Thursday, 10 September 2009

Healthcare Reform in the United States of America

Today one of the Chickens asked that my next video be about the American healthcare reform debate. I'm rather reluctant to follow this idea, considering the last time I addressed America as a nation in one of my videos I got called a terrorist (and I was just trying to explain that I think they are funny).

But I figure, what the hell, I'll get some thoughts down here and see what happens. Nobody will care what I write here.

Something that the healthcare debate in the States has really highlighted to me, besides their obvious need for some kind of change in the way their health system functions*, is that their political process is WEIRD. I'm not just talking WEIRD as in I-come-from-a-different-place-and-you-do-things-differently-from-me-how-weird weird, but actually ILLOGICAL-WEIRD. It does not make sense. It is not conductive to the creation of good policy. It's clear that the future of the United States' healthcare does not, in fact, rest with President Obama, but with people (on both sides of American politics) who do not view government and policy as a means to helping people, but as a game that must be won AT ALL COSTS. It doesn't seem to matter how badly the truth gets mangled in the process, but so long as the other side takes a hit, whatever it takes is a good thing.

I'm not about to tell anyone that the same sorts of things don't happen over here in Australia, but some of the distractions that get pulled out in order to muffle the debate in the US are just incredible. Frankly I'm surprised nobody from the Republicans has stood up and said Well actually... euthanasia isn't really the issue we're dealing with here. We're actually talking about how we can best help the sick. Sorry. Surely that wouldn't lose them political points? That would show that they are demonstrably trying to help, or at least constructively criticise what the Obama administration is trying to introduce.

Similarly, I'm surprised nobody from the Democrats has tried to understand where the mainline Republican base is coming from. Instead all I hear over here is that Republicans are demons out to rape and pillage the poor for no reason than their own perverse sense of enjoyment. Surely Republicans can not be this way. What are the conservative thinkers in the party actually suggesting, OR why are they really suggesting that no change is necessary?

Instead of a heated-yet-ultimately-reasonable discussion about what form of healthcare best suits the USA, what we are left with is this political frenzy of noise and static and anguish. The shitty part about it is that in the end nothing gets done and the people (with and without insurance) don't get a better (and cheaper) healthcare system.

*I'm not just going off media hear-say on this one - I have a sister who is an operating theatre nurse in California.


  1. The difference in opinion stems from the ideology of how the government works in the U.S. Republicans feel that the government is something that is hard to trust because of the notion that is you give something power, ten that power can be used for ever and greater harm. (A police state) Democrats feel that the government is there to be used to help the people because only a government has the power to help everyone, but only if it is constrained with oversight. That is how the healthcare reform has gotten messed up. Republicans feel that it will give too much power to the government, and the democrats feel that it is a perfect plan. It is good to have two completely different ideologies in a government because it ensures that anything that gets passed covers both views with compromises that lead to middle ground legislation. It isn't illogical, Republicans aren't demons, and both Republicans and Democrats just have different views on how everything should work in government. In any case, healthcare needs to be reformed.

  2. You're right, it's so ridiculously broken over here. I love hearing things from non-Americans because they're quick to point out that obviously something is wrong and we should probably fix it.

    The rumors have gotten such a crazy amount of out of control that it's almost impossible to have an actual fact-based debate. The Republicans aren't listening to reason and the Democrats have only just started saying HELLO THESE THINGS ARE NOT TRUE, WHAT. Example: during Obama's speech about health care last night, senator Joe Wilson shouted "YOU LIE!!11" which just does not happen, it's so disrespectful. But not at all surprising considering the nonsense that went on at town hall meetings this summer.

    And the thing is- the Republicans that are going on about death panels and euthanasia actually believe that these things are in the bill. I'm talking about regular people AND elected officials. That's what we can't understand. Plus the fact that they're moaning about how we're going to pay for something necessary like reform while being perfectly fine with continuing two very expensive wars.

    /ranty rage of liberal despair

  3. Rohan, actually, you're right: it is COMPLETELY illogical here in the States! Excellent illustration re euthanasia, unfortunately, the Democrats would probably think we're talking about teenagers in Asia! Too bad that even the non-Americans can see the silliness/ludicrousness of our government and are probably laughing inside! And, no, Rohan, you're NOT a terrorist! Funny how it seems that, anytime anyone speaks of freedom, liberty, and just their mind, if it's going against the majority of ludicrousness, they're labelled as "terrorist"! You sure you're not a closet American Republican? That's okay, your secret is safe with me!

    GREAT blog BTW!

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