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I know this is a Democratic website, and we are in the habit of reinforcing anger at the other party, but this issue is too important, too dangerous to our civic society, our civil civic society, or what we have left of it.

We on this site are making a great error to believe that all of the anger and emotion shown at town halls is caused by the manipulation of political enemies. We focus on the extremes, the gullible who who believe the bill contained a "death panel," not attending to serious issues that are being raised.  

Monday's N.Y. Times articledelicately dissects Obama's reassuring talking points such as "You can keep your existing doctor and insurer"  and "medicare will not be diminished".  It turns out those rabid right wing crazies, have some substance on their side.

We make an error if we believe all of the resistance is fueled by greed, racism, or ignorance. It is an error because by relegating it to these "evils" we fail to see the actual effect of any of the reform versions, and worse, we ignore the underlying pain and fear felt by those whom it will affect.    

Fear of death is ubiquitous, as is aversion to suffering in ourselves and those we love.  All societies from time immemorial have had ways to deal with this, from modern religion, shamanism to utopian visions that transcend our mortal existence.  All of these also happen to entail a degree of acceptance, so that death is reinterpreted into something meaningful, transcendent, and as such acceptable.

Only in recent times has this been changed, so that death and debility is seen as preventable, or at least able to postponed until the distant future.  We no longer believe in magic. We don't believe that a trip to the shrine of Lourds   will allow the paralyzed to walk , the blind to see or cancer riven to be cured.  We have not given up on faith, but rather changed its focus.  We now believe in a new miracle, that a modern health system can save us.

This primal need, one that had been satisfied by mysticism, prayer and religion has now become merged into a high tech free market economy. Thus the violent, sometimes primal, reaction of so many at town halls. It is the shock of self realization, of how our faith has been transformed.  It is not support of the medical status quo.  It is rejection of pulling open the curtains, those hiding our society and our own psyches.  The status quo  is only acceptable, is comfortable because it goes largely unexamined.  

The firestorm over Health Care Reform is being played out in the political realm.  I maintain it goes beyond this.  It is rooted in attempting to find a rational solution to something that can never be rationalized.  A parent will sacrifice his life to save his or her child.  We may be despondent over the death of a mother, even if she lived a long and full life. No matter how quantitatively literate, no one lives their lives based on risk-reward calculations.

The mechanisms to extend life, to end suffering and to make life fuller, have grown faster than our nations wealth. This is because discoveries in biology, chemistry and physics are reaching a point where they can be brought to bear on human disease.  We may blame the high cost of maintaining health on greed, waste and inefficiencies, and certainly they exist; but it is primarily because of the success of research that now provides cures for what had been death sentences.

The ultra rich don't have a health care problem. Those in elite high paid professions don't have one either, as their health insurance can cost as much as $40,000 a year, all tax free.  That should pay for every new treatment at the best of facilities.  And up to now those over 65 have a pretty good deal in Medicare, but it is going broke.  And Medicaid in most states provide bountiful services.  In my state, California, the only group that can get any pharmaceutical with no questions asked.  But this is being cut back rapidly.

The cut back in Medicaid, and the impending one in Medicare isn't done by legislation that limits coverage.  It's done by cutting reimbursement, which causes providers, doctors and facilities to refuse this group, which makes for long delays if and when a provider can be found.  And like in law, "Health care delayed is Health care denied"

Sadly, Obama talks about cutting waste in the general, but rarely in specifics, and when he does he obfuscates.  His most repeated promise is "If you like your doctor or your insurer you can keep them."  He does say that he will end subsidies to Medicare insurers, but very few seniors that I know, even those who are pretty informed, realizes it means that it is their medicare advantage program that will be eliminated.

He says that every American should be entitled to the same Medical care as United States Senators no matter what their income level. Will we all get VIP treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center as they do?  And he will do this by cutting waste from Medicare.  Except one persons waste is another's revenue that allows him to keep open the doors.  

