Sigh. I guess it's time to finally say something about this circus. About this distraction. About healthcare 'reform'.
The biggest thing I can say is that we're missing the point completely. The death panel debate is inane and shockingly uninformed and offensive, but it's really a shell game in front of closed-door deals that signal the true agenda of this bill and 'reform': window dressing for business as usual.
Obama, for all his rhetoric, looks to have sold the public down the river in order to mollify the big contributors, including for-profit hospitals, the insurance agency, and big pharma. How can I say this? Well, it seems obvious that he's agreed to limit contributions from the big players as covered by the NY Times and others. Now, conveniently the dialogue has shifted to co-ops instead of a public option; the 'death panel' idea has been dropped. The talk is about taxing health benefits, requiring people to buy insurance, and avoiding forcing drug companies into concessions on what they charge Medicare, all in the name of 'personal freedom'. These are all shifts away from what he said on the campaign trail, and away from meaningful reform.
The real show is going on behind closed doors. And if you're not outraged at that as a citizen you're missing the point. The big dogs are off making the real deal while we're busy yelling at each other like morons in 'town hall meetings'.
The real discussion needs to occur about the possibility of a single-payer, government run system. Unfortunately, with so much money and profit wrapped up in both politics and all aspects of media, it'll never happen. Does that help me as a doctor? Sort of. I'll keep making a higher salary, but I'll also be little more than a profit engine for corporations providing health care struggling to actually take care of patients. We'll still have uneven distribution of outcomes based on socioeconomic status, the CEOs of insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and hospitals will still make enormous profits, and the president will get his speech. But, overall, very, very little will actually change except you'll be forced to buy crappy insurance.
What actually needs to happen is to get the monied interests out of the back conference rooms of the white house, and out of congress, and out of politics. When John Adams made his way to the continental congress before we were even a country, he had to do it for free, and he had to close down his law practice to do it. He did it because he loved his country, not for the bennies (which, for current congressmen and women, includes a great health care plan. Notice how they're not talking about giving that up). It's all about campaign finance reform and lobby reform, not health insurance.