Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more

It’s time for Obama to get tough. There were so many ridiculous things that happened in the last few weeks that made me realize that Obama is going to lose respect on both side of the isle if he doesn’t beef up his game. It is not only the “voluntary stepping down” of Van Jones after the biggest Moron on cable TV (and one of the reasons why I refuse to get cable in my house) demanded his firing. This week’s school speech controversy let me realize once again that this country and its administration keeps listening to dumb people. To suggest that a speech of the President of the United States to the school kids of his nations could harm them and turn them into little communists that could destroy their parent’s plan for their future is nothing short of stupid. It makes me wonder what’s really behind those parent’s fears.

These side issues, however, are just minor distractions compared to the real test Obama is facing at the moment. He must get tough on health care! He tried to reach out to the other side of the isle. However, it seems to me that they won’t work with him no matter how much he tries to reach compromise. To reach out to the Republicans on health care was noble and a good gesture. But will it be successful in the end? I don’t think so. They won’t agree no matter what. They complain about details of Obama’s reform plans. I have yet to see, however, a comprehensive plan or proposal from them. There was nothing. If you are serious about reforming the system and talk about it on all the Sunday talk shows, tell us how! Don’t tell us what you don’t like about your opponents plan. Give us your plan.

The reason why they haven’t proposed their own plan is simply that they don’t have one. I don’t believe them if they keep saying that they truly believe that something has to be done. There are a few Republican senators and congressman who are honest in their efforts. However, I am convinced that the big majority wants to see Obama fail. Nothing else.

For that reason it was a mistake to drop end of life counseling after looney ballooney Sarah “I can see fucking Russia from my house” Palin posted a ridiculous comment on her facebook page. Everyone who has ever worked with old or terminally sick people (and I have for a year as a civil servant) understands that giving people the option of making end of life decisions ahead of time allows them to keep their dignity in their last months, weeks, and hours. Voluntary end of life counseling is a good idea. Period. I understand that Obama dropped the provision to avoid distractions from the real issues. However, there is a better way: Stand to what you think is right and set the record straight. He sort of did that in his speech, but just dropping the provision without a fight was a mistake.

Why is it so hard to understand that we already have death panels in the U.S. today? The real death panels already exist in the private insurance industry were decisions are made on the basis of ridiculous profit expectations of Wall Street. Why would we allow the insurance industry to drop people and deny care even though they have insurance? We all know the stories. Wendel Potter’s (former Vice President of Corporate Communications for the health care insurance provider CIGNA) testimony before congress and the interviews that he has given in the last months underline that this is not just an unfounded claim (Watch (!!!) the must see interview with Bill Moyers). It’s not about the people it’s about Wall Street. Potter describes how the industry dumps the sick to satisfy Wall Street investors. That’s what I call a death panel for crying out loud.

Same thing with the public option. Who knows whether it is really still on the table. Who knows whether it is a good idea. What I do know though is that I am gonna screem if I hear one more Republican suggest that a public option will lead this country into socialism. We had a discussion on this blog about “the socialism scare” a while ago. If the public option leads to “socialism”, what is Medicare and Medicaid? Both are government run programs. Both are highly popular. Does anyone think the U.S. turned socialist because of these programs? I don’t think so. Do you have to fear that an Obama program would bring a European state of things? I don’t know but I don’t think so. What I do know is that the European or Canadian “state of things” is misrepresented on purpose in the health care debate. Here is my Top-6-They-Call-It-Socialized-Medicine-Mythbuster-List:

#1 You do not wait in line if you need care. There is always a doctor available. You do not have to wait for months to get crucial procedures done. You have access to the emergency room when you need it and you will not have to pay a single dollar extra for it.

#2 There is no rationing of care. It does not matter what you need. You will get it if and when you need it.

#3 Yes it is expensive and the portion that is taken out of your pay check is big. The more you earn the more you pay. It’s not socialism. It’s the idea that you live in a society where it is understood that you help the ones who cannot afford it and where you are helped if catastrophe strikes. Noting more and nothing less.

#4 Care in Europe and in Canada is definitely as good as in the U.S. In my opinion better, since health care is actually available without the worry about money. You do not have to worry about expensive procedures and you actually go to the doctor if you have to. You do not have to fear high deductibles (there are no deductibles). You never see a bill. Never. If you get cancer treatment over years, you won’t have to communicate with your insurance company once and again, you will not see a bill once.

#5 Yes, the system is not without problems. However, there are constant efforts to fix loopholes and to avoid that people exploit the system. The only once who are unsatisfied with the system are the doctors because they know that they won’t make nearly as much money as their colleagues in the U.S.

#6 While Health care is responsible for 10% of most European countrie's national gross product, it makes up 17% in the U.S. right now. There is potential even if you cover a lot more people.

Obama is a galaxy away from introducing a bill that would go as far as the European and Canadian single payer models. And yet, people are scared. Of what, I don’t know. It seems to be more of a fight about ideology than reason. For everyone who keeps suggesting that the U.S. healthcare system is the best in the world I have just one message: It sure is for everyone who can afford it. For everyone else it is a national disgrace. Even more than that: It is a system that leads to conditions that you will only find in third world countries. Not second world, third world countries. If you think that this might be a little much, I URGE you to watch this 60 minute story. Watch it and make your friends who disagree with an overhaul of the system watch it! Ask them to dedicate 12 minutes to watch the clip and tell me what’s not third world about that! If I hear one more time that the U.S. currently has the best health care system in the world I am gonna turn into this guy.

The argument that health care reform might be too expensive for the country in the current situation is a valid one. However, we didn’t hear those concerns from the right when George W. signed the Medicare Bill into law. Obama is suggesting to make Medicaid and Medicare more efficient and to cut costs. Whether he will be able to finance the bill with just these measures - I doubt it. However, I am still waiting for an explanation from the right that tells me why it wouldn’t be a good idea to cut costs on the existing bills and fund the new one at least in part with the savings.

Obama needs to understand – and I am sure he does - that it’s time to get tough. This entire thing is not about a good bill it’s about how the Republicans can come back into power. I am convinced that most of them either don’t care or have no idea what’s really going on in this country when it comes to health care.

The “You Lie” incident was really the perfect example of what’s going on right now. Obama is losing ground on the far left and never had respect on the right. If I see protestors in town hall meetings and during yesterdays march in Washington with swastika signs protesting health care, I’d like to invite them to one of the concentration camps in Germany that are memorials now. Maybe this is what it takes for those people to understand how plain stupid their insinuations are. And Joe Wilson’s apology for an unbelievable breach of protocol and human decency is worth nothing in light of his latest interviews. Perhaps Maureen Dowd is right when she writes in the NYT that what she really heard last Wednesday was “You Lie, Boy” by a man whose entire family receives free government run health care.

My advice for Obama in the next weeks: If they keep refusing to work with you, if they don’t come up with alternatives that demonstrate that they see the problem and are honestly willing to fix it - run right over them. I hope Obama gets tough in the next weeks and does just what Bill M. proposes - To "punch some people in the face".

2 Comments:

Blogger knasselhoff said...

i died a little bit after watching this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUPMjC9mq5Y

9/16/2009 1:18 AM  
Blogger Ahab said...

IMO Obama should have proposed a health care plan first and then tweak it to get through Congress. Allowing the Congress take the lead gave an obvious opening to demonizing reform as a power grab by Pelosi & Reid who are very unpopular figures.

There was also an interesting poll that come out this week saying 73% of American doctors support having a public option. Aren't these the guys that are supposed to get squeezed by all this socialism?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112818960&sc=fb&cc=fp

9/16/2009 1:02 PM  

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