FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Health Care, Obama and the System

Is it desirable to have 46 million uninsured and 25 million under-insured citizens in a country that trumpets democratic traditions noisily on the global scene? Probably not.  The protest measures on ‘socialised’ medicine conform to the pattern set by that mistaken American assumption that rugged individualism should carry the day and trump ‘collective’ decisions.  This rather hollow, not to mention false rhetoric takes place alongside huge, intrusive bureaucracies that span the country from coast to coast.  Big government is here to stay, even as Democrats, Republicans and libertarians dispute its relevance or ignore its existence.

In the United States, individualism is patently neurotic, allowing obscene spectacles of wealth to take place alongside ghastly pictures of poverty.  Either way, everyone deserves what they get in this brutal schema.  America was, as Gore Vidal observed, Social Darwinian before Charles Darwin tackled evolution.  That such naturally ordained pattern of evolution in society will lead to a poor distribution of resources, an overwhelming concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few, notably in the health industry, is beside the point for the medical free marketeers.  They hate competition, the supposed driving force of the market, and make sure it won’t take place.

Health care, for that reason, becomes the battleground where bodies and minds conflict: do we make the state insure the health of its citizens?  Who should care that the world’s most powerful nation doesn’t so much employ doctors through its insurance schemes as pharmaceutical representatives barely keen to examine you before banishment through the door heavily medicated?  The system is not so much broken as non-existent.  Targets, jottings on paper and spreadsheets count.  Healthy bodies are simply vile bodies.

Even with some of the current proposals, the idea of competition is not stymied.  Public insurance becomes another player in the myriad chaos of sham schemes that count as “private” health care.  On that side of the fence, queues still exist, and medical service is often poor.  The committees in Congress are, however, not in agreement as to how to spread the burdens.  Obama, on this score, has decided to shift the focus back to the Congressional arm of government, rather than chart the scheme of health reform from the White House.  The Senate Health Committee has cobbled together some proposal for compulsory health insurance, a scheme underwritten by subsidies for those on low income.  Senator Max Baucus’s Finance Committee has proven intransigent over a bill on healthcare reform, though the creation of a “public option” seems out of the question, at least in that quarter.  “Blue Dog” Democrat Mike Ross is singing truly Republican hymns against the state at this stage.

The Obama administration has ample ammunition to gather and deliver in its defence of a medical scheme, the president’s speech before a joint session of Congress did not clear the air on the subject.  A few stabs were offered at both sides of politics, a few lies put to rest about such matters as medical coverage for illegal immigrants.  Getting sick was no basis for going penniless, he seemed to say.  There was heckling, some of it fairly aggressive.

An otherwise low profile Rep. Charles “Lord” Boustany (R-La.) after the speech was livid, for himself and the GOP.  Again, the pathology of government involvement surfaced, though in Boustany’s case, the sentiment may be personally derived: a fear of intrusive medical panels, given three malpractice lawsuits in the rather risky field of cardiac surgery.  “The president had a chance tonight to take government-run health care off the table.  Unfortunately he didn’t do it.”  Admittedly, the GOP is not entirely averse to some changes – assistance to those who cannot afford a doctor may be provided under a suggested plan.  Medical liability reform is on the cards from that side of the aisle as well.

Health is the poisoned chalice of American politics.  The time has come to change its contents altogether.  Obama’s vision may remain, at this stage, just that.  But he must simply reiterate what should have been done from the start.  Divvy up the score in the health industry.  Spread the obligations and payments.  Make government, that immutable evil, work.  If competition is what drives America, then play on the theme of competition, something the private health industry is terrified about.  That way, Americans might be convinced that an appropriate government service issues from their tax dollar.

BINOY KAMPMARK was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

 

 

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ahmet Altan’s “I Will Never See the World Again”
David Yearsley
Jazz is Activism
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail