As the passage of a universal health care bill looms on the horizon, the reactions are getting meaner and uglier. What did you expect? There are three misconceptions (the nice label) I will examine that show the disregard our institutions have for the people they theoretically work to help. You may decide that these issues are actually lies (the mean label), and you may be correct.
Allow me to discuss the philosophical bedrock of the Republican Party, i.e. that Americans have equal access to upward mobility and therefore, need as little as possible government intervention (and funding). Hogwash. Just because America has been, and continues to be, the land of opportunity, does not guarantee equality for social and economic freedom. Contrary to common thought though, both the “haves” and the “have-nots” are guilty of this misconception. While a certain portion of the “have-nots” have gamed our welfare system as expertly as Goldman Sachs has played our financial industry, the “haves” also used entitlements for their own benefit. Two wrongs never make a right, although the levels of acceptance of dubious or absent morals muddy the waters to a great extent.
While there are people who know how to use our system to maximize their benefits, such as unemployment, welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, etc., there are many, many more people who need those benefits to survive. To not provide a social and economic safety net for them is the most basic violation of our Constitution and human decency. This is the part over which the GOP cannot compromise. With their party, it is all or nothing. Their expectation that every American can become a rags-to-riches story is a fantasy. Sorry. Life circumstances, such as family stability, values and earning power, race, education and health do make huge differences in actual accomplishments. Thus, equal access to opportunity does not always exist. It can, however, be overcome in many instances, but not in all.
Certainly, universal health care would be a step in the right direction to create equal access to opportunity. How on earth can uneducated, poor, sick Americans ever break the vicious cycle if they do not have the avenue open to them to stay healthy? This is the most basic of building blocks for a socially and economically viable society.
The second misconception/lie that has caught my attention is the American clergy of the Catholic Church has come out against HCR, based solely on their belief that universal health care will increase the number of abortions. They are dead wrong. The true information is publicly out there for those who are more interested in the facts rather than distorting the truth for their own gains::
In other industrialized nations that have universal health coverage, the abortion rate has declined. Despite these numbers, common sense would dictate that when an 18 or 19-year-old woman is faced with an unwanted pregnancy, the chances of her carrying that baby to term are much greater if she knows in advance that the baby will have access to decent and affordable health coverage right from the get-go. Thus, the actual studies refute the nonsense of our Catholic prelates.
The ultimate misconception (or lie, if you prefer) of our Catholic hierarchy is their hypocrisy. Isn’t the purpose of their organized religion supposed to be to serve God on earth by doing good things for humanity, emulating the goodness of their Father in Heaven? If that is truly the case, how can they forego support of health care for an entire population just so they can hold on tight to one ideological principle, that of disallowing abortion? The American Catholic Church is suffering from the same pandemic of selfishness and greed that afflicts our lawmakers and corporate leaders. The Church uses abortion as their only yardstick in assessing any and all public policy. Lying, as well as propagating a false ideology over the truth, is acceptable if it provides a better chance of attaining their own ends.
At the risk of making too large a generalization, I have to be fair. Not all American Catholics and Right-to-Lifers agree that an anti-abortion stance necessitates a condemnation of universal health care:
Lastly, I have come across another misconception (lie?) about universal health coverage. As we stand right now in the process of passing this legislation, there is the definite possibility the Democrats will use the procedure of reconciliation to enact this bill and get it on the President’s desk. There is a lot of talk and head-counting that the reconciliation process will also be used in the Senate to add a public option. The consensus seems to be that there are enough Democrats in the Senate (51 are needed) to add this clause to the health bill. Nancy Pelosi has said that she will not include a public option in this reconciliation. And right she is, because even though the House included a public option in their version, the Senate voted it down. She knows the limits of her power and she refuses to go against the previous vote of the Senate. Smart lady.
I do believe that this movement in the Senate to include a public option is just another devious and phony attempt to assuage their electorate and save their own necks. These Senators who are now saying that they have the votes to include a public option know damn well that it will probably never come to an actual vote in the Senate. Thus, they feel safe in verbalizing their support for an item that will never pass. It is the same old story that lying is acceptable, false hope is necessary to calm the masses and the most important part of public service is self-preservation. This sudden rally to support the public option in the Senate is the biggest slap in the face to Americans that I have seen, well, in days!
So choose your poison. Universal health care is the supreme issue that can either bring out the best in us, or the very worst. Should blind devotion to an ideology take precedence over consummating legislation that would help all citizens? Should rhetoric have more importance than humanity? Labeling die-hard, immoveable principles as misconceptions are a nice way of excusing lies. Compromise is essential for the continuation and well-being of our country, not to mention the survival of the human race.
Check out this comment I received from one of my readers on DailyKOS:
The smart thing for Nancy to do would be to call the Senate’s bluff and include the public option in the reconciliation package, right alongside the self-executing rule… and dare 10 Senate Democratic Caucus members to vote “No!” on THE final up-or-down vote for reform those very Senators were demanding we need.
And here is my response:
That would be smart and daring, but Nancy’s done with dicking around with those idiots (of both parties) in the Senate. She wants a clear path to passage of HCR for her President and her constituents.
Catholic hospitals have seen the light. Bravo!