Okay, I hope you've had enough of my non-healthcare blogs for a bit because today, I'm angry. I want to know just what our country is becoming...I have my ideas, but I'll just make my arguments and let you draw your own conclusions.
According to the Democratic National Committee and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, anybody who opposes healthcare has no mind of their own and are being organized by insurance companies. Congressmen and women around the country are being laughed at or booed at town hall meetings because they can't answer legitimate questions, present bald-faced lies about the cost of this healthcare proposal, or admit they have not and will not read the bill because it's too long and would take "two days and two attorneys" to do so (sorry, isn't that your job though?). In addition, Keith Olbermann on MSNBC - and I cringe at the sound of his name - is claiming that every member of congress against healthcare is only against it because of health industry campaign contributions, but we'll get to him in a minute.
I would just like to make something very, VERY clear. I am opposed to this healthcare plan for what I believe to be very real, very logical reasons. I am not against healthcare reform, I am against THIS bill (and I will explain why and what alternatives there are, despite the DNC saying, once again, that there are NO alternatives). Given that, it is very important to note that I HAVE NOT BEEN ORGANIZED BY AN INSURANCE COMPANY, NEITHER I NOR ANY MEMBER OF MY IMMEDIATE FAMILY WORKS FOR AN INSURANCE COMPANY, AND I HAVE NEVER RECEIVED A CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION FROM ANYBODY IN THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY. Most of the people I speak to who are opposed to this legislation are in the same exact boat, so what the DNC and Gibbs are accusing us of is a LIE.
Now, what really has me angry (in case you thought THAT was it), is that soon anybody dissenting from this bill are going to have to go into stealth mode and communicate over two way radio, because the government is asking people to snitch on us. Just yesterday morning, the White House posted an article on their website trying to discredit a Drudge Report article (which we'll get to). In that article, the White House says that many people are lying about healthcare and they can't keep track of all of them, so YOU should inform on your friends, your neighbors. Now, I know what you're thinking - they're just talking about major news sites or even small blogs like mine, right? No. The White House says that you may even hear some dissent in CASUAL CONVERSATION and there's a nice easy email address where you can let them know. So, before I'm forced to go into hiding and present my blog via data radio communication, I'll save you all the trouble and give you the address: email@example.com. Go ahead, inform on me, I'll wait. We can take little tiny incremental steps toward Nazi Germany and the USSR.
Now, if you're still reading, maybe you think I have a right to free speech and the right to share with you my opinion. Maybe you feel that opposing views are GOOD things and encourage constructive debate. But none of that is wanted in this administration. Besides, we're too stupid to make this decision. Well, at least according to Andrea Mitchell of CNN who mentioned that the vast majority of people are happy with their healthcare coverage but, "they may not know what's good for them." Yes, the same Andrea Mitchell who had the nerve to ask Barney Frank about all the legal problems with Obama's appointees, and stood her ground when he turned it on the media and said it's their fault for making issues over 'insignificant' problems, by stating firmly - in support of her industry - "I take your point, Mr. Frank, Mr. Chairman. You’re right and we plead guilty because this is this culture right now of ‘gotcha’ has gotten completely out of control.”
Keith Olbermann takes another approach: listing campaign contributions made to members of Congress from healthcare industry organizations. He doesn't argue the validity of their concerns, he just notes that they accepted money and therefore cannot have a valid argument. This is an easy target. Members of Congress take so much from so many different places while campaigning that he can pick out the healthcare numbers and say that those against healthcare are 'owned' by the industry, but those who are against the bill may have received money but are standing their moral ground. Is it NOT possible that there are legitimate concerns? NO, not according to Olbermann, not if money was accepted.
Therefore, according to Olbermann's logic, based on Obama's acceptance of campaign contributions from GE, not a single global warming concern is legitimate. After all, GE stands to make a lot of money from the 'greening' of our society, and they donated to Obama, therefore, he must be owned by them and his concerns are completely illegitimate. Right Keith? Or does it only work ONE way?
