Repeatedly, throughout this healthcare “debate” and Town Hall furor, I have been struck by the middle aged to elderly individuals declaring what they think the Congress and the President are trying to do by offering a “public option” is turning America Socialist/Marxist/fill-in-the-blank-ist. Then, in the same breath, they demand that their Medicare be left alone. Sigh...
Medicare is a Single Payer system. Most folks who have Medicare like it - actually, they really like it. The Veterans Health Administration, the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs which deals with all things medical, is also classified as a single payer system, but it is closer to the National Health Service in England, in that most services are provided by employees of the VA. Most veterans like the coverage - actually, they really like it.
There has been an overwhelming amount of disinformation and flat out lies spread by deep pocketed groups who have a significant investment (literally) in maintaining the status quo of healthcare and health insurance in the United States. So how do we stop the liars in their tracks? We spread the truth as zealously as they spread the lies.
We’ll start with an amusing, albeit impertinent, but abundantly clear differentiation between the Canadian Healthcare system and the National Health Service in England. Not to worry, it’s brief and there are lots of photographs! Recently, Republicans, pundits on the right and pro-private insurance corporations lobbyists have been tossing Canada and England into the same language blender, adding a dash of Socialism, a shot of “death panels” and a slug of fear to make every other country on Earth’s healthcare look barbaric. They have even gone so far as to write that Stephen Hawking’s life would be “essentially worthless” under England’s National Health Service. Apparently the folks at Investor’s Business Daily didn’t realize that Dr. Hawking was a proud beneficiary of England’s National Health Service, for nearly all of his sixty plus years.
So if we hear a rumor - wild eyed, other planetary or with just enough of a shred of credibility to make us wonder - we can check the White House’s webpage called Reality Check. Another source of clarification is the Organizing for America webpage called Setting the Record Straight.
Robert Reich has a fast read in Salon entitled “The Public Option's Last Stand”. I will be surprised if, after reading his essay, Professor Reich hasn’t inspired you to call your senators, congressperson and the White House to insist upon a public option - while we still can. You know I did!
Now, if what you long for is a dyed-in-the-wool-lefty-liberal-progressive-power-to-the-people sort of fellow, but you fear they are as extinct as the poor Passenger Pigeon, fear not. I have found one! His name is Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY). As far as I can tell he’s right up there with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Senator Sanders, while Mayor of Burlington, once complimented me on the work I was doing to educate and organize fellow workers, so I can personally vouch for his deep progressive credentials! But I digress. Congressman Weiner has made the television rounds lately with clear, logical arguments in favor a strong public option. You can watch his video clips and see for yourself.
Lastly, Rachel Maddow has once again managed to sum up the obstacle that is Congressional Republicans today. She calls it the “Parable of the Pizza”. Watch it below and then shout it from the rooftops that the Democrats, including President Obama, need to order the "pizza" the people voted for last November. The same “pizza” we have been waiting for since the Truman Administration!