Friday, August 14, 2009

One of the more sensible voices on health care

Avedon Carol sez:
Dave Lindorff at After Downing Street says Progressives Should be Shutting Down These So-Called 'Town Meetings' Too!: "This is not about civil discourse. This is about propaganda. The Obama administration and the Democratic Congressional leadership have sold out health care reform for the tainted coin of the medical-industrial industry, and are holding, or trying to hold, these meetings around the country to promote legislation that has essentially been written for them by that industry--legislation that will force everyone to pay for insurance as offered, and priced, by the private insurance industry. What a deal for those companies--a captive market of 300 million people! There will be little or no effort to control prices, and the higher costs will be financed through higher taxes, and through cuts in Medicare benefits. This isn't "reform." It's corruption, pure and simple. (Via Corrente.)

My problem with the "shut it down" approach is that you lose your opportunity to say that insurance companies are "death panels", that insurance companies do put your medical choices into the hands of company bureaucrats, that HMOs don't just let you choose your doctor, and that waiting a few extra weeks for elective surgery there's no rush for is a lot better than having to spend months getting sicker and sicker while you argue with the insurance company bureaucrats about whether you will get treatment at all.

And by the way, that is what needs to be said when it comes to the sorry state of health "care" in the US. Generally speaking, our current set-up does not allow us to choose our doctors, we get stuck dealing with byzantine corporate bureaucracies when trying to get treatment paid for, and let's face it - those insurance company bureaucrats are death panels. I am more and more convinced that my age cohort (the Gen X) will experience shorter life spans and lower quality of life than that of our parents. There are of course multiple causes for that particular reality, but the increased inaccessibility of adequate health care is one of the main causes.

By the way, read what Avedon has to say about the tendency for so-called "progressive" politicians to buy into right-wing ideological positions - it's very similar to what I've mentioned about the "New Democrats" being straight-jacketed by adherence to Friedman's neoliberalism orthodoxy, which values "free" markets over all else. Unless and until that orthodoxy is abandoned, we'll be stuck with policies that are in fact literally killing those of us who aren't among the privileged elite classes.

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