If there is one quote that sort of says it all for me regarding the health reform debate it is this one:
At a recent town-hall meeting in suburban Simpsonville, a man stood up and told Rep. Robert Inglis (R-S.C.) to "keep your government hands off my Medicare."
At a recent town-hall meeting in suburban Simpsonville, a man stood up and told Rep. Robert Inglis (R-S.C.) to keep your government hands off my Medicare.
This incident in Simplsonville is funny and has been quoted by TV comedians and bloggers at least a hundred times during the first 24 hours after this gnat-brained cooperative said what he said about Medicare. Reports say that the Congressman present was a Republican, and he attempted to explain that the government couldnt keep its hands off of Medicare because Medicare is a government created government run program, but this wacko could not hear what the Congressman was trying to explain.
It is discouraging to know how much damage ignorance and lies can do to the democratic process. We have to allow free speech, it is the spine of our system, but for free speech to be truly free we have to allow liars to lie and fear filled ignoramuses to flap their gums.
The debate over health reform is crammed full of fear-mongering over socialized medicine, with little recognition of the absolute fact that we already have government run, government financed medical insurance called Medicare and Medicaid. Right now private health insurance pays 35% of all medical bills, but Medicare and Medicaid pays 47% of all medical bills.
Sadly, there retired people in America, with little to no retirement savings and with no ability at all to buy medical insurance for themselves who would, given the chance vote to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid. Perhaps these are people who will truly die for their principals. I hope so, since for hundreds of thousands of Americans, the loss of Medicare and Medicaid would mean their swift and agonizing death.
So many have this blind faith in the free market and believe sincerely that if we would just step back and left the free market work that free enterprise, all by itself, can and will cure the health care problems of America. The fact that the free market system has had a couple of hundred years to fix the problem and hasnt seems not to phase the lovers of small government, zero regulations on business conservatives. The fact that in every country where a government run health care system has been established it has worked the fact that there are no examples where a government has enacted a national health care system and it has had to abandon it, well, that has no impact on thinking, or what passes for thinking.
As it turns out, one of the places where a government run national health care system has worked is, well, the United States.
Medicare works. Could it work better? Yes, absolutely. Are there problems with Medicare and Medicaid? Yes, but then, are there any areas of life that are problem free? Is there anything in life that couldnt be improved? I doubt it Medicare and Medicaid have their problems, but it does save lives and improves the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of our citizens.
In a democracy we have the right to vote for and pass the laws and regulations we want even when those laws and regulations make our lives miserable. If the majority want to close down Medicare and Medicaid then they can do it, and perhaps they should do it. But there will be masses of dead bodies on the streets and in flop houses all over American, dead old people, and dead babies, and dead disabled people all dead because of the elimination of government run health care, so the free market is going to have to figure out how to make money carting off the dead. Hygiene and the smell will demand it. Im not sure how the free market is going to be paid for hauling off and disposing of the indigent dead, but apparently, the magic of a free market will figure that out.