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Can We Start The Healthcare Debate Again Please?

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Let’s face it, things have got a little out of hand. Obama’s recent press conference pretty much capped off a bad few weeks for the President on Healthcare. It’s almost as if part of him wanted to derail the whole healthcare discussion with an idiotic debate about whether it was right to cuff Professor Gates as he tried to break into his own house or not.

But it didn’t have to be like this. It could have been much smoother.

The great Congressional meltdown on healthcare has been a sorry sight to watch. The bickering Blue Dogs threatening to side with the GOP, the at once vacuous and victorious comments by the likes of Senators Baucus and Grassley that we “can” reach a deal, the seemingly inexorable slide into debate over which healthcare facts are in facts facts and which facts are in fact fiction.

We’re scratching our heads. We have a smart, committed, still popular President with command of the issues, a man who can actually make a press conference interesting, and we have a nation that’s hurting for real change in the way healthcare is dispensed. So what’s the problem?

There are actually a few.

The first is that for all the talk of wanting to overhaul healthcare, there are millions who like their own healthcare just the way it is. The second is that the healthcare special interest group is very, very smart, insidious, and rich. The third is that the President made the unwise move to try and make healthcare reform deficit neutral. I can hear the laughs of derision now. How could he not? But the answer is yes he could. (with apologies to the President himself).

The derisive laughter goes up a gear. How? It says. Go on, tell us.

By telling the nation that healthcare reform is an investment in America’s future that makes US companies more competitive in world marketplace. And that like any investment – it costs money upfront, but will earn a rich return of 6-7% of GDP, or hundreds of billions of dollars a year poured back into the US economy, money that will get us out of the rut, money that will enable us to take on the Europeans, the Chinese, the world.

Social Justice is about as popular to Americans as a root canal. It’s not the way to sell anything. Sure people like to look as if they care about each other, but they don’t. In this country, despite the odds, we’re all gonna make it big – and usually at the expense of our neighbor. So tell people that it’s good for business, and everyone loves the idea. It appeals to the reptilian in us. Never mention the poor, becuause that just makes the rich really nervous, and as they have more influence, it’s a bad idea.

Avoid the issue of rationing healthcare. Of course we’re going to have ration healthcare. We ration it now. Just ask anyone with a pre-existing condition. But when private companies ration stuff, it’s just the market at work. If a government does it, well that’s a whole other story. Healthcare in America is treated as a personal issue. In other countries it’s a national issue. In order to make it a national issue here, we need to talk about it in terms everyone can agree on, and that means seeing it as an investment in everyone’s chance to be a millionaire.

Some might say that this is calculated rhetorical idea that’s cynical and low. I’d completely agree. But at least it has a better chance of working than the tortured technocratic approach we have now. Republicans and Special Interest can’t argue with it without trying to disprove it – which is impossible. It’s a trap they don’t want to fall into because it’s empirically correct. Right wing Democrats will be able to keep their seats in swing districts and as for the Progressives, they’ll go along, they always do.

And if anyone complains about the costs, we should just give them this. We just paid out billions upon billions to keep Wall Street afloat. Isn’t it time we actually paid for something that helped America rather than its fatcats for a change? Democrats and Republicans in the heartland can all agree with that. Rich and poor are all looking for a break right now.

Obama has shown his great skill with words. But he’s an honest man not a “sales” man. And right now we desperately need the latter. We need a pitch, a simple pitch, just a few words is all it takes. Something to fire up the masses. But we ain’t getting it from the President, who by leaving the “details” of healthcare to Congress threw an opportunity for change into the swamp, from whence its unlikely it will ever be retrieved.

Leadership is what we needed. Simple, forthright leadership.

All we got a guy trying to break into his own house.

Written by coolrebel

July 24, 2009 at 8:42 am