Bzzz. That’s just wrong, on Health Care Reform

The invented Republican/ Foxy News talking point du jour is that the Democrats intend to ‘ram health care reform down our throats’ even though ‘the American people don’t want it.’

Bzzz. That’s just wrong! First of all, when there is a landslide triumph for a party as there was in November, 2008, for the victor to actually govern and legislate is not ‘ramming’ anything down anyone’s ‘throat.’ It is doing what the people asked you to do. Obama campaigned on this issue, and presumably that fact had not escaped the electorate’s notice.

Just so we don’t forget, if we sized the lower 48 states according to their population, this is what the Democratic victory looked like, according to cartophilia:

So it is that little tiny red thing that is talking about ‘ramming’ down ‘throats.’

Second, 80 percent of Americans in a recent ABC/Post poll want to prohibit limits on pre-existing conditions, and 72 percent want to impose an employer mandate. Some 63 percent favor some form of public health care reform. The same proportion, 63%, want president Obama to keep trying to pass a reform. A majority, 56%, want everyone to be covered. The allegation that the ‘public doesn’t want it’ is an artificial creation of millions of dollars in disinformation money purveyed by the pharmaceutical companies through the US Chamber of Commerce and their bought-and-paid-for congressmen and senators. If a pollster explains to a member of the public what is actually in the bill, Americans like most of the provisions, as Ezra Klein says.

Besides, all the Democrats want to implement (not ram) is the same thing every other advanced industrial society has, which is health care for all citizens. As it is, we pay more than the Netherlands or Germany or Sweden, but our health statistics are much worse than any of theirs.

As for ramming things down people’s throats, here is what the Republicans rammed down our throats during Cheney-Bush:

1. War on Iraq, costing over 4,000 American service lives, 31,000 wounded bad enough to go to hospital, many of them maimed for life, and costing over our lifetimes $3 trillion (which we don’t have). All based on outright lies.

2. Torture.

3. Warrantless wiretaps.

4. ‘Protest zones’ and arbitrary arrest of people peacefully assembled.

5. Further gutting of financial regulation, pushing the country’s economy off a cliff

6. Deep tax cuts for the superwealthy and de facto tax increases for the middle classes, passed by reconciliation

7. Unfunded programs, including wars, tax cuts and medicare changes, that created most of the current budget deficit and much of our current public debt, much of it passed by reconciliaton.

8. Virtual abandonment of our troops in Afghanistan for a concentration on Iraq, and slacking off on capturing the top al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership.

9. The gutting of environmental regulation and the surrender of the public to corporate polluters.

10. Bush’s ‘victory’ itself in 2000.

So suck it up, GOP. You really screwed us all over and messed up the country big time. All we want to do is have people’s children be able to see a doctor without it bankrupting the family. That’s your big complaint?

End/ (Not Continued)

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10 Responses

  1. I don't think that graph does a great job of showing the relative sizes. That red area seems much larger than the related numbers imply.

  2. I appreciate yopur effort, but Obamacare has several corporate welfare provisions that make a mockery of the word reform. I won't mention that he's lied on several occasions about the overall affair, primarilly to defend the corporate welfare he hasn't told the public about. When its simplistic mecahanism is explained, people favor Single-Payer by a 60%+ majority and is the best option because it eliminates the profit motive from providing healthcare–which is what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights demands, making the US "system" a crime against humnaity, killing thousands yearly. But Obama's backroom deals won't allow for even an honest discussion of Single Payer–something that ought to have been expected from the Party of Impeachment Off the Table.

    The current house and senate bills should become dead letters as there's zero real reform in either. Thousands will rightly refuse to obey the mandate (tax or enslavement, depending on POV). The whole affair isn't in the public's interest, which is why it ought to fail. While not specificly about this topic, Glenn Grenwald's latest shows how the debate is framed/limited by elements antithetical to the public's interest.

  3. There's another important fallacy in the GOP talking point about healthcare polling. The totals of people unhappy with the current bills are made up of people who think they go too far and those who don't think they go far enough. If some people are unhappy because the House Bill has a weak public option and the odious Stupak abortion language—the GOP doesn't get to claim those people as supporters of killing healthcare. Likewise if people are unhappy with the tax provisions and missing public option in the Senate bill, they are not supporting the GOP position on healthcare.

