Thursday, July 30, 2009

Burying The Lead

It’s made all of the headlines: President Obama’s own doctor is knocking “ObamaCare”! Check out this headline from Forbes:
Obama's Doctor Knocks ObamaCare

And this headline from CNN:

Obama's former doctor critical of White House health care plan

And here’s the Wall Street Journal:

Obama’s Former Doctor Criticizes Health Care Overhaul

Even the liberal Huffington Post:

Obama's Doctor: President's Vision For Health Care Bound To Fail

For shame, HuffPo, for shame!

Wow, if you didn’t read down (in some cases) all the way to the sixth paragraph, you’d think Obama’s own doctor was in favor of leaving things the way they are.

Here’s what he said:

Scheiner thinks that Obama's "public plan" reform doesn't go far enough. He supports the idea of that option for people who don't like or can't afford their HMO. But he worries that it will be watered down or not happen at all. "It's nonsense that the private insurance companies need to be protected," he says. "Why? Because they've done such a good job?"

So the news is that Obama’s former doctor favors a single-payer, public plan, not just that he’s “against ObamaCare.”

This kind of shit happens all the time and it really bugs me. I think a large chunk of people get their news from headlines and snippets grabbed over the radio or TV. Not everyone has the time or interest to read a whole story or even click the link. We're a society that skims for its news and information. But really we're at a place in this debate where the story is what someone like Dr. Scheiner is for, not against.

What it boils down to is this: is the story about politics, or is it about healthcare? Sadly, our inept corporate media has never, ever made this story about healthcare. It’s always been about the politics. A "Doctor Against ObamaCare" headline is a story about politics. "Doctor Favors Single Payer" headline is a story about healthcare.

You want to hear something amazing? Only Fox News got it right:

Obama's Former Doctor Opposes Health Care Plan, Calls for Single-Payer System

This is why I keep voicing frustration with how this issue has been discussed. We are fighting for healthcare, not health insurance. If insurance plays a role in arriving at healthcare, fine. But let’s remember what this is about.

Plenty of people have health insurance and yet lack healthcare. The 50 million uninsured don't just lack insurance they lack healthcare. And saying you can go to the emergency room is just lame. Emergency treatment is not "care."

I'm tired of hearing Rep. Cooper talk about "insuring" everyone and hearing that the Senate Finance Committee had to take a crash course in health insurance. That's just bullshit. As Dr. Scheiner said:

Looking at Obama's team of health advisors, Scheiner doesn't see anyone who's actually in the trenches. "I have a suspicion they pick people from the top echelon of medicine, people who write about it but haven't been struggling in it," he says.

Of course. They plucked people out of the establishment and got a policy that reinforces the status quo. Shocked? I'm not. It's the way our American system works. Real change is impossible in this day and age; the best we can hope for is a slight shift.

Which is too bad because when it comes to healthcare, this is probably our last chance.