Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Call Me... Irresponsible

"...and another thing. Did you know that under Obamacare, everyone has to voluntarily submit themselves for mandatory euthanasia once they reach 30? Honest injun...!"

As my unforgivably liberal fiancée, the soon to be Mrs. JP, just said, "We already have death panels; They're called the health industry."

Indeed, it's hard to imagine that among the ten health care horror stories a day that the President reads, none of them involve a needless and avoidable death due to some HMO denying care due to a pre-existing condition or dismissed as merely cosmetic. If these astroturf reactionaries that have been infesting and infecting town halls from coast to coast want to get all worked up over death panels, they can start there.

Yet Republicans still don't learn. Or they pretend not to. Their opposition to even the lukewarm "reform" that the Democrats are preparing to give us, reforms that were always intended to keep the HMO and Big Pharma squarely between the hashmarks on the 50 yard line, is so misguided, so ill-educated and so irresponsible that now Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is telling hundreds of people at a time that the "death panels" do exist and that Soylent Green is made out of Edward G. Robinson and other old people. At one point, Grassley actually said, "You have every right to fear."

We all remember where we first heard this. It was on a certain Facebook account of a certain former Alaska governor whose greatest intellectual accomplishment was in color-coordinating her lipstick and red pumps. Sarah Palin was the first to signal the alarm that Obama's "death panels" would have killed her poor little Trig. So, the senior leadership of the Republican Party is getting its talking points from Facebook accounts written by unemployed hasbeens with plummeting popularity numbers.

It's not as if Palin and the GOP is making this up completely out of wholecloth. In a way, it's more insidious. What the GOP is doing is twisting a provision in the bill that's essentially an end of life directive. The health care bill would subsidize counseling between patients and their doctors for things like living wills. Yet the Republican Party seems astounded that anyone would ever have to die and that anyone would actually want to have these preparatory meetings with their health care providers subsidized.

Ironically, similar measures in the past, going back to 2007, had enjoyed some Republican support.

This is the closest we've come to seeing the Republican leadership in Congress openly calling for rebellion among the electorate. Their own Town Hall meetings that are packed with like-minded idiots are given a respectful hearing yet Town Halls presided over by Democrats are invaded by a bunch of spittle-flecked latter day Vikings screaming about "death panels" and enforced euthanasia.

And what Grassley is doing is so irresponsible it's breathtaking. If the GOP had their own plan for health care reform, that would be one thing and we'd all be glad to hear it. But they have no ideas save for maintaining the status quo knowing it wouldn't affect them or their own and the nearest thing they have to a plan is fanning the flames of very uncivil disobedience.


At August 13, 2009 at 12:27 PM, Blogger LanceThruster said...

I found this essay very useful.

Why is Rationing by Income Better Than Rationing by Need?

10 Questions to Ask If You Find Yourself at an ObamaCare Town Hall Meeting


I talked with one of our professors the other day that had lived in Canada for a period. I asked him about their healthcare system and he was pretty supportive of it. He recounted how he was in need of extensive medical treatment that would have bankrupted him had it occurred in the US while he was between positions. Instead, the care he got was timely, effective, and paid for. He acknowledged that the system was not perfect (longer waits for certain procedures), but that one doesn't have the added burden of the financial concerns hanging over one's head.

I think Obama should also talk about how a single-payer system would make our small businesses more competitive as they are in competition with companies from countries that aren't hobbled by exorbitant health insurance costs.

My friend Bernie the Attorney says the push to reform the Canadian system is from doctors who want the opportunity to make income on the level of the current US system. Here in the US, the money is in prescribing meds, and the new cash cow is plastic surgery as playing to a person's vanity is like shooting fish in a barrel.


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