And his analogies get to be downright silly, such a saying that you wouldn't tolerate a garage that fixed your car and you had to have it fixed again in a week, so why tolerate a hospital where you have to keep coming back again and again.   Cars compared to Human Beings.  When a car gets to its maximum working life, oh say fifteen years and a hundred and fifty thousand miles, we just may decide that its systems are all going to go pretty soon and junk it.  It's a really bad metaphor, and even if people don't pick up on it specifically, they just might understand that unlike cars, people may want to keep on trucking long after the expected life of their "components" have been exceeded.

So, yes, someone with multiple illnesses, could very well be treated one week, and given top care, yet the next week another system could fail, and they would come back again, and again, and again. This is the bind we have gotten ourselves in.  It is easier to imagine that it is the fault of hospitals who are careless, then to acknowledge that the problem is the bind of trying to make the medical care myth work in reality.    

Companies can make fortunes if they find a medicine that actually enhances one's health, but that's not actually a requirement.  One that even gives the hope of this, the merest glimmer of temporary improvement, will be snapped up, with the public demanding it, at great profit to the provider.  Aricept, the minimally useless drug for Alzheimer's is a good example.  

While the term "Heath Care Reform" sounds like a perfectly rational endeavor to improve delivery of service, like perhaps transportation or education, it is of a different order of emotional magnitude.  We miss the essence of the problem putting this in a partisan frame, or even an economic one, even though it has these aspects.

It has become our secular common faith that with enough "health care" we can live better, longer fuller lives. There are serious scholars who believe in the lifetime of those now being born, death itself can be defeated, as reflected in this segment of a White House Bioethics Report.

Attitudes toward Death and Mortality: An individual committed to the scientific struggle against aging and decline may be the least prepared for death, and the least willing to acknowledge its inevitability. Therefore, given that these technologies would not in fact achieve immortality, but only lengthen life, they would in effect make death even less bearable, and make their beneficiaries even more terrified of it and, in a sense, obsessed with it.

What connotations does the bloodless term "health care" take on when we are approaching deciding who shall be immortal and who shall face oblivion.  

One response I often get here is that every other industrialized country has done it.  But, that's really my point, they have done it; whatever the faults it is part of their civic culture.  We are attempting to reconciliate two immiscible norms, that of egalitarianism and free enterprise.  It's a problem our society faces every day, but never in such stark terms as this.

The present United States Health Care System is a Byzantine agglomeration of Public (Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Chips, Research Funding) Private (Insurers, Hospitals, Doctors, Drug Companies) with varying Federal or State Jurisdictions.  Almost no lay people understand the complexity, other than their own circumstances, and I doubt many so called experts have a full perview of the vast landscape.

Because of this inscrutable complexity, we are forced into two camps.  The first is those who not only trust Obama, but have confidence in his capability to make this work.  The others are the mirror image, not only distrusting him, but despising him for threatening something that is precious for us all.

Actually, I feel that I have a perspective that is better than most.  But this self bestowed perspicacity is useless, since it only makes me see the hopelessness of the endeavor.  It is like seeing two trains coming towards each other on a single track, anticipating a collision, with no ability to do a thing about it.

Except to write essays, that go largely unread.


Originally posted to ARODB on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 06:42 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Harry Truman's Plan in 1946... (9+ / 0-)

    when health care was 3-5% of the GDP, and it was not a national religion since doctors could really do little to save lives.

    The reactionwas violent.

    Truman’s plan for national health insurance in 1945 was different than FDR’s plan in 1938 because Truman was strongly committed to a single universal comprehensive health insurance plan.

    Whereas FDR’s 1938 program had a separate proposal for medical care of the needy, it was Truman who proposed a single egalitarian system that included all classes of society, not just the working class. He emphasized that this was not "socialized medicine." ....

    Congress had mixed reactions to Truman’s proposal. The chairman of the House Committee was an anti-union conservative and refused to hold hearings. Senior Republican Senator Taft declared, "I consider it socialism. It is to my mind the most socialistic measure this Congress has ever had before it." Taft suggested that compulsory health insurance, like the Full Unemployment Act, came right out of the Soviet constitution and walked out of the hearings.

