Healthcare Reform-skiy

Government healthcare is like wiping your ass with a newspaper: it’s not pleasant, but it gets the job done. Contrary to what some people might think I am actually for the healthcare reform, even though I have excellent benefits at work and don’t spend even close to the mythical $2,500 that the President keeps talking about. Since I used to live in the country with free universal government-provided healthcare and my Father was a doctor I do know a little bit about it. I realize that this is not the model being proposed here but if you believe that this government will pamper its citizens any more than absolutely necessary, you first government-paid appointment should be with a psychiatrist. I don’t know if this government will go as extreme as paying for a root canal but not for anesthesia, or for childbirth but not for epidural, but you can certainly look forward to the bureaucrats eliminating unnecessary luxuries and finding money-saving efficiencies. Despite what the President says, this bill is not paid for and there is no money to pay for it, so borrowing more or raising taxes in the near future seems unavoidable.

Still I think that the healthcare should be reformed. My reasons are as always selfish: health benefits at work are the number one reason I stuck around there for nearly 10 years and did not try to do something on my own. All my far-fetched plans involve me keeping my full-time job just so I can afford the doctor visits and medication. In other words, the healthcare concerns control my life and limit my choices, and I would be happy if this was not on the list of things that hold me back, somewhere between laziness, procrastination and pessimism.

Speaking about pessimism, I truly believe that the President and the Congress are set on pushing through the legislation that will create, for the lack of a better word, even bigger clusterfuck than we already have. The main reason is that at some point it stopped being about the reform and became about the legislation itself. Because if it was about the reform, there wouldn’t be a deadline of yesterday, or next Friday, or before or after the recess. The healthcare today is not dramatically worse than it was on January 18th or a year ago and it’s not about to disintegrate tomorrow. Maybe a bill that affects 15-20% of the GDP and everyone in this country should get a little more consideration than a typical daily piece of legislation. The current hysterical approach reminds me a lot of the run-up to the war in Iraq: Iraq was a stable, albeit a shitty country, until its threat level was artificially and deceitfully escalated, raising the perceived urgency and leading to an idiotic decision to invade. How many congress-people would like to take back their vote, how many now are saying they were under the influence didn’t have enough information to make an educated choice. There are plenty of mistakes to learn from, but why do it if the same jackasses who voted for the war in Iraq, or mortgage deregulation or whatever else are still being reelected and bragging about not reading the bill or caring about the “irrelevant” details. Kind of like the old Jewish joke:
-Hey Isaac, do you like Pavarotti?
-No he has a whiny voice, lisps and can’t pronounce half the letters.
-But have you ever heard him?
-No but Shmuel sung it for me.

Jokes don’t translate well but the point is: if a congress-person is not capable of reading and comprehending the bill, who then actually wrote it and summarized it for the said person in order for them to make an informed vote? The aid who did it doesn’t have much to lose; their name will not appear on the legislation.

What surprises me in the current state of discussion is not the loud-mouth morons screaming at town-halls or their idiot counterparts boycotting Whole Foods (a company that pays for 100% of their employees’ health coverage and supports their beloved organic farms) because their CEO wrote an article in the paper that they disagree with. I am always surprised by the people who are willing to trust anything coming down from the government just because it sounds progressive. You don’t have to believe in outlandish death panels or 10-year treatment waiting lists, but a little healthy doubt never hurt anyone. The government doesn’t have a great track record of doing things right, the usual examples of successes like the military (who literally loses truckloads of cash), VA, Medicare, Social Security, etc. are not known for being efficient, frugal or particularly user-friendly. Even the President stumbled trying to offer the Post Office as an example of the Government option, noting that it has all the problems unlike UPS and FedEx. Another reason to doubt the sincerity of your legislators’ intentions is their acceptance of political contributions. While people like C.J.Janovy self-induce vomiting going through every line of Senator Roberts’ donor list, even she has to acknowledge that most of the democrats have similar or even bigger lists of healthcare industry contributions including the President with his $19,462,986 take. It’s possible to take the money and then show your donor a finger, but is it likely? By the way, I recently met CJ and she looks nothing like I imagined. Here is a portrait of her editing a fresh copy of the Pitch.

It’s unfortunate that every discussion of important subjects in this country now comes down to catchphrases and labels. Socialism is mostly about the ownership of the means of production as well as income distribution. If the government owned the entire healthcare industry and employed all medical workers, and people like my Father had their paycheck signed by Barack Obama that would’ve been socialism. Otherwise it’s really not. Death panels? Little harsh, but decisions like that are made every day. Even now they will tell you that you may be too old for a new knee, a heart transplant or a cataract surgery and even if you have all the money in the world the doctor might still advise you not to do it. We are all mortals after all, I for one believe that artificially extending pain and suffering is not humane.

