Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This post consists mostly of bits and pieces I've strung together from a few posts I started and never finished. It doesn't advance our project any - or add any new ideas. I'm just putting it up to clear the cobwebs out of my "compose mail" archive: a little "brain candy" if you will, though you might view it as Brussels sprouts. Enjoy...

As I'm sure you are aware, the internet's a'buzzin with all kinds of outrageous, if not mentally unbalanced ideas on how to solve every problem from the health care crisis to jock itch.

Yet here at LRA&H we hold ourselves to a higher standard, unlike elsewhere in the blogosphere, where life is cheap and truth is rare - which is probably why we made it to the last heat of the 2009
Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. By the way the winner was David McKenzie, who wrote the magnificent:

"Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the “Ellie May,” a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests."

...although my favorite came from the diminutive Mariann Simms, of Wetumpka, Alabama, in 2003:
"They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white . . . Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently."

But enough of that, perhaps we will prevail next year. Now where was I? Oh yeah, health care. Right.

If I could summarize the socio-economic evolution of this country, It would be like this:

"Industrious Europeans come to the New World - pilfer said World from its current owners - create almost boundless prosperity through hard work and a government constituted on the principle of personal liberty (excluding, of course, Native Americans and about half a million who were brought here to function as slaves). Later on, with the slaves freed and the Indians safely tucked away on reservations, everyone began to think of prosperity as a birthright, rather than an earned reward, and enshrined this concept into ever more generous laws. Everyone knows in the back of their minds that the whole thing is going to come crashing down one day when the bill comes due, but most assume it won't happen on Their Watch. And - Universal Health Care is just one more nail in the coffin. The end."

Recently, the story has acquired a near sublime comedy, accompanied as it is by the constant do-si-do of liberals and conservatives, who magically trade places every few years and then return to their starting points. Deficit spending for instance, once thought to be the exclusive domain of liberals, became the darling of conservatives, who doubled the national debt during the Bush years, yet woke up and smelled the coffee just in time to accuse Obama of being a socialist for doing the same thing. The mind reels.

One wonders where the Tea Baggers were from 2001 to 2008, when the federal debt rose from about 5 to an astonishing 10 trillion dollars. I mean, they seem a little old to have not been born yet, don't you think? And, if they want their demonstrations to be viewed as the acts of simple patriots - as opposed to self serving, political attacks - how do they account for the fact that they weren't patriots back then? Wouldn't that make them traitors? Reformed traitors, to be sure - but rather as convincing as MC Hammer was when he transitioned from pop idol to gangsta'.

I still have a stack of "Mother Earth News" magazines in the back of a closet somewhere. During the 70's and 80's, each issue constituted a virtual field manual for a back to nature lifestyle, devotee's of which were then thought to be liberal, anti-establishment kooks. My, how times have changed! Mother Earthers today would be considered the ultimate conservatives - emphasizing as they did personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. Universal health care... Universal schmealthcare. If you couldn't grow it or hammer it together yourself, Mother Earthers didn't want any part of it.

This has been fun, but I do have a point...

Government, existing as it does at the pleasure of private citizens, is entirely justified in its motivation to bring some sort of rough and tumble, frontier justice to the wild and woolly world of American health care. Let's face it, the cost of health care in this country on the order of twice, or three times what it is in every other advanced country on the planet. I say bully for the person who can afford it. But most of this country consists of ordinary schmoes who can't. What health care really needs here is a few less Tiffany's and a whole lot more WalMart's. How do we do that?

First, people here are going to have to start realizing that nothing is free and no reward comes without some sort of sacrifice. Dana Hunter, a dear and committed liberal whose blog I deeply enjoy, had the personal courage to remark at the beginning of her near continuous rant on health care that she would gladly pay a little extra in the form of a tax to fund the extension of health care to those who can't afford it. Picture that. My guess is she works long hours in some thankless job, yet still has the 'nads to put her own money on the line. And if we have a shot at any real progress, it all pretty much starts there.

Second, If you want, bring to the table the go-it-alone spirit of independence and self sufficiency which made this country great. You're quite welcome here. But don't tell me the American public is not capable of shared responsibility. Those who are constantly wrapping themselves in the flag and squawking, like hens, that they are the real patriots, would do well to remember that every American death on the battlefield represents the ultimate expression of self sacrifice. If we expect these kids to go out and lay it on the line to make our country more secure, is it too much to expect that back here at home we honor them by being just a little less selfish?

Let's not kid ourselves. We're not going to get Cadillac Care here. But maybe we'll get lucky and come up with Ford Falcon Care: not exactly pretty to look at or easy on the backside, but at least something you can depend on to get you from A to B. Basic coverage, as I have said before, is going to involve all kinds of limitations. You're going to have to wait in line. You won't get the best doctors money can buy or the thousand dollar a pill drug. But what you will get is effective treatment for common ailments and protection from bankruptcy if you happen to lose in the bad health sweepstakes.

I see you have started a post on my IHCA idea. I'll wait to see what you have to say before going any further with it.


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