Friday, August 21, 2009

I Was Right (sort of)

In my last post, I suggested that we might get through the Hysterical People by asking them questions and helping them to focus on certain facts. To a certain extent, I was right.

Apparently, a left-wing Democrat, Rep Anthoney Weiner of New York, got through to a right-wing talk-show host, Joe Scarborough, by asking simple questions: what is an insurance company? what do they bring to the table? why is their overhead 30% when Medicare's is only 4%? why can WalMart offer $4 prescriptions?

But my questions were way to hard and--I'll admit it, sarcastic and hostile.

You can read about it here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thanks to Klugman

Paul Klugman's recent column on the health care debate was very helpful. It may offer a way to help the Hysterical People (not all of whom are also Stupid People) understand the various options available to us. Here are some questions I imagine asking a Hysterical Person, if one should cross my path and be too exhausted to emote:

1) So you really think that Britain's Health care system is abyssmally bad and couldn't possibly work here? (Imagine here tearfully sincere nodding.) Then you should be writing your Senator and demanding that we immediately dismantle the VA Hospital System, because that's run almost exactly like Britain's NHS.

(How you can tell a merely Hysterical Person from a Really Stupid Person (or RSP): the RSP will simply deny the truth of what you are saying OR will accuse you of something nefarious, like Not Supporting Our Troops. Sarah Palin, anyone?)

2) And you REALLY don't want us to try anything like the Canadian system, right? (Vigorous nodding.) Well, then, you'd better get on the phone and demand that your Senator sponsor a bill dismantling Medicare right now because Medicare works just like Canada's system.

Klugman's most important point is that what Obama is proposing looks more like the Swiss model of health care, using a combination of regulation and subsidies to make sure everyone is insured. I don't think the Hysterical or the Stupid People need to hear that!

By the way, Klugman thinks the Swiss plan is workable. I think it's not, primarily because the Federal Government tends to draw its regulators from the very industry they are supposed to regulate and they seldom have the will to get the job done.

But I agree wholeheartedly with his last point: "all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies."

Thanks, Paul.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Nature of Debate

Well, I am still waiting for the Great Health Care Debate to begin. But so far all I've seen is obsessive TV coverage of lunatics who believe every damn lie the Fox Network feeds them and shout and scream and wail and wave their guns around.

(Suppose the anti-war protesters has acted like this way back when Bush was starting his own private Oedi-war. Think we would've gotten a shred of respect?)

So, two ingredients for a good debate: debaters possessed of FACTS not fantasies and a willingness to LISTEN and RESPOND to what the other side is saying.