Thursday, July 9, 2009


At lunchtime today I was watching the talking heads on CNN attempt to dumb down the health care debate, while grinding out my daily 5 on the office treadmill. Admittedly, healthcare is a complex issue, but to hear how the debate is being framed by the mainstream media, one could come away with the impression that if we allow Obama to push through a publicly funded plan, the government is going to come and take away our soda and cookies while taxing everything else in sight. This alarmist coverage is so far removed from what should be a sober debate on American fiscal priorities that I am compelled to conclude that the coverage is being scripted by CNN’s insurance company advertisers.

With the enormous wads of cash being thrown at the financial industry and the fact that the United States military is engaged in fighting two costly wars halfway across the world, the debate should be focusing on where else besides the taxpayer’s pocket the money to fund healthcare reform can come from. I have not heard a single media report that suggests that the money spent bailing out Wall Street bankers would be better spent on health-care. CNN and its corporate cronies have instead decided to frighten Americans by raising the specter of “socialized medicine” and tax increases that would be necessary to pay for it. As far back as the 1930s, conservatives have attempted to smear progressive national health care reform proposals by calling them "socialized medicine" or a step toward that inevitable result.

And what’s wrong with socialized medicine, anyway? To me it just seems like everyone chipping in through taxes to take care their neighbor. Insurance companies are only interested in making money, so they do whatever they can to deny people treatment. One of the worst things about the American system is insurers denying referrals to specialists, thus ensuring that preventable or treatable afflictions blow up into catastrophes. Countries with socialized medicine also have programs that provide numerous incentives to foster healthy lifestyles so that one doesn’t get sick in the first place. That is much more proactive than our culture can stand. Remember, America is home of competitive eating.

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