Monday, August 10, 2009

Back Into the Echo Chamber

Today's edition of the local rag included a truly bizarre "editorial" from a member of the state legislature who also is an orthopedic surgeon and thus has no stake at all in the outcome of the current movement toward health-care reform...which of course is what his "editorial" was about. "Controlling health care won't yield greatness" it was titled. I don't know why. I suppose because his essay includes this head-scratcher of a sentence:
    "We cannot tax, deny, control, penalize and regulate our way to greatness in health care."
Which of course leads one to wonder who ever said anything about achieving "greatness in health care"? I thought the discussion was about access to health care, specifically providing health-care insurance options to those who are otherwise uninsured. You know--the poor, people like that.

Taking care of the least among us--that's where "greatness" will come from.

It bothers me a little that a medical doctor seems not to understand that. And it bothers me a little that a state legislator seems to have swallowed whole the canard that a public insurance program for the otherwise uninsured would somehow mysteriously lead to "denial" of health-care services.

But what really bothers me is that the learned doctor, in typical right-wing obstructionist fashion, presents not a single fact in his little essay. He lectures us, and tells us all of the bad things that will happen if we do something to take care of one another...but he doesn't tell us why, or how, or where he gets his information. So we have no way of judging his statements. We have no way of engaging in the sort of critical thinking and questioning that makes for true social discussion.

Because of course these guys aren't interested in true social discussion. They're interested in scaring people. They're interested in preserving the status quo.
    "The United States stands as a shining symbol to the rest of the world because of the different way we do things. Our health care should be no different."
Meaning what? In the name of doing things a "different way" we should continue to be the only industrialized country on the planet that doesn't think it's important to look after its citizens? All of them, regardless of the thickness of their wallet. (Again, I think he means health-care system, but why quibble.)

So I was motivated, against my better judgment, to post a little response in the Comments section of the local rag's online edition:
    Interestingly, Curd includes not a single source, not a single verifiable fact, not a single shred of evidence to back up his claims. Typical of that faction that believes that the greatest country in the world need not provide basic health care to its people. Typical of a party that has run out of its own ideas and thus can only throw nails on the road in a misguided effort to halt progress. Typical of the scare tactics employed by those who benefit from the status quo. Give us some FACTS, please, and not mere opinions presented as some sort of learned analysis.

    And P.S.: Why does the Argus Leader even publish stuff like this? Any decent editor would have bucked it back to Curd with a request to back up his assertions with some EVIDENCE.
Of course, that tends to assume that evidence exists. Which may well be the case. But it's hard to know, since the obstructionists never seem to trot any out.

By now you may be asking why I waste my time on this sort of stuff. Believe me, I've asked myself the same thing, and more than once. I might as well be talking to the wall. Not that I don't do plenty of that, too.

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