    The AMA, the American Hospital Association, the American Bar Association, and most of then nation’s press had no mixed feelings; they hated the plan. The AMA claimed it would make doctors slaves, even though Truman emphasized that doctors would be able to choose their method of payment.

    Truman was going for a single payer system that would have transformed our country.  Would have still have been the worlds leader in Medical technology?  Would we have been a more united country?  

    We will never know.  

    •  You're assuming that our technological muscle... (7+ / 0-)

      ...stems from the Private Sector.

      It does not.

      Most of our technological expertise has flowed from our world class institutions of higher learning and direct government basic research (NASA, NIH, etc.). The Private sector has been picking that low hanging fruit, repackaging it and selling it to us as consumer goods for decades.

      I have some reservations with the excessive degree of exploitation of our collectively-funded discoveries and breakthroughs, but it really galls me when Big Pharma asserts that without "market driven" drug prices, they would no longer be able to do research to bring new, more effective drugs to market. Most of what they categorize as "research" bears no resemblence to the many thousands of hours and sleepless nights that some grad students or government scientists do to test and evaluate the basic science behind everything that is on the market.

      Would have still have been the worlds leader in Medical technology?  Would we have been a more united country?  

      We will never know.

      Yes, we do know. It doesn't matter that a much smaller profit-hungry Health Insurance Complex  would have been operating now if Truman had been successful. The unceasing drive of our basic scientists would have continued their largely under-compensated work and developed most - if not all - that we see today.

      Medicare: Government-run Health Care since 1965

      by Egalitare on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 07:44:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent point... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gzodik, Tam in CA

        I was against a referendum on 2002 in CA for 2 billion in stem cell research specifically because it would not have allocated the benefits of the research to the public.  It was a stimulus for private companies.

        But, the problem is these companies, pharma etc. have the political clout to perpectuate what is going on now.

        And, I agree, it's a damn shame.

        But that was not the thrust of my diary.

        •  I understand that wasn't the thrust of you diary (0+ / 0-)

          I was reacting to that portion of your thread because some of my relatives are those undercompensated university and government researchers, who were driven to explore possibilities because of the intellectual challenge.

          I have a niece who is rapidly becoming one of those "go to" people in Large Animal Veterinary Medicine. She has already turned down offers to go to more prestigious Universities because she is active in her community (animal rescue) and feels that she "makes enough." The offers from the Private Sector will not be far behind, and I fear they will "purchase" her resume and put her expertise and potential on the shelf.

          Medicare: Government-run Health Care since 1965

          by Egalitare on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 10:29:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is this a troll diary? (7+ / 0-)

    It sure seems like one.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 06:50:19 PM PDT

    •  I would say so, but... (4+ / 0-)

      the diarist appears to have put enough work into his/her sophistry that I would be uncomfortable HRing it.  Unless someone finds that it's plagiarized from talking points.

      "Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

      by Troubadour on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 06:56:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Two of my friends... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        both follow politics, one a staunch liberal the other a Fox Conservative. (If I like someone, I like them)  Both of them are on Medicare advantage and neither had any idea that Obama planed to eliminate them.

        And he does.

        Obama does say he will eliminate it in his town hall, but those who are on it know their plans by it's specific name such as Kaiser, or Scan so they don't make the connection.

        Confusion abounds.

    •  No it is not a troll diary. (12+ / 0-)

      Just because you don't like it doesn't make it one. The diarist is a serious poster who has been around quite awhile.

      •  "serious poster"? and your point is? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 07:07:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No - Health care reform is not... (5+ / 0-)

        tearing our country apart.  Greedy companies and special interest groups are tearing our country apart and they are using the looney tunes, wingnut, wacko militia mentality, extremeist republicans who are without a clue to do their bidding.

        Same old song - different verse.

        •  While Obama is castigating these companies... (5+ / 0-)

          he is also accepting them as a permanent integral part of the nation's health care system.  He is increasing their revenue by mandating everyone join one, and having tax payers subsidize the subscriptions.

