Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sickening Debate Over Health

In the most advanced society ever, we argue savagely over the best way to let private companies profit from medical care to ease suffering and keep people alive.

As politicians rant over Obamacare, missing from all the yowling is any acknowledgement that human lives are considered a commodity as surely as they were in the days of slavery.

Even the President, for all his good intentions, is forced to make a rousing speech about his efforts to make a bad system better. The American polity is united in devaluing those who sustain it into objects.

Sixty years ago talking with my Congressman, an able and idealistic future Mayor of New York, John Lindsay, we agreed government had a vital role in health care. When he assumed that any system would be run by insurance companies, I asked, “Why?”

That was before Medicare broke through apathy and opposition to provide for the elderly and prove that government could collect premiums, oversee treatment and pay bills with only clerical help from private companies.

Now ideology rules and, in debating the 2009 law, a single-payer system or public option that would keep billions from going into the pockets of insurers was dismissed out of hand. The President was forced to be “realistic” and settle for half a loaf, a moldy half at best.

Now we are beset by bitterness over those crumbs of humanity. Who are these people and why are they allowed to make life-and-death decisions for us all while posturing for their own political profit?

Reasonable Americans must be choking on their rage, but their health insurance is not likely to pay for medical care to save them.

Is this the best we can do?  


John Seal said...

I'm wondering what John Lindsay's answer was!


Lindsay was taken aback but did not argue the point. -RS