With President Obama’s signing of the health care bill today, history will remember this Tuesday as the day that government condoned the public’s filthy addiction to — and dependency on — basic health.
Frankly, I expected the Democrats with their huge majorities to pass a bill in the first 100 days guaranteeing welfare to the bottom four-fifths of society and expanding access to low-emission hybrids to the over 300 million Americans without one. Instead, all they’ve done is expand people’s access to modern medicine and make it harder for illness to push families to the point of needing welfare in the first place.
“[With the new health care bill], we’ll see strung-out 20-somethings … ditching class to line up at college clinics to score easy vaccines and quick hits of immunoglobulin…”
But this, too, is foolish. At least when our guys were in power, we passed bills that demonstrated the awesome destructive capability of government. The Iraq war alone showed how the state can spend recklessly in the present and trigger massive future deficit spending when the blowback from war comes home to roost.
But this health care bill blows perfectly good money on healing people, and risks being an example of government doing something constructive. What’s more, the Congressional Budget Office says it will actually pay off some of the money spent on bombing other countries.
For a while there I was attacking the bill as socialist, until my cousin pointed out that the true socialist option — a publicly-financed, nationalized health care system — was never even on the table. (He also asked me to stop attacking socialism, since — as a soldier — he works for the publicly-financed, nationalized military.)
Instead, I reminded the left of what America stands for — equality of opportunity, not of outcome. Just as everyone has the opportunity to be a billionaire, every American has the opportunity to be healthy. Well, except those without access to health care, I guess.
So, we have a new government policy that works within the existing, mostly private health care system to use quantities of scale to expand coverage while reducing long-term costs, thereby helping people to maintain a basic level of health so that they’re fit enough to work and compete in the capitalist American economy. Sounds almost conservative, I know, but my party has fought against it pret-ty hard so it’s too late to vote yes and take credit for it.
Instead, I’d like to point out that this bill will create a dangerous dependency (thanks, George Will!) on the adversely addictive, seductive serum of modern medicine. It’s simply un-American!
Now, more cancers will be detected earlier, when they’re easier to combat and cheaper to treat — but, wider access will mean more people coming in to get elective colonoscopies, maybe every week, just because they can.
We’ll see hourly wage-earners and the self-employed treated to the normal services of their country’s health care system, as if they won’t start demanding subsidized housecalls from government prostitutes!
We’ll see strung-out 20-somethings, newly covered by their parents’ insurance plans, ditching class to line up at college clinics to score easy vaccines and quick hits of immunoglobulin.
We’ll see more ordinary people living life without the crushing burden of painful yet treatable illness, more American citizens unafflicted with the looming threat of disease-induced bankruptcy, more people demanding that American government work at least as good for its people as those of other wealthy countries.
Mark my words: dangerous hopes for reduced infant mortality in America will not be far behind!
Those naive Democrats think they’ve scored one for the American people. But those of us who answer to a higher power — Cigna Corp. and WellPoint — know this: today’s landmark law will usher in an era of preventive-care entitlement and make every American newly dependent on one thing — their health.
Often, the things people do tell you more about their character and values than the things they say about themselves. As Congress gears up for a final vote on health care reform, and both sides put more and more chips in the pot, the true colors of one party are beginning to show through like never before.
Sure, no one expected Republicans to embrace health care reform. Changing the system the way the reformers propose would favor the individual more than the insurance company, and that’s something even some well-funded Democrats are having a hard time getting behind, let alone Republicans, who usually vie to be Business’s Best Friend in Washington.
But the sweat the Republican party has spilled to delegitimize, slander, hamper, obstruct, and kill health care reform is astounding.
“If voters weren’t afraid of justifying their existence to a ‘death panel’ they were at least supposed to fear the bill would explode the deficit, but now even that’s been shown as false…”
Ironically, their M.O. is to oppose it not through arguing that reform isn’t needed or proposing a different kind of reform, but by flatly lying about what reform will bring. Yesterday it was “death panels” (which some in the media exposed as a lie but the damage was done), and today it’s the claim (again, false and thoroughly disproven) that the plan will lead to more funding for abortion. By leading their arguments with outright fabrications, they reveal how fearful they are that reform would pass if Americans heard the truth about it.
Another truth came out just today, when the Congressional Budget Office reported that not only will the bill not add to the budget deficit, it would actually decrease it by $138 billion in its first ten years! If voters weren’t afraid of justifying their existence to a “death panel” they were at least supposed to fear the bill would explode the deficit, but now even that’s been shown as false.
As each new argument against reform falls away, it becomes ever clearer that the Republicans will oppose reform no matter what the facts are. This year-long debate has shown that neither truth nor the health of the average American is high on their list of priorities.
Whether their motivation is to make the president fail (as Rush Limbaugh said explicitly) or to prevent government from doing something good, thereby fulfilling their warning that government does nothing good, their aim is the same: to prevent the Democratic party from fixing an inefficient, broken system that’s fine-tuned only to deliver profits to industry. I don’t recall the G.O.P. going to such lengths even to learn how 19 enemies pulled off a terrorist attack on American soil and what allowed it to happen. (In fact, they opposed the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.)
As the day nears when Congress will vote to attack the monster that is the U.S. health care system, the right’s anxiety is feverish. Several of its senators went after the Senate’s parliamentarian earlier this month (the legislative “umpire,” in a sense), all but threatening his ability to do his job if he doesn’t rule the “right” way on reconciliation.
And yesterday, Fox News invited the president for a one-on-one interview, only to shamelessly harry and speak over him at every turn. The president kept his cool, and even excused the myriad interruptions of his interrogator, telling him “That’s ok, that’s your job.”
Of course, that reporter was merely doing what Fox was paying him to do — argue against health reform, forcefully (and if necessarily, rudely) on behalf of the narrow interests that oppose it. But in another irony, Fox actually provided a service to the American people — in their ruthless opposition to health care reform, Republicans may finally have collected enough rope to hang themselves, and Americans are finally seeing it, crystal clear.
While the Democrats tend to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the Republicans’ bad habit is to double down when they’re losing. What will the G.O.P. do next to stop the Dems from bringing health care to more Americans?
a. Instruct the young pages who work in the House not to deliver the passed reform bill, if they’re aware of the things that are good for them.
b. Stage a rally on the Washington mall where health care executives tearfully recount how their companies sometimes have to pay the claims of their customers when they get sick.
c. Ask the Heritage Foundation to fund a report to find that all Americans who own pets will have to euthanize them within 60 days at the government’s expense, if the care reform bill passes.
d. ________________ (you fill in the blank)