Saturday, August 8, 2009

#141 Health-Care Reform and Communist Threat to America

Yes, to use an old McCarthyite term, we're all "comsymps" when it comes to health care, whether we know it or not. I'm indebted to Bill Maher for picking up on this revealing quote from one of those tea-bagging "bloody hand" protesters (last post) at another "Town Hall" affair in South Carolina: "Keep yer damn gub'ment hands off my Medicare!" I love it. It was in a transcribed (from HBO's Real Time) Huffpost piece about how stupid Americans can be. Agree or not, there's no question at all that the anti-Public-Option (really just anti-Obama for whatever) people are ignorant of, or are covering up the real facts about the extent of government involvement in health care already. And though we may know not ... we love it.

First, indirectly:

And when considering costs of health care, remember the U.S. taxpayer already pays for more than 60% of the American health care bill. this because businesses are allowed to deduct the cost of health care for employees as a business expense, thus reducing taxes on businesses. This puts a greater burden on individual taxpayers as well as paying for government supported health care such as Medicare and the Veterans Administration health programs. [Sierra Club lawyer G.T. Saperstein, Alternet 8/5]

And directly: the V.A. programs mentioned above are, instructively, the ONLY truly socialized health care programs that are in operation now, or, in my opinion, will ever be in future. They do actually employ the medical personnel and provide the hospitals, like no other programs now, to repeat, or envisioned. So much for pure Mao. We do it so well, however. You never hear, as far as I know, of any Republican or Blue Dog congressman objecting to this veritable hotbed of communism operating right under our noses.

Otherwise, while we don't have the Danish cradle-to-grave "welfare state" of my smiling tour-guide friend (DM #139), our federal and state governments do provide direct health-care assistance in the form of Medicare and Medicaid to the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and children of the poor. Radical Marxism for sure. Problem: you have to be very old, very young, or very, very poor to get it. Solution: if not Single-Payer (my choice), then Public Option.

For, ironically, THAT'S what Bill Maher's ignorant good ol' boy from South Carolina (my home state for 30 years) really wants: the Public Option, even as he rails against it. Somehow for him this wonderful thing called Medicare came solely from the wonderful workings of free-market America, unsullied by the machinations of Uncle Sam. "Hands-off, you commies!" Listen, this guy has had a taste of Medicare, like me (DM #119). In spite of his deluded anti-Obama self, he knows it works just fine ... almost. Costs are too high--blame Big-Med--so there are certain gaps and some co-payments ($150 on a $1500 bill, for me) that ultimately must be fixed/eliminated, in order to make it a perfect system. But it's still a pretty good model of what public health care should be like. You flash your national insurance card ... you get treated. No questions asked. Not even about your politics.

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