Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Senate health care bill

I try not to look at the health care bills wending their way through the halls of congress. I have a weak heart and seeing this much stupidity up close would kill me. But it has been a clear demonstration of what is wrong with the political "system" in USA.

1) The corruption has been just naked and brutal. Overwhelming majorities of the citizenry want a better deal on medicine. So we have a public screaming for change versus the sociopaths from K Street. So far, K Street is winning in a walk. This in a country that likes to lecture others on the subject of democracy.

2) There are good reasons why centrally-run public health care systems are the norm in the rest of the world. For-profit medicine is just too expensive. But did we hold hearings where we would ask representatives from around the world to explain what's good about their systems, what's not working, and what they would change? Are you kidding me? This would mean that we would have to admit that we could learn from others. This would NOT go over well with the "We're number 1" crowd.

3) Watching the debate get stuck on abortion means that triviality will run the ethical day in DC. If you cannot figure out a way to finesse the debate over abortion--and it's been around for 40 years--its pretty certain you are going have trouble with a heavyweight issue like whether a society should be spending $500,000 to extend the miserably painful life by 45 days of some old person begging to die.

4) While the insurance companies have been absolute pigs in all of this, I'm not sure we should be forgetting about the rest of the bad guys. When you have a medical system that reduces sick people to economic prey, it turns a lot of otherwise good people into predators. The doctor who bills you $25,000 because he stuck his head into the O.R. for three minutes during your bypass surgery may have once gone into medicine for altruistic reasons--hard as that may be to believe.

5) When you are selling bullshit, it's possible you may have to skip over the facts on the ground. So we see things like the recent political attack from the White House on Howard Dean. The fact that Dean is a doctor who has organized medical delivery systems as a governor is just an inconvenient fact in the way of some name-calling.

Anti-Dean Salvo Fuels War on Progressives - "Bushkrieg" Bares Audacity of Arrogance

by Robert Becker

Headline from the Wall Street Journal, "Rahm Emanuel: Don't Worry About the Left," reporting how Obama's chief of staff conspired with Joe Lieberman to dump the public option and Medicare buy-in. The result, according to one "former Democratic official," is White House denial about "how much trouble they're in" and costly miscalculations about "what's happening with progressives and the left."

If instead progressives are right, then this jumble called "health reform" is not just bad medicine for millions, but a drone strike against hard-won Democratic House majorities. As a result, Obama's war on progressives surged again this week, as the dark side of take-no-prisoners, obedience-is-all, Chicago-style politics surfaced. Two nasty, parallel attacks impugned the leftwing icon, Howard Dean, for logically stating his mind: this is not health reform but an "insurance company's dream" written by the industry lobby and setting off a "Washington scramble."


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