A Rant: Mandatory Health Care?

Posted to Subscribers on 7 August 2007

As the electioneering heats up, I feel the need to weigh in once again on the health care issues and platforms; however, before I do this, I want to go on record saying that we have a vote coming up on August 21st and I have not yet made a decision about my own vote.  This said, I am tilting quite far away from those who are regarded as the leading contenders.

Before one can determine how to fix our health care system, one has to separate a host of issues into manageable parts.

Humanitarian Issues

All politicians who sound like they care win the hearts of the electorate, but do they deserve both the hearts and minds of the voters?  There are those who cannot decide whether health care is a right or a privilege.  It is a privilege if only those who have "good" jobs are covered by insurance or if their incomes allow them to buy the best care available.  It is a right if we can agree, as have all those in other developed countries, that every child born deserves both health care and the opportunity for education.

In Holland, I was astonished at how well accepted this thesis is.  I was also shocked by the taxes, but every child receives allowances for pencils and other school supplies as well as health care.  In discussions with Dutch people, I found that they viewed the U.S. as quite backward.  They were totally unable to understand why we incarcerate so many people, mostly on various drug-related issues, when they provide free drugs to addicts to prevent them from taking to crime to support their addictions.  Somewhere between these extremes, I thought there was a middle ground, a place for rehabilitation, something that surely is in the best interests of society.

Personally, I am not thrilled about the idea of universal health care if it means that every child will have more vaccines and amalgams.  In short, mandatory health coverage could be a camouflage for another gift to Big Pharma, an industry whose progress is better measured in terms of financial success than cure rates.

Wars on Disease

The concept that a disease can be subdued using the same logic (and dare we add rhetoric) as military exploits suggests to me that the separation between the powers that be is not sufficiently wide to permit illness to be approached and understood as a requirement for healing as opposed to a campaign against microscopic organisms that have been demonized using much the same jargon as used to wage war on whomever and whatever.

Whenever we do talk about war in political terms, it usually reverts back to World War II and Hitler because I suspect no one remembers why there was a Korean War or  war in Vietnam.  I think it was about killing commies or something like that but now that we have had a while to look at capitalism, we need to ask if it is any better than communism.  In the celebration of the almighty dollar, we have raised greed to iconic levels and failed to demand that those who win the battle for wealth uphold any of the standards required of mere mortals.

Consequently, we have an ever widening divide between haves and have nots.  History might tell us that this means that we are no longer a modern society but rather a feudal one in which privilege goes with wealth and power; and other people are used to support the grandiose objectives of those without responsibilities towards society, the environment, or the future.  This, in actual fact, is where we are perched now.

All of this would be utterly irrelevant except that Big Pharma is the wealthiest industry on the Planet and it is also at this time almost totally sociopathic.  Moreover, when we try to make medicines from military waste such as mustard gas or radioactive materials or by-products of biological weapons, we are lost.

Worse, the logic that goes into major medical decisions is also similar to that used in warfare:  a certain level of disaster, aka casualties, is permissible because the enemy is so dangerous.  So, whether we are spraying DDT or malathion on the whole Planet or putting Round Up in IVs, it's defensible on the grounds that mosquitoes or microorganisms or malignancies are dangerous.  Like the war or terrorism, there can never be an end to this type of fighting because the poisons cause endless permutations in the name of survival.  When I was young and naïve, I thought that those who espoused these ludicrous beliefs did not understand the obvious, but now that I am gray, I believe they know exactly what they are doing and why.

So, pardon me if I rant.  Why would Big Pharma make enormous contributions to the campaigns of so many candidates unless they were seeking a return on investment?  If Hillary Clinton says she is too focused to be influenced by lobbyists, we have to ask what happened to her health care package when she was First Lady?  I think they got to her and I do not believe for a minute that the quality of health care will be improved by her . . . or, sadly, by most of the candidates.


A few days ago, I listened to a short video by Rep. Ron Paul on health care.  It was very difficult to get a feel for the totality of his philosophy, but he might actually be the only candidate who understands the issues of health care in an approximately correct light.  Gosh, I am being careful with words. 

By this, I mean that as a medical doctor, he has more understanding of the field and the industry than politicians who seem to think that throwing manpower and money at problems should solve them.  However, he spent his medical career delivering babies, surely the most rewarding branch of medicine.  There are two specialties that are really different:  obstetrics and emergency care of accident victims, this for the simple reason that the "patients" are not ill.  I wonder if someone in one of these fields could carry on a coherent conversation with an oncologist?  Their worlds and their matrices for containing those worlds are so different that I doubt there would be an "ah ha" experience.

However, barring satori, there will be no meaningful progress in health care and this is crucial to where we are today.

Ron Paul

It's very difficult for me to figure out what would happen if Ron Paul becomes the next president.  I am sure we would have a big crisis because the electorate would have chosen a return to constitutional government, this at a time that Congress seems disinclined to protect our rights.

I think the public would have spoken so it would then be essential to lead us through the treacherous path back to sanity.

Ron Paul does not sound compassionate when he discusses health care.  He makes it sound like a healthy free market will solve the problem and that mandating anything and everything is not the solution.  I may not have heard right, but he is more liberal than any of the Democratic candidates on these issues. 

However, what is needed is the dismantling of a broken system.  The government, as we have seen, cannot inspect food imports so it cannot guarantee the safety of the food.  Journalists can find Osama bin Laden but generals cannot.  In short, the last thing we want is federal administration of mandatory health care, but I bet this is exactly what we would have rammed down our throats if one of the other candidates ends up in the White House. 

My point is simply that requiring that everyone have the benefits of health care would be an enormous gift to those who benefit from bringing 45 million uninsured people into the system.  However, if the system itself is flawed, we get more bad medicine and this is what is dangerous about biased films such as SiCKO and biased politicians who hide coercion in humanitarian guises.

The bottom line: beware the Trojan Horses!

Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2007

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