          The insurers are firmly at the table, and getting good advice from Tom Dashle, who is now one of their lobbyists, and was almost the chief presidential designer of this bill.

          You're OK with all of this?

          •  You're willing to wait another 60 years, I'm not. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            There's going to be some winners and losers in any reform proposal. There's going to be the country 'torn apart' because the RW will never tolerate health reform since it hurts their political prospects.

            Sorry to say this, but your friends are not critical in the grand scheme of things. It's personal to you, but the reality is more people will be helped than hurt by these reforms, and most people will, eventually, come out ahead, especially in terms of security. To dump the pre-existing conditions and recissions alone makes for greater security and most coming out ahead, save for some already with the security of medicare that Rethugs have tried to repeatedly destroy including with medicare advantage.

            The down turn of fortune for a few is worth it, and those few are hardly going to be put to bankruptcy or death but rather a less beneficial plan, boo hoo.

            •  Aren't you the charming soul. n/t (0+ / 0-)
              •  Sorry (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I know I got a bit over strident here. I do like arodb and his writing here, quite a bit, though I often disagree with him.

                My point, clumsily made, is that those who think they'll lose out because they got a good deal on Medicare Advantage, and many got a bad deal on it btw, are not going to be horribly put out. They will be gauranteed basic care and will get more options to choose from. Change is scary for people who like what they have.

                Medicare Advantage has to be eliminated because it is the best way to fund the new structure. It's worth a little inconvenience to a few.

                Sorry I said that so stridently but I am angry about how over the years health reform goes down in flames often over trivia.

                •  As I posted elsewhere (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  doinaheckuvanutjob, arodb, erush1345

                  I am on Medicare Advantage. I'm fairly knowledgeable about the HC and insurance industries so I'm not inclined to freak about it. However, being old enough to be on Medicare means that HC has become a major focus of my life. For people who are less well informed about a complicated subject it is pretty understandable that they would freak out at the prospect of their Medicare being "cutback". The information about what Medicare would look like after these changes is certainly not readily available in a clearly understandable form.

                  One thing to remember about us old farts, we have lots of time to go vote.

                  •  Yes, it would be good for more info to be out (0+ / 0-)

                    on the changes; and more needs to be known, more needs to be discussed here and elsewhere.

                    You make many valid and valuable points in this diary, and I don't intend to be mean to those who'd like to keep the advantage plan but from my understanding of the reforms, it looks like there's no better way to do it without eliminating it. I can understand that those on it with a good deal, a better deal, would (and so would I if I were in that position) feel apprehensive. At the same time, we've been trying to do reform for so long I don't think it should be derailed over it.

                    •  I seriously doubt that you can get (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      any reform passed unless you have the support of people on Medicare and those close to being on it.

                    •  Just for the record.... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I'm not on medicare advantage.   And I don't even use the medicare services available to me, like a cardiac examination that I could have, cost retail about 2K, don't know what it would cost medicare.

                      But my primary doc say he hardly hears the murmur, I did the research, and I'm not having the echo CD etc.

                      Actually, may major concern, something I didn't even address in this diary, is the availability of Primary physicians, and how the numbers we have may actually decrease with the added demands.

                      And there are other ways to provide universal care, setting up clinics for instance that are staffed by govt. paid doctors, the VA model that would be paralell to the current system.

                      This is being designed as an extension of the current private insurance market, which very well may not be the best idea.

                      This diary was on a different perspective, and it has lead many to the wrong conclusion about my thinking about practical alternatives.

  •  can i be on the immortality panel? (3+ / 0-)

    Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once.

    by st minutia on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 06:51:08 PM PDT

  •  And it's different in Canada and France and UK (6+ / 0-)

    exactly ... how?

    Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

    by Clem Yeobright on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 06:52:01 PM PDT

    •  It's been absorbed into their culture.... (0+ / 0-)

      There are tons of things that people would be irate about if they knew about it.  But the status quo, the power of inertia makes what exists acceptable, while changing something exacts its own cost.