Lastly, for a look at what the government healthcare in this country might look like:

Not pleasant, but it gets the job done, just like I said.

Since I’ve thought about the subject a lot, I might have another installment in a day or two with the things that I think need to be included in the legislation.

  • Alex J.

    “Reform” is one of those words that assumes its own conclusion. “Change” might be a better word, because sometimes “reforms” change things for the worse.

  • I was curious to know your opinion of the health care thing. I’m still not sure what it is, but thanks for trying.

  • Most people who have actually taken time to read the proposals (yes, there are several) land roughly where m.v. (and I) land–yes, the system needs to be changed, but is this the best way to do it? And how do we pay for it all? How can we trust a government-run program to be more efficient that even an inefficient private enterprise?

    The rest of the stuff–death panels (not in the bill), state-funded abortions (EXPLICITLY not in the proposals; they are mentioned by name as prohibited), socialism–it’s people who are too lazy to read anything, get their news exclusively from conservative outlets, and/or are just going to disagree with everything Obama proposes.

  • I travel for JOOLS

    My nephew has a business in the Chicago area that is doing very well. Among other things, they put in those big pond features with waterfalls, etc. Well, they were hired WITH STIMULUS MONEY for a project that will supposedly preserve an endangered dragonfly. I kid you not! They hired no new workers and while they were working on this project, a half dozen big whigs from Chicago just stood around watching them eating up taxpayer money. My nephew laughed all the way to the bank. Remember all the hysteria over the stimulus bill? Remember how Congress had to do it right away or we’d all be on the street looking for a job?

    Then came cap and trade. We’re all gonna melt. The oceans are gonna overtake NYC. Blah Blah Blah. More hysteria. More money. Gotta rush it through right away.

    Now, it’s health care. We gotta have it right now. We can’t sustain the path we’re on. The House rushes a bill out of committee that nobody had read (as with the stimulus bill). In all, 5 different bills are in different stages in the Senate and House. Nancy Pelosi hands out talking points to House members to take home over recess to meet with constituents. Problem is, that’s all they knew – talking points. Members hadn’t read the bills. They didn’t have time of course. But, we gotta have it now ! We all know how well that went over on the public.

    And, in the meantime, the Federal Reserve has printed trillions of dollars in money and handed it out to financial institutions and nobody but them (the financial institutions) knows how it was used, yet all the toxic assets remain on the books ! And, the real unemployment rate is over 15 percent if you count everybody who is really out of work. Don’t worry though. China will just keep buying our paper and we’ll worry about paying them back some day when we’re all on medicare and our kids are paying 75 percent of their income in taxes. IF, of course, there are any jobs left in the U.S.

    Is there any wonder people are upset? And, is there any wonder why people are skeptical of the government fixing anything?

  • Rick

    Thanks, Meesha, for refuting the “socialism” epithet the right wing is trying to hang on Obama these days. As someone who experienced communism/socialism firsthand, I respect your opinion a lot more than Rush Limbaugh’s or Michael Savage’s …

  • Great post Meesha, couldn’t agree with you more.

  • I have the VA and I’ve never been treated better.

  • I have an “evil” insurance company,use it extensively and never had any problems either.I can come up with any number of VA horror stories,as well as insurance horror stories.

  • We have THE MOST EXPENSIVE health care system in the world;

    We rank 37th, internationally, in mortality (read: death) rates. THAT’S BEHIND COSTA RICA, for pity’s sake;

    Nearly 50 million of us have NO health care coverage AT ALL.

    With those 3 statistics alone, what about this doesn’t need reform?

    Mo Rage
    The Blog

  • I didn’t say it doesn’t need reform,I just said what they are doing is hasty and not well thought out. Like for example Prohibition,or war in Iraq, or mortgage deregulation. All seemed like good ideas. This is a fundamental change and it should have a streamlined plan,financing and ways to implement it. And they are driven not by desire to beat Costa Rica but by multiple campaign contributors. I am sure they will push it through anyway so we will all have a chance to see who was right.

  • midtown miscreant

    Tough subject with no real easy answers, but I like your take as far as it went. Unlike hyperblogal, Ive had countless shitty experiences with the VA. I think it’s luck of the draw with them, and the particular malady that takes you too them. They did infect a bunch of people with hepC and HIV during routine colonoscopy just last year, in another state or earlier this year. I dont know the answers I just know I have to be at deaths door before I head to the VA.