Thursday, July 30, 2009

Talkin' 'bout health care (THE DEUCE)

One of my talents, as Karen has told me, is thinking and responding on the fly. Thus, when I made a status update on myface today it unfurled a nice conversation between friends. Not unlike yesterday's posting, here's what I've written (so far) under my status update:

Paul Boshears status:
It seems ruthless, yes, that American society has no problem imagining giant robots destroying the world (we'd even entertain a sequel - why hello Transformers 2), but it's inconceivable to us that we'd make access to health care universal. (2 hours ago)

Q: Who's going to pay for it?

Let's be adults here: the only people that are going to benefit from this talk of "who's going to pay?" aren't going to be us (those that would benefit the most) - as usual - it will be those with the most money (those that see no immediate gain). The problem is that those in a position to stall this development (of common decency), once again, cannot see beyond immediate benefits. Look at the rhetoric: it's clear single payer will happen, but those in power want to steer the conversation such that it makes sense to postpone another 60 years. That's immoral and it's a shame. Meanwhile, those vehemently opposed to providing universal health care because of "financial" principles are up in arms about not being able to spend more than this amount on things that simply explode and create a less-stable world. Literally would rather burn the money than invest it in us.

Q: But I already pay about 30% of my income in taxes, why should I have to pay for the nation's sick?

Why don't people see that this attitude of "why should I pay taxes?" is precisely what leads to corruption? The end result is that those that can afford to pay taxes the least don't have access to the resources (accountants, lobbying firms, etc.) that would reduce their tax expenditures; while those that can afford to pay the most, perversely, also can afford to pay the armies of accountants, lobbyists, lawyers, etc. to ensure that they actually pay less in taxes than the rest of us. That's immoral and it's shameful.

Q: I'm not saying I'm against health care reform, I just think the hold up is around who will pay for it [I'm also going to expand this to suggest that what is implied here is that it's normal to have these kinds of stalls, although my commenter did not say this]

That's what I'm saying, though: it's a shame that those that can hold this up will do so and present the hold up as though the matter were mind-bendingly difficult; meanwhile, it's no leap of the imagination that Bruce Willis could save us from a meteor impact. Or that we could spend trillions of dollars on destroying other people's countries.

Q: But if giant robots can run off imaginary resources, why can't our government?

since we are that imaginary resource, why shouldn't we be well-maintained? What's the point of supporting a government (that taxes us anyways) if our government won't support us? Isn't that the essence of commonwealth?

Q: I am not convinced that our government will do even a reasonably okay job at health care should this succeed. They can barely manage to get my driver's license correct; why would I trust them with my life?

You already do trust them with your life: look at the roads you drive on; the food you eat, the materials in your home.

What is it about universal health care that is going to turn all our doctors into medicine men from the neolithic age? Will their thermometers stop working and the antibiotics rise against us?

Q: The point of supporting the government is that you don't get thrown in prison. Our economy is being devoured at both ends, and making healthcare "free" instead of fixing it.... well if the system crashes badly enough they might rebuild it right, so there is hope. I don't know exactly who you mean by "we", but I'm not so sure the american people as a whole count as energon, at least not as a matter of right.

all we mean by rights these days, it seems, is the ability to own something. the first thing we should be able to then own is our bodies, how else will we perform in an economy without this?

Q: What I mean is that I think the government is already far too large and I don't think they need to get bigger. I do not want or need them to invade every single aspect of life.

The house is burning, what do you do; try to put it out and salvage the rubble or pour gasoline on the flames and hope something rises from the ashes?

The house isn't on fire and why would anyone think to put gas on it? This is precisely the "Bruce Willis and Will Smith can save us if only we had the right nuke" kind of thinking that I'm trying to illuminate here.

Q: I'm just saying, people will never realise what they should do until they see the consequences of what they shouldn't.

well, I think that there have been numerous examples of people in all areas and all times that have had foresight; in fact, the lack of foresight is the implicit argument in this whole conversation.

the trouble with foresight is that it requires courage on the part of those that have it. The irony of hindsight is that it seems so clear to all the cowards why they shouldn't have spoken-up.

Q: Unfortunately no one's agreeing and really, we're all one big pile of tiny factions, instead of a large group of people thinking together for the common good. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of universal healthcare, I hope we get it; but it's going to take something big to shake the American people and say, "Hey! Think about it!"

Something big or just conversations like these?

And I'm really resistant to the idea that we are a collection of factions. We have a long tradition in the English-speaking world of talking about being of a group. Like John Donne in the 17th century wrote: No man is an island... every man's death lesson's me for I am a part of humanity... ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

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