      A few decades ago open heart surgery, effective cancer therapy, in vitro fertilization and hundreds of other treatments were only dreams. Who got these treatments and who did not was not as crucial.

      And when these other countries began their programs the relative cost, as it would have been in 1946 was a small fraction of today's.

    •  In Canada and France and the UK it is (0+ / 0-)

      taken for granted by the majority of citizens that the government is a useful agency of the public will, capable of improving people's lives by, among other things, regulating economic affairs via highly progressive taxation systems which fund social programs.

      In Canada and France and the UK, private property is understood to be a concession by the public to the individual, subject to whatever constraints and conditions the public considers necessary in order to protect the public interest.

      In the US, on the other hand ... well, the exercise is left to the reader.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 10:31:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "We no longer believe in magic" (9+ / 0-)

    I submit the division that's ripping apart out country is between grown ups and magical thinkers. The Fox News world view is not that different from the middle ages.

    If cats could blog.... they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 06:52:12 PM PDT

  •  It is a war... (3+ / 0-)

    because the RW realizes if any reasonable plan passes they will be wandering in the desert of the minority party for the next 40 years and unable to end the program...

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 06:59:16 PM PDT

  •  I spent some time looking through (5+ / 0-)

    current polls on health care legislation this afternoon. At this point the American public appears to be thoroughly confused.

  •  It's big government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm giving the truth on this.  Think about it, people have been spooked.  First the banks, then the cars, and now the healthcare industry.  People don't know the specifics behind it, they just hear those slogans and put two and two together.  That's all this is about.  Assuming Obama survives this, it does NOT bode well for re-regulating the financial market.

    •  Well, not *all* that it is about (7+ / 0-)

      I don't believe that all of these tea party people I've seen are motivated by fear of "big government."  If they were, they would have been out protesting like crazy during the Bush era.  

      Two responses while out canvassing today for OFA:

      1. From a veteran: I earned my health care.  No one else deserves a free ride.
      1. From a a white guy in his forties or fifties: I'm going to be a minority, so we should get minority loans to set up insurance companies to offer people health care in the private market.  

      I'd say that there is a tinge of hostility here that goes beyond fear of "big government."  

      What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

      by Alec82 on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 07:05:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I prefer Howard Dean's explanation. (14+ / 0-)

    We're not talking about the principled conservatives and libertarians or the insurance executives and well-to-do who oppose it the way they always have and always will.

    We're talking about the enraged, angry, crazy-talking loonies we see sputtering on t.v. about EVERYTHING, one thing after another without end.

    These people don't like America.
    They like the way it was twenty, thirty years ago.
    They want it back.

    They aren't the people who voted for Obama and returned control of Congress to the Democrats.  They're mostly straight, white, older, Southern/Non-urban, Christian.  They're unhappy with everything that's ... different.

    Some, of course, can handle it and do.
    Others though, cannot.  And those are the ones who are divided from the rest of us and making us feel divided from them.  

    They will be mostly gone in a generation.

    If it wasn't healthcare, it'd be something else.

    It's not "astroturf," it's an orally transmitted form of spongiform encephalopathy.

    by chicago jeff on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 07:05:01 PM PDT

    •  It's important to remember... (7+ / 0-)

      ...that they emerged before the health care debate began, "way back" during the fight over the stimulus package.  Not all of the people involved, at least not in my area, fit the profile, though.  Some are just genuinely confused and are getting caught up in the propoganda machine.  

      What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

      by Alec82 on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 07:08:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yep...pretty exactly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chicago jeff, gzodik

      It's more like 40 years ago, around 1968.  The Republican Party told them it could make time stand still.  And for them, it has stood still.

      And all the screaming is about them feeling the pressure, vehemently resisting getting dragged forward in time.  The argument is about the differences between then and now.

      Almost every political faction, starting on the left end with the liberals, has done something similar  since late 2000.  The process has gotten far enough to the Right that the classical Right (aka teabaggers, birthers, deathers) is now in the throes of this.  After this the social conservatives remain.

