Saturday, August 08, 2009

Government Blues Again

That a sizable number of Americans appear to believe that government is so vile that it can't even run its own programs--Medicare and Social Security in particular--can justly be called a legacy of Reaganism, which for nearly 30 years has drummed into people the notion that government is the problem even when you are the government, but more precisely it is a legacy of rabid, kneejerk anti-Communism, which while predating the Cold War reached its full flowering under MAD's mushroom cloud.

Questions of geneology aside, this rabid outpouring of right wingnut fear and loathing over a "reform" that, like the banking reform that led to the just blown financial/real-estate bubble, favors corporate medicine, including the insurance companies, bespeaks something profoundly sad about America's educational system--that it is a monumental failure, as seriously in need of reform as healthcare but less likely to undergo it. How else is one to explain citizen comments like this one: "Keep the government out of my Medicare."

The Obama and the Democrats are as caught up in the fog as the right wingnuts, which is why reform is bogged down. Rather than articulate from the start that everyone is entitled to health from conception to grave and then figuring how to best pay for the thing--and the studies that address these questions exist. The late, lamented Office of Technology Assessment studied the issue repeatedly in the 199os, including Understanding Estimates of National Health Expenditures Under Health Reform from May 1994 (Princeton has all OTA reports on line.) In that report they concluded that despite difficulty in coming up with hard figures, economists estimated savings of various significant size were the country to move to a single-payer national health plan while purchasing pools for buying private insurance could be expected to save precious little to zero. That's right, purchasing pools of the sort that seem the darling of the conservatives.

So here is the legacy of anti-communism as filtered through Reaganism for the Obama and his fellow Democrats: Unable to discuss the right of all Americans to health, much less of developing a single-payer plan that would recognize that and solve the current crisis, they are forced to forced to defend legislation that would force Americans to purchsae insurance from companies they have repeatedly condemned as rapciaous money suckers. Unable to defend their healthcare non-reform, the Obamans and Democrats are let to argue that the right wingnuts are simply trying to destroy his presidency and so to save his Presidency, we must support whatever healthcare package he accepts. Whether the Democrats win or lose, we will all lose in this great health non-reform.

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

I think that Obama deep down wants a single payer system, which is the only thing that will solve the fundamental health problems. Of course, the private insurance companies and the pharmaceuticals know that the way politicians view reality can be skewed through regularly campaign contributions, as well as hiring the best PR and smear campaigns I've seen in a while.

What I've seen on the right is truly something-- like the John Birch Society meets the Freikorps.