Monday, August 10, 2009

Why is there anger in the health care debate? My answer to Jennifer

On Facebook, a former colleague wondered why there was so much anger about the proposed health care plan. Seemingly she didn’t understand why people would be so angry about such a good idea.

I wanted to take time to respond thoughtfully, because I’m one of those who believes there is a need for health care reform, but not sure that I understand what is being proposed and secondly, I not sure those proposing the idea even understand what it is they are proposing.

Before he was running for President, Barack Obama was an unabashed supporter or a single-payer system. But now, trying to appease all sides, he now wants a hybrid reform bill that he neither wrote nor seems to know much about.

It is my belief that the current bills in Congress are simply a trap to bring us to a single payer system. It would be more honest and refreshing if both the President and the Congress would admit it.

In the bill Congress supports (the Senate is still working on a variety of approaches) there are about 1,200 pages and not one Congress representative admits to even reading the bill. If you plan to make fundamental and sweeping changes to something as important as health care, you owe it to your constituents to read the dang bill. Every rambling, lawyer inscribed page of it.

Secondly, when did angry protests become such a problem for Democrats or the left. Heck, they basically invented the organized protest. Which brings me to my next problem with the health care debate.

It is not a debate at all. President Obama said he just wants all those who oppose his bill to get out of the way. Democracy and a Republic simply don’t work that way. Did then Senator Obama or the Democrats get out of Bush’s way when he wanted to push his agenda?

Just because you get elected President doesn’t mean you own the football and can decide all by yourself who plays the game, who wins, who loses and whether the game is played at all. You would think Democrats, after the last eight years, would understand that better than most.

The greatest community organizer of recent times shouldn’t complain that someone is using community organizing to be heard on a matter of great importance.

Let’s not forget we have already seen trillions flushed down a drain on rushed legislation both before and after President Obama’s election. If you go back to my postings from September 2008 you will see that I was totally opposed to the first bail out and remain opposed to all those since.

The first Obama stimulus plan was supposed to arrest unemployment at 8 percent or below. How did that work out? People don't believe their President and they don't believe their representatives anymore. Who could blame them?

Lately, we’ve seen Congress drop another $3 billion so my neighbors can buy a new car, subsidized by me and you. The Cash for Clunkers ran out of money three months faster than Congress anticipated. Imagine if they miss the mark that much with health care.

Wanting to confront a congress representative is a time honored right and tradition in America. Angry mobs are what brought America into existence. So don’t get mad at the mobs, get mad that you can’t explain what you are trying to do. It’s not my style, but as long as it works, the left and right will continue to use it.

The fact that none of this even goes into effect for three or four years gives us time to debate and work on a real reform for health care. And not a plan that just pleases Congress and the President, but one that the majority of the people will be satisfied with as well. That only makes sense.

My political leanings are basically Libertarian. I have little use for Republican or Democrat hacks. They live where the air doesn’t move. They abuse corporate CEOs for flying on private jets at the same time they are ordering an 8-plane private fleet for themselves.

They have the world’s best health care. They have a choice of top private medical plans and access to their own clinic and doctors. When asked if they will scrap their plan and join the one they propose for us the answer is pretty vague.

So here’s my idea. I think health care reform is an extremely important issue, one that needs to be addressed sooner than later. Of course, Social Security and Medicare are other extremely important funding issues that also need addressing.

The Congressional races are coming up in 2010, I think both parties should come up with their best plans for dealing with health care reforms. They should also explain how much the plans will cost and who will pay for them and how. Then the folks running for office should choose which of the plans they support and run on that.

That will basically turn the 2010 mid-term elections into a referendum on health care reform. People can vote for the single-payer plan or a reform plan that stops short of that. Then based on the results of that election, then Congress will have a sense and maybe even a consensus of what people want.

But what we don’t need is Congressional representatives shutting down debate or maligning folks who are expressing their First Amendment Rights, organized or not.

So Jennifer, I don’t know if that explains why people are angry, but the lack of respect for dissent – on both sides – is a disturbing trend.


Jim of L-Town said...

Please, no more birther people here. This adds nothing to the debate.

If we could just debate issues without getting into the looney side issues, it would be so much more fruitful.

Jim of L-Town said...

Igor said...
Obama qualifications to reform health care:

No birth certificate

Can not stop smoking

Difficulty telling the truth.

Narcissistic personality disorder.

Jim of L-Town said...

Sorry Igor, I pulled your links off my website because they do not fit the level of conversation I want here.

I have edited and replaced some of your post, but the links violated my rules for posting.

Anonymous said...

Excellent explanation, Jim, very very good. It might even penetrate your intended audience, though I dearly love both Jennifers, I'm not sure logic will combat their love for Obama.

Anonymous said...

Congress is not vague about not wanting to join its own creation. They have said that they will not join. They are proposing this bill as an alternative to a private plan or alternative to not having health care. They say, "If you are happy with your own plan, you may keep it. This is about freedom of choice." Obviously, they are choosing to stick the bill (the proposed law and the money for their world-class care) to the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Jim, you're not the only one.

The Wall Street Journal is full of stuff today about how Obama is attacking critics, not based on logic, but on loyalty.

