12 August 2009

Health care reform: an object lesson in why 'bipartisanship' is balls

Great amusement has come to the Berstram household these last couple of days from the right-wing Investors' Business Daily, whose comment on Barack Obama's attempted health care reform was as follows:

The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof, are legendary. The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror script … People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.
Moving rhetoric, were it not of course for the fact that Stephen Hawking has lived in the UK all his life. Never let it be said that the US right doesn't get its facts straight before it posted.

In any case it's laughable that US conservatives criticise the NHS as a health care system based on "rationing" when any health care system - in fact any delivery system for any commodity which costs more than zero to produce - is rationed. In the US rationing is by the insurance premia that people are willing or able to pay, combined with the decisions of healthcare company executives as to which treatments get provided and which don't. The NHS - and most other publicly financed healthcare systems - just happen to be a lot more efficient at providing a certain quantity of care for a given amount of funding than does the US system. The US system is very good at inflating costs and giving out large payments to health executives.

It's also very good at spending customers' health insurance premiums on lobbying efforts to stave off reforms. If anyone doubted that Obama and the Democrats have a serious fight on their hands, one look at the healthcare debate will dispel those doubts. Democrats are being called Nazis (laughable coming from people who supported the Bush administration); gangs of thugs are being rounded up to shout down pro-reform politicians at town hall meetings; and complete falsehoods (like the 'Hawking would be a dead man in the UK' claim) are being trotted out by hacks like Rush Limbaugh and the complete staff of Fox News every day of the week.

This should convince Obama, if he needed any convincing following a bruising first 6 months in office, that he needs to come out fighting after the August holiday and tell the cheap Nazi punks who make up the Republican party (bar the one or two Senate moderates that he needs to push his legislation through) to go fuck themselves. If he doesn't manage to do that, he runs the risk of ending up like the two previous Democrat presidents - Clinton and Carter - both of whom were condemned to ineffectuality after a dreadful first two years in office.

The main thing to realise is that the President is in a situation where his opponents are fighting like hell with every weapon at their disposal to maintain America as the corporate fascist state that Bush, Cheney, Palin and their friends and backers have slogged long and hard over the last 30 years creating - and they don't want to give an inch of it back to the working people of America. These fuckers are prepared to lie, cheat and kill to get what they want - and they are extremely powerful. The problem, when faced with a backlash like that, is that America may get worse before it gets better.


Van Patten said...

Good job I posted on the quakers rather than this. Makes my belief that Obarmy and his cronies are being controlled from centres in Pyongyang and Beijing even more credible.

giroscoper said...

In some ways your contention makes sense. If Pyongyang is hoping that the Obama administration will be such an ineffectual, centrist, compromised set-up that it will result in a backlash that votes in a hard-right extremist like Huckabee or Palin who then collapses the US economy to such an extent that the country becomes weak enough for military takeover by China or North Korea, then yes - you have a point.

Anonymous said...

What kind of healthcare 'reform' can we expect from Bama if Single Payer is off the table? Without it, anything else labeled under the 'public option' is just a taxpayer subsidized giveaway to the deadly insurance industry.

I agree that Obama is going to have to tell these punks when he gets back from vacation to shove it, but unless he says 'fuck it, we're jamming a Single Payer option NOW' everything else is just theatre and woe for us.

giroscoper said...

I agree - Obama needs to start kicking some ass or there's a danger that he's gonna become Clinton or Carter Mk 2.