Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Health Care Reality Check

Opponents to healthcare reform talk about the cost. On Wednesday, President Obama emphasized the fact they ignore: healthcare reform will decrease federal debt, not increase it. And without reform, the deficit will balloon to unsustainable proportions.

Opponents parrot the old crap about a gubment program meaning people won't get to choose their doctors (a lie) and bureaucrats will determine care instead of doctors and patients. Though anyone who has even heard of someone who needed to invoke their health insurance, or who has talked to a doctor or just read a newspaper knows, this charge should be laughed out of the room. As
President Obama pointed out, insurance companies routinely dictate and often deny care, and their bureaucracy drives doctors and hospitals crazy. Which is one reason that the AMA and other medical organizations support the Obama plan.

Opponents demonize the Canadian system, actually saying on the floor of Congress that Canadians and Europeans "don't value life as we do," which is such a cliche of manufactured xenophobia that it's been parodied as something Romulans say about the Federation in Star Trek, using exactly those words.

The facts are that 85% of Canadians approve of their single payer health care system. Care is not denied nearly as often as it is here, and Canadians are not flooding the U.S. seeking care.

Spiraling health care costs and especially healthcare insurance costs are ruining businesses large and small, state and local governments, the federal government, and families across America to an outrageous degree. It's estimated that in 10 years, if the price spirals continue, half the income of American families will be absorbed by health insurance.

The scandal of the U.S. health insurance system must be confronted and ended. It is the only responsible recourse.

La salute non si paga: Health is not for sale.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Healthcare is Happening

Bumps in the road etc. but the headlines? As Nate Silver notes, "The fundamental weakness of the White House press corps is that they can rarely see beyond the current 24-hour news cycle..." I happened to hear two correspondents, including Chuck Todd, admit as much, and that the throughline in this here drama is that a healthcare bill is more likely than not.

Meanwhile, E.J. Dionne writes about the multiple reasons that President Obama is justified in saying, "don't bet against us," on healthcare and other big issues.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Taking Sides

It's pretty obvious who is going to pay for the California budget crisis by class: the rich and near rich reap the benefits of intact programs and corporate subsidies, while programs for the poor and the working middle class are cut or killed.

The winners and especially the biggest losers are divided by age: the very young whose nutrition and health programs are cut, the young whose education is shortchanged, and the elderly who may see home health care killed entirely.

But the losers are also visible by race, that most obvious and ugly remnant of how America apportions its bounty. This is not only because the social and health programs being cut and killed disproportionately affect blacks, Latinos and Native Americans. It's because cuts to education also deprive them most directly. Education is their path to a better life, that the well off already have.

But in taking sides, the Terminator is deeply wounding the state of California, and the country's future. Every layoff by the state is lost revenue as well as lost talent. California cannot prosper without good schools and an educated population. But schools from primary through college are in state-caused chaos, as well as suffering from decades of neglect. That California is close to becoming a majority non-white state, a mainly black and brown state, makes these decisions destructive to education all the more racist.

As for the national economy and the nation's future, President Obama made this point in his stirring address on the 100th anniversary of the NAACP:

"The state of our schools is not an African American problem; it is an American problem. Because if black and brown children cannot compete, then America cannot compete... We used to rank number one in college graduates. Now we are in the middle of the pack. And since we are seeing more and more African American and Latino youth in our population, if we are leaving them behind we cannot achieve our goal, and America will fall further behind -- and that is not a future that I accept and that is not a future that the NAACP is willing to accept."

But it a future that the Terminator's California is not only willing to accept, but a future it invites.