Sunday, September 20, 2009

Health Care Debate and Extremist Propaganda

Kudos to Carlos Sanchez for his column “Where Are Our Manners?” in the Sunday, 9-20-09 Waco (Texas) “Trib”. I, too, am tired of all the rude and disruptive behavior.

There is no excuse for Rep. Joe Wilson’s insulting outburst during the President’s address. It’s one thing to get acrimonious during Congressional debates, it’s quite another to disrespect the very institutions that bind us together.

Even Congressional debate has its limits: we do not need the likes of South Korea’s fistfights in the halls of our Congress. I am so tired of partisan politics trumping the good of our people, that I recommend we all “vote all the bastards out”.

I had the opportunity to visit with some good friends from Australia, and part of our conversation dealt with the US health care reform debate. It seems the Australians solved the same problem to the satisfaction of their people, and their doctors, about 1975.

Maybe we ought to look seriously at what they did. The same cataract surgery that rates a $7500 co-pay per eye over here, costs $1500 per eye over there, even if paid completely out of pocket.

Talk about cost control! So, now is anybody else interested in the Australian approach?

Our debate has devolved to the politics of fear over here. It invokes “capitalism” vs “socialism”, when those labels hardly apply.

I suggest that those shouting “socialism” need to go look that word up. Having a government-run program is not “socialism”, contrary to what so many very-vocal medicare recipients would have you believe.

Some of them seem not to know that medicare actually is a government-run program. And, one that would work, if funded and managed properly without regard to party politics.

Quite frankly, I am tired of all the vicious propaganda from both sides, but which recently is all the more obnoxious from the “far right”. That bunch fancies itself the standard-bearer for “conservatism”, but labels anyone in disagreement with its extremist position “liberal”.

Most of America is really rather “centrist” in its views, which puts most of us in the “liberal” camp, even if we do not admit it. That difference between “centrist” and “far right” is actually why the Democrats now control the White House and both houses of Congress.

As for extremist propaganda, I liken it to crying “fire” in a crowded theater when there isn’t one. That is quite properly a criminal act in all 50 states.

None of the 5 health care reform bills before our House and Senate will pass in anything resembling their current forms. There is much debate and compromise to be done, to forge actually-workable ideas out of what is now still political crap.

That is, there is debate and compromise to be done, if our politicians will act like the statesmen we hired them to be. If they don’t, they should be thrown out.

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