Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Morning In Health Care

Image credit: Five Thirty-Eight

A few things from around the Internet to tide you over until I've thought of something to write...

First, Taylor Marsh notes that, once again, President Van Pelt hid behind the couch rather than back up Rep. Steny Hoyer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi and Hoyer wrote an op-ed yesterday saying that the rude, ignorant people who have showed up to disrupt health care town halls were "un-American":

“I think there’s actually a pretty long tradition of people shouting at politicians in America,” White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One when asked about the comments. - ABC News

Well, this was predictable. After yesterday’s op-ed, where Pelosi and Hoyer went out on a very long limb calling the town hall brawl inciters “un-American,” today we get the White House sawing off the branch.

Obama Throws Pelosi Under a Bus for ‘Un-american’ Rant

If I'd bothered to think about what Obama might say in response, I suppose I could have predicted it, too. I would also have predicted that, after delivering the sound byte that cut off Hoyer and Pelosi at the knees, his press secretary would then go on to say the same thing they did:

Now, if you just want to come to a town hall so that you can disrupt and so that you can scream over another person, he doesn’t think that that's productive. And as a country, we've been able to make progress when people actually talk out what our problems are, not try to shout each other down."

White House Disputes Pelosi Contention that Town Hall Protests are "Un-American"

Don't hurt yourselves straddling that fence, guys.

Yes, we Americans have a long tradition of shouting things at our politicians, particularly when those politicians screw up. Usually, though, the people shouting have some idea what it is they're shouting. Not so nowadays, as this quote that was on the Investors' Business Daily website shows:

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Good Thing Stephen Hawking Doesn't Live In England

As anyone who would have bothered to check Wikipedia before writing an editorial would have known, Dr. Hawking has been a Cambridge professor for almost forty years. They've now explained away this bit of stupidity with this note:

Editor's Note: This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.

How House Bill Runs Over Grandma

Students of English will note that they didn't imply that he didn't live in England, they stated that he couldn't have survived there even though he actually did. You don't have to be smart to write editorials for the IBD, just utterly shameless.

Speaking of England, Nate Silver at Five Thirty-Eight tries to dispel the confusion some folks may have about what the difference is between single payer and socialized medicine in an article entitled "Not All Socialist Countries Are Alike". It's hilarious, and don't worry, there are lots of pictures.

Of course, as Ian Welsh pointed out, we Americans had already figured out another name to call single-payer:

The whole “you can’t sell single payer” is turning out to be, well, rather questionable. Because the way things are going it’s fairly clear you can’t sell some godawful hodgepodge either and all the screaming about “you’re going to take away my Medicare” indicates that a lot of the people who oppose Obamacare, love Medicare.

When you’re trying to explain something, you do so by metaphor in almost all cases. Everyone knows what Medicare is. The majority of people with Medicare are happy with it and even people without Medicare know people (usually their parents or grandparents) who have it, and whom it’s working for.

Fear Techniques wouldn’t work nearly as well on “Medicare for all”

It's really hard to believe that folks in DC, who are used to coming up with snappy messages to sell even the stupidest ideas, couldn't have thought of this slogan on their own.

I figure if we're going to be boned like the new guy in prison by insurance companies, the politicians and editorialists they own, and the loudmouthed ignoramuses who are willing to do their bidding, we might as well laugh about it. Laughter is good for us. We're not going to get health care any time soon, so we'd better learn to find alternatives.

UPDATE: Added quote from Ian Welsh, since it's so cool, and many folks might have missed it even though it was written yesterday.

No comments: