Wednesday, November 11, 2009

“Government-Run” Healthcare Is Not Fascism (But This Bill Might Be)

Yesterday I was forced to debunk a right wing talking point near and dear to the hearts of the tea bag set which continues to go unchallenged by our punditry: namely, that the healthcare reform package is “government-run” healthcare.

Excuse me? True government-run healthcare is one in which the doctors are government employees and the hospitals, clinics, etc. are all government-owned. You know, like our VA. This healthcare reform package doesn’t do anything close to that. All it does is rein in some abusive health insurance company policies and provide access to health insurance for those who can’t afford it.

Indeed, while we do have a government-run healthcare system in this country, you must be in the U.S. military or a veteran to take advantage of it. And one might ask the tea bag set why a true government-run healthcare system is fine for our soldiers and veterans but not fine for the rest of us.

With that in mind I headed over to one of my favorite bloggers and saw that he, too, is discussing the “government takeover of healthcare” thing. So before I retreat back to my bat cave for another week of hard-core creativity, I thought I’d point people to The Search For Integrity for an interesting perspective on healthcare reform and why we need the public option.

The Reverend points out some very inconvenient truths about this healthcare reform package. For example:
One complaint is that a public option will have to be paid for with taxes, or, more directly, that the premiums paid toward such a plan amount to a tax. Sure. But at least those tax dollars go to the government, which is ultimately responsible, however unwieldy our system is, to the people. I can vote the decision-makers in and out of office, raise a public outcry to persuade people to join such a cause. Clearly Congress has the power, constitutionally, to raise taxes. But does Congress have the power to require people to put money directly in the pockets of private corporations? Money that is required by law to be paid out of people’s incomes is a tax, any way you cut it. Why should my tax dollars go, not to my government, run (however imperfectly) by people I can vote for or against, but to a company, whose primary motivation is profit, which has every incentive to provide denial of service to its customer (me), and which lives in a culture that thinks it is just fine to pay its executives millions or billions of dollars, and feels it must do so in order to retain such “talent”?

Directly taxing the people in order to enrich corporations is fascism. That’s what an individual mandate without a public option would bring us to.

Now, of course, it won’t be called a tax, it will be called a premium. I think that’s kind of funny, really. If it’s a payment required by law, it’s a tax, and if it’s a tax, it should go to the government. If instead of going to the government it goes to a private corporation, what does that say about who is really in charge here?

Someone needs to ask Senators Joe Lieberman, Mary Landrieu, Olympia Snow, Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker and all the rest why they support fascist healthcare system in this country. I thought they were against that sort of thing.

Anyway, I urge everyone to read The Reverend’s entire post over there because there’s a lot of good stuff and a lot of great food for thought.