Sunday, August 9, 2009

Follow the Money

Things are getting seriously ugly as the health care reform debate moves forward. That’s because we have a President who is determined to actually DO something. What it is that he actually CAN do, remains to be seen.

Conservative and GOP-backed think-tanks along with the medical-pharmaceutical-insurance industrial complex’s media, advertising arms and hired guns/lobbyists have ratcheted up their spare-no-expense, no-holds barred, all-out-to-win, fear-mongering campaigns of misinformation and outright lies. Not to mention their wholesale buying of votes, as campaign contributions, from senators and congressmen.

In short, they have nothing positive to offer because they don’t see any problem. According to them, there is no health care crisis. Our health care and insurance systems are fine as they are. Any attempt at reform is a slippery slope to socialism (which, of course, leads to communism), that will lead to the rationing of care (as if we don’t already have it), the end of medical innovation, euthanasia of our elderly (I couldn’t make this up) and, God forbid (or, GOP forbid), higher taxes!

None of this is surprising or new. But sadly, these tactics work.

Fear is a great motivator. Throughout history, governments have used it and, more recently, multi-conglomerate global corporations use fear and lies to motivate the masses to act contrary to their own best interests. We just don’t want to believe that United States’ politicians or agencies (FDA, EPA, etc), or American corporations would knowingly do anything to hurt us.

They wouldn’t, right?

This is a betrayal of the public trust of the highest order, for profit over the public good. And, for that matter, profit over the viability of life on the planet.

We, the People, have the power to direct the national health care debate to achieve the outcome that benefits us most. First, we must learn and understand the facts of the issues and then get involved and take action.

We will be the victims of whatever level of ignorance, apathy and inaction we accept.

As the Nobel Laureate, Economist Paul Krugman, writes:

It’s not just that many Americans don’t understand what President Obama is proposing; many people don’t understand the way American health care works right now. They don’t understand, in particular, that getting the government involved in health care wouldn’t be a radical step: the government is already deeply involved (Medicare, Medicaid and the VA/Veteran's Administration), even in private insurance.

And that government involvement is the only reason our system works at all… the bottom line: if you currently have decent health insurance, thank the government

Indeed, surveys consistently show more patient satisfaction in the government run, single payer, systems of Medicare and the VA than with private sector or employer provided insurance.

And, don’t you find it more than ironic and cynical that the most outspoken critics against the public option for health care are Senators and Congressmen with government sponsored health care? Follow the money!

The role of government is to protect the basic rights of its' citizens from the government itself, and from businesses, corporate and other special interests.

In the case of the health care debate the case for the citizens is clear: access to affordable, ethical health care. Secretly negotiating and brokering deals with the medical, insurance and industrial special interests is clearly more about protecting their incomes than it is about protecting the welfare of Americans.

The 'single payer' sytems of Medicare and the VA, in particular, are excellent examples of government's success in protecting and providing for the basic right of health care to the elderly, the disabled and our veterans.

Perhaps, the area in which the government has proven the most incompetent and dysfunctional is in the Congress itself. That is where reform is needed most; campaign finance reform must happen to reclaim our political system and restore the government to the people.

1 comment:

gramma said...

We finally have within our grasp a reasonable health insurance plan.
It is unbelieveable that
so many fall prey to scare tactics
that they would deny themselves a decent health plan.
It is imperative that the public option be included. The competition with the private insurers would keep rates more in line.