Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unhealthy Debate

I don't have much to say on the topic of health reform, really. It's just such a big old mess. There are several main topics that have come out of it that really bother me, but I don't want to go on a diatribe here. Still, in case you were wondering (which, if you are at all familiar with this blog, you're probably not as you know what pushes my rage buttons):
  1. Abortion is out of the healthcare bill - because it's not healthcare. This is a theme that drives me insane. It's the most common outpatient procedure, it's there because women's mental or physical health is threatened by being forced to carry to term a foetus that they do not want/can't have. And yet, that's not covered, but viagra is? Really? A man's right to have a long-lasting erection is healthcare (and drugs for it can be advertised at all hours of the day), but not a woman's right to bodily autonomy. For eff's sake.
  2. The rage and violence and sheer thuggery of some of the opposition to healthcare is, frankly, extremely remarkable. The threats of violence (death threats to Louise Slaughter), the actual violence (bricks through windows), the spitting, the racial "epithets" (don't you just love the fact that everyone says "epithet" when they mean the N-word?), the homophobic abuse toward one of the only openly gay members of Congress... and the guns. The guns. The "blood of tyrants" quotes. To be fair, I oppose this Act, in part, because of the way that women's reproductive rights are being sold down the river. So I am distinctly not claiming that opposition to healthcare is, per se, outright wrong and/or racist. But my response is not violence or threats thereof. It's remarkable how people who are used to getting their own way behave like such violent brats when they can't control the electoral process anymore. And there is nothing like their demonisation of women (Pelosi) and the foreign (Obama) to illustrate why people who are, often, powerless or used to having all the power in the world cannot cope with this shift.
UPDATE: I just read this by Jill, and, of course, she (and Bob Herbert, whom she quotes) say a lot more eloquently than I do what I think I detect in the shifting of privilege / power and why that is making the raging people just so raging.

UPDATE 2: Jill and others also have pointed out the utter failure of Bart Stupak to connect the threats of violence he's received with the intimidation and fear that women seeking reproductive health services - be they tests, contraception, treatment or abortion (and again, that's only 3% of the clients that attend Planned Parenthood,* for example) - when they go to their local Planned Parenthood. Or with the death threats and violence that reproductive health workers receive many/most days of their lives in the US.

UPDATE 3: In point 2 above, I think I have misrepresented what I think. I think this is a good start, but it is health insurance reform, not healthcare reform. There are several things I deeply dislike about this Act (as it is now): a/ I'm not keen on individual mandates - I think that it truly is the government's responsibility to provide healthcare for its citizens. What I am hoping is that the mandates will flood the system with more premiums, and so hopefully lower the costs for all of us. At least, that's in theory what would happen without privatized, for-profit businesses in control of dictating who gets what and for how much money. We'll see if it does work. But I believe this bill doesn't go anywhere near far enough. b/ Women have been sold down the river, again, for their actual healthcare needs when, unsurprisingly, men haven't. And that's depressing and awful and wrong. c/ The "better than nothing" argument is true - it's just not enough and the people of this country that I currently live in deserve much better. I'm not sure if I would have voted for it or not; probably if the votes were close, but if I thought the Bill would pass without me, maybe not.

UPDATE 4: And here we go again - yet another reason why this reform does, indeed, fall short.

* See p8 of the pdf.

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