24 March 2010

A Guide to the Flaws in the Arguments Against Health Care Reform

Much has been made about yesterday's historic signing into law of Health Care Reform (HCR, for our purposes) by President Barack Obama, and what's interesting is that for the first time in a very long time, being signed into law hasn't stopped the debate.  Indeed, it seems to have only inspired more vehement hatred from its opponents.  I would like to characterize the opponents of HCR as a fringe element of the right, but the truth is that every single Republican in the House of Representatives voted against it.  Every single Republican spoke the same arguments from what appeared to be a template during the debate.  Here are the claims, and what's wrong with them:


"We're for health care reform, just not this legislation."


Why it's wrong: Republicans have already made it clear they intend to sabotage the implementation of HCR legislation, going so far as to insist that Congress doesn't even have the authority to reform health care.  If they were really in favor of reform, they wouldn't insist that reform isn't even allowable under the law because that would, obviously, mean they couldn't reform it their way, either.


"The Democrats forced this legislation through Congress, using underhanded means."


Anyone who knows anything at all about politics knows that deal-making is how things get done.  This isn't something I say with any ounce of cynicism.  How else would you get anything accomplished?  How else should a representative democracy work?  Of course concessions were made along the way.  But they weren't made to a specific congressperson for his or her own sake; they were made because that person's job is to represent the wants and needs of their constituents.  It's a shame that the Republicans elected not to participate at all in the writing of this legislation.  Their job is to represent their constituents, and if their constituents are, indeed, in favor of reform as we're told they are, then they abandoned the opportunity to participate in this legislation for reform.  My representative in the House is Geoff Davis, and he did not represent me at all by refusing to partake in the construction of this bill.


But, Travis, didn't he represent his constituents who did oppose it? you ask.  The only ones he represented were those who are in opposition to the idea of reform.  There was no legislation to oppose at the time; there was only an opportunity to help shape that legislation, and for all intents and purposes, he simply folded his arms and said, "I'm not playing."  He could have represented the concerns of his constituents while participating in the crafting of this legislation, and he didn't.


"There's no room for the government between a patient and a doctor."


This only makes any sense to someone who has never--and I mean never--had to be seen by a doctor.  If you don't have insurance, you already know about clinics and the wait times and somewhat impersonal treatment patients receive because you can't afford to see a private physician.  If you do have insurance, then you're bound to have had a doctor tell you about a test that's needed to better understand your symptoms or injury, only to have your insurer say they won't pay for it.  Just what is it that government involvement would make different from the experiences of the uninsured or the insured?


The truth is, insurance companies only have one priority and that is appeasing their shareholders.  Those shareholders are only appeased if they make money, and they don't make money by actually paying for the tests and treatments that your physician thinks you need.  They make money by collecting your premium every two weeks and getting out of paying for anything they can.  A representative government, on the other hand, is answerable to The People and must operate with their goodwill in mind.


"This is about a socialist  government takeover of private industry."


President Ronald Reagan was absolutely right when he said that people can decide better for themselves than government can decide for them what is best for them.  Where HCR comes into play is, it addresses an area where private individuals are powerless to make a decision on their behalf.  No one chooses to develop medical conditions, or to sustain injuries.  HCR is not about some kind of paternalistic control over our lives; it's about making sure that people with needs are able to get on with making those decisions for themselves that President Reagan rightly said we were better suited to make for ourselves.


"The Democrats ignored the will of the people."


The Democrats won in 2008 in large part because President Obama promised to work on delivering health care reform to the American people.  They were elected by constituents who believed in HCR, and wanted this to happen.  They are the majority party for this reason.  Are there polls that suggest people are against what has happened, and have there been increasingly volatile protests?  Of course.  It's disingenuous for anyone to ever think "The will of the people" represents all Americans.  But to characterize this as a fringe group of zealous politicians scheming to impose legislation in defiance of all Americans is flat-out wrong.


Is the HCR legislation perfect?  Of course not.  For some, it goes too far; for others, not far enough.  But anyone who believes that the Republicans sincerely wish to see reform is willfully ignoring the obvious facts.

6 comments:

  1. marybeth Lonnee3/24/2010 7:36 PM

    Great article Travis! I hear ya!

    ReplyDelete
  2. "People'll tell you life is short. No, it's not. Life is loooong...especially if you make the wrong decisions..." - Chris Rock, on the subject of marriage vs. bachelorhood.

