Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guess what? The AMA doesn't care about you, either.

Who knew the American Medical Association was in the business of denying medical care to people? We knew insurance companies were--anyone who has seen the first 30 minutes of "Sicko"--the least controversial part of the movie, btw--can tell you that. But now the AMA is showing its true colors, and they are all shades of green. The New York Times is reporting that that supposedly august group is going to actively oppose Congressional passage of a health care bill that contains a public option. For those of you not paying close attention, the "public option" would be a government-owned non-profit insurance plan not unlike a "Medicare for all" (in most iterations), in that everyone can opt in to it regardless of age or condition (other details are hugely debated). In other words, it would create a new choice for Americans' when procuring health insurance. (For a great many Americans, it would be their only option, of course, because they have been shut out by for-profit insurers.)
The AMA, however, believes that health services should be "provided through private markets"--as if insurance was somehow a "health service"! More ridiculously, the AMA statement released to the Senate actually states that this new "public plan threatens to restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers, which currently provide coverage for nearly 70 percent of Americans." Get that? Giving 100% of Americans a new choice will restrict choice. As if that bit of Orwellian doublespeak wasn't enough, the statement concludes nonsensically, "the corresponding surge in public plan participation would likely lead to an explosion of costs that would need to be absorbed by taxpayers."
Let's put this all together. A public plan that is so inexpensive to maintain that it would drive out private insurance companies from competing will at the same time lead to an explosion of costs. Uh huh. Makes perfect sense--if you are a lying scumbag degenerate. The reality is that insurance companies realize they have been scamming us for decades, and they are now squeezing all of their contacts in and out of government so as to quash the equitable idea that health care is a right, not a privilege, and that all Americans deserve to have access to it. That 30% of Americans who don't have insurance presently? They are our physically infirm, poor, and young. Arguing, as the AMA is doing on behalf of the deeply amoral insurance business, for the status quo on health care to be maintained is the same thing as telling these people that they are somehow not deserving of basic human rights. That is what is sick.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Our baby is screwed

California has shown its true colors yet again. Hot on the heels of the failure to eliminate the stain of regressive social values via the passing and sustaining of the hateful Prop. 8, we now have the governor's message of this past week, telling us of his proposed cuts to all kinds of social services, including a huge slash of the education budget. I commend Schwarzenegger for his speech, though, because he puts the blame for this mess squarely on the shoulders of those to blame--the Californian voters who consistently refuse to pass any measures that even remotely sound like actual taxation: "The voters sent a very clear message to Sacramento: Live within your means, cut spending, slash the size of government . . ."
California is not a liberal state, regardless of what the crazies of the right wing would have you believe, and this is yet more evidence--California is the leading libertarian state instead. Libertarians believe that government is only good for one thing--to protect the property rights of the individual (along with a minor role in the policing of violent crime), who assumes all the consequences of her/his own actions, even in the places where s/he has no power whatsoever. To that end, of course, the libertarians support all reductions in any governmental roles whatsoever, so news like this warms the cockles of their heartless bodies.
The problem with libertarianism comes to the fore when one considers all the ways government actually functions in a modern society. Let's put aside, for a moment, the libertarian faith in the absolutely free market, where governmental regulation is non-existent regardless of how many people die from being poisoned by cheap plastic goods and unclean water and air, or where businesses have no reason not to monopolistically price gouge the public into poverty, or where the banking and finance industry doesn't just make shit up to screw the public into bankruptcy, because in the libertarian's paradise, none of that stuff happens. (Why all of these are happening now cannot be explained by libertarians in any rational way; their claim that these events are occurring because of over-regulation is excruciatingly and laughably ignorant.) Let's instead look at how a true libertarian state would affect us on a daily basis. For those too poor to own a car, good luck getting to work--no subsidized bus, subway, or train systems exist, and the costs of buying the land, building, and operating any type of mass transit would make their fares so expensive as to prohibit their use by enough people to get to the critical mass necessary for an investor to see the profit of building them in the first place. And if you do have a car, there aren't any free roads or highways to drive on--toll roads, only, and even those would either be again, prohibitively expensive, or so poorly maintained that you would spend an equal amount of money just keeping your car operable. Assuming that you have indeed found a way to get to work, be prepared to work upwards of 14-16 hours a day since there are no work hour regulations or laws, and your boss has no reason to work you any less or let you unionize to bargain for better. Most likely, you would also be making far less money, too--no minimum wage laws exist to inflate the bottom rung of the libertarian working class income so that better jobs pay better.
You know what, I can't even continue along these lines--if you don't already see that libertarianism is worthless, just go visit their Party website: teh stupid is there in abundance. Suffice to say that destroying all social services via defunding is what they call for at this point, and it seems like a majority of voting Californians are listening. Arnold Schwarzenegger sees that. He's pointing it out to those who are asleep at the wheel and keep voting "no" on new taxes and those not voting at all, proving that even a Republican can be right once in a while.

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