Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Health Care Horror Show

After eight years in a Bush coma, Congress is busy "working" again and proving it doesn't work. The health care debate is a classic of evasions, non-sequiturs, empty rhetoric and lobbyist lies to patch together reform that will look like a Frankenstein monster with a Dr. Strangelove deception at the heart.

Despite public support for a government insurance plan, House and Senate members are going through contortions to craft something to look like one but guaranteed to fail.

Even Tom Daschle, the President's derailed first choice for health czar, has had an opinion transplant. Last year, he wrote a book arguing that a single-payer health care system would be fair, effective and save billions of dollars. Now he has joined has-been Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker to oppose a federal insurance plan.

"We've come too far and gained too much momentum for our efforts to fail over disagreement on one single issue," Daschle now says.

This recalls the classic response of a general in "Dr. Strangelove" who, being asked how a system designed to avoid nuclear devastation has allowed a failure that is about to blow up the world, "Well, I don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir."

The military metaphor seems apt in the circumstances. As a nation, we don't outsource wartime safety of citizens to private contractors (with the exception of Blackwater, which proves the point). Why then has saving lives in peacetime become a for-profit enterprise that clearly isn't working for individuals and is endangering the whole economy to boot?

Is socialized medicine any more of a threat to the American way of life than a socialized Armed Forces?

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