    Time was I would post a quote or make a statement like this and then spend 18 posts defending it, primarily trying to ascertain why someone didn't understand what I meant by it. I've been blind to some of the ways in which people can interpret things differently. Like this quote; he's talking about how short-sighted it could be to continue hounding women without ever settling down and securing yourself for old age. However, perhaps there's another layer to that quote. If you get into the wrong relationship from the outset, life ain't gonna be too short for you either. That could drag out the pain for a long time too.

    As it applies to HRC, some are screaming at the top of their lungs that we've made a devil's bargain and others are thankful that something, ANYTHING, actually passed into law. You can look at a quote and think a bout metaphorical applications thereof, or you can look at numbers and figures on a page, but what do we really know? Nothing. What does the person who doesn't believe what I believe know? Nothing. No one has the facts, no one has legitimate foresight. But people now listen to whoever yells the loudest.

    But that's not the America that it was supposed to be.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's 1775, and shit's getting deep as we roll into 1776. Just sitting down to enjoy a drink at a tavern in the New World, the rumblings are apparent. Something's gotta give. This England shit's gotten way outta hand. But we're just a bunch of men drinking after we've gotten done with some intensive labors on the day, what're we gonna do about it?

    So when we get about halfway through 1776 and word comes down that we're about to officially aim a middle finger at our Dad and say we're a man now and we're gonna make decisions on our own, you think the people rejoiced like they always taught us in grade school? My ass.

    They'll send a million boats full of soldiers and guns! Are you insane?! No way can we handle this! I can't take down a trained soldier and my buddy here with the ale, we've been drinking together 20 years and if you give him a gun to fight the redcoats, I'm hightailing it west with my family before you've let go of it! We're doomed!

    Things don't change. We're just as fearful as we ever were, only now we've got the technology for our opinions to be omnipresent and thus make them seem more meaningful than they are. If we'd had TVs then, America might've died on the vine.

    Finally, a HRC bill comes to law, and the first thing the loudmouths want to do is tell everyone how to get back to the broken system we already had. We immigrated to Haiti, but now some of the captains are saying we oughtta buy tickets back to Darfur. It's Patriotic to air your objections to the changes, but it's also Patriotic to see how things play out instead of pretending to know some shit all the time because numbers on a piece of paper say this, and Glenn Beck says that. Playing things out and taking a chance on the unknown is how America was born, and how it might get back to being a more amicable place.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Playing things out and taking a chance on the unknown is how America was born, and how it might get back to being a more amicable place." - Chad Knopf

    My favorite singular statement by anyone, bar none, regarding all this. And in the pantheon of your thoughtful remarks, it ranks second only to "Drinkin' with one hand, not payin' attention with the other." ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. marybeth Lonnee8/17/2011 11:47 AM

    Great article Travis! I hear ya!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's 1775, and shit's getting deep as we roll into 1776. Just sitting down to enjoy a drink at a tavern in the New World, the rumblings are apparent. Something's gotta give. This England shit's gotten way outta hand. But we're just a bunch of men drinking after we've gotten done with some intensive labors on the day, what're we gonna do about it?

    So when we get about halfway through 1776 and word comes down that we're about to officially aim a middle finger at our Dad and say we're a man now and we're gonna make decisions on our own, you think the people rejoiced like they always taught us in grade school? My ass.

    They'll send a million boats full of soldiers and guns! Are you insane?! No way can we handle this! I can't take down a trained soldier and my buddy here with the ale, we've been drinking together 20 years and if you give him a gun to fight the redcoats, I'm hightailing it west with my family before you've let go of it! We're doomed!

    Things don't change. We're just as fearful as we ever were, only now we've got the technology for our opinions to be omnipresent and thus make them seem more meaningful than they are. If we'd had TVs then, America might've died on the vine.

    Finally, a HRC bill comes to law, and the first thing the loudmouths want to do is tell everyone how to get back to the broken system we already had. We immigrated to Haiti, but now some of the captains are saying we oughtta buy tickets back to Darfur. It's Patriotic to air your objections to the changes, but it's also Patriotic to see how things play out instead of pretending to know some shit all the time because numbers on a piece of paper say this, and Glenn Beck says that. Playing things out and taking a chance on the unknown is how America was born, and how it might get back to being a more amicable place.

    ReplyDelete