Deforming Health Care

Just about a year ago, for the first time in modern American history, voters selected a president who had not been vetted and funded by Big Money. In the euphoria of the celebration, we did not notice for a while that no similar winds of change had blown through the Congress. As a result the drive for health care reform (or was it health care insurance reform? Or both?) by the new president, with the backing of about 70 per cent of the American people, has not only missed the cup, in the parlance of golf, but the green, and cannot be found anywhere on the fairway. They are out among the trees now, looking for its remains.

The reason is straightforward. Every member of congress wakes up every day knowing that he or she must raise a minimum of $2,000 that day, on average, just to stay in office. People who need health insurance, or who are sick, don’t have two thousand dollars to give to anyone. Insurance companies, drug companies, hospital companies, and all the other players in the health care industry (imagine an advanced society that calls the practice of medicine an industry) have millions to give, and they have given it, and it has worked.

This is the reason for every position taken by every politician on this issue. Forget Democrat/Republican, liberal/conservative, the calculation is this and only this: what position can I take that will not jeopardize my fundraising and will not too seriously enrage my constituents? All the weight here is on the money side. Make the corporations mad and the money is gone, just like that. Make the constituents mad and there’s always time and money to distract them with spectres such as death squads for the elderly and creeping socialism. (Once in a great while, something — usually a sex scandal — erupts that is beyond the ability of a rash of commercials to fix. Ignoring the need of the American people for decent, affordable health care is apparently not one of those trigger issues.)

The gnashing of teeth over socialism and big government are especially diverting, mainly because they are taken at face value by journalists and pundits who should know better. The folks who rail against “socialized medicine” have no problem with socialism for agribusiness and nuclear power generating plants, neither of which could exist without constant government support. They like our socialized roads and investment banks. They have not seen a war they would not finance forever and ever, amen. But to spend government money to care for the sick and the poor? Why, that’s not only socialist, it’s un-Christian. And moreover, it interferes with cash flow.

The Moneycrats, the only actual political party with power in America today, have become adept at staking out grotesque, content-free positions that become one-half of the ongoing discussion, mainly because of lazy journalists trying to appear fair and balanced. Politicians trying to serve their pharmaceutical-medical-industrial cash cows by defeating a bill that would limit profits need not concern themselves with merits, they just need to start screaming that it creates death squads who will kill Grandma if she’s too needy. Despite the fact that no one ever proposed it, no such language is in the bill, and no sane person would consider the proposition, they get half the face time in all the debates, and half the ink, for weeks on end.

With that kind of exposure, created by spinning fables or spending money, you can convince 20 per cent of the people of just about anything and thus drive a stake in the heart of an otherwise evenly divided debate. About 20 per cent of Americans believe they saw Elvis recently, or were abducted by space aliens. The Bush Administration managed to convince well over 60 per cent of Americans that Iraq was involved with the attacks of 9/11, without ever claiming it! All they did was mention the two names, 9/11 and Iraq, in close proximity, over and over and over.

Thus when Obama and 70 per cent of Americans strode forth last January to rationalize a health-care system and a health care insurance system that is rapidly sinking to sub-Third-World standards under the weight of corporate greed, the Moneycrats simply began throwing Congressional lines over his, and our, hands and feet, one at a time, until he and we lie staked out in the National Mall unable to move to help ourselves. We will declare it a victory now, from our prostrate position, when we get a bill that gives the insurance companies 40 million new paying customers (they will, by the way, be “socialized” customers, paying with government money). They will then be able to hire and train thousands more people to deny claims. That’s called “job creation.”

The deforming of health care has demonstrated, in plain view, once again, the new Golden Rule of American politics: who has the gold, rules.

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3 Responses to Deforming Health Care

  1. Dan Treecraft says:

    I’m new, here. Just “discovered” you yesterday – linked from TheOilDrum.

    “Moneycrats” (!!!) Now, don’t I wish I’d come up with that? I’ll be spreading it around.

