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Most people here probably know Roger Ebert as a talented and witty (and perhaps a bit crusty) movie reviewer.  He's no longer on TV, but he still keeps up a regular column at the Sun-Times.  Normally he reviews movies. This week he goes a bit more personal.

Mr. Ebert is no longer on television because of a long battle with thyroid cancer which ultimately spread to his salivary glands and to his jaw.  Because of the damage to his body, he is no longer able to speak. But he can still write, and this week he joins the battle for health care reform.

He first addresses the notion of "death panels":

Of course the term is inspired by a lie. There are no conceivable plans to form "death panels" or anything like them. The Obama plan, which has some bipartisan support, doesn't seek or desire to get involved in any decisions about who should live and who should die. But now we hear "death panel" repeated so often that the term has taken on a sort of eerie reality, as if it really referred to anything.

He doesn't mince words. He calls the lie a lie.  It's a good start.  Then he moves on to the issue of coverage:

Of course I am happy that heroic measures were made to save my life. It was still worth living. I had a sound mind in an (otherwise) sound body. I received excellent medical treatment, which we all have a right to. I had good insurance coverage. I am not willing to say that the millions of Americans who cannot afford insurance would have been left to die, but throughout the course of their lives they would have lacked much medical care they needed. And we've all heard stories of hospital refusing admission to people without coverage. I think it would be difficult to check into many hospitals for cancer surgery if you had no insurance.

Finally, he discusses the politics of the issue:

Would [a public option] replace private health insurance? Not at all. It would provide an option. Who opposes it? Do the math. The insurance companies do. It would provide price competition for their extremely profitable businesses. Price competition. It's the capitalist way. Besides insurance companies, who else opposes it? The unwavering opponents of all things Obama.

Once more, he's concise, to the point, and makes the point that needs making.

That's my three paragraphs, and this isn't much of a diary. But I would encourage everyone to read this column, pass it around, and recognize the column for what it is: an outstanding and clear-minded defense of genuine health care reform.

Oh, and I didn't quote the last paragraph. You should read it. Really.

Obligatory: Wow, rec list?! Woot! If this were twitter, I'd put in some sort of witty hashtag expressing my enthusiasm. Of course, then the diary would be a LOT shorter.

Update the Second: Ok, midnight East Coast. I'm hitting the sack. Be excellent to each other, and don't give up the fight.

Originally posted to socratic on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:15 PM PDT.

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