Dorothy Rabinowitz has an excellent column today on that very point, as does William McGurn.

Funny how the Dems think debate and questions are an attack on democracy and a conspiracy, after the way they treated Bush.

Wait till we get to the part about abortion being a required benefit in a single-payer, no option national health care plan ...

chiapet said...

In these overheated times, I’d like to add to some of the comments made by my good friend Jim, especially about the anger expressed in town halls lately. I was tempted to paste “Just say no!” a few thousand times but I thought that might not make my point. But what is the point of a group of red faces shouting “Just say no!” just so a congressman or woman can’t speak. I was taught that you can’t learn anything by talking – let alone shouting -- all the time. Couldn’t the rabble allow the member of Congress to explain a position for a few minutes, then boo for ten minutes? Simmer and repeat. That would be a free expression of dissent, but also allow a free expression of an elected representative’s positions. Town halls are considered the purest expression of democracy. Lately, however, many are more akin to anarchy. Yes, I know our country started out as rabble, but at some point we came to work together toward a common purpose. It seems to me that health care should be a common purpose. I admit I have a personal stake in this. After my first wife died, I remarried, but my second wife could not be covered under my policy. Even though I worked 25-plus years to carry the coverage for my family into retirement. They were worried about a second wife insurance scam, I guess. We couldn’t afford to buy a good plan (like members of Congress have), so we in effect pay our premiums plus the first $2, 500 of medical expense each year. Blue Cross will happily cover the rest. Except there’s no dental coverage, no prescription coverage, no eye coverage. Yes, I would like to see a health plan that offers something more than that. Soon. I’ll even take a socialized plan like my Medicare, which works great for me. As far as having another referendum on health care, I thought that was what the last election was about, to a large degree. Let’s get it done now, not push it down the road another two years.
I had joked recently that I would be a good candidate for euthanasia under Obamacare. I don’t joke about it any more. Too many people apparently believed me. Why shouldn’t they? Leaders of this country say euthanasia is in the bill. One of the last vice presidential candidates said there would be death panels. Why is there anger? If I really thought the death panel statement was true, I’d be doing some red-faced yelling, too. On Sunday, Newt Gingrich was ranting about it on ABC. George S. quietly interrupted him by saying, “It’s not in the bill.” Newt paused a millisecond and went right on ranting. This was one of the few times I’ve seen where a media person tried to handle it correctly. This “he said, she said” balance should be thrown out when something is patently false. At the risk of getting this post deleted, this is where I have to bring up the birthers. How can it be that only 42 percent of Republicans believe that Obama was born in the U.S.? That means most of the party either doesn’t believe it or is confused (I hope that doesn’t include the few Republicans I voted for in the last election). This in spite of fact check organizations who have touched the birth certificate and a Republican governor of Hawaii who has checked it out. Lincoln said you can fool some of the people all of the time. Certain Republicans and certain talk show rabble rousers (I’m talking about you Rush, and you Glenn Beck) seem to have perfected this art as far as Obama and health care are concerned. They don’t let the facts get in their way. Topic #1, of course, is that socialist, Nazi (fill in the worst adjective you can think of here) Obama. The more preposterous their statements, the more play they get in the media echo chamber. And the more anger gets expressed in the town hall meetings. Yes, I think there is a connection. And it’s disquieting, in more ways than one.

Jim of L-Town said...


I agree with you on the stupidity of the tactic of trying to shout down people. As I said, it is not my style. I don't even think it works, but it is protected speech.

The last election was long on platitudes - health reform - but short on specifics - what kind.

The plan as proposed by Congress now doesn't even go into effect until after 2012, so if there is a rush to get it started, I don't see that in the current bill.

Chances are, if enough people are upset, the apple cart will get overturned in 2010 and you essentially will have the whole process undone anyway.

What I am proposing is a national referendum on specific bills. A single payer plan - as desired by the President and many of his supporters and something much less, but that would reform the current plan and offer something to those not covered.

And when I say specifics I mean details on how you are going to cover people and how you are going to pay for it, now and in the future.

But I'm with you chiapet on the need for health care reform.

Anonymous said...

Bush and the Republican-dominated House did exactly what you're accusing Obama/Dems of doing: pushed forward with their agenda without pause, dissent be damned. And more filibustering strategy and late-night bill cramming-down-throats than any other Congress in this nation's history. HAD to see this coming from the Dems once they got majority back.

At least the Obama administration isn't arresting protestors for holding signs it doesn't like.

Couldn't say that about Bush administration.

Jim of L-Town said...

Anonymous 21:19:

Actually, I agree with you. That's why I think both the Republicans and Democrats are rotten. They are driven only by ideology. It's win-lose. Both sides refuse to work with the other and seek a consensus or ideas from the other.

President Obama promised to do that, but then the other day said he just wanted his critics to get out of the way. So much for consensus.

To be fair, President Bush said exactly the same thing and look how that worked out.

I know this is a pipe dream and will never happen, but if the Republicrats could ever put aside their partisan bickering and self-serving attitudes we might get something done in this country.

The pigs can take off now.

So I'm not disagreeing with you, but the cycle of gotcha never seems to end.

A pox on both of their houses.

Riva said...

This is interesting. My question is, are CATS covered under Obama family health care plan?