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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Health Insurance

My last three weeks have been absolutely frantic, so I've missed most of the healthcare "debate." Even so I'll throw in my two cents. The idiotacracy which broadly and self-congratulatorily slaps itself on the back about how much "choice" we Americans have in our healthcare is entirely deceived.

1) Universal healthcare has nothing to do with you if you already have health insurance. None of the proposals have done away with private healthcare.

2) Who gives a flying fuck about your choices, if you have healthcare, you should take a back seat to the 50+ million people who don't. Get over yourself. People are dying, worse, people are suffering completely needlessly over the selfishness of a tyrannical majority.

3) This is what kills me. Very few Americans with healthcare have a choice. Your employer has a choice. If you have a spouse, or you are old enough to be on medicare, you have a choice. Otherwise you are fucked. I think my health plan stinks. To be sure, it's a hell a lot better than not having one. But I can't go anywhere else for care. If my health insurance carrier won't provide for my treatment, I don't get it. How's that for choices.

Moreover, every doctor I've had has told me that the healthcare companies that have provided me with health insurance (two companies over the past few years) have screwed them [the doctors] over at every turn.

But saying that the American "system" is diverse and competitive, and provides people with choices is the worst kind of lie. Like Hitler's "the big lie." It's so grossly untrue, ludicrous even, that you don't even know whether to laugh at it or debunk it. That's right, I brought out Hitler. Swatting houseflies with a cannon? Hardly, the beast that is the opposition to healthcare has reared its ugly head for fifty years in this country. It's disgusting. Mostly, it's embarrassing at how selfish, base, and uneducated the majority of universal healthcare's opponents are.

4) Lastly, I heard a Republican Congressman on Bill Maher's show the other night. He was saying, and I paraphrase, "if a college student, or a teenager doesn't want to have to have health insurance, I think they have the right to make that choice." I heard this and had to turn off the podcast. I was revolted. I went without health insurance for 4 years because I had to. Sure I was a 20 something in New York. And I was very lucky. And the one time I did get really sick, the city's free clinics (socialism!!!) provided respite. But it wasn't a choice. It was pay 600 dollars a month (the same as my rent at the time--and there was no way I could have afforded it) or take a chance with my life, and with my credit. Again, I was incredibly lucky. What is it about Republicans and Blue Dog Dems that means they have utterly lost the capacity to feel empathy for their fellow man?

The other great joke about healthcare in the US is that, my private healthplan is perfectly capable of forcing me to accept or not accept treatment. My employer, and most mid-size to large companies are like this, refuse to employ workers who do not accept healthcare. Why? Liability, plain and simple. So instead of being forced by the oppressive hand of government. You're forced by the oppressive hand of the market. (Part-time and low wage workers are clearly a different story. But they too are forced by the oppressive market)

Quite simply, it's as that great Phil Agre article says. Conservatism is nothing less than a reformulation of monarchial aristocracy. Some people are better than others, some people deserve better than others, and we deserve to maintain control over them. You'd think that would be completely repugnant to most people, considering that the elite is less than 10% of the world. It isn't, clearly. Agre does a better job of explaining it, but I'll say this: It is a testament to the perpetual myopia of humankind that even if they might not be the cats meow, they are perfectly willing to admit that they're a hell of a lot better than someone else.

Vonnegut put it well

Americans, like humans everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue, the monograph went on. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.