News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Expanded health care plans would include veterinary benefits for jackals

The jackals have been circling around the Obama transition process like a pack waiting for a mama water buffalo to give birth to a helpless but delectable calf. On the South Dakota blogosphere, the designation of Tom Daschle as secretary of Health and Human Services sent the jackals into a frenzy. One of those human pustules that keeps erupting in the comment section of South Dakota War College said things about Tom Daschle that are an uncanny parallel to what al-Zawahiri said about Barack Obama. There are many folks out there who have not grasped the fact that the election was a rejection of the petit-fascist meanness of mind that has been reflected in government policies and actions for the past eight years. The malevolent twithood is losing its influence on American policies.

There is a perennial puzzle in the regressive attitude toward health care that betrays the petit-fascist inclinations of their camp. Whenever universal health coverage is brought up, the camp screams socialized medicine. Their rationale is that we can't afford to provide health care for everyone. When the fact is raised that 47 million or more Americans cannot afford health insurance, it is dismissed with a shrug of the shoulders, and a hint that if those people can't take care of their own health care matters, it is their fault and something they will have to live and die with.

Their attitude strongly resonates with one of the true obsenities of history. The gas ovens of the Nazi regime were not invented for the holocaust and the killling of Jews. They were devised to take care of what Hitler called the "useless eaters." That meant the infirm, the mentally and physically disabled who required care. The Nazi cost accountants determined that they were undermining the German economy and needed to be eliminated. A "public euthanasia" program was implemented using gas ovens to eliminate these people.

While the opponents of universal health coverage have not proposed any public euthanasia programs, they are silent on just what is to happen to those who need medical treatment but do not have the means to pay for it. There is a disconcerting implication that these people will have to live with and eventually die from their diseases and infirmities.

The fact is that a huge number of people have jobs which do not offer health benefits or which do not pay enough for the workers to afford coverage. Globalization has put American workers in competition with a workforce in developing countries that get paid subsistence wages. For every car sold in America, the price includes $1,5oo per vehicle for Ford and General Motors, $450 for BMW in Germany, and $150 for Honda in Japan. As Americans have lost production jobs and taken on service jobs, they have also been disqualified from health benefits and wages with which they could purchase them. Under the Republican economic scheme, a growing portion of the work force has been determined to be disposable. The Institute of Medicine estimates that lack of health insurance results in 18,000 unnecessary deaths each year. And medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.

The most formidable opponents of health care reform are the factions for whom the status quo provides huge profits. In past efforts of reform, their profits have paid for the successful defeat of reform measures.

The Daschle-led effort to reform the health care system balance the health needs of the people with the fair compensation and reward for those who provide health care and the medicines that are part of it. He has proposed a Federal Health Board which, like the Federal Reserve Bank, will coordinate policies to enhance the functioning of the current system and encourage the work of the best medical minds in the world, America's health care researchers and practitioners. It will involve building on the current public-private mix of health care plans, but it will involve, most of all, combatting the ideological barriers to making the American standard of equality operative in the field of health care.

Daschle has a long history of working on health care issues from alchohol birth syndrome in babies to the effects of Agent Orange on our veterans. To him, the health care issue is a matter of our national security.

And that may well include rabies and distemper treatment for the jackals.



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