But what would it matter? This President can do no wrong. In fact, the Drudge Report I mentioned earlier linked to videos of Obama saying in his OWN words during the campaign and before, that he supports and hopes to get to a one payer option (government-run). He says, in his own words, that he doesn't see employer-provided insurance disappearing RIGHT AWAY, just over the long run. While this bill doesn't directly eliminate private insurance, we've discussed before why this is inevitable - yet, not even logic AND the President's OWN WORDS are enough. In fact, if you listen to logic and the President's own words, according to the White House, you're just being duped.
But why does the government want this to pass? Well, healthcare is a mess right? Ehhh..not so much. A recent Time poll showed that 86%...yes, 86% of Americans are happy with their current healthcare. 89% are covered and 86% of that 89% are happy. Hmmm. Add that to the fact that we have existing programs for the poor and elderly, as well as children (SCHIP) and you wonder, why the crisis?
Let's me be clear: 47 million uninsured Americans is a lie. 9 million or more of that number are illegal aliens. Millions more are young people who choose not to get insurance or who are between jobs (less than 4 months without insurance). The number of people chronically uninsured is closer to 15 million. That number just doesn't sound as sexy. This isn't a crisis. This is another power grab, plain and simple.
What needs to be fixed is cost. Will this happen with a government run program? The CBO estimates that the program on the table will actually make costs go UP. Somehow they DO have to pay for the system. So, When we have an amazing defecit (George Bush's fault, right? Um...take a look at this chart
Maybe not.), and the federal government's tax receipts are down 18% (largest drop since the Great Depression), where will the money come from? Well, we'll tax the rich, right? How's that going to work? The top 5% of income earners in this country already pay 60% of the taxes. The more you tax them, the fewer are rich...but besides that, even if you took every dime the "rich" have, it wouldn't pay for a fraction of the 1.5 Trillion the CBO has estimated this program to cost over the next decade. So even if we did wipe out the "rich" completely, where does the rest of that money come from?
Look, even FDR and LBJ knew that when you provide systems like Social Security and Medicare - EVERYBODY has to contribute or they don't work. For some reason, this administration doesn't get that.
Or maybe they do. Just this past Sunday, both Tim Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Economic Advisor Larry Summers mentioned that it was possible middle-class tax hikes were coming. The White House then had to have Robert Gibbs come out, just like he does when Biden speaks, and assure the American people of what they MEANT to say. No taxes on the middle class, just like Obama promised. Yay Obama! Either this was all planned to allow Obama to try to gain a few popularity points back as his polls fall, or maybe, just maybe the two highest economic officials in the country didn't independently make the same mistake at the same time. Maybe it wasn't a mistake. Maybe they wanted to get a public reaction - are they ready, yet, to accept that this has to be paid for somehow? Whatever the reason, that they both said it on separate shows this Sunday morning is too coincidental for me.
So my final question is this- why overhaul a system that seems to be working for a few hundred million Americans? If the President says we're going to pay for a large portion of this with fixing inefficiencies in Medicare, well, why not just fix Medicare? And what about tort reform? This hasn't been mentioned, yet in Texas, where punitive damages have been capped at $250,000, malpractice insurance premiums have dropped, personal health insurance premiums have dropped, out of pocket expenses have dropped and doctors are flocking back TO the state. Why not model a program after a SUCCESSFUL one like Texas' rather than a failed one like Massachusetts and Tennessee where they're beginning to cut people OFF from the government run program because they can't afford them?
More important than anything else...which of these is NOT a legitimate concern? Which of these was manufactured by an insurance company? It's funny hearing those accussations as the stimulus-funded ACORN is out organizing rallies in support of Obamacare.
Now, go ahead and do your duty. Report me to the government. I'm kind of looking forward to sneaking around with my mobile radio systems.
J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. Jim survived 9/11 but his life did not. Follow one man's journey through post-traumatic stress as he attempts to rediscover what once made life worth living. 10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.