Here's a WTF story from TPM that outlines the new GOP tack in opposing any and all health care reform.
So far, GOP opposition has centered on government taking over 1/6 of the economy, bureaucrats deciding your treatment, it'll bankrupt us, etc. All worthwhile debates. As long as you're talking theoretically about some unimagined Eden and not the insurance-plagued present we have now.
But, the truth has never held back a Republican hell-bent on winning an argument, so here we have John Boehner (R-ManTan) getting all weepy over a section of the mean ole Demoncrats' bill that says we'll have to off granny because she's using up too much health care.This has been repeated by reliable spokespeople like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the same people who repeated the story that the health care bill would make private health insurance illegal until it was pointed out that it didn't.
Here's their concern, as voiced by Mr. Boehner:
"Section 1233 of the House-drafted legislation encourages health care providers to provide their Medicare patients with counseling on ‘the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration’ and other end of life treatments."
"This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia if enacted into law."
Except that it won't, any more than current doctor/patient discussions about heroic measures, living wills and DNR directives do under our present, for-profit system.
Let's leave aside the startling news for Boehner and Limbaugh that granny is already covered by a government subsidy to the insurance companies called Medicare and consider that, if granny does have private insurance, she's far more likely to be dropped or denied coverage, meaning that she'll still die, but now she'll be leaving her family bankrupt in the bargain.
I'm all for honest and open debate on what shape our healthcare reform should take, but when assholes like these start tossing up boogeymen to scare the masses, then I despair that any progress will ever be made.
Weasels. Fucking weasels.
To be fair, there is more thoughtful opposition to national healthcare, as voiced by Megan McArdle in the Atlantic.
I find her logic skewed and her assumptions wrong, but at least she tries.
For instance, she weighs in sarcastically on the granny question:
"Of course, the obese aren't the only troublesome bunch. The elderly are also wasting a lot of our hard earned money with their stupid "last six months" end-of-life care. Eliminating this waste is almost entirely the concern of men under 45 or 50, and women under 25. On the other hand, that describes a lot of the healthcare bureaucracy, especially in public health."
Except that she's wrong. Old men like me are concerned about how much money we spend on that last six months. And young people have moms and dads. To snarkily dismiss people who have dedicated their lives to health care as being less sensitive than say, Rush Limbaugh, is to do them a gross disservice.
"Once the government gets into the business of providing our health care, the government gets into the business of deciding whose life matters, and how much."
Of course, right now it's a for-profit insurance company deciding whose life matters and how much and they're making those decisions by how much you can pay and what your illness might cost.
Ms. McArdle, like all the opposition to health care reform, doesn't offer any solutions to our dilemma except to shrug and accept the status quo.
This casual default to what we have now consigns a great number of Americans to being uninsured, and those who are insured are vulnerable to the shifting whims of a company that answers only to its stockholders. This status quo means that more people will face medical bankruptcy and this great and imaginative nation will continue to pay the most and get the least.
And that's a status quo that a lot of us find unacceptable.