucrats" are trying to reform health care, a central component of which is a "public option". "That's worrisome," according to self-avowed health care guru, Patrick McIlheran at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The veiled logic begins with the statement, "many more people will have their health coverage funded, subsidized or legally specified by the federal government. This means their health is no longer their concern but ours. When anything is paid for publicly, it is decided politically. Health care will be no different."

Shouldn't the health of our fellow citizens already be a concern? Shouldn't the government play a major role in the health of the nation? Just as it does with housing, transportation, finance, and well, everything! Why should health care be untouchable? We have a private-run system now. It costs twice as much as any other country and we have 50 million without coverage. So, obviously the private sector does not know how to run health care.

And, public action being decided politically - that's called democracy. Obama won. His side (the majority of America ) wants health care reform. Those already served under a government-run public option - Medicare - are very happy with their health care.

Patrick has a rant in the article on abortion. All I'll remind Pat here is this - abortion is a legal medical procedure. Stop trotting out the wedge issue(s) that divide everyone and speak to the issues where we can reach compromise.

He claims the President is dodging certain specifics, mockingly saying, "This man ran on change." Just as McIlheran is speculating about the health care proposals he obviously has not viewed, yet he still feels qualified/obliged to fantasize about what they mean and what the results will be.

Being the good right-wing soldier he is, Pat had to mention "rationing." One of a few boogeymen (rationing, death panels) the right has erected in the health care debate. Health care is already rationed. Private insurers decide who is covered and who is not. They decide what procedures will be paid be for, or whether one can even have a procedure. We have an ineffective bureaucrat between the doctor and the patient already - it's the private insurers.

Does any thinking individual feel that using science to determine what procedures are the most cost-effective for health outcomes is a bad thing? Government curbing overly expensive yet no more effective procedures is good management. Are Republicans saying we should spend just for the sake of spending? Aren't they the ones always preaching about not throwing money at things?

There also seems to be a bit of the, "We're Americans, we're the best, there can be no restrictions on anything we do." It's a very infantile urge to be tapping into. But the right loves latching onto the lowest-common-denominator and playing on peoples' emotions.

Pat then brings up the Congressional Budget Office review (which some have found problematic) that finds the proposals will not slow health care cost increases. As long as we don't control pharmaceutical costs and re-imagine our health care system more holistically with more preventative care, active lifestyles and in accordance with healthier, locally grown foods, I agree, costs will continue to rise.

This is also a standard-of-living issue. Health care is a right in a civilized society. The American standard-of-living has been falling. Yet, I haven't heard the Republicans outraged by this. Income inequality has been skyrocketing over the last 30 years. Where are the Republican voices on this issue? Suddenly they're concerned with our rights, our health, how we live, our choices? Yet they've been silent as jobs have been outsourced, more and more went without insurance, more and more were thrown into crippling debt over medical bills, wages have stagnated, and citizens have found it harder and harder to make ends meet. But now we should trust them? They've got our best interests at heart.

To allow the system to continue to be run by private entities, whose interest is profit and not health, can only lead to worse and worse outcomes. As Albert Einstein said, "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity."

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