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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More on Health Care: But Not From Me

Thanks to Elizabeth who left a comment on my last post I read What Health Insurance Means to Me at Busily Seeking...Continual Change. Wow, and I thought my words the last few days were harsh.  I read this blog once in a while but for whatever reason it has fallen off my radar.  I have always admired Jeneva Burroughs writing and found the below paragraph to be searing. I urge everyone to read the last two posts she has written about the health care debate. 

During this election, I imagine very little will be said about healthcare, the only exception being Romney's undoubted promise to overturn "Obamacare," whatever that actually may be. Hovering behind him may be Paul Ryan, like the swordsman who beheaded Anne Boleyn, distracting our attention with homilies about hard work and shared sacrifice before he swings the arc of his sword behind us, neatly severing our intelligence from our primordial gut responses to the appeal of American individualism. He'll mop up our blood with Medicare vouchers and toss them to the crowd.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Politics of Health Care Reform

I was interviewed this morning by a college radio station. The focus of the interview was on how people with a disability or those with a chronic health care concern will be affected by the Affordable Care Act. Note I refuse to use the derisive term Obamacare.  The ACA is not about Obama it is about reforming the grossly dysfunctional American health care system. It is about the tens of millions of Americans that have no insurance or those with inadequate insurance. It is about people like me. It is about my son. It is about my neighbor. It is about any person that might happen to read this post and is an American citizen. And sadly much of the ACA is about politics and the conservative justices that make up the Supreme Court. This thought came to me as I was reading Wesley Smith who has a blog Second Hand Smoke. Smith is not my favorite commentator. In fact Smith reminds me of Sydney Hook. Like many others in the 1930s, during the Great Depression Hook embraced communism. Later he renounced his radical views and during the Cold War helped the FBI destroy the careers of many Leftists. Smith is not intent on destroying anyone's career but he is polemical in the extreme.

Here is what Smith has to say about the ACA, Obama and the Democratic Party goals:

They wanted to federalize a huge swath of the economy for political and ideological purposes.  Indeed, Obama has already used Obamacare as a method to hand out constituency goodies–at insurance company expense–and use the law to create false wedge political issues, a primary reason for the culturally imperialistic Free Birth Control Rule.  Obamacare was also a seizing of power.  It is part of elevating the already extensive influence of the technocratic class–which is why I worry it will be allowed to stand by the Supreme Court that tends to reflect technocratic thinking.  It is also about erecting a bureaucratic state unaccountable to the people. In short, the law is about making us less free.

Yikes this sort of rhetoric makes me yearn for the delights of the Tea Party. Smith was responding to the "liberal columnist" E. J. Dionne who had an Op Ed piece in the Washington Post over the weekend entitled "Will We Love the Healthcare Law if it Dies". Does Smith really need to label Dionne as a liberal columnist? No, the only point of this characterization is to undermine his credibility. What did Dionne write that was so objectionable? Smith used this quote from Dionne:

Maybe now, supporters of the ACA will find their voices and point to the 30 million people the law would help to buy health insurance, how much assistance it gives businesses, how it creates a more rational health insurance market, how it helps those 26 and under stay on their parents’ health plans, how it protects those with pre-existing conditions. “Obamacare” isn’t about President Obama. It’s about beginning to bring an end to the scandal of a very rich nation leaving so many of its citizens without basic health coverage. However the court rules, we need to remember why this whole fight started in the first place. 

I fail to grasp how any person with an ounce of common sense can defend our health care system as it is currently constructed. Health care costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Most Americans are one serious illness away from financial disaster. And what about those of us with permanent long term disabilities? We are uninsurable.  We are a financial drain on profits. As Michael Berube noted no one wants to talk about disability. It is the skeleton in the closet. We people with a disability are silently shipped off to nursing homes never to heard from again. I am sure Smith will think I am being just as polemical as he was. There is a big difference between us however. I doubt he fears going to the hospital. I am sure no one will suggest he is better off dead than receiving life saving antibiotics. This is not rhetoric, this is the reality I have experienced. It is the dark under belly no one wants to talk about.