  •  This Nation is Immersed Within the Greatest Propa (6+ / 0-)

    ganda machine in human history.

    Looking at human feelings and motivation is useful to understand how the corporate system is going to manipulate people, but the problem is not mainly one of the feelings of different groups of people.

    People are enraged at town halls because corporations and priests have told them we're going to murder them and their relatives. Ads on my TV have said the literal words "kill you." None of them thought this last July because they hadn't been told it last July.

    And they believe those forces becauase they've invested decades and many many millions of dollars into human behavior research, communication, and acquisition of mainstream information services to make them fraudulent and irrational, allying with cultural forces, creating a fictional America that a big fraction of the population sees as real. And given their circumstances and the variability of minds and psyches, it's not unreasonable that millions would buy it.

    I don't get where you think there are 2 camps. I approve and largely trust Obama, yet I'm convinced he cannot make serious reform happen because we spent too long helping the corporate forces become too strong. Minor reform yes, parity with the civilized world, no.

    None of the nations ahead of us uses our system of government, none has an information environment as sick as ours, none has a global superpower claiming half its government's treasure and integrated throughout the economy. All these factors make governance for the people at a cost to business more difficult here than elsewhere.

    We aren't different people than other nations--we ARE other nations, we're all of them.

    What's different is our system of government and the resulting extremes of power and information here.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 07:18:40 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gzodik, Alec82, Dixie Liberal

    while you are right that we tend to think perhaps a bit too much about the manipulation of individuals by large and powerful interests, it does not follow that in any given case we should not be looking right there.

    In fact, when it comes to the teabaggers and the shriekers, looking at the organizers and the 501's that employ them is useful.  In fact, its the only way to accurately understand what is going on.  

    Its not that its fake outrage, its that the outrage is bussed in and compacted in one place by the organizers.  So, its important to think about that.  Otherwise you get the impression that the outrage is everywhere, and its not.  

    In addition, it is important to notice where the misunderstanding of a provision that allows medicare to pay for an end of life consultation comes from.  How this decision to allow payment for this service is ginned up into a nightmare about death panels for Trig and Sarah to negotiate.  

    So, while it is true that health is deep, spiritual and a source of fear and reverence, it is also true that what we are seeing in this country now is political in nature -- and I mean that in Aristotle's sense: politics means working for consensus.  When Billy Joel sings that "the waitress is practicing politics" he is right in Aristotle's sense -- she is seeking consensus, whether on herself as deserving a big tip, or on the fact that an experience is enjoyable, etc.  

    What our country is doing is political.  Its huge, and its hugely political.  

    The saddest fact is that large, monied interests are never challenged in their lies by other large, monied intersts.

    Why aren't the employers of this country, who pay the most health care insurance bills, up in arms about the lack of cost containment in HR 3200?

    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10

    by not2plato on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 07:34:46 PM PDT

  •  Martin Niemöller warned about the costs of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dixie Liberal

    During WWII he wrote:

    First they came for the Communists,
       and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
       and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
       and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me,
       and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.

               Pastor Martin Niemöller


    We're writing our own version today:

    They've come for the victims of Katrina,  
       and we let them get away with it.
    They've come for the unemployed,
       and we let them get away with it.
    They've come for the over extended,
       and we let them get away with it.
    They've come for the uninsured,
       and we let them get away with it.
    You're next.
       Is there going to be any one left to speak up for you?

  •  Just a reminder about the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    Congress has to pass a bill before Obama can do anything other than talk.

  •  I disagree with the premise of the post (3+ / 0-)

    I am not convinced that the health care debate is tearing this country apart. The press loves these townhall protesters, but a lot of townhalls around the country are not being so protested. In fact, many are being protested by single payer advocates, not anti-reformers. It's easy to let the press convince you that the country is being torn apart, but they are not telling the whole story. They are telling the story they like.

    Using my free speech while I still have it.

    by ebgill on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 08:01:36 PM PDT

    •  I'm speaking from personal experience... (0+ / 0-)

      not the media.

