Sunday, January 23, 2011

So Like a Rush

Nationalizing businesses, nationalizing banks is not a solution for the democratic party, it's the objective.

                  --Rush Limbaugh

Every time the government grows we lose more of who we are.

                  --Glenn Beck

The nine scariest words in the English language: "I'm from the government, and I'm hear to help you."
                    --Ronald Reagan

I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.
It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.
Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.
Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.

                     --Franklin Delano Roosevelt

As Hendrick Hertzberg pointed out in Monday's New Yorker (1/24/11) when the news broke about the Tuscon shootings, no one's first thought was that some unhinged leftist was responsible.

As President Obama said, we'll never know what formed the mind of the killer.

 But we all have a pretty clear hunch, an intution, however unscientific, certain kinds of minds are receptive to certain kinds of messages. The hyperbolic paranoid right has been putting out urgent Jerimiads for years, and if you think black helicopters in the sky are attempting to control your mind with radio waves, well then, you have not been directed to take a shot at Rand Paul or Glenn Beck or John Boehner; you know who the traitors are.

When Spiro Agnew was spewing forth his vitriol as Vice President, the newspapers were so inundated with anti Semetic and anti efete liberal letters they simply decided to print none of them, for fear of what they would incite. That was hate speech then. I don't know what those editors would make of what Glenn Beck is saying now.

Someone told me at work the other day that Social Security was an outrage: It was theft from her personal bank account. As surely as if a highwayman had robbed her, she had no choice but to give up her money or her life and freedom if she did not hand over her hard earned cash. She sent me a long email listing the horrible things that Social Security has done or that have been done to Social Security over the years: The card was never meant to become a national ID card, but just try signing into a hospital without giving up that number; the funds were supposed to be held for pensioners, but the account has been raided by Congress to fund the rest of the government and so on.

And I had to agree with her about the hits Social Security has taken--the email she forwarded (one can only guess the source) were like seeing the trees--lots of bad things have happened to a very good idea. But one has to see the forest, of course:Social Security is, has been and continues to be and will continue to be one of the greatest successes of any government on the planet.

That's why the Republicans hate it so. That's why they want to "Privatize" i.e. destroy it.

If they could turn it into a part of the New York stock exchange, they would. In fact, that's exatly what they tried to do when George W. Bush was president. The GOP didn't recall any of that--every memory of that effort vanished as soon as the stock market tanked in 2009.

Who us?

So the idea that American citizens have to be forced to plan for the future is an anathema to Republicans. I'm a free born man of the U.S.A. I should not be forced to do anything. Any government does that is a tyranny.

It's a very pretty  fantasy: Never force any citizen to do anything against his will.

The problem happens when a thousand motorcyclists who wanted to ride without helmets do not die. They shout Live Free or Die, but the thing is, they do not actually die. If they died, okay, they made their choice. But instead they are paralyzed quadraplegics.

And guess what happens then? Guess who has to pay for their care, their respirators, their bladder catheters? Not those free spritis, not Glenn Beck. The government winds up with the bill. The citizens.

And when people who are young and healthy and figure they don't need health insurance because they are not sick, they are probably, statistically speaking, correct. Yes, truth be told, we need the young who are healthy and not likely to draw from health accounts to pay into these so all the old gomers who are sick can have a bigger pot from which to draw. Sad but true. The young support the old.

But the thing is, as Atul Gawande suggests in his article about medicare care of the uninsured in Camden New Jersey, it's these uninsured who are wrecking the medical financial system. And some of the uninsured are those young paralyzed motorcyclists. Most are not. Most are drug addicts, elderly, mental ill, mentally incompetant, unemployed immigrants. A lot of them are people Glenn Beck would have no sympathy for. People he would throw to the wolves and he would tell us we are going to bring the country down with all our sympathy and willingness to let them suck from the government teat.

But he never spells out what he would do with these people in the ER. What do you want us to do with them Glenn? Rush, got any answers? John?

One building in Camden sent fifty seven patients, mostly elderly,  to the Emergency Room with falls resulting in three million dollars in health care bills. Looking at a block by block analysis of hospital costs, Dr. Jeffrey Brenner discovered that over six years nine hundred people in two buildings accounted for more than four thousand hospital visits and two hundred million dollars in health care bills. One patient had three hundred and twenty four admission in five years. One patient alone cost the system $3.5 million dollars over six years.

But does big John Boehner want to force any of these system destroyers to buy medical insurance?  Some of them had Medicare, no doubt. Many did not.

But even if all of them had Medicare, none of them were capable of taking care of themselves in the sense none of them stayed out of the ER. So what's your solution to this problem, oh all knowing rightist seers?

What if I said, maybe the government should get in there with some public health initiative and spend a little money up front so we can stop the financial hemorrhaging downstream?

Oh, government take over! Socialism! End of America as we know it. We've given up the best and most essential part of ourselves as Americans.

Would Glenn or Rush describe the government intrusion of forcing people to buy health care insurance as anything other than tryanny, government in your wallet, government destroying free choice, government controlling minds with radio waves and computers?

No, for John, Rush, Glenn and all the paranoid right, the delusion of the perfectly free soul is too precious to give up in the face of these cold statistics. Your freedom to live off the grid is more important than the idea that your lack of planning becomes my emergency. 

Actually, my problem is your  idea that we each should have the choice of living off the grid.

Take that idea to abducto ad absurdum and none of us should be forced to not uriante in the streets, or to defecate in the town square, or to have indoor toilets with a hook up to the town sewer lines. 

Take it further and none of us should be pushed around by the department of public health to get our kids vaccinated against the measles or against polio and we should be able to send our unvaccinated kids to school to infect others.

But then again, that isn't such an absurd argument that live free types haven't made it.

Public health, be damned. Give me my gun.

Until of course, we need help. Then just take me to the ER.

No comments:

Post a Comment