liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

The Political Battle over Healthcare

I've been listening to opposite sides on this issue. Ron Paul predictably says that the government is headed down the slippery slope toward socialized medicine, and that we shouldn't do it. He doesn't offer an active alternative; his alternative is no regulation and no government involvement whatsoever. From where we are today, I don't know if the sudden removal of government subsidies from health industry corporations would do the trick. What I do know is that it isn't going to happen. Too far off the beaten course. People can't comprehend it and don't trust in it enough. Most Libertarians are more militant and less diplomatic than Dr. Paul, and so are not gaining a wider audience. That approach is at a standstill.

On the other side are the Democrats who say since we have the majority now, and since it works in many other countries, we should immediately design and pass a single payer healthcare system. They base their assertions on the idea that healthcare is a basic human right. I don't agree with that. We have no right to a quadruple bypass after a lifetime of eating double greaseburgers. We don't even have a right in my view to require someone to staunch the bleeding when we lay in a puddle on the sidewalk. We are lucky if someone knows how and cares enough to take care of us. So where do we draw the line? The foundation assertion of the single payer "socialized medicine" promoters is false, but that doesn't mean that the government program wouldn't be beneficial. It might be.

Obama is attempting as usual to take a moderate position that might be acceptable to enough of the warring factions to gain wide support. He isn't promoting the dreaded "socialized medicine" because so many people are so dead set against it. He isn't promoting the end to all government involvement in medicine, because he cannot comprehend it. What he is promoting is the creation of a government insurance program designed to compete with private insurance providers.

Rather than give in to either of the entrenched polarized sides in the debate, Obama offers an alternative that directly takes on the businesses that have been raping all of us. INSURANCE. Health insurance. If we're lucky enough to qualify, we pay a lot for it, and get very little out of it. That's the rule. Get very sick and fight for payment. Get a little sick and pay for everything yourself. That's how it works here. If you haven't seen Michael Moore's Sicko yet, it's about people who have insurance but can't get care anyway.

Private insurance companies have been placed in a position of power by government tampering in the medical business. I don't know the history as well as Ron Paul does, but he can explain to you exactly how government action placed the insurance companies in a position to decide who gets what care for what price. It has to do with HMO's and managed care. The people and the doctors are pawns, insurance is king. It's an ugly situation.

So Obama's plan is actually brilliant. Nobody on either side seems willing to see the brilliance, because they are mesmerized by their drumbeats. He is striving to take the power back away from the insurance companies by providing competition. At this point in the game it's easier to add a new gamepiece into the game than it is to dissolve the entire game and start a new one. That's what he's trying to do. Add a new gamepiece to keep the other players from running off with the profits. It could work.

The best path from point A to point B is not always a straight line. There could be a mountain, or a doldrum, in the middle. Both the libertarian and socialist perspectives in this debate are thinking only in a linear fashion. They want what they want and any movement that is not directly toward their goal is movement in the wrong direction. But they are both wrong. Any movement in any direction from where we are is likely to be an improvement. It is hard to imagine a "healthcare system" that delivers less health and more disease and disaster than what we have today. A neighbor of mine calls it genocide against the poor, and I can't disagree. It hurts because I see the negative effects on my own family, which for a while there was rich enough to claim membership in the middle class.

In spite of my libertarian leanings, and in spite of my willingness to work inside of a single payer system if it should occur in my lifetime, I am supportive of Obama's attempt to join the healthcare insurance game. We need new players if we're not willing to call off the game. If the government insurance ends up gigantic because it is more affordable and effective than private insurance, it might still be a moneyMAKER for our nation, and it might still provide more and better care than what we have now. Also, by reducing the power of the insurance industry, we begin to progress away from the corporate control of healthcare and toward a more human model.
Tags: america, corporations, democrats, government, healthcare, insurance, libertarians, medicine, obama, rights, socialism

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