Friday, July 31, 2009

Someone Explain This To Me...

So the president has apparently been travelling around the country these last few days in order to drum up support for his big health care reform initiative. Yesterday I saw this piece on the Awl about how in some towns (they specifically reference Tuesday's visit to Raleigh, NC and Wednesday's visit to Bristol, VA -- a town on the Tennessee border) he's been met with protesters. Now, it doesn't really look like a shit-ton of people, but still there are clearly working-class Americans out there protesting health care reform. I mean unless the health insurance companies got together and paid a bunch of unemployed people $50 bucks to stand out there with signs and boo.

What I really want to ask these health care opponents is

(a) when it comes to health insurance are you (i) uninsured, (ii) underinsured, or (iii) stuck with an insurance company you HATE?


(b) do you make under, say, $200,000 a year? (Earlier this month the Health and Human Services Secretary actually said that the House bill was contemplating a surtax on Americans earning over $350,000 in order to pay for the new plan.)

because if you answered "yes" to both those questions you would stand to benefit from the proposed health care reform without having to pay anything more in taxes.

Whatever happened to supporting your own self interests?! Isn't that what Ayn Rand preached in that Atlas Shrugged book that conservatives all supposedly love? (I don't know, I didn't read that shit.)

OK, the details of how the new plan is going to work and how it will be paid for are far from simple, and -- yes -- government programs have a history of fucking things up. But, come on now, could the government really do a worse job with health care than the fucking insurance companies that are basically in charge now?? There are some legitimate concerns such as the burden on businesses and the danger of inflating the deficit, but I am certain that Congress is keeping an eye on these issues (and I don't give Congress a lot of credit).

I can understand being against healthcare reform if you are an insurance company executive or maybe if you're some rich bastard who already has all the health insurance you could ask for (maybe a private jet to fly you to South America for impromptu elective surgery... sorry, where was I?). But if you're the average American who is getting screwed under the current system (and aren't we all getting screwed?) why would you be opposed to reform?

I say shut up, stop protesting, and quietly hope a public healthcare option will be part of the final bill that gets signed into law. It will be a major accomplishment if Obama can pull it off, and if it doesn't happen I will be very angry at the Democrats in Congress.

Photo of protesters in AUSTIN, TEXAS found on


AbbotOfUnreason said...

The "average American" continues to believe that he or she will someday be "some rich bastard who already has all the health insurance you could ask for". Many Americans have aspirational empathy: they empathize more with the class they wish to be a part of than with the class to which they have landed.

Meeg said...

This is true. It's weird: I feel that in countries like Denmark even wealthy people recognize that it's "fair" to heavily tax the rich so as to provide a decent quality of life for everyone (even the poorest). But here working class Americans say "that's not right, if I was rich why should my money be taken to provide for the poor..."

Jessie Wong - Superhero said...

I think it's hilarious that the conservatives try to scare people away from health care reform by warning that the US could end up like Canada. They've succeeded in somehow leading all Americans to believe that Canadians spend hours throwing up blood in emergency rooms or live for years with cancerous tumors b/c treatment isn't available. It's taken about 5 years to convince my own father that it isn't the case and Herb works in the health care system! If US citizens knew how good we had it up here, they'd move in droves to Manitoba (but not Toronto, it's WAY too liberal here).

Meeg said...

I've seen the fallacy of the "oh nationalized healthcare means waiting for hours in the emergency room" argument a long time ago which is how is that any different from the emergency room experience in America now?