      And everyone on Medicare is not dotering old fools who fear a death panel.  HR 3200, the obsolete but only approved plan would have given higher payment for those in the Public Option than those on Medicare.

      And yeah, I'm pissed.  If you don't like it I'll hit you with my cane!

  •  eh... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denise b, Richard Lyon make some interesting points.  I think the deeper issue is one of a commonweal though...from my admittedly quite liberal perspective, the "tension" between free enterprise and social care you speak of has gone so far in the direction of ideologically driven free enterprise to have become a noose.  We're a very split country.  Talk of formally extending the scope of common care touches on the most basic aspects of that split.

    But, eh...I do agree that we're not doing a very good job with specifics.  I don't have to trust the system though, as long as it is universal we will all -- left and right -- have a stake in it.  Then, sure enough, we will have that conversation about details.  I don't think such a conversation would be that much different than in other countries which mandate universal care.  And, eh...such a conversation seems to me like it would be very good for America as a country, would change the social fabric in basic ways.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 08:21:26 PM PDT

  •  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    st minutia

    "It is rooted in attempting to find a rational solution to something that can never be rationalized."

    There is absolutely NOTHING rational about the GOP mobs sponsored by right-wing lobbyists. Glenn Beck rational?  Rush Limbaugh rational?  Sean Hannity Rational? Sarah Palin Rational?

    Give me a freakin' break!

    Progressives, follow me on Twitter

    by Texas Cowboy on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 08:38:40 PM PDT

  •  tend to agree with arodb's pessimism. (5+ / 0-)

    I hate, hate, hate what I've seen happen at the town halls and what the right has ginned up out of whole cloth.  Watching people lose their collective minds while invoking images of Hitler and the Third Reich--over insurance reform, for god's sake--chaps me to no end.

    But disgust with the right does not translate into unwaivering support for either the current healthcare bill which has made it through the House or for President Obama's rather vague policy points.  (And, for the record, I don't have high hopes for the as-yet-unseen legislation coming from the Senate.)  

    Like the OP, I also have some idea of how complicated the issues are.  Through my job, I regularly see that Insurance Plan A pays $5000 for a procedure, while Insurance Plan B might pay $3000 for the same procedure, while Medicare pays perhaps $400.  The procedure is exactly the same for all three groups--but as long as each insurance group has to negotiate its rates from different providers, there's no uniformity and there's no way to comparison shop.  Its not so much a free-market system as it is a shell game.  

    Add into that an industry policy of denying coverage and recission, and it is a small wonder that people get angry, confused and sick.

    The logical solution is a single-payer system.  However, nobody can realistically figure out how to pay for it.  (Besides, politicians are terrified they'd get assisinated if they proposed or passed such legislation.)

    I want real reform.  What has been proposed isn't it.    


  •  Here's your problem: (0+ / 0-)

    "The mechanisms to extend life, to end suffering and to make life fuller, have grown faster than our nations wealth."

    Do you know who spends more money extending the suffering of end-of-life than anyone?  The religious.

    People who would insist to their dying breath, if they weren't on a ventilator, that they will go to a better place spend hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars every year to live another month, another week, another minute.   Based entirely on foolish myths invented from whole cloth by their ancestors hundreds of generations removed.

    There's your answer.  I'm just saying.

    I wonder whether God shat himself the first time He looked through the Hubble? --Smoggy Batzrubble, Pharyngula

    by the tmax on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 09:37:09 PM PDT

  •  You are missing the point. (0+ / 0-)

    right now, without reform, companies can and do change insurance companies and benefits plans.  this means that right now, people could be disassociated from their doctors.  

    so in regards to doctors, the reform will be no different than now.  if the companies change benefit plans etc., you may in the future be forced into another doctor's office.

    what Obama is saying is that the GOVERNMENT will not mandate what doctor you must see.  

    and that is entirely true.

    866-338-1015 toll-free to Congress in D.C. USE it!

    by cany on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 11:52:17 PM PDT

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