Monday, August 10, 2009

Highway to Health

President Obama’s proposed healthcare plan is really masking a socialist agenda to make the United States like the former Soviet Union.

President Obama’s proposed healthcare plan will be steeped in Big Government, making bureaucrats in charge of determining the health care of millions.

President Obama’s proposed healthcare plan will create a death panel to determine who lives and who dies and will force the elderly to seek counseling on euthanization.

The Republican’s opposition to the president’s healthcare plan may sound like bad science fiction, a Big Brother meets Big Doctor dystopian future where the population is herded like cattle and deemed fit or unfit.
Yet the problem with this entire issue is not that it’s single payer healthcare versus insurance companies. The issue is what moral ground are we as Americans going to take to ensure that everybody has access to health care.
Disclosure: I receive health insurance through my job that I pay into each year. When I had problems with my back last year, my insurance covered the treatment. Without it, I’d have paid an exorbitant amount. So having a health plan is helpful, to a degree.
I say to a degree because it seems through the current company plan, the employees are paying more but getting less. That’s the trouble with the current system: you’re at the mercy of insurance bureaucrats who determine if you have pre-existing conditions and can receive treatment.
The opponents of Obama’s plan claim it will allow the heavy hand of government to control a person’s healthcare options, effectively robbing them of their most personal choices.
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice-residential candidate, posted her thoughts about Obama’s healthcare plan on Facebook:

“The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

Downright evil? Like you're going to see general practitioners in black cloaks painting pentagrams in sheep's blood before they examine you.
And how is what Palin described any different from the current reality, where insurance companies play God every day with people's lives?
Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, said publicly that the healthcare bill would “make it mandatory – absolutely require – that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner.”
What the bill actually says is that seniors on Medicare can opt to have voluntary sessions to discuss living wills, health care proxies giving another party the right to make health care decisions, and end-of-life decision-making.
It doesn’t stick the elderly in a state-funded suicide parlor like in Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Welcome to the Monkey House.” In fact, most of the right’s criticism sounds like grim Orwellian tales of euthanasia for the betterment of the Glorious People’s Nation.
What’s next? That the Obama healthcare plan is exploring eugenics?
Let’s face it: the healthcare system in this country is fucked. For the millions of uninsured people going bankrupt because they have to pay their medical expenses, life really sucks.
The libertarian in me rails against government interference, that a Canadian-style healthcare system that’s only single payer without an option for private insurance companies is destined to fail because, well, it’s run by the federal government. And anyone who’s paid attention to the stories about Walter Reed Army Medical Center knows that the government really can fuck things up.
On the other hand, access to good quality healthcare is a basic human right. A sick population can’t work, can’t be productive and can’t function. People need medicine, they need operations and treatment and they need physical and mental therapy.
Unfortunately, whenever money is involved, this argument is forfeit. It all becomes about spinning the good reasons for national health care from their most altruistic and noble intentions to seedy, grimy, hammer and sickle socialist connotations.
I don’t think some form of nationalized healthcare would deteriorate medical care to the point where a nurse would say, “Dr. Mengele, we’re fresh out of leeches!” or “Dr. Crippen, your 2 o’clock assisted suicide is here!”
If politicians didn’t receive campaign contributions from the insurance lobbies and pharmaceutical industry who profit the most from the current health care system, would things be different?
I interviewed a physician who is passionate about single-payer national health care. In May, he publicly protested before the U.S. Senate Hearing on Health Care with his group, Physicians for a National Health Care Program and got arrested for disrupting the proceedings.
According to the physician, 59 percent of American doctors polled nationally support single payer health care, where doctors, hospitals and health care providers are paid through a single national fund.
The physician told me that he opposes Obama's current plan because it still includes an option for insurance companies.
“Keeping private insurance companies intact is like allowing sharks to be in the water where there are minnows,” the physician said. “The only way to cover it and save it is taking private insurance companies out of the playing field completely.”
The physician said the real problem is the pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies contributing money to both Democrats and Republicans.
America is the only industrialized nation without some component of nationalized health care. Is it a good thing or bad thing? Will the general health of our population be served by the current system, or should be take steps to change – moderately or radically – the way health care is funded and delivered?
What we need is an honest, mature debate on this issue from everyone – including backers of the radical single-payer health care – to get their take on how to reform the healthcare system in this country. There also should be input from opponents who say a national healthcare system is too costly, and these opponents should also provide ideas for fixing healthcare.
Whatever the solution, the time for civil discussion and action is now, before we’re all sickened by the threats, distortion and partisan bullshit.

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