Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Monday, July 23, 2007

SiCKO

George W. Bush speaks:

The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room. The question is, will we be wise about how we pay for health care. I believe the best way to do so is to enable more people to have private insurance. And the reason I emphasize private insurance, the best health care plan -- the best health care policy is one that emphasizes private health. In other words, the opposite of that would be government control of health care.
What's interesting is how many editorials have picked up on the sentence about emergency room access, without putting it in the context of private health insurance, proving there is no issue so simple and one sided someone somewhere cannot find a way to slice it thin enough to create yet another side. It is, as those editorials point out, an appallingly ignorant statement,

As any executive of a Houston hospital can attest, that is precisely the problem created by the high number of uninsured people in the United States. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children in the nation, and Harris County the highest in the state. Those who lack insurance coverage frequently delay seeking medical care until they are seriously ill. Then they swamp hospital emergency rooms that are required by law to treat them even if the patient has no ability to pay.
And no small part of the problem is the problem of abstraction: Bush is arguing on the "meta-" level of a system, while the reality ("Those who lack insurance coverage frequently delay seeking medical care until they are seriously ill. Then they swamp hospital emergency rooms that are required by law to treat them...") is ignored. After all, if government health care is extended:

It's a way to encourage people to transfer from the private sector to government health care plans.
In other words, Micheal Moore wins! And we can't have that....

Apparently this would be bad, too, because we can't risk stepping up from 37th place in the world, like all those countries in Europe and the rest of the industrialized world, where health care is provided by the government. But I'll bet they don't have innovations like lipo-suction and portable MRI's! And breast implants are an American original! Thank goodness we didn't have government health care squashing innovation like that!

So Michael Moore is affecting the national conversation. But, if the editorials are any indication, it's going to be a long time before we put this conversation in the context it deserves. As I was saying:

...we have a hand in who is poor, and who is rich, and who is in jail, and who gets clothed and who gets fed. And so long as there are people who have more than they need to survive on, and people who have less than they need to survive on, we will always have this responsibility.

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