    About O’Bama, and his lack of connection to the corporate feedbags – as you put it: not “vetted and funded by Big Money”. Are you dead serious about that? Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Ben Bernanke, Robert Rubin, GOLDMAN-SACHS? A few hundred billion dollars in blatant welfare payments to some of the most lucre-y-stained humans on the planet? Would you like to make any clarification about Mr. O’Bama’s lack of smirch? Better than anyone previously, O’Bama may have thralled more under-one-hundred dollar donations to the hem of his cloak, but what about the other few hundred billion that came (in also record-size bales) from the Usual Suspects? It’s bread and circus, illusion and delusion, as far as I can see, inside this doomed 757.

    Carolyn Baker speaks for my understanding of how Money/Politics works
    in our time. In her book, SACRED DEMISE, she states (roughly): “no one can obtain his own party’s nomination, much less win, a presidential election, unless he is firmly in the pocket of America’s corporations”. You don’t think she’s cuckoo do you? Granted, a guy can’t please all corporate interests – he has to make some choices. With regard to Mr. O’Bama’s financial purity, if I simply follow the money, it leads me (astonishingly!) to Goldman-Sachs top floor. Imagine that!

    I’m looking forward to obtaining a copy of BRACE FOR IMPACT, as soon as I figure out which pair of my wife’s kids to sell to white slavers. Your book looks like a perfect follow-up to Bill Catton’s nearly-thirty-year-old OVERSHOOT. I’m frankly obsessed with the Peak Oil/Environmental Rape/Global Warming/Economic Collapse TRAIN WRECK we are headed into. I’m also, frankly, pretty resigned to watching us kill ourselves and our children, and theirs…. We’re not wired for this sort of thing. Denial, and deeply-evolved Short Term Attention trumps any serious response to the grinder ahead – for at least 90% of people. Any young Wooly Mammoth caught obsessing about rising CO2 levels, or the eventual extermination of his species at the hands of the recent two-legged interlopers, was likely to become Sabre-tooth Tiger poop by the end of the week. Same for us.

    We’ve Wile E. Coyote’d ourselves off the cliff some time back. Overshoot has occurred. At one time, this Earth could support a few million of our kind. It ain’t in such good condition, now, since the discovery of matches and gasoline. And with nearly one thousand times ( 1000 x ) as many of us scrabbling over the last shreds. Time, now, to brace for impact. At least, moving to a remote hideout in Montana narrows the list of deadly ways to die: Starvation, Hypothermia, or Lethal Bullet-wounding. Then again, who knows how it will play out, exactly? At 60 years, part of me would like to live another ten – to see what happens.

    One captioned picture on your new book’s web page cinched MY determination to acquire BFI – the houses being engulfed in a tsunami of dust, and your intimation that some bad mythology was about to go down. BRAVO!

    I’m still here.

    Dan Treecraft

  2. Dan Treecraft says:

    and… One more little squiggle:

    Do journalists twist and evade the truth out of a desire to appear fair and balanced? Or is it mainly because they don’t want to get fired? Well, okay, there is correlation, but did Phil Donahue get fired because any deficiency of “Fair Balance” annoyed his viewing audience? Methinks not.

    and… just ONE more:

    Of all the dire issues begging and crying out for our national political attention, I think none of them trumped the need to get corporate money out of the election campaign trough – LEGALIZED BRIBERY didn’t work very well for Representative Democracy. But, my schedule indicates we’ve long-since passed that station too many miles back.


  3. talewis says:

    Yes, yes and yes. Good to have you here. With respect to Obama’s campaign money, I know he took some Big Money — no one’s NOT going to take money in a presidential campaign — but that was, I bel;ieve, after he was well on his way to the nomination. He was not their guy in the beginning, and if they had been able to have Hillary or John they would have preferred it. That is what was different — they did not have the vetro this time. But they sure do over everything Congress does.

    Good to have you in the conversation.