Apparently, I Am A Nazi

August 9, 2009

Or so says Rush Limbaugh. Nancy Pelosi, it turns out, is similar to Adolf Hitler. And, as Joan Walsh points out, who would have ever predicted that our first black president would turn out to be a Nazi? Wow. What are the odds? I guess it makes sense, though, when you consider that Obama is a racist (according to Glenn Beck, he hates white people, apparently including his own mother, and he hates “white culture,” whatever that is). Hitler, of course, was born in Austria, and then became chancellor of Germany. Obama was born in Kenya or Indonesia or somewhere and became our pretender-usurper False-Dmitri president. And, as many on the right have pointed out, including Beck and Limbaugh, the logo for Obama’s healthcare plan look an awful lot like swastika-type Hitler things. Or something like that.

Sarah Palin has chimed in to tell us that Obama is going to set up “death panels” at which he parents and her child will be judged unfit to live:

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

And the wingnuts are showing up at town halls, flipping out and near-rioting over some sort of Nazi euthanasia plan.

And the list goes on and on and on.

My question is, what the living #$%#$% #$%#$% is this? Why is this crazy #$%#$ being covered by the press? Why, after saying crazy nonsense like this, are people like Newt Gingrich and Michelle Malkin asked onto major network news programs? If I said stuff like this at work, I’d be treated like a plague victim. Death panels???? Obama’s a Nazi??? The Democrats are like Nazis because (this is Rush Limbaugh and Jonah Goldberg saying this) the Nazis too were vegetarians and supported animal rights and didn’t like pollution???

Wait, the Nazis wore shirts and pants? DEMOCRATS wear shirts and pants!!! They’re Nazis!!! ARE YOU SHITTING ME??

People, this is entirely beneath us. I have nothing to offer in a healthcare “debate” that involves Hitler, Nazis, killing old people, FEMA death camps, a black Nazi fake president, and God only knows what else. I understand that insurance companies need to protect their $$$, and they’ll do it any way possible. I understand that the Republicans could care less about the content of any healthcare legislation and are just looking to defeat Obama’s #1 legislative project, willing to say whatever they need to to accomplish that. But really, “death panels?” We’re going to go THERE? And there are a lot of people out there who believe it??

So the press covers this garbage. I’m not saying they support it (except FOX), but they cover it: look at the crazies at the town hall meeting! look at Senator Crazypants calling Obama a serial killer! And instead of discussing health insurance reform, we discuss the circus. Which helps them to defeat the actual bill. Then we all pretend the actual bill is sooooo complicated that we CAN’T understand it.

We have two major problems in this country related to healthcare. One is that a large portion of the public has no healthcare. We’re the only industrialized nation that doesn’t provide healthcare to all its citizens. Added to that portion with no healthcare is the portion that either has too little insurance or could be dropped from insurance pretty damn quick. With millions of people either with no care, or having to worry about losing the little coverage they do have if they get sick, or possible bankruptcy if they get very ill, that’s unacceptable. It’s unfair, it hurts the country as a whole, and it drags down our economy.

The other problem is that we spent way too much on healthcare relative to what we get out of it (obviously we need to kill some old people to save money!!!). Some of this results from the uninsured – a pregnancy test, say, at a doctor’s office or at home costs a lot less than at the ER. Addressing a medical issue early with a doctor is cheaper than waiting until it’s an emergency and going to the ER. In general, sending people with no insurance to the ER is about the most wasteful and inefficient way to give them healthcare, and that’s all they have if they can’t pay out of pocket for everything. Also, costs are rising rapidly. We use wasteful procedures, pay far more for pharmaceuticals here than in other countries (trips to Canada, anyone?), and put too little effort into preventive medicine.

The plans (more than one proposal is floating around right now) under consideration on Capitol Hill address these two problems. None of them are ideal – they are all extremely watered down from what true “progressives” or “liberals” would prefer. Any changes would still leave in place (a) the same system we have now with private insurance supplied through your employer, and (b) Medicare covering those over 65. That’s the core of our system now, and it’ll remain the core of any future system. Is that the best way to go? No, I don’t think so. But that’s what we’re going to have. Insurance will be better regulated. It will be much harder, for example, for insurance companies to drop people with “pre-exiting conditions” that are suddenly discovered once they become ill. Obviously the insurance companies don’t like that. The government will also provide subsidies for small businesses and poor families to get insurance. There’s not enough in the plan to keep costs down, however. One way to do that was to force private insurers to compete with a “public plan,” basically something similar to what federal employees like Michele Bachmann have now (while she rants and raves about the horrors of government-provided medicine — the Palins have government-provided insurance as well). In most markets in this country, there are only one or two insurers (e.g., BCBS has a virtual monopoly on insurance in Alabama, Wellpoint the same in Indiana). A public option would provide competition in what are now remarkably uncompetitive markets.

But let’s look at the status quo. More and more people are uninsured or underinsured. In terms of health outcomes – infant mortality, life expectancy, quality years of life – we rank behind every other wealthy nation. We’re last. The World Health Organization ranks us behind every other industrialized healthcare on every dimension. Meanwhile, costs go up and up. Despite having shitty healthcare, we pay FAR more than other countries do. France gets better outcomes by paying 2/3 the amount. If we don’t do anything, it will get worse and worse.

And this may be our last chance.

But hey, the black guy who’s president could be a Kenyan Nazi. We should check that out before he sets up the death panels.

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