Peregrine flight

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The night of breaking glass.

After fifty, the epiphanies tend to come a bit slower. It takes me a good week or two to muster up a mere profundity, not to mention a full blown epiphany. But I think that I have figured something out. I would rather talk about what constitutes a good veal chop or remoulade than debate the pros and cons of health care in this country. I am sick of the overheated rhetoric on both sides of the equation.

I spent the last week sharing a room with my heartland conservative friend Steve, whom I honestly love and respect but rarely agree with. We have gone  through all of the ins and outs of this thing until we were both blue in the face and are honestly no closer to any middle ground.

Rather than go item by item through a laundry list, let me start off by making a few points that I hope that we can agree on as reasonable people.

1. Insurance premiums are going up in this country as we speak, because with unemployment, we have less and less of the prime candidates in the insurance pool, making it more expensive for the insurance companies to cover the marginal candidates.

2. Illegal aliens should not be entitled to free coverage on the american dime. Sorry. I have first hand knowledge of them gaming the system. It is not my responsibility to fix the entire free world.

3. It is an inopportune time to be starting a massive new entitlement program, since we are already saddled with huge debt.

4. We have to get a hold of the huge escalating fees in medicine, and have some semblance of tort reform, to put a cap on ridiculous jury awards.

5. Doctors are already pissed off and this will not make them happier, since they are having a tough time getting compensated from the government as it is.

6. The elderly may be shunted into less favorable policies as they get dropped from medicaire plus and into less comprehensive coverage and we need to lessen the impacts.

7. Small business people should not bear the burden for health care on their backs.

Having said all that, off the cuff and without the benefits of any research or fact finding this morning, I applaud the efforts of the administration. It will be expensive, but the war in Iraq was expensive, and we threw enough money at that, against my own wishes, and it is gone forever. The mark of a good society is how it treats the most fragile. If we can find 700 billion dollars so that Goldman can get full price from AIG and the banks can gobble up their competition, surely we can cure grandma's goiter.

I don't think that health care will be the advent of a time where bushy bearded bolsheviks will be bashing in the door of American society in order to implement a new stalinist system. Hopefully it will help fine tune a few things, like not allowing insurance companies to drop coverage, or penalize people for pre existing conditions. Or drop your children when they go to college.

I think that it is a bit strange that health care has become such a galvanizing issue, and one that has led to threats of violence from the right. I think this debate shows the conservatives as nutty obstructionists, not wanting to do anything to upset their status quo corporate masters. Yesterday there was a clarion call to start breaking windows at democratic headquarters, an event that is oh so naziesque and unfortunately actually took place across the land. Can you imagine if liberals had threatened revolution when we started our unprovoked war on Iraq, and the subsequent condemnation from the right?

You judge people by the company they keep. The shouts of nigger and faggot, the inherent racism in the birther movement. You lie, Baby Killer.  I never agreed with the Bush Administration on pretty much anything, from faith based education to WMD to the bank deregulation that led to our current economic crisis, but we never talked about taking up arms and watering the tree of liberty with our enemies' blood.

My friend Steve says that the democrats are behaving badly because a majority of americans are against health care reform. I don't know if they are or are not, after all the fear mongering and demagoguery, they seem to be in favor of the individual components. But for the sake of conversation, how is it different from Bush? We are a divided people and I didn't agree with any of his policies. But elections have consequences. Not long ago, I sucked it up and prayed for a day when the country could be led by someone I agreed with.

Steve says that Obama hid the facts of his agenda and that the young people weren't aware of the ramifications of his policies when they voted. Isn't that the way it always is? People rarely are informed about  issues, it is less important to them than electing a pretty face with nice hair. Reconciliation was used throughout Bush's term, on issues like a major tax cut. This is not new. I am perfectly fine using the democratic majority to pound through every issue, without a single Republican vote if need be, especially since that is what we were subjected to on the last go round. If you guys get the votes, we can play tit for tat later. That's the way we roll in America.

Republicans and conservatives are very sore losers.


Anonymous said...

"See, you're in the minority now. It's supposed to taste like a sh*t taco"
-John Stewart, The Daily Show

Wild Bill

NYSTAN said...

well spoken....never understood regressive thought. What's the point? I call it the Garden of Eden complex. I for one, have not fallen from grace nor do I seek redemption for my sins so I can go to heaven (though I would love to go there and hang out with Jimi Hendrix and Elvis and Jesus.)
I am proud of the President for sticking to his guns. The republicans have shown their hand. Disrespectful and dirty. They deserve to be led by whack jobs with names like Palin, Limbaugh and Beck (even though I love his cousin Jeff's guitar work.)
IN politics, you should always go with the smart guy. And smart also includes an understanding of morals. Dick Cheney was clever. Not smart. Rove etc the same.
Helath care reform has a long way to go, and so did Social Security and the Civil Rights act in the beginning....but it is a start.

