Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Hypocritical Oath of Conservatism

President Obama has promised massive reform of the American healthcare system. He's letting the nation know that "we're going to get it done," and that the goal is to have his public-option plan in place by the end of the year. While 46 MILLION of us, who currently have NO health insurance and absolutely NO access to preventative healthcare wait and hope, the fucking Republicans are on the attack and unveiling their plan through slick television spots and town-hall meetings.

And just what is this Republican plan? Well, actually, there isn't one...other than to paint President Obama as a socialist and to fill their coffers with insurance industry money. Of course, just a small portion of that money is used to run ads like this one...

The level of dishonesty and outright deceipt is un-fucking-believable, even considering that this ad is paid for and sponsored by the Americans for Prosperity group - which is an extremely misnomered, extremely right wing organization, headed by Tim Phillips (of Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed money-laundering fame). The AFP is an "astoturf" organization - meaning that it is a group which portrays itself as a grassroots-from-the-people coalition, when in fact it is a very deep-pocketed, industry funded political machine. Americans for Prosperity was set up to fight against environmental regulations and regulations on climate changing pollution, to fight against oil drilling bans in national parks, to fight against tobacco regulations and indoor smoking bans, and the AFP is one of the leaders behind the recent Tea-Bagger protests which have served as rallying points for anti-government secessionists and militia wackos. They're a bunch of charmers, for sure. Oh, did I mention that the funding for the AFP is pretty easily traced to Koch Industries - the nation's largest privately held company that has been built on oil trading and refining and operates oil pipelines all over the North American continent.

So, while these anti-healthcare tycoons are pouring millions of dollars into these ads, to try to convince Americans that it's a bad idea to institute a comprehensive plan that would institute a public OPTION...

* Over 46 MILLION Americans do not currently have health insurance.

* 10.7 percent of all American children do not have access to the healthcare system.

* The United States is spending 15.3% of its GDP on healthcare, while Canada is spending 10%.

* Life expectancy is longer in Canada than in the United States.

* Infant mortality rates in Canada are significantly lower in Canada than the United States.

* More than 40% of Americans do not have adequate access to healthcare, while just 5% of Canadians are left out.

* More than a third of U.S. employers do not offer any health insurance assistance.

* The average rate of inflation in the U.S. has been 2.5%, while the average rate of health insurance increases is over 12% per year.

* About 20% of uninsured Americans are using the emergency room as their main source of healthcare. The American taxpayer pays the emergency room rate, instead of the cost of a visit to a primary care physician. This costs about $100 billion per year.

* Almost a third of Americans who do have health insurance are actually underinsured, and would be unable to cover any major medical expenses. Most of the uninsured don't even know that they are uninsured.

* The number of deaths in the U.S. among adults ages 25-64 due to being under-insured is about 18,000 per year...more than diabetes.

* Republicans are hammering on "frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits" as the real problem in healthcare costs, all malpractice lawsuits - frivolous or otherwise - actually contribute less than 1% of all healthcare cost in the United States.

The saddest part of all of this is that these corporate fat cats seem to be gaining in convincing working-class folks that they should stand against Obama's "socialist" "Canadian-style" healthcare. plan Most working-class families don't have the time or resources to check out the facts, and Americans for Prosperity knows it. So, they simply put together a quick, slick ad, filled with lies, and air it on prime time tv.

The Canadian citizen in this particular ad lets us know that she had a brain tumor, and that she would've died in her native country. She tells us that she would've had to wait 6 months to see a specialist in Canada. The fact of the matter is that the median wait time to see a specialist in Canada is about 4 weeks. In the United States it's a little more complicated. If she had been an American citizen with a brain tumor, and she had top-notch health insurance, she would have been able to see a specialist in about 2 weeks. If she had to rely on Medicaid, the wait would be about 12 weeks, and if she had no health coverage, she would have been completely out of luck. Luckily, she is obviously wealthy enough to cross our border, and pay for her diagnosis and treatments in cash. (The truth is that she flew to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale Arizona fo see one of the best specialists in the country, and she spent over $100,000 to do so).

In this ad, we're told by that oh-so-scary voice that in Canada, "some patients wait a year for vital surgeries," when, in fact, the median wait time for surgeries in Canada is less than 4 weeks. In the United States, without insurance, the wait time is closer to never.

Then, we're back to Shona Holmes, Canadian citizen, who lets us know that she was able to recieve "world class treatment" in the United States. Personally, I think it's a little offensive to have this super-wealthy woman foreigner speak to the tens of millions of Americans who have no access to healthcare systems about the top-of-the-line care that she received in the country that they live and work in.

Next, the old big bad "government should never come between you and your doctor" line. Of course, the having the sweet-faced, kind-hearted insurance companies between you and your doctor is ok.

And, finally, the foreigner, Ms. Holmes, lectures us "don't give up your rights." I'm a little confused as to which rights we would be giving up by providing a public OPTION where anyone without insurance could be covered, and anyone with coverage that they were happy with and could afford would be able to continue being happy with it.

The time for us to fix the broken system is now. We can't afford to wait any longer. At a rate increase of 12% per year, how long will it be before 50% of us don't have health coverage? And when will we hit 75%? And 85%? And just exactly what is the Republican plan? Well, I'll let Republican Senator Chuck Grassley tell you...

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