Thursday, March 29, 2012

Take Two Aspirins and Call Dick Cheney in the Morning

Calhoun’s Cannons for March 29, 2012

All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others.
                George Orwell, Animal Farm

            I must fess up.  I’m of two minds about the upcoming battle in the Supreme Court over whether Obamacare will stand or fall.  Part of me wants to see the Affordable Healthcare Act pass constitutional muster and survive so it can be improved and expanded.  After all, why shouldn’t we all end up with the same health care plan as former Veep Dick Cheney enjoys?  For years, we’ve all been paying for his top of the line government paid health care, subsidizing the kind of  taxpayer-financed “socialized medicine” that Dick’s political party has been moving heaven and earth to destroy. So, I see no reason why sauce for the goose can’t be sauce for all the rest of us ganders. Medicare for all and/or Congressional Health Care for all.  That should do the trick.
            But, part of me, the childishly evil part, wants to see the Supremes knock the Affordable Healthcare Act out of the park.  Make it a total no-go.  DOA.  After all, polls show that nearly half of all Americans don’t like or don’t want the evil Obamacare. So, I’d like to see their wishes come true.  Poof!  Gone. 
            Within days, free of all price restraints, everyone’s health insurance premiums would spike as insurance company CEOs demanded higher bonuses because they needed more gold-plated toilet fixtures for their private offices.  Millions of people who had some minor malady would get a letter in the mail notifying them that their major medical had been canceled and they couldn’t buy more because they were now considered to be uninsurable because of some “preexisting condition.” Other millions, right in the middle of cancer treatment, would be notified that their policies had been canceled. And for all those people who got their health insurance at work, those price hikes would force their employers to downsize, so they’d lose their jobs; no job, no money, no health-care and now totally uninsurable. That’s just the plucky, Republican Party, Ron-Paulian self-sufficient independence all these freedom-loving folks have been fighting for—no more evil creeping socialism and government rules meddling in their lives! 
            Then, by the millions, I want these hardy souls to get sick.  Not lethal sick.  After all, I’m childlishly evil, not mean.  No, I want them just sick enough to really rack up humongous hospital bills, like, say, a two-week stay, plus some sort of surgery.  That should do it.  It’s unlikely the average person could pay that highly inflated hospital bill.  And so they would lose their house and would end up sitting on the curb with their meager belongings, their kids stuffed into the station wagon, with the family dog tied on top.
            And then I could drive by and sweetly inquire, “Are you happy now?”
            But then I remember a friend of mine.  She’s self-employed and healthy and, like most of us, has a very minor condition that has rendered her pre-existingly uninsurable. One minor accident, one illness, and she’d lose it all – her business, her home, everything.  Under the new Obamacare mandates, for the first time, she was able to buy group insurance from a newly formed pool and now has the security of knowing she’s covered against a medically induced financial disaster.  If Obamacare is defeated, my friend will be once again put in danger.
            I don’t want that to happen.  She’s my friend.  She’s a hard working, responsible American. And I can’t imagine why nearly half of recently polled Americans just like her want to put her (and themselves) back into harm’s way again.
            No matter which way the Supreme Court rules, that’s the one question that will remain unanswered.  Whether Obamacare is still standing to be modified and improved, or shot down totally, the state of our health care system is profoundly sick and will remain a national problem.  Many other advanced, democratic countries have figured out excellent ways to deliver cheaper, better health care to more of their citizens at a much lower cost than we do, and with better outcomes.  There is nothing in the world preventing us from cherry-picking ideas from any of their plans and adapting them to our country.  It’s not rocket science, but it does take some smarts, and a pragmatic rather than a rigid ideological mind-set. 
            And a willingness to keep asking and answering two key questions:  Should basic, non-profit health care be a right for all citizens, or should it remain a high-profit luxury reserved only for the privileged few?  And, Why is evil socialized government-administered medical insurance O.K. for our seniors, our vets, our congress and Dick Cheney, but not O.K. for the rest of us?      


Anonymous said...

i understand your ambivalence. but i don't put the blame on the citizenry. nor do i put it on the guys at the top of the corporate ladder (although if a gun were at my head, that's where i'd put it.) instead i blame The System. the capitalist system. this system rewards the powerful and tramples those of us who aren't at the top. the nature of competition, which is what capitalism is based on, keeps concentrating power in all areas, one of which is our media. after a long day at work a person comes home and wants a little relief from their very serious problems, so they turn on Dancing with the Stars and calls it a night. what little political news they get is by accident.
time to start little worker owned businesses. time to blog. (thank you ann!) time to be cooperatively oriented and forget the old crap about free markets and that whole magilla.

Mike Taylor said...

Please point out to me the clause in the US Constitution that requires the government to pay for your health care. This county has be come obsessed with suckling at the teat of mother government. It appears that most of the people that want to have government provide for their existence don't understand that these resources are limited. At what point are we willing to take control of our lives and not blame others for their success. BTW I am sure that Mr. Cheney's insurance coverage is as a result of his service to this country, no less than Mr Obama will have after he is retired this next November.

Churadogs said...

Mike sez:"Please point out to me the clause in the US Constitution that requires the government to pay for your health care."

Uh, the "general welfare" clause? Is a healthy citizenry a common good and a general welfare of the nation, versus a sick,diseased, dead/half-dead citizenry? The commerce clause?

Wonder why the Supremes haven't struck down Social Security? And Medicare? And Medicaid? Surely, those aren't in the constitution?

There's another oddity. Under Ronald Reagan, a law was passed, and signed by him, that required all hospitals, including private ones, must treat people who wander into their emergency rooms, even people with no insurance, even illegal aliens & etc. That law (MANDATE) is what forces all of us with insurance to pay more $$ and raises our taxes as well to pay for that treatment. Ever wonder if THAT law passes Constitutional muster? Hmmmm...

Sandra Gore said...

I hardly know where to start, so I won't. It makes my stomach knot to see the low consciousness of so many of my fellow Americans. What ever happened to compassion?

Had drinks with Republican friends yesterday. Daughter just lost her job of 15 years and got her first unemployment check. She's now on COBRA. Wanted to scream "Hey you dummies, do you think you'd have even that little bit of protection, if the GOP had it's way?"

What's wrong with people that they can't make the connections?

Churadogs said...

Sandra: It's so odd to me how apparently easy it is to scare/fool/brainwash people into voting against their own interests. Decent health care is a numbers-crunching game, a pragmatic effort, a common-sense game, and not rocket science. But part of the craziness we've seen during this battle is the problem with the Frank Lutz/Orwellian language ju-jitsu that turns flat out lies into a "truth." The amazingly untrue "death panels" that Sarah Palin and other Republican tools were parroting into a Faux Noise drum-beat. Totally false, but it hit hot buttons in people's uninformed lizard brains and amazingly became "true" to so many people. Never mind that those same people were harmed in real time by that lie. They were still unable to connect those dots. And so it goes. Millions of noses to be spited and cut off and almost zero sense that the wounds are entirely self-inflicted and were driven by lies. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Ann: I guess everyone should be given a new Cadillac and a beautiful house by the government. Same with excellent health care. Me first! I figure a thirty percent tax on all food and energy would pay for it. But then there would still be the property taxes to support education for the illegal aliens. This is my starve and ride program.