Take Two Aspirins and Don’t Call Me In The Morning
Lay down yer bets, Ladies and Gentlemen. Pick yer odds. Here’s the challenge: Guess exactly what tiny event, phrase, actor, commercial, sound-byte will sink any and all attempts at reforming our unaffordable, hodge-podge and failing health care system.
The insurance companies and Big Pharma are hard at work, pouring piles of money into the coffers of the legislators they own, financing phony Astroturf groups and “think-tanks” to get the word out that if the proposed reforms are passed into law, the Government will come in their black helicopters and will start killing your Grannie. In short, forget “Star Search, the real search is on for another “Louise” of “Harry & Louise” fame.
Ironically, in an August 9, New York Times piece by Judith Warner, the real actress who played “Louise” – Louise Clair Clark – is now very, very sorry she had a hand in killing the Clinton Plan and/or killing any and all attempts thereafter at reforming health care. More irony, she had lived in Australia and was a grateful fan of Australia’s “Socialized Medicine.” (More irony; in the present fear-mongering about Government Takeover Of Medicine, David Lazarus of the L.A. Times notes, “Factor in Medicare, Medicaid, veterans assistance and assorted business subsidies, and the federal government already accounts for about 60% of all healthcare expenditures nationwide.” Yep, it’s the old canard about the Senior Citizen at a Town Hall Meeting hollering, “Keep your hands off my Medicare. I don’t want any Government-run Socialized medicine!” )
But her role and that ad was key in stopping reform utterly. Which is exactly what the Health Insurance Association of America wanted. And now, here we are again, looking for another Louise.
So, place your bets. What do you think it will be this time? A person? A sound-byte? An ad?
And let’s also start stacking up the ironies that will abound with yet another failure. In the 1997 debacle, the key with Harry & Louise was the fear of “losing choice.” The reality was that employers soon began taking away “choice” as they moved their plans into cheaper HMOs or downsized plans or eliminated medical benefits altogether. No choice there. And then, because they could, because short term profits on Wall Street became the driving force behind “health care,” not actual health care, insurance companies started eliminating costly customers. Which brought about even more “No Choice” for millions of Americans.
It if weren’t so tragic, it all would be very funny. And now it’s starting again. So, will Americans be stupid enough to fall for the old Harry & Louise trick again?
Of course, it may not be stupidity at work. It’s entirely possible that Americans actually like paying MORE for worse care and worse outcomes. Less bang for the big bucks. If that’s the case, they’ll surely get exactly that. Unfortunately, if the past is prologue, when they get what they demand, they’ll again start whining when the terrible downside starts happening to THEM.
Well, that’s the Apple Pie American philosophy: I’m All Right, Jack. Until I’m not, but by then it’s too late, Oh, Darn.
Mirror Mirror On The Wall
New York Times news note: “Iran’s prosecutor general acknowledged Saturday that some detainees arrested after postelection protests had been tortured in Iranian prisons, the first such acknowledgment by a senior Iranian official.”
Normally, this information would result in US officials wagging a finger and calling Iran horrible names for violating human rights. Thanks to Bush/Cheney/Yoo, et al, however, the U.S now has to zip it. Pots and kettles, you know. And now Obama’s struggling with Whatever Shall We Do With The Quantanamo Detainees That We Tortured? so here’s an idea. Since the US and Iran both “torture” innocent people, why not set up some Sister Cities and exchange notes and maybe swap prisoners? You torture ours, we’ll torture yours. Total Win-Win.