I was having that rarest of all things the other day--a reasoned, polite political conversation.
I know! Never happens, right?
But yes, there I was, just having this conversation, when along came someone not involved in the original conversation, which is cool, sure--until they start trying to be irrational and have no intention of doing anything except trying to plant words in your own mouth and make ad hominem attacks and, in the very last resort, resort to doublethink in an attempt to short-circuit true thinking about the issues at hand. One person actually claimed that foreigners were coming to the US in droves to escape the perils of universal health care. Really? Where are these scads and scads of people???
We were talking about fixing our broken health care system--it is, of course, an oxymoron to combine "health care" and "system" in the same phrase, but whatever floats your boat. But soon along came dis guy, as my Jersey friends might say, and started claiming all kinds of weird stuff I never said. Then someone else chimed in with how we should never be in favor of "socialized medicine" in our country.
So okay, I asked, just to be clear, what exactly do you mean by "socialized medicine?" I received no answer.
It's often that way. People trot out sound-bites of the minutest size when they don't have anything else to say. I mean, seriously, let's agree to disagree, and share ideas so that maybe we will find a palatable solution somewhere in the middle, but don't just bring out the flamethrower when you don't really want to examine what the flames mean.
So I have to wonder, what exactly does "socialized medicine" mean? If by socialism you mean the sharing of burdens among a group of people, I just want to ask this: what do you think insurance is, anyway? Remember, we don't have a health care system. We have health insurance in this country, provided by one's employer, in most cases, for better or worse. And this is by no stretch of the imagination a "system." Insurance is legalized gambling through the use of actuarial tables. Insurance tries to get the most people to pay for something that they will not use. And in case the odds are not stacked enough in the house's favor, the house also reserves the right not to pay out if they lose too much to any gambler-- not that one could be considered a "winner" if one ends up needing a lot of expensive medical care. What a system! It's almost as corrupt as... Communism was.
Here is the problem, as I see it: the insurance and pharmaceutical industries have thus far completely controlled the debate about health care reform. Congress is in the pockets of their billion dollar lobbying campaign, and we voters don't hold our elected representative accountable for selling out the interests of their constituents (definition: US!). Thus there has been precious little reform, and all of this has been directed by government employees who are provided free, lifetime, government- sponsored health care by that same government that they declare too corrupt and inefficient to provide for us. We cannot reform these industries because they block any regulation of their industry as "un-American."
We already pay for other people's health care. Having once been charged eight bucks for a solitary Tylenol extra strength while in the hospital, I can assure you of that.
But, hey, rather than think about what is really wrong with our current method, let's trot out thought-stifling words like "socialized medicine" and "death panels" if someone ever actually suggests that the system is broken for a large portion of Americans.