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The Gantseh Megillah

A Healthy Argument for Healthcare

Joel Wayne “If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.”
Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom

I’m argued out. The past few months have been a “Night of the Living Asses.” The political universe has been full of what has been billed as the Healthcare Debate; as far as I am concerned it more closely resembles children playing in a sandbox, at least on the Conservative side of the issue. A productive debate presumes that the parties involved have chosen to argue their respective points with the aim of learning something, or enlightening others. This further requires that you tell the truth. In order for debate to be rational, it would seem that one should allow for the fact that he or she may not be correct. No such dynamic is evident in the current discussions, much of which I have watched live and in high-definition. Conservatives seem to be solely trying to sell their point of view. The only question seems to be, how much of a lie will the public accept? (Josef Goebbels answered that question years ago).

Everybody concerned seems to accept as a given that the healthcare system in the United States is inefficient, wasteful, and unfair. The problem seems to be financial. The Right seems to feel that insurance companies are living entities which must be protected at all cost, much like stem cells. Here is an interesting metaphore: Say you and your neighbor (perhaps he lives in a house directly to the north of yours) have bought identical cars. His seems to work fine, starts up each morning, gets him where he has to go, and his family loves it. On the other hand, your car will only work when you are in it alone, breaks down if you try to take your wife and kids for a ride, and you seem to spend all your weekends under the hood with a wrench and socket set. Does it not seem reasonable that at some point you would ring your neighbor’s doorbell and ask him some pointed questions?

With all the Senate and House committee meetings taking place, why has no one suggested asking a panel of Canadian doctors, members of parliament, and citizens to testify and offer suggestions? Their system seems to work well enough for them. In fact, they actually seem to like it! And, after they leave, sit down with similar groups of Danes, French, Germans, Australians, Brits, Dutch, and every other civilized nation in the world that has figured out a way to get this problem under control. The sun comes up each day in all those other places, as well as here! Their worlds have not ended!

I’ll answer my own question. It’s because they might actually tell the truth to the American people, and the pinhead Republicans and “Bluedog” Democrats can’t have that. They wouldn’t be able to collect their fat “contributions” from the insurance and drug lobbies. The reason you are paying so much for your drugs, by the way, has nothing to do with the drug industry’s need for research and development funding. That is a lie. According to research done by PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Program,) drug companies spend only ten cents of each dollar on R&D, and fifty-one cents on marketing and profits. The rest goes to manufacturing and taxes. As a matter of fact, their R&D is heavily subsidized by the U.S. Government (N.I.H.), meaning you’re not only making them wealthy by paying $200 for a scrip that would cost you about $4 in Italy, but you’re paying them again your taxes!


Oh, Yeah, I almost forgot. I’m sick to death of hearing from otherwise rational people of how the rest of the world floods our borders to escape their hideous medical systems and avail themselves of our first-rate facilities. What people? How many? How do they manage to pay for their care out of pocket, when we can’t?  As a matter of fact, more and more Americans are going to places like Italy and South America to have their procedures done, because it’s cheaper, and a lot of their outcomes are better. Imagine that!

A couple of more facts: The C.A.T. scan was invented in Great Britain, Canada pioneered Laparoscopic surgery, and the latest and most promising anti-cancer drug comes by way of New Zealand! Socialist scum! By the way, amid all the cries of “Socialism,” the Right has it wrong once more. Under a socialist system, the hospitals are owned and run by the government, and the doctors are salaried employees of the same. Much like our own highly efficient and beloved Veteran’s hospitals. In fact, exactly like our V.A. Hospitals. The V.A. is also allowed to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices on the latest and most effective medicines, something our Congress has forbidden Medicare to do. How come? When called out on this fact at a committee meeting, one Republican senator replied that since these hospitals and doctors served vets, they had to be the best, since the vets deserved only the best! In one sentence, this fool admitted that a socialized medical structure worked better than the private system, and that Americans were not, in fact, getting the “best medical care in the world,” nor did they deserve it. Was no “journalist” paying attention to that bit of theater?  I heard nothing about it on the news. Liberal media bias, I guess. Tired of the bullshit going on in that hearing, I turned to C-SPAN, where a House committee was holding a hearing on the alarmingly high suicide rate among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. So much for your “concern” for our veterans, Senator! Lying scum.

The latest tactic of the Right, seemingly right out of the stiff, and addled mind of Karl Rove, is a series of “grassroots” raucous disruptions of town hall meetings. These meetings are being conducted by representatives who, through their own miscalculation, have returned to their districts to gauge the publics’ temperature on the subject of healthcare reform. I don’t know whether these screamers had teabags or not.

My guess is that this embarrassing and transparent tactic will fail, and that the public will, eventually, get what it has needed and wanted for decades: Universal Healthcare. By "eventually," I mean somewhere around the New Year. We can do this. We once walked on the Moon. A few months after Pearl Harbor, we figured out a way to bomb Tokyo. Heavy Bombers off of the deck of a small aircraft carrier. That had never been done before; all Roosevelt’s generals said it couldn't be done, but Doolittle did it. We used to manufacture the best toasters, televisions, clothing, and sodas in the world! Yeah, if we don’t give up, if we stay on their case, if we write, call, fax our representatives and demand the best , they’ll have no choice but to give us what we want.  We can do this!

Stay well, and let’s hear what you think…


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