BRAMA, August 19, 2009, 9:00 AM ET|
Healthcare Insurance Reform Plan Is In The Public Interest, But Manipulation Is Underway To Spike It
By Boris Danik
The town hall mob scenes recently shown on the evening news appeared to be
like deliberate attempts to disrupt the meetings that were arranged by
individual Congressman in their districts to explain to constituents
President Barack Obama's proposed reform of healthcare insurance.
Myron Kuropas voiced his critique of the president's plan from his "dacha"
in The Ukrainian Weekly (August 8, p.7). He trivialized the fact that 50
million Americans have no healthcare insurance ("Hospitals must treat all
patients who come to the emergency room") and saw "the impending collapse
of Medicare and Medicaid" as a problem. He then refocused attention on the
shortcomings of the Canadian government-run healthcare insurance.
The thrust of the Kuropas line is that the government is incompetent (he
obviously did not mean the eight years of the Bush administration),
despite the clear success of Medicare (tax-financed insurance for the aged
Kuropas' clicking on the Canadian system seems to be a diversion, since
it has no semblance to the American privately run health care insurance,
which Obama's reform would merely supplement with government subsidies for
those who don't get medical insurance via the workplace…and maybe,
despite the threat of filibuster, offer a government-supervised option
to keep private providers honest. (Incidentally, the aunt of Myron Kuropas in Toronto apparently forgot to tell him that the Canadians are not being herded into the emergency
Opposition to the enactment of Social Security in the 1930s and
Medicare in 1963 was coming from monied elite, seeking (then and now) to
limit the power of government, which they see as threat to their
dominance. None other than Ronald Reagan, who later became president, labeled the
proposed Medicare in 1960 as "a Communist conspiracy." Ronald Reagan's
role in the Medicare debate was to manipulate public opinion in favor of
the American Medical Association (among others) at the time one of the
most reactionary, self-serving entities in the USA.
Fast-forward to the year 2009, engage Rush Limbaugh to replace the word
"Communist" by "Socialist" and "Nazi-like" for the excitement of
anti-Obama zealots and stimulation of ordinary fools who feel comfortable
and secure within their shell this time orating on behalf of
upper-income aristocracy that despises the probable tax hike to finance
the reform and you see the essence of today's hyper-agitation against
A marginal tax increase on incomes over $500,000 is envisioned in the
reform plan. But a major part of financing presumably will materialize
from elimination of the "inefficiencies" in the existing system.
Unfortunately, the most obvious funding source from a much needed cut
in military spending is not even openly considered. It is perceived as
a taboo in a country where militarism and patriotism often appear to be
one and the same. Most Americans have no idea that we spend on the
military as much as the rest of the world combined. The major media
relegate discussion of such thought-provoking nettle to the dustbin.
No president wants a hassle with any one of the three pillars of political
power in America: the military-industrial complex, the Wall Street
financial citadel (even when the latter is rescued by the government from
total collapse caused by its own greed and chicanery), and the media
moguls. Consequently, Mr. Obama is pro-biz and pro-war (in Afghanistan),
albeit not nearly as much as was President George W. Bush.
But the net result seems to be that President Obama is short-changing his
own healthcare plan. Without solid financial provisions its outlook is
shaky in the coming Congressional maneuvering later this year.
An even greater defect in the existing American healthcare insurance is
that it is delivered by a myriad private insurance companies and financed
mostly through workplace, rather than on the basis of the European, or
Canadian, or the US Medicare single-payer models. National insurance can
be administered by private vendors (as in Medicare), but paid for by the
government from tax revenues. Mr. Obama's current plan does not even come
close to intimating that the existing structure needs a real overhaul.
The American status quo is remarkably impervious to change. Media
manipulation by the monied elite too often makes Americans feel threatened by
possible innovations that actually would serve public interest rather than
private gain. Necessities that are taken for granted in all advanced
Western countries, such as a national health care insurance paid by taxes,
are not available to Americans.
"Socialized medicine" is one of the scariest buzz-words in our television
diet. It makes deliberate confusion. In the actual fact, a national
healthcare insurance means nationalized (or socialized in word play)
insurance, not socialized medicine. The distinction is key to the ability
of a physician to practice his profession privately, as he does in Canada
and Europe, and in the USA.
Dr. Boris Danik
North Caldwell, NJ
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