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."