Reactionaries are working to prevent health care reforms at all levels

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The United States is in a ridiculous situation where it spends more of its GDP on health care than any other country but around 45 million Americans have no health coverage. The Obama administration hasn’t yet decided what exactly it will do to try to change this situation, but it is surely obvious to fair-minded people that some sort of improvement must be possible.

Remarkably, there are some Americans who apparently think that the country’s health care system is running at a pareto efficient level where any attempt at reform is going to bring about disaster. Whilst there are indeed serious arguments to be had over whether a more efficient and equitable system will require tax increases (and the politicians must not shy away from these), the sort of populist anti-reform campaign that has emerged is not contributing to sensible political discussion. It is instead pandering to crude fears and prejudices.

healthcareisfascismTake this scene captured in a photograph. It was taken at a protest outside a Town Hall meeting on health care reform. Someone has cleverly (sic) made a sign for their children suggesting that government attempts to reform health care are akin to a fascist takeover.

Then there are the accounts of citizens revealing themselves to be mightily confused about how the present health system works. Anti-reform zealots have been crying out “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”, apparently wholly ignorant of the fact that Medicare is one of the few examples of government-funded health care provision in the US. 

Many of these anti-reform rants make no sense. Quite literally so in the case of the protesters who deliberately disrupt Town Hall meetings with their incomprehensible yelling (speaking in tongues?). 

Paul Krugman has written a piece in the New York Times on what he calls the Town Hall mobs. As Krugman and others note, anti-reform efforts are being spearheaded by lobbyists, Republican politicians, and right-wing figures in the media but it is undeniable that there is also substantial and very passionate opposition to government intervention in health care at a grassroots level.

I can only hope that campaigning organisations in favour of reform will maintain momentum and that the Obama administration will not capitulate in the face of this reactionary onslaught.

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One Response to “Reactionaries are working to prevent health care reforms at all levels”

  1. christianliberal Says:

    The use of violence to foster their ends was used skillfully by Hitler.
    Looks like Rick Scott is doing the same thing now.

    http://christianliberal.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/scripted-right-wing-violence/

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