Every time I hear another bewilderingly silly argument against any move towards real health care reform, I think about that huddled, entrenched and entitled health care industry pouring millions of dollars into politicians’ pockets, yearning to maintain their status quo.
For each and every cry of the end of the world that the Armageddonists predict, there is a lobbyist bankrolling a politician (Go Blue Dogs!) to protect their industry’s turf. As a matter of fact, none of their arguments hold any weight whatsoever, most which are actually more damning of private insurance than any possible government mandated coverage. For example, under private care, your insurance company decides, based on costs alone, whether you can see the doctor of your choice and which kind of treatment, if any, you can receive. And your insurance company only makes money when you are denied treatment, not when you are granted it. In other words, their business is to deny you health care. When you go to the doctor, your insurance company loses.
Then there are the blatantly fabricated and misleading tales of the blunders in foreign hospitals. In Canada this or in England that, as if American hospitals were free from error or negligence. There wouldn’t be a medical malpractice industry without malpractice. That’s Free Market 101. Of course, the Republicans blame the free market of trial lawyers and want to regulate the legal practice.
The most absurd argument of all, though, is about how universal health care will somehow turn the United States into a Soviet style communist nation of lazy people milking the system. Wouldn’t that mean that our single payer public education system is also a form of Soviet style communism endangering our land, and that anyone who has ever studied in or sent their children to a public school is just another lazy-ass freeloader? Should we turn the schools over to the health care industry?
As things stand, we look more like one of those heavily indebted third world dictatorships where the majority of government spending is on the military and almost nothing is invested in the basic necessities of the citizens, like schools, health care, roads, or infrastructure. Even our airports, as one airline expert recently told me, are already light years behind their European counterparts. That’s right, we have the most expensive socialized national defense in the history of the world (though after eight years, longer than World War II, we cannot even defeat cave dwellers), we pay for our wars and trillion dollar tax cuts by borrowing the money from communist China. Yet any heath care reform whatsoever that puts us on par with other industrialized nations would place us at risk of socialism.
Of the G8, we are the only one which does not offer universal health care. With every other highly industrialized democracy in the world providing for the health care of their citizens, maybe we do need such a strong military to protects us against these uppity free market socialists.
I don’t know what’s worse anymore: the ludicrous, baseless fear mongering, the American public’s pathological fear of antiquated socialism by its pro-corporate welfare government, or the Obama Administration’s inability to sell what is seen as a basic public service — like access to water, roads, and education — in every other normal, modern democracy in the world.