Emergefit said...

Now that's whaty I'm talkin' about -- thank you. I feel much better now, even if you don't.

Anonymous said...

Again with the illegal "aliens."
The Iraqi war "was"? As far as I can tell it still "is". The bill is not perfect, what is, at least it's a start.

Blue Heron said...

I am trying to remember the source of your ire regarding the words "illegal alien", anonymous one. I am certainly not suggesting an extraterrestrial origin. The title comes from the fact that they tend to cross our border illegally, or overstay their visas, and knowingly broach the laws of this land. Their whelps become automatic citizens, they flood our education and health system and they don't pay federal income tax. I am not speaking of guest workers or bracero workers, or even belittling the contributions of the "illegals." But I have little sympathy for those that drive without insurance or even knowing how to drive, or those that tax our social safety net and don't have a legal right to live here. Mexico wont allow central or south americans to illegally live in their country but we are supposed to grant them a general amnesty.

Anonymous said...

smash capitalism now!

Anonymous said...

on the Health care- particularly the tort reform- just think about this- the possibility of big losses at trial is a major (primary?) force in forcing manufacturers into correcting product defects and the AMA and Big Pharm into trying to reduce medical malpractice. You can't restrain one side of the battle (the lawyers) until there is some counterveiling force that controls the forces of evil that would foist defective products and shoddy practices on the weak, uninformed or just unlucky. Neither the potential impact of bad publicity nor the goal of human decency have prevented profiteers from inflicting damage in the name of profits. Think of the number of defects discovered over the years because of lawsuits= and if the potential for big pay outs is not there, the lawyers (not an altruistic group themselves) will not fund expensive litigation against the powerful. I agree that the results are sometimes random and bizarre in a courtroom- but I am, of yet, unconvinced of an alternative. Also, you may want to research the financial impact of tort reform- I'm not aware that it is a significant source of savings- especially in light of potential lives saved. I'm sure there is data on this- whether it is reliable, is another question.


NYSTAN said...

Tort reform is a double edged sword. Letting the govt determine the monetary value of a human being.....WOW.
Now THAT would be a big mistake.
Not sure what a good solution would be, but even in my most progressive moments, letting the geniuses in DC legislate the value of my health and well being.....uhhhhh....don't think so.
I understand placing limits on things like say, a thumb, but what happens when a girl tries to kill herself when under the care of a doctor and spends the next 30 years in a coma? How does one place a value on the care she received? Who has the right to determine, in advance a situation like that? I use this as an example because it happened to friends of mine. The amount they won in court, which was confidential, was a substantial number in the many millions of dollars. After the lawyers took their 30%, the remainder was placed in trust and after 20 years, the principle had diminished to the point where the girl spent the last five years of her life in a state run facility. Looking back, I have to wonder how an intervention by the govt could have helped keep down the insurance costs of the hospital involved while allowing the poor kid to live out her life in a way acceptable to her family. We live in a complicated world. Tort reform is too easy. Sounds too good to be true because it is. I have no idea what a fair solution should look like. But it won't be determined by the insurance companies in cahoots with the Govt in cahoots with our Legislative Judicial system...no way I want the Supreme Court legislating the value of a human being....scary.

Blue Heron said...

I understand the skepticism about tort reform. It is a tough call. Doctors certainly need to be responsible for their errors and omissions. However, let's look at the other side of the coin as well. Lawyers want to make somebody responsible for everything. And with "deep pockets" being the way things work nowadays, some poor schmuck with 1% culpability often has to eat the whole enchilada. It is essentially unfair. Bad things happen to people all the time, and it isn't always somebody else's fault. Shit happens. There have been tremendous abuses by the legal community. Normal people feel perfectly fine committing insurance fraud. The money comes out of your and my pocket. It is one thing to punish a company, another to put it out of business because of some fragile liability matrix.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, on your blog you did not mis-categorize me about the health care debacle. I think you will find over the next 10 years that it is more expensive than anyone dreamed. Congratulations, it's one more thing the government has control over. I guess I just like personal responsibility and freedom.


Anonymous said...

Racist rants?? You fucking nigger-loving, spik-sucking, dago-licking,
splib-dicking, slant-eyed pinko kike asshole! Who you calling a racist??
(All things in moderation).