Man, this health care debate just doesn’t end, does it? As the weeks and months have dragged on, and every news network in existence struggles to redeploy the “Make-it-or-break-it Month” headline, I’m discovering that my perspective on the whole debacle is shifting further and further to something that looks like this:
But while the debate rages on, one aspect of it that never ceases to get under my skin is just how so many people who are utterly ignorant of how the system works continue to heap their meaningless opinions in for consideration. Not only that, but I’d be willing to put forth a theory that there is an inverse relationship between working knowledge of health care and constructive ways to reform it, and volume and vehemence of protest. Galileo, in fact, had something to say about that very phenomenon:
“Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matter requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new.”
Americans want to have their cake and eat it, too. Health care is, by its very definition, a sparse commodity. It’s something you receive when you need it, not when you want it. Americans, in our classic “I can have whatever I want if I can pay for it” mentality have created a system by which we have varying tiers of health care depending on how much money we make.
If you can’t see the problem with that system, just stop reading now; you’re dead to me.
On the other hand we have socialized health care, which rations the available health care resources (most importantly doctors, but also medicines and equipment) based on need. This has been shows to work very well in most of the other developed countries in the world, but America continues to resist out of 1) some deep-seated fear of the word “socialism”, as if it was intrinsically evil, 2) “horror” stories from these other countries, neverminding the fact that our horror stories here are even worse, and 3) because we want to be able to receive health care whenever we want it. We’ve associated “rationed health care” with Sarah Palin’s godforsaken “death panels” when absolutely nothing – not even a flat Earth – could be further from the truth.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. You can do one of two things:
- Pay outrageous premiums and serve at the whims of gargantuan pharmaceutical and health care insurance providers so that you can have whatever you want when you want it, or
- Pay much more reasonable prices to receive health care only when you need it, either for treating an illness or to prevent the onset of one
These are, by their definitions, mutually exclusive; you can’t have both.
In the past few months I have slowly distanced myself from the political banter; I have kept reading about it, but I have sharply decreased my participation in it, mainly because I do not see anything constructive happening (or any opportunities for anything constructive to happen) within either party right now. I honestly believed (and still believe) the Democrats were our best shot for laying down some solid foundations for long-term solutions, but they have become bogged down in ideological talking points and by the Almighty Dollar whose influence none can fully resist.
The recent health care summit was, frankly, a complete failure. While various politicians are whining and bitching about the length of time each group spoke (I don’t really see any issue there, move on people), from the transcripts I read both sides simply dug in their heels, regurgitated worn-out partisan catch phrases, and basically wasted an entire day in a room when they could have been doing something constructive…like cheating on their spouses so they’d be forced to resign their worthless hides from office.
Anyway, before I get too bitter and riled up, I’ll leave you with this thought: we’re all in this together, and we’re all going to have different needs and ideas of how to go about meeting those needs. Glenn Beck is a moron for preaching that an entire school of thought is responsible for America’s predicament; quite the contrary, we need more ideas, more ways of approaching and solving the problems at hand, because obviously the two we’ve had for decades now aren’t doing too well at the moment. And don’t delude yourself into thinking the answer is straightforward: for every complex problem, there is always a solution that is neat, simple, and wrong.
One thing is absolutely certain (and I suspect most everyone from all across the political spectrum agrees): we desperately need health care reform. The means to that end – and what exactly the definition of that end will be – is still up for constructive, productive debate.
Here’s the best lolcat I’ve seen in quite some time: