Mar 19, 2010

A Few Thoughts on the Health Care Reform Mania

When I arrived home from teaching a class today I remembered my cell phone was off, and when I turned it back on the voicemail alert sounded. I listened for a few seconds to a Republican member of Congress, and when she arrived at the phrase "Democratic plan to take over the American health care system," I shut it off and deleted the message, which actually originated from a Repulican National Committee phone system in Washington, DC.

Yes, friends, it is official: I no longer care about the debate.

The unabashedly partisan rhetoric from both sides has worn down my desire to pay attention to this issue. By my halfhearted count I have received four robo-calls, deleted eight spam emails, and viewed dozens of television ads in the past week on this topic. I am simply tired of listening to and reading the endless barrage of blatantly misleading nonsense related to the health care reform legislation.

If people question portions of the package, they are heartless thugs who want to see babies die from a lack of medical care, and of course anyone who supports this health care reform package is either a dirty Red or a willing dupe.

You know the political drill.

Left: salacious headline from the Drudge Report (click for larger image)

One of the funnier attempts to spread disinformation about the health care reform package popped up on the Drudge Report yesterday. Matt Drudge linked to a story about how Walgreens stores in the state of Washington will no longer accept new state Medicaid patients on April 1, and the fear-laden hyperlinked title tried to imply that this is the first falling domino in what will be the collapse of the entire U.S. health care system:


Uh, Matt Drudge? The Walgreens Corporation is no stranger to the game of redlining pharmacy customers, and their refusal to honor insurance coverage extends into the private sector. The company refused to accept two private insurance plans I have used in the past few years, both of which were prominent insurance companies. My son's medicine would have cost $350 a month at Walgreens, which would not accept my insurance, or $51 a month at Rite Aid, which gladly accepted my insurance.

The Walgreens corporate strategy has nothing to do with the current health care reform debate, and I might argue that it is reflective of the type of problems President Obama and the Democrats claim they will fix.

That is, if I actually cared any more about this debate.

And really: I have listened to hundreds and perhaps thousands of politicians predict the worst sorts of doomsday scenarios in my lifetime, none of which ever materialized. Democratic politicians and union leaders predicted planes would crash en masse after Reagan fired the PATCO air traffic controllers in 1981, and they claimed that children and the elderly would starve to death when he cut social spending.

And don't even get me started about the insane predictions by the far right of the endless waves of bloodthirsty Islamic jihadists who were supposed to attack America and force our women to wear burqas if Barack Obama became president. So far we have seen an underwear bomber with a bad case of adult acne plus a few lone domestic lunatics carrying out bloody attacks, but still no sign of the Islamist apocalypse that the fringe right promised.

If the Democratic reform plan turns out to be a legislative dud, it will be jettisoned faster than a pack of rabid dogs on a blind cat with three legs. The country will not sink into a socialist dictatorship, nor will thousands of employers close their doors and ship 10 million jobs overseas (not that this has not already happened, by the way, but work with me). If the Democrats indeed screw up the American health care system worse than it already is, the voters are smart enough to send their asses packing.

And if the Dems happen to get something right? Hallelujah. Meanwhile, I am going for a nice healthy walk to take some pictures of the spring plants poking through the soil, and I will probably dust off the hammock to soak up some late afternoon sunshine.

If anything happens that is not drenched with partisan bullshit, email me: I turned my phone off.


Anonymous said...

As a historian you ought to know the Russians were too tired to care, too, when the murderous Bolsheviks came to power in 1918.

historymike said...

And... thanks for a timely proving of my point about partisan idiocy, Anonymous.

Also, I wouldn't bother to correct a minor fact error, but since you tried to attack my credentials as a historian simply for voicing my opinion on health care, I should remind you that the Bolshevik Revolution occurred in 1917, not 1918.

Mad Jack said...

I was right with you until you said, ...the voters are smart enough to send their asses packing.


These are the very same voters that gave us:
President Jimmy Carter, who gave away the Panama Canal, hammered US farmers with the Russian wheat deal, failed to back the Shah of Iran and bungled the Iranian hostage crises. I even liked President Carter and voted for him. I still like him - but his term in the White House was not as (ahem) productive as I might have hoped.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, who inspired the infamous slogan "Hey, Hey El Bee Jay, How many kids did you kill today?!" and who opposed civil rights legislation that would help disenfranchised African Americans when he was in Congress but gave the very same legislation tacit support after he attained the White House. The same LBJ designed and passed the Great Society programs that have provided the US with a gigantic money pit.

President William J. Clinton, AKA Slick Willy. How do you spell NAFTA? Although Slick's womanizing was on a par with JFK, his real screw up was encouraging millions of jobs to leave the US.

The Stupid Party isn't any better. We have:
Ronald Reagan, who promoted gun control and was up to his eyebrows in the Iran-Contra scandal. The national debt triples during the Reagan years.
King George I, Thousand points of light, no new taxes and now we have more debt.
King George II, who started the biggest money pit in history when he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, and increased military spending.

I'm leaving Tricky Dick out on purpose as neither party wants to claim him.

Maggie Thurber said...

I completely understand the desire to no longer pay attention - besides, it's too nice of a day, plus it's a Friday.

Enjoy your break, but don't stay out of the discussion too long - common sense is needed in this debate.

Maggie Thurber said...

I remembered this cartoon when reading your post - thought you might enjoy it too!

mud_rake said...

Maggie! Gosh, isn't it nice to be able to post one's opinion here without censorship???

Mad Jack- your bit of presidential nostalgia was random at best. You seemed to skip over Bush 41 and Bush 43. Surely there might be a few tidbits of trivia you could have added about these two presidents.

Did you see the photo of the 'Children of Liberty' in the Blade today? [cute name that assumes Liberty was animate] There they were shouting and chanting at the rush-hour commuters, "Kill the bill! Kill the bill!"

Imagine taking the time and energy to drive downtown, bring placards, and shout 'kill the bill!' The idiocy of it all is amazing.

I asked on my blog, "What do these people have to lose with this bill?" Unless they are insurance salesmen or are heavily invested in medical stocks, their demonstration was mindless idiocy.

If they were true 'libertarians' as the Blade report suggested, then where were they with their signs during the Bush Budget Busting years?

Where were they with their signs during the War on Iraq?

Silent. That's where they were.

Rather, they are a bunch of ideologues with a skewed vision of what America ought to be.

As an aside, I attempted to question the 'libertarian' philosophy on Maggie's blog, but was shut down because of 'inappropriate' comments.

It gives a wholly humorous meaning to the term, 'libertarian.'

Thanks, Mike, for offering your blog for the free-flow of ideas.