Friday, July 24, 2009
Health Care: What Republicans are Really Up To
When it comes to the health care issue, I'm not fully versed on the minutiae. But as an adult in America, do I really need to be? Who hasn't had the experience (or known somebody who has) of going through medical/dental procedures, and had to deal with insurance companies? Who hasn't felt like they pay too much for insurance, for too little benefit? Just about everybody has a horror story of their own, or of a close family member or friend.
I've heard several stories about eternal waits in emergency rooms. I've heard several stories about declined coverage for people who thought they were covered. I've had to pay for procedures and medicines I thought I was covered for. I know about the entire divisions of insurance company employees whose only job is to try to deny coverage. Any reason will do. They'll even deny coverage for no good reason, and wait to see if the claim is resubmitted, or if you just pay it out of your pocket. Then of course, most of us know of someone who has fallen into financial ruin due to a medical crisis.
So, how is it that right-wing talk radio, FOX "News" and conservative politicians have been moderately successful in convincing their base that a federal health care plan is a bad idea? Somehow, they're convincing a group of people--which must have a large percentage of people who should know better--that we have "the best health care system in the world!" They demonized European and Canadian health plans, as though nobody here in the states has experienced it while travelling, or knows people from those countries. How are they having any success at selling their "let's leave it the way it is" agenda?
There are a couple of things I can think of. 1) The Karl Rove reality altering machinery isn't completely broken down yet, and some people just reflexively believe what comes out of it. 2) Every single issue in America has come down to a left-right divide, and since Democrats are for a health care plan, a Republican has to oppose it by default.
That's all I've got. But figuring out what the Republicans are up to is a lot easier than sussing out why their followers believe it. Clearly, the GOP/RNC want to stall, stall, stall on health care, so that President Obama gets either a watered-down, "pleases nobody" plan, or they want it--and him--to fail utterly. And they want this to happen as close to the 2010 political season as possible. They want one or both houses of Congress back, and they see this as their best shot to do it. Which it is. Given the cast of clowns in their all-star roster, all they can do is hope for failure on the other side. It's just amazing to me that they've had any success so far. But we should never underestimate the right-wing base's ability to ignore their own experience, and believe what Rush Limbaugh tells them.