Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Black Hole of Health Care Fakery Sucks All Debate Into A Giant Anguished Cry

Separating fact from fiction when it comes to political debate is far more of a massive dredging operation than, say, merely sifting one from the other.

Enormous planet-sized heaps of information and dis-information blend so seamlessly together - and all is repeated and repeated via hard-core entertainer/rodeo clowns on radio and television and poster-carrying gatherings of the ill-informed and angry (it does not matter what they might be angry or ill-informed about, now that inertia's laws lend momentum to any scrap or bit circling around) and now, of course, in the "new media", aka the Internet - these planet-sized heaps form their own galactic expanse of factoids and gossip, mostly bereft of usefulness to any save those whose income requires a constant squeal for attention.

As someone who has worked in the news biz as both hard news and soft news correspondent, I knew long, long ago that all the scraps and bits of information soon merge together. Solemn stories become a pinnacle of the ridiculous and the ridiculous becomes solemn.

It is pretty easy to fool most of the people most of the time, after all.

The current so-called "debate" in America over health care and/or health insurance is a fine example of yet another giant, waffling, wheezing beast of unimaginable size, layered with confusion upon confusion upon confusion in a near-Book-of-Revelation vision of apocalyptic doom, complete with modern-day seers and prophets surrounding the thing and hurling their warnings and charms.

As I have observed both political and social "debates" for some decades, vast and immense emotions can be evoked by minor facts and fictions -- such as, for instance, a local government ordinance seeking to address something like "barking dogs" and "domestic tranquility". If months (or sometimes even years) of anguished public and governmental proclamations grow and grow around this kind of issue -- then just imagine (oh, wait, we don't have to, we can see it now all around us) what has been stitched together from parts far and wide when it comes to the issues of Health Care and Insurance.

Pretty much every president since the middle of the last century has tried to fashion new rules and regulations about Health Care and Government. The benefits and plans which all federal employees receive is by far one of the better plans available to Americans - no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, no reduction of services when ill, low co-pays, etc etc. Of course the tens of billions all that costs is subsidized by taxpayers.

They have all agreed, you see, and encourage "debate" among the rest of us.

When Congress returns to Washington and actually begins drafting and re-writing the rules and regulations which might (let me say that again) MIGHT actually become law, some will be helped and most will not.

I suppose (or perhaps hope) that the best that might happen is many Americans will be once again forced to do what they have always done - scour the marketplace and look for deals, look for ways they can survive and look out for Number One first, second and last. That's what millionaires like entertainer Rush Limbaugh call "American Exceptionalism", i.e. "I got mine, so you go get yours."

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