Robert Stein 1924-2014

Contact Information

If anyone has comments, questions or condolences, please feel free to send a private message to the family at

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Harry and Louise Packing Heat

Almost two decades ago, health insurers defeated Clinton health reform by inventing an iconic American couple sitting at the kitchen table to worry out loud about socialized medicine.

This time around, Harry and Louise are looking more like Thelma and Louise, not in TV commercials, but at "town halls" spewing lies, hate and carrying guns, with Republican Congressmen validating their rage as patriotism.

In his weekly address before vacation, President Obama served as Debunker-in-Chief, rebutting "some of the more outrageous myths circulating on the internet, on cable TV, and repeated at some town halls across this country"--that health care reform would cover illegal immigrants, pay for abortions, set up "death panels" for the elderly and other bilge that caused Congressmen Barney Frank this week to ask a questioner who invoked Nazi Germany, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"

The President's rational answers to the irrationality being stirred up by private opponents for financial profit and public officials for political gain are irrefutable.

"We’ll prohibit insurance companies," he promises, "from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history. They will not be able to drop your coverage if you get sick. They will not be able to water down your coverage when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime. We’ll place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because no one in America should go broke because they get sick.

"And we will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer on the front end. That makes sense, it saves lives, and it will also save money over the long-run. Taken together, the reforms we’re seeking will help bring down skyrocketing costs, which will mean real savings for families, businesses, and government."

Reasonable arguments can't dispute the sense and sanity of trying to do that, so in today's debate, there are no reassuringly normal Harrys and Louises to make the case for the opposition but their counterparts spewing prefabricated demagoguery and waving guns.

In the battle for health care reform this time around, there is more at stake for American society than health care reform.


Fuzzy Slippers said...

Well, HR 3200 explicitly excludes illegal aliens from earning "affordablility credits" for the government's healthcare (page 143). Why would they exclude them from earning credits if they can't get the coverage in the first place? I think there's some deceit here, but it's coming from the White House.

As to the death panels, that's a hysterical name for it, but the bottom line is the bottom line. No country on earth can provide unlimited, quality care to everyone for their entire lives. That's truly bilge. Heck, even the president told Wall Street Jounal magazine that the chronically ill, terminally ill, and elderly account for 80% of health care costs some very difficult moral issues arise that drive costs. Come on! You can't possibly believe that someone in government is going to write blank checks to everyone for the healthcare they want.

We definitely need reform, and we definitely need to get more people covered, but this is not the answer.

And by the way, I am not being paid by anyone and have nothing to gain by stating my views except the ability to keep my own healthcare that I am happy with. I don't own a gun, and I don't think BO's a nazi. I think, though, that he's lying to us all, and that you would do well to read the bill. Just an idea. :)

Holte Ender said...

It is true, no gentle chiding us to consider their point of view, if the banks hadn't been bailed out and the GM fiasco had not happened, perhaps their ire would be less sinister. People would not be so angry.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Mr. Stein: "In the battle for health care reform this time around, there is more at stake for American society than health care reform."

The pregnant omission from this statement? The next sentence would read: "Like democracy itself." In a democracy, you can't control people by means of force, so you invent ways to control their minds. Long ago, advertisers learned ways to create demand for the superficial things in life, i.e., fancied wants and invented needs. These days, politicians know how to create the "virus effect" that propagates outright lies and enlists the fervor of malcontents and misfits to derail an honest debate.

When these happen, is this democracy? or is this what Goebbels had in mind when he said:

"It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle."

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Oops, this just posted to my email, and it sounds mean. Sorry about that! Also, I wrote Wall Street Journal and should have written NY Times Magazine. Ugh. I really should pause before I post. :)

Yellow Dog Don said...

Fuzzy, the "healthcare they want" is not what "they" get from private insurance now. Why do you believe that is what the government would even try to provide? In the best circumstances you only get from private insurance or Medicare, for that matter, the health care that a doctor determines you need. And sometimes the doctor is overruled. One big problem is that 45+ million citizens of the USA do not have insurance and this is a drain on the economy, which a Public Option would help alleviate. In addition, the lack of universal health care is a detriment to small business owners who can not afford employee benefits, and lose good employees because to companies which can provide insurance.