Healthcare in America

August 20, 2009 | By Paul Mackenzie Ross | Filed in: Internet, politics.

I have to say that I am quite appalled at the amount of venom that’s been pouring out of  the United States recently over the proposals of Barack Obama to reform the healthcare system. There are a number of points that I find pretty unsavoury:

  1. That there is any objection to improving America’s healthcare system is beyond comprehension. Why would anybody not want improvements to anything? To wish to deny  positive change is obviously very negative but is also a completely alien concept to me or any of my friends and compatriots. So for anybody to seriously object to improvements they must be in dire need of improvement to themselves, especially in terms of their attitude, flawed logic and how they regard & treat their fellow human beings.
  2. The sheer amount of spite, nastiness and brutality that accompanies the objections to improving healthcare is particularly objectionable in itself. Depicting Barack Obama as Adolf Hitler and accusing him of “Nazi policies” is both bizarre and downright vulgar. I thought the big fear in some quarters of America was of so-called “socialism” but to flip to “Nazism” demonstrates both a lack of understanding and a determination to attack and condemn at any cost.
  3. The scaremongering against so-called “socialism” is a particularly antiquated concept. McCarthyism is unfortunately still being reheated and served in the 21st century and it seems that one preserve of “conservatives” is to conserve the fears of post-second world war America.
  4. Attempting to use Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) as a scapegoat for how America’s healthcare would look under a “socialist” system has been highly flawed. Britain’s NHS does have and has had problems, but show me a perfect system anywhere, either privately or state run. Britain’s NHS is beneficial to the nation’s health and using misinformation and lies to portray a system that has worked for over 60 years is very underhanded. To brand the NHS as Evil and Orwellian is patently wrong. To say the NHS is some sort of breeding ground for terrorism is alarmist, racist and paranoid to say the least.
  5. The way in which all this negativity sees the light of day and is disseminated is interesting:  Yesterday’s trending twitter topic “under obamacare” took off very quickly, I was watching the whole episode unfurl as it happened. Whilst I believe in natural phenomena the buzz on twitter had all the speed of a coordinated attack (although there were some nice counterfoils too). Secondly the fact that so many people jumped on the negativity bandwagon can show either of two things: that there really is such a depth of feeling against healthcare reform in America or that there are so many people stupid enough to side against improvements.

The whole lack of discourse in America is troubling. Rather than sitting down and discussing the facts like reasonable adults there seems to be this feeling of utter hysteria being whipped-up and shouted from the rooftops.

Amidst all this venom I’ve seen cries of “but the liberals did it to us”, probably referring to the 8 years of pain that many Americans suffered under the “leadership” of George W Bush. The difference here is that whilst Barack Obama clearly won the presidency, George W Bush “won” to a backdrop of claims that the election result was “rigged”. Bush employed people of very questionable background in his administration including Carl Rove, Dick Cheney and  Donald Rumsfeld. 9/11, the “New Pearl Harbour” (see page 63), happened on Bush’s watch and Iraq was invaded as a result.

The justifiable dislike of George W Bush was mirrored in how the world saw him. Barack Obama, on the other hand, has been seen as an intelligent and articulate relief from the “cowboy” swagger. Yet despite only having been in the job for little over 6 months the current US President seems to be constantly under attack by people that do not want to sit down, discuss and debate.

The psyche of the American right wing has become ever more intolerant and hostile as the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the abominably biased Fox News do nothing to help matters.

Whilst America boils in hysteria over the improvement and availability of its healthcare system to all, I watch aspects of its own mental health collapse as hateful propaganda is spewed, consumed and repeated at an alarming rate.

Before berating our “socialist” healthcare systems the objectors in America should study the national healthcare systems of all countries and  some of them are much better than they are here in Britain. Sweden and Finland, for instance, have enviably brilliant health & welfare systems although their taxes are pretty high. They do not, however, have the freeloaders that America and Britain so often object to within their systems so there must be some flaw in the mindset of overtly capitalistic countries. I’d put it down to the vast gulf between rich & poor – how can you not expect any sort of resentment in a system that allows staggeringly-wealthy tax-dodgers to flourish when there is so much poverty at the same time.

So if right-wingers and “libertarians” want absolute freedom and no Federal government then they should go live their “free from all tax” lives. They should watch their roads crumble, their civic societies turn ever more selfish and their communities collapse. I doubt there will be any form of equilibrium only wild variations in circumstance & injustice. That sounds just like it is right now, only worse!

This is about the health of fellow human beings and if people would rather give a kick down than a hand up to disadvantaged people then the human race is going backwards in some parts of the world. That’s not how a model democracy should function, that’s not what a caring society should be about.

As somebody over here said the other day, when we see our doctors we like it when they first say “What’s seems to be the trouble?” and not “Do you have health insurance?” Healthcare is a basic human right not something that should be profited from and the sooner that is understood and acted upon the better.

UPDATE: Deciphering the “inexplicable, intractable ignorance on display in the fight over healthcare this summer” is an independent poll that asks do you think “Healthcare reform is a secret plot to kill people?” 26% of Republicans, 8% of Independents and 5% of Democrats said YES. And 59% of the Republicans polled said they watched and got their “information” from Fox News. Read more about the difference between the facts and the propaganda on the post Rachel Maddow on the GOP Miniverse. You couldn’t make this stuff up (Yet we now know the Republicans actually do!)

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