Vail Valley Voices: Health care and racism
Vail, CO COlorado
Spurred by talking heads, bloggers and both liberal and conservative fringe groups, the health care debate has morphed into a racial sensitivity forum. Instead of conducting produc-tive discussions about the imbroglio known as health care, it’s now become this: If you’re for health care reform, you’re a communist. If you’re against it, you’re a racist who wants Barack Obama to fail because he’s African American.
Unfortunately, the pundits are giv-ing these radical positions plenty of credibility and far too much airtime. How sad would it be if needy, unin-sured Americans are not able to obtain health care protection because of all this communist nonsense? Alternatively, how pathetic would it be if reform is ineffective because the opposition is afraid to speak up and make con-structive proposals for fear of being labeled a bigot?
The conclusion I draw from all this is that partisan politics and radical members of both political parties are negatively impacting our government. While we’re on the subject of health care reform, let’s analyze some of the important issues. First and foremost, the proposed reform is expected to cost between $750 billion and $1 tril-lion and be funded by taxing wealthy Americans and, perhaps, soft drink sales (a strange idea). To be clear, this reform will only insure uninsured Americans. The 85 percent of Ameri-cans (approximately) who have been subjected to skyrocketing health care costs, will receive no benefits from the aforementioned proposal. In fact, many of the people who object to pro-posed health care reform are con-cerned that their current insurance benefits will somehow be diluted by new legislation, an issue that Obama has failed to address adequately.
Second, the president wants us to trust him that he will reform the entire health care system and stem the tide of increasing costs in the future. He hasn’t indicated how much this future endeavor will cost or when it will be completed. Do any Americans really believe that Con-gress has the will to enact legislation to eliminate medical fraud, excess bureaucracy, medical malpractice abuse and all the other causes of escalating costs? This American is highly skeptical.
Finally, I’m concerned that parti-sanship in Congress will make it impossible to effectively reform health care. Sadly, I believe many Republicans want Obama to fail and, therefore, will oppose him on every issue. The vast majority is not driven by racism. Rather, it’s a function of wanting to regain control of Congress, even if millions of people remain uninsured and future health costs continue to rise.
Sal Bommarito is a novelist and fre-quent visitor to Vail during the past 20 years.