Distant Early Warning (remember the DEW line?)--This is much grouchier than usual. Continue with caution.
I heard today that the reason we get no informed analysis of any health care issues on tv is that the network news crews regard it as boring. So by wisely letting Congress take the lead (unlike the Clinton 1993 debacle), Obama has yielded the airwaves to the GOP, scaring the daylights out of people after the Grand Old Party did zilch for eight years and now, after running up the bills, preaches about deficits.
The sad part is what won't get reformed. Neither the insurance companies nor the trial lawyers really want to do anything about the defensive medicine syndrome that has run the costs up. As a patient, I feel for the doctors who have to spend hours writing up endless justifications to satisfy the health care managers of the insurance companies who know little about the medical issues and are there merely to deny as much as possible.
If you've been in Washington more than ten seconds, you're not surprised by nasty compromises but one that galls me is giving the store away to the pharma lobby by preventing the government from negotiating drug prices. Just a total giveaway that smells.
I listen to the blather about people being concerned and the media ritual recitation of poll figures that they have created by pandering. One might wonder whether everyone's forgotten that there was a problem to be solved