Universal health insurance is on the American policy for the first time since World War II agenda. In the 1960s, the US chose public coverage for only the elderly and the very poor, while Canada opted for a universal program for hospitals and physicians’ services. There are many lessons learned from the consequences of different approaches in similar jurisdictions. Many Canadians (my brother and his family are and live in Vancouver as well as others I grew up with in elementary and high schools) are saddened that Americans seem incapable of learning them.
In this age of information technology and easy access to what is disseminated publicly out there, it is not easy to defraud your average American with half-truths or subject and mislead them the with scare tactics. If nothing is done regarding our current healthcare, all hell will break lose when a growing number of people are losing their insurance and still greater numbers are not having basic health coverage, while insurance executives are reaping scandalously huge salaries and bonuses. This must stop or we will all go under. The Republicans are paralyzed to inaction because the status quo favors their campaign chest. Let’s give the Democrats a chance to do something about it. Let’s not tie their hands, then blame them for not doing enough or accomplishing anything.
This is a classic case of dictatorship by a few, stirred up by special interests with deep pockets, to trample on the majority who want real reform. It reminds me of the 2000 episode known as the Brooks Brothers Riot. When the outcome of the elections was in limbo, a vociferous and disorderly group of young Republican aides, some of whom were on former president George W. Bush’s recount committee, rioted outside the room where over 10k ballots were recounted and forced their cancellation. That was democracy-GOP style: our way or no way! There was nothing spontaneous about it as Americans were led to believe. It was organized by former Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY who was defeated by now Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand) who ordered to “shut down” the recount.
In an effort to embarrass President Obama and defeat universal healthcare, conservatives are engaging in a campaign of lies, e.g., rationing of health benefits, euthanasia of the elderly, incompetence of bureaucrats (when they cannot be bought) who will mess up your Medicare, increased taxes to benefit the poor & minorities, etc. The biggest barrier to healthcare reform is people who think that it will hurt them, according to a New York Times poll; 69% of respondents said they were concerned that the quality of their care would decline if the government created a program for everyone. They view reform as a poverty program that helps many people but hurts them. Don’t put too much credence on the Gallup poll on healthcare reform because of its anti-healthcare bias. Their position on the issue reads like a conservative manifesto for delaying legislation until it succumbs to a slow death.
President Obama will get healthcare reform passed. America spends 15% of its GDP covering far less than the entire population, while other nations cover everyone more effectively for about 9%. We under-insure tens of millions of others by leaving big loopholes in what is covered. More than half of Americans who file medical bankruptcy nominally have insurance. Our system is mainly inefficient because it is run for and by private insurers, aided and abetted by for-profit drug companies and hospitals.
Even if more people are insured to a fragmented, profit-oriented systems dominated by these interests, they simply cannot yield the most efficient use of health outlays. Compare the comprehensive system with a national health budget that naturally looks for the most efficient way to spend health dollars. Private health insurers are focused on maximizing profits by targeting the young & healthy and avoiding the sick, old & risky.
The only way to counteract these opponents of healthcare reform is to fight fire with fire, or give public coverage to those displays in 2006 of extremism to cause division among the very people on the right. Even as we talk, many Democrats are not taking this bullying sitting down this time.
As Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation, referring to the 2008 elections in which Democrats were out-hustled and out-organized said, “There’s a set of very powerful interests that are spending literally millions of dollars to defeat this agenda.” The goal is to meet organizing with more organizing, to not get out-hustled to make sure that people who are going bankrupt from health insurance are showing up at these meetings.
The enemies are lining up to fight to the end, prepared to use violence to stop the democratic discourse. They know it’s ultimately not about healthcare. They won’t admit that they do not accept a black president (screw the American people!) and use the town hall meetings to shroud their hatred of BHO (because he is black and think they are better than black people).
They were the same people who attended the McCain-Palin rallies in 2008. It’s easy to play on people’s fear of death. It’s even easier when you’re willing to lie outright as conservatives are doing in this debate. What? Do Republicans lie to further their causes? Do the media simply allow those lies to go unchecked? Nah, something like this never happens in America. Ya think?