The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Healthcare, the battleground

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.

  1. At this point, although the debate and spin continue, this bill is essentially dead from an emotional and mandate perspective, even if some version gets passed. Whether it ultimately proves to be of any benefit to society, or a detriment, will take years, if not decades, to appreciate.

    This bill, and virtually anything that might be done to improve our healthcare system, involves too much complexity with which we are emotionally motivated to deal. In addition, there are too many factions with entrenched economic and/or financial interests to permit it to become a true health initiative.

    There’s been too much arguing about the details. People can not describe in 2 or 3 sentences the conceptual parameters of the effort and what it is supposed to accomplish. Unfortunately, people can describe how they feel about it in 1 or 2 words, and that’s not good. And that’s not to mention the elements which have whipped up hysteria by suggesting, with certainty, what will occur once the final product (which does not yet exist) emerges.

    If either side of the debate has to work this hard arguing about something which theoretically should improve the lives of the masses of people, there’s a big problem.

    Even more so than how something is done, people are interested in results, not the details. And once again, as is frequently the case with much of human processing, the facts don’t really matter. How people view the world, what they value, and what they want, matters.

    And there is nothing collaborative in nature about that. Factor in the strong individualistic American DNA, and this effort is emotionally toast.

    Being an optimist, I hope and pray that some improvement in our health status as a nation is made. However, the noise is deafening, and I may need medical treatment for loss of hearing before the debate is over.

  2. Reggie, I think I generally agree with your analysis about there being too much noise and a lot of complexity — but your comment seems to suggest those things are inevitable? On that I disagree; it’s quite possible to tackle healthcare with a simpler approach, or in incremental steps, and I wish Obama would do something along those lines.

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