The national discussion over health care hasn't been a debate. It's been a food fight.
I am sick and tired of the idiotic rhetoric about health care reform. Several individuals, like Kent Conrad and Max Baucus, have come up with thoughtful proposals and have resisted the extremist urges of their party. Others, like the president's liberal allies in the House and the "death panel" zealots who make a mockery of these town hall meetings, continue to drink the extremist kool-aid and make the nation collectively dumber.
On one hand, I am highly offended by President Obama's pontificating about the necessity of broad, overarching health care reform on the collective back of the American taxpayer. The president, per usual, has taken it upon himself to lecture the country on what is best for it. He's fighting an uphill battle, and for good reason. According to this Zogby poll, 84 percent of Americans are satisfied with their current health care. Eighty-four. The president and his liberal House allies not only want to crank up taxes on those in the top tax bracket (when hasn't this been a solution for a Democratic Congress?), but wants to impose tax penalties on businesses that don't offer their employees health insurance. There's nothing quite like the smell of haughty, elitist liberal paternalism in the morning. If ever Barack Obama had the chance to demonstrate that he was a different kind of politician, now would have been the time. Instead, the Changenhope luster continues to wear off. He is doing his best to hammer a solution that the majority of the country doesn't want down our throats.
On the other hand, the rhetoric from the far right is so far beyond uninformed it's shocking -- unless, of course, you've paid attention to the rhetoric from the far right since the November election, in which case the "death panel" crap is actually in line with prior behavior. Sarah Palin and Chuck Grassley -- and Grassley, at least, should know better -- have seized on an argument made by former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey that the bill actually sets up "death panels," which will force your grandparents to go learn about how they can be euthanized.
Now, I don't agree with federal funding of end-of-life planning, no more than I agree with federal funding of wasteful defense programs that haven't been used since the Cold War ended. However, to claim that H.R. 3200 will set up "death panels" is just plain stupid. Do you really believe that? Then click here and actually read about it from someone other than Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. THE BILL SIMPLY ALLOWS MEDICARE TO REIMBURSE YOU FOR THE COSTS OF SETTING UP ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES! That last sentence was in all caps, so read it again. Conservatives have a glorious opportunity to seize on an ultraliberal president pushing failed, tired, recycled, unpopular policies and present a real solution to America. Instead, they have gone into a collective hysteria about these supposed "death panels" and the Obama administration's desire to kill off old folks.
Everyone needs to grow up. I'm getting sick of this crap.