  4. What kind of moral values do our congressmen and senators have? Are they a diffrent kind of species than the rest of us? What is it with that seat that is so important to keep and extend? It seems we should only vote for the bilionaires that their elections cant be bought by our heartless corporates. And that their interests in the seat is not based on finantial and self gratification, but rather on the well being of children and seniors. Yeh, right.
    What is it with these corporates in the states that can't find a better way to fatten up than on behalf of the health of Americans? 
    I can't believe that health care is going to turn into a bill that the democrat would just be happy to "pass" regardless of what's in it. That's dangerous. You have the majority. Stop the filabuster on issues like the health of children. Do it. Just do it. I can't believe how someone without any common sense like Bahner is even representing Americans. Yes suck it up GOP. We shouldnt wrestle with a pig doesn't apply anymore. This pig is destroying our faith in the humanity of this courtry. I say president Obama, wresetle it with hands and teeth. Enough, we are sick and tiered and frustrated. And this is the sentiment of most Americans and they know it.            

  5. Much as I love your blog, making this issue (or really any of the other key issues facing Americans) about parties is wrong headed. The wars were bipartisan. The bailout enjoys bipartisan support. Torture, wiretapping and the generalized evisceration of the constitution and America's values all enjoy bipartisan support. If the parties ever mattered, they don't any more.

    Time to go beyond party politics and address the underlying issue – good old fashioned corruption.

  6. .
    regarding that map proportioned to population,
    you are overlooking how the electoral college thing skews.
    The actual vote differential was much smaller than the EC differential.
    And guess what ? As people learned, or were swayed, or were lied to, or whatever, they've changed their minds, many of them in the middle.

  7. Unfortunately, many of the items you write the Bush/Cheny misadministration "pushed down our throats" were supported by real majorities of our fellow citizens. Especially the torture and the war.

    We forget that at our own peril.

  8. "ramming" refers to either the "reconciliation process" to deprive the minority party of filibuster, or to the "mandate" basis inherent of the 2010 Health Care Reform bill : Democrats in Congress are attempting to make ‘health care’ neither a right nor a privilege, but an obligation for individual citizens, by enfranchising a government-mandated profit center for private corporations. For the first time in American history, politicians are using the coercive power of the federal government to force every American — simply by virtue of being an American citizen — to purchase the products of a private company. In effect, this dangerous precedent represents an historic defeat for the type of American idealism represented by the New Deal and the Great Society, and marks the ascendancy of a new type of 'corporatism'.

  9. The government either exists to manage an empire abroad, or a decent society at home. It can't do both, and the day will come when it must abandon one for the other.

    What are the characteristics of a declining empire?

    According to former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips' book "American Theocracy", they include growing militarism, growing religiosity, and an economy that abandons useful production for the debt-based FIRE sector (finance, insurance and real estate). These combine to shield the empire from reality until disaster strikes.

    America's unique inability to recognize the failure of private medical markets reflects several of these pathologies. The FIRE sector certainly is willing to bleed America dry in chronic health care when the banks and housing bubble are exhausted. The teabaggers' blind loyalty to capitalist health care is an attempt to preserve the myth of the self-reliant white farmer/entrepreneur who needs no government but his covenant with Jehovah over the Promised Land.

    But every government must have its essential rationale (which we've never provided our puppet regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan). It isn't just the teabaggers and corporate criminals who are stuck with a 19th century conception of government as a tribal army writ large, that leads the barons to conquest and showers loyal subjects with pork barrel. It took truly horrible catastrophes to make western Europeans in the last century cut loose from that madness, and every one ended up with a modern social welfare state. Obama is unready or unwilling to let go of superpowerdom, and so are most of us who voted for him. This kind of paradigm change usually involves civil war and the overthrow of a government. Britain was able to crawl comfortably away from its empire after its catastrophe because it obtained US protection, but there will be no one to do us the same favor.

    So how do we talk the American people into seeing the $700 billion going to war annually as the most grotesque form of big government, the part that must be amputated to obtain the resources to "Provide for the General Welfare"?

  10. @super390 very interesting comment; see also recent PBS interview of Yale historian Paul Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers : "There are longish periods where you have three or four contenders, and you go back to not a bipolar world, not a unipolar world, but a multipolar world. I can see in possibly 25 years' time, you have got — you have got a U.S., you have got a Brazil, interestingly, coming up fast, you have got a China, you have got an India, and a possibly consolidated E.U., and you're looking at something like Metternich's Congress of Vienna [1815] system, a concert of big powers."

    ref : “America's unique inability to recognize the failure of private medical markets… That "public health care" is seen as a market mechanism (e.g., with consumers = demanders and providers = suppliers) is a view most peculiar to the West, in general ~ and democratic capitalist America, in particular. That the relationship between patients and physicians carries with it some implicit notion of insurance = actuarial table-driven MALADY:REMEDY standardization, nowadays so accepted as to be an implicit part of the rhetorical frame or ‘reform’ ~ is, itself a very modern notion. ("the cost/benefit of well being," is, when we ponder it, a rather weird expression :)

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