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Monday 31 August 2009 at 10:26 pm
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Healthcare, the battleground

Thursday 13 August 2009 at 10:47 pm

So the last few weeks have had America see a meteoric rise in largely-but-not-entirely manufactured outrage about the President’s plan to create a public healthcare system.

Well, that’s not true — it’s not the President’s plan, it’s a plan devised by (some of) Congress. That’s one of several steps Obama’s people took to try to avoid a repeat of Clinton’s failure in 1993, but (as one talking-head I saw tonight said) maybe they’re trying too hard on that front. The Democrats (for this issue has become painfully partisan) have failed miserably at selling their plan to ordinary people who see themselves as having to pay for it, and not having Obama to do his draw-people-together thing certainly didn’t help. Trying to rush the bill was also ill-advised.

And so the far-right were handed the perfect opportunity to jump into the void and spread fear, misinformation, and more fear. Hence the (not even extreme) examples of Sarah Palin’s dodgy remarks, and the editorial in an (admittedly half-rate) business paper panning on Britain’s NHS by saying Stephen Hawking would be left to die were he treated publicly. Even without facts, this tactic is brilliant; who’s gonna worry about the plight of others when fearing for your own life?

If only the plan were easy enough to comprehend that people could make up their minds for themselves. Oh wait, the current draft is a complicated mess.

If reform actually happens, it ought to be the high point of Obama’s term in office. But right now, I’m not holding out hope.