22
Mar
10

RE: Health Care Reform passing

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Please forgive the non-music related post, but the passing of health care reform in the House yesterday is an important, era-defining event that I wish to commemorate with a few words.

The old model of health insurance companies profiting from the denial of care to Americans with chronic and pre-existing conditions is now a relic of the past. In its place is new framework which, while it might not be the single payer system that is the destiny of every true democracy, at least extends access to private care to millions of Americans previously excluded from the system.

What has passed is not a government takeover of health care, but a simple series of consumer protections, which address key problems in the existing private system while keeping it largely intact. And it does so in a most American (and, dare I say innovative) way.

Since they can no longer derive profits from the denial of customers and care, insurance companies must now learn how to profit from preventing illness within their customer base.

I’m excited to see how this will happen. American’s glutinous demand for health care — stemming from irresponsible behaviors that lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. — is another unsustainable status quo that has played all too small a role in the rhetoric sounded by either side of the debate. (Although it’s pretty clear that part of the reason the public option failed came from a tacit realization by Democrats that many Americans, in their current state of ignorance about healthy lifestyles, would have almost certainly overloaded the public system as soon as it went into effect,)

Yes, America is a dangerously unhealthy society. Can we now work together to address this crisis?

Step One will be to get the doubters onboard with the new program. I’m currently living in DC, and I had the chance to walk by Capitol Hill two days ago and witness the gathered throng of Tea Baggers. I saw images of Obama as Hitler, Obama as the Joker, “Obam-mao”, and a sign that said simply, “Obama bin Lyin'”. There were people waving “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and spouting anti-tyranny slogans. They wore  tri-cornered hats and Reagan t-shirts. A pair of children I saw had been dressed by their parents in sandwhich boards which read “Thus always to tyrants!” I was shocked at this reference to the line John Wilkes Booth exclaimed (“Sic semper tyrannis!”) at Ford’s Theater after shooting our greatest president… until I realized that  Sic Semper Tyrannis is also the Virgina state motto.

The ways in which the Republican base have been kept ignorant on how the health bill will benefit the Republican base and their families signifies a great and tragic disenfranchisement of American citizens. These people have had their Christianity, their Armed Forces affiliation, and their working class/rural/Southern identity all hijacked by a conservative ideological monster. At the controls? A small group of rich, white, corporate and political leaders who don’t want to pay their own taxes. End of story.

No, I don’t have a solution to this last bit. But it’s a new day in America. And now it looks like even more of us will live to see the next. Sha-la-la-la!

I’ll get back to writing about Lady Gaga or some other bullshit tomorrow.

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