Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Change You Can Believe In

Everyone keeps talking about how Daschle's withdrawal is an embarrassment for Obama. Conspicuously absent from the discussion is how embarrassing his nomination should have been in the first place. Selecting a health-care lobbyist to reform the system, come on. It's the sort of cynical jockeying folks somehow thought they'd gotten blessedly rid of.

Of course, a President McCain would have gone the extra yard and picked someone like Bill Frist, or the CEO of an HMO or insurance company. No illusions there. Still, having a hack like Daschle for your first pick is like selecting a fox for henhouse reform.

Health care is yet another issue of resource constraints -- energy, economy, etc. -- that can be reasonably reframed as a national security issue. It's a commodity which is in many respects artificially, deliberately constrained for pure profit, to the direct detriment of a substantial portion of the population. Wellness initiatives are part of the problem, and sedentary lifestyles don't help, but how much in terms of raw productivity is lost just for lack of access, because people would literally have to go into hock to get the care they need?

If Obama is smart, and serious about this issue, he will start by recognizing that contrary to popular notion, the system is not broken -- it's fixed. It performs exactly the way it is intended, by the people who run it. If Nadya Suleman or one of her first six offspring had, say, broken a leg, she'd have been in deep shit without insurance. Her father would have had to put his house up for collateral to ensure payment for treatment rendered.

Instead, some asshole in a field that has fuck-all to do with actual health -- a field that should only exist on the margins, but has proven to be too profitable for that -- loads a mentally-unbalanced person up with IVF eggs, and fifty-two people are mobilized to see through the delivery. All of this, even if she does have insurance that is paying for all this nonsense, is being offset on the backs of people who cannot afford even simple treatments, forget turning a human into a brood mare. This is an industry in thrall to the fat profits of boner pills and fertility treatments and catastrophic care for comatose centenarians.

It's yet another example of how and why the health-care system in this country is an abject failure, and this is where, if Obama wishes to be taken seriously on his soaring rhetoric, he must begin. Daschle's withdrawal is less of an embarrassment than an opportunity. A careerist princeling like that was never going to reform anything from the inside out.


Anonymous said...

As the anti-motivation poster says, under the family portrait of the christian crackers with 14 kids:


It's not a clown car.

Heywood J. said...

Oh yeah, the Duggars are another fine example of goofballs pretending to be parents. At least they're not abusing the fertility clinics (which I guess is like cheating a casino in degree of ethical reproach), and it probably doesn't take 52 people to deliver their annual pooter-dweller.