via the Dark Lord
via the Dark Lord
The last thing I will say, though — let me say this about health care and the health care debate, because I think it also bears on a whole lot of other issues. If you look at the package that we’ve presented — and there’s some stray cats and dogs that got in there that we were eliminating, we were in the process of eliminating. For example, we said from the start that it was going to be important for us to be consistent in saying to people if you can have your — if you want to keep the health insurance you got, you can keep it, that you’re not going to have anybody getting in between you and your doctor in your decision making. And I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge.
Now, let me get this straight: “some provisions” just “snuck in there” (as opposed to being written and voted on by members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate), and those random “provisions” “might have” broken promises (and statements) that citizens would be able to…
Which would imply that all those people who were saying that the health care bills, if passed, would eventually force people to give up their existing insurance and face government interference with private medical decisions — all those people who were called (and are still being called) “obstructionists”, “scaremongers”, “teabaggers”, and who knows what-all else — all those people were correct.
And President Obama’s administration was calling them liars.
So: allowing random legal provisions that violated previous pledges to magically come into existence; insisting that those legal provisions did not exist and that people who insisted they did were dupes or malevolent liars; berating people who voted against the reform bills because of thse provisions and then, in the same weekend, casually noting that well, yes, those provisions exist but are already being taken out (really? when? and by whom?)….
…that does bear on “a whole lot of other issues,” doesn’t it?
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who is health-policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research as well as being White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s brother, propounds discrimination against the elderly and other less-than-robust patients.
In the medical journal Lancet he wrote in January, “Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious [an irrelevancy] discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years.”
As for the less-than-robust, in a Hastings Center Report he has written that medical care be withheld from those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens. … An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.” Thus the state should decide when and if you get treatment. Does that not have a grisly ring to it?
Dr. Emanuel veers from the grisly to the delightfully frivolous in his pontifications on cost cuts. Savor this one from the Journal of the American Medical Associationin May of 2007: “Too much money spent on health care reduced [sic] the ability to obtain other essentials of human life as well as some goods and services not essential to life but still of great value, such as education, vacations, and the arts.” Yes, he said “vacations and the arts.”
Now, what kind of health care should be withheld from “participating citizens”? Pacemakers? Hip replacements? Tonsillectomies?
And what’s the threshold for “participating”? Maybe we should have a way to see if people are really participating. Like a test!
Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. — Saul Alinsky
Which is why when the Washington Post can’t make any reasonable fact-based criticism, they turn to Robin Givhan, the “fashion writer”. What a sweet gig that must be — to get a paycheck and a byline in a major newspaper for writing slam book entries and calling them “columns.” This Sunday, Ms Givhan turned her attention to the citizens who are attending town hall meetings and presenting their grievances to their elected officials:
What does one wear to a town hall meeting on health care when the sole reason for attending is to shout down one’s congressman like a peevish teenager in the midst of a hormonal rage?
Goodness, what does “one” wear? Perhaps one could do some reporting and go to a town hall meeting? But of course, one might find out that some of the attendees have other reasons for attending than “shouting down their congressman.”
And to her credit, Givhan actually concedes that point. I was pleasantly surprised to read on and find (emphasis mine)…
As congressional representatives have gone home to their constituents this summer to sell health care reform, they have occasionally been met by concerned voters with pointed questions, reasonable doubts and fear-of-the-unknown frustrations about what lies ahead. Citizens want to make sure that their representatives have thought through this whole health care reconfiguration….
By and large, the shouters are dressed in a way that underscores their Average Guy — or Gal — bona fides. They are wearing T-shirts, baseball caps, promotional polo shirts and sundresses with bra straps sliding down their arm…..
At the town halls hosted by Sens. Arlen Specter and Claire McCaskill, both legislators dressed for business. Specter was in a dark suit and tie. McCaskill wore a chocolate brown jacket with a narrow standing collar. Sen. Ben Cardin wore a dark suit with a navy striped tie to his meeting with his health care mob. They all peered at the irate speakers in some combination of stoic disbelief, subdued annoyance and preternatural calm.
For anyone who has ever been in relationships with shouters, they will know that few things irritate venters more than having their high-decibel rants met with the exaggerated serenity of Nurse Ratched. It’s the ultimate kind of power play — a political rope-a-dope — and the non-responders know it.
The agitated souls regularly bring up the fact that members of Congress have platinum-level health care plans. They demand to know whether congressmen will sign on to the much-maligned and still undefined public option that is part of the reform discussion. The underlying focus of this grudge match is, of course, about power — as concentrated in Congress, the presidency, the special interests, the wealthy. The rage emerges from a feeling of helplessness that some version of reform is going to occur whether these citizens like it or not.
That sentiment is underscored in photo after photo. The common man, in his T-shirt and jeans, is shouting passionately at “the suit.” In the videos from these meetings, audio is unnecessary. It’s clear who’s in charge and who is shouting into the wind.
Givhan goes on to ask what would happen if the protestors were to arrive better dressed:
Would they garner more respect? Would they compel more lawmakers to rethink their positions rather than merely repeat, again and again — in a voice that has the tone of an impatient kindergarten teacher — the same core points? Would legislators stop telling that condescending anecdote about how people profess their love for government-run Medicare even as they, in the same breath, express their distrust and disdain for government-run medical care? (Maybe snot-nosed mockery is an instinctive response to illogic, but it’s not the most productive way to assuage those who fear the unknown.)
But then, we already know what would happen: The protestors would be put down as “not real protestors” by the likes of Madam Speaker Pelosi, or dismissed as Astroturfers.
The assemblies have the look of a lone bean-counter and a throng of unhappy workers. Visually, there’s nothing to indicate we-are-all-in-this-together. …. (President Obama has been photographed dressed more casually in the Oval Office than he was for his recent question-and-answer session with the regular Joes of New Hampshire.)
Washington’s power brokers have suited up to underscore their authority and the seriousness of the subject matter. And bully for them. But their attire also says: I am the boss of you. All those howling citizens — in their T-shirts and ball caps and baggy shorts — are saying: No, you’re not.
Well, color me pleasantly surprised.