Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The Excited States of America is in full Gong Show mode.

Night and day people are attending "town hall" meetings and behaving very badly.

The subject appears simple enough.

Close to 50 million U.S. citizens have NO health care coverage. They hover one sneeze away from financial calamity. They lose their homes paying for their child's operation. This is not a fantasy or a fable. It is the ugly reality of Life min the Greatest Snow on Earth.

President Barack Obama is trying, like many presidents before him, to right this ship, to end this inequity. He is trying to get passed into legislation some form of health care reform.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

Apparently almost everything.

Sarah Palin has talked about Obama's "death squads." She is both completely nuts and downright destructive, not to mention being a bald-faced liar.

But Palin has nothing on America's most Evil Bastard, the radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh.

"Shock jock Rush Limbaugh compares the White House's health office logo to a swastika and President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler."

"In what may mark a new low in political discourse, conservatives leaders, including some Republicans, are urging voters to pack town halls to show their displeasure with the Democrats' plan to reform America's broken health care-system. Others are spamming the Internet with distortions and outright lies.

In the process, they may have successfully wrested control of the debate over health care away from the Democrats, turning a narrative about expanding coverage while controlling costs into one about a socialistic undermining of core American values."

Those quotes are from John Ibbitson's piece in the morning Globe.

But wait.

You don't have to actually read anything to get the full aroma of this heap.

Turn on CNN right now.

You'll be treated to live coverage of alleged citizens completely out of control, yelling and screaming at public meetings that are supposed to be venues for reasonable discussions about an important matter of public policy. You can follow the frazzled eyes of the constabulary trying to decide whom to shove first.

Let's help our fellow Americans have health care coverage.

Sounds simple enough.

But no.

Let's call anyone who supports this outrageous notion a Hitler.

And the Republican view of Canadian health care is truly hysterical. We are, of course, communists, socialists and murderers.

Did I leave out fornicators?

Obama believes that, in the fall, tempers, along with temperatures, will cool and he will pass his legislation.

I hope he is right.


John Doheny said...

I'm afraid you've grossly underestimated the extent of the problem. While the uninsured are, of course, in deep doo doo, those of us 'lucky' enough to have "health insurance" (really just the 'illusion' of health insurance) in the US are, in some respects, even worse off.

My wife and I pay $364 a month for insurance through my job at Tulane university. For this, I receive the dubious privilege of arguing with United Healthcare about which part of which bill they may or may not bestir themselves to pay. The way it works is, I go to the doctor (first, of course, coughing up my $25 "co-pay" in front). He takes a look at me, and if that's all he does that's the end of it. If, however, he actually treats me in any manner, in about three weeks (although I have received them up to six MONTHS) I receive a calculation containing the actual cost of the procedure, minus whatever United has decided to pay. What's left is the "patient responsibility," which is mine to pay.

As near as I can tell, there is no sure way to ever determine what this will be. The insurance contract itself contains pages of meaningless, deliberatly misleading blather, all of it undecipherable, even by colleagues with degrees in higher mathematics. Their website is no help. I've even tried calling their 1-800 number while in the doctors office, only to receive an ultimate accounting wildly different (and always larger) than their representative's 'quote.' Imagine a healthcare system run along the lines of a shady used car dealership and you get the idea.

At a recent 'enrollment meeting" (don't ask) United asserted that they would now pay for a "routine colonoscopy" every five years for men over 50. After a morning spent wasted on the phone with a representative I now understand that the word "routine" means something very different in insurancespeak and that if I want fiber optics technology shoved up my ass this year I'll need to fork over $1800.

Then there's the "lifetime cap" for treatment. On most policies this is about a million dollars, which seems like a lot, until you get a load at what a couple of weeks in the ICU costs. Once you've exceeded that your family has a choice between letting the hospital kick you out on the street to die or bankrupting themselves paying out of pocket.

For a lot of people though, things never get that far due to a nifty process insurers call 'recission.' If you get sick and start costing them money, algorhythms in their computers red-flag your file and their team of adjusters go to work looking for egregious reasons to cancel your coverage; childhood asthma that you forgot to include on your original application, say, or a change in meds your doctor noted on your chart but forgot to inform you of.

Unfortunately even Obama's 'reforms' still leave private insurers in the catbird seat. The uninsured will receive government subsidies to assist them in buying private insurance (talk about "socialized medicine," only in this case the risk is socialized while the profits are privatized). The 'public option,' if it happens at all, will likely be so compromised and ineffectual that only the poorest and most disenfranchised will opt for it, reinforcing the notion that "government" can't do anything right.

I'm sad to say it, but this latest "health care reform" bill is looking more and more like a rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Norman Farrell said...

The Republican Party is coming apart at the seams. Latent racism and bigotry is front and centre. But America will survive and be stronger. It much like when the Klan burned crosses, they couldn't be ignored.

When the creeps come out of hiding, the remaining population cannot deny their existence. Gingrich, Palin, Faux News, Limbaugh, Hannity, Scaife, Dobson, Reed and their many, many colleagues need to feel the whip of public disapproval.

It's time to organize a giant boycott of advertisers that enable messengers of hatred, prejudice and paranoia.

Anonymous said...

This republican tirade is just the rich elite not wanting the 40 million or so other folk displacing them from their entitlements. (Same tactid The Campbell 'goons' are using here in BC.) These folks call up Hitler to condemn the Democrats using the very techniques that put Reagan, Bush AND HITLER in power. Limbaugh is just a carbon copy of Hitler's propaganda minister without a political mandate. What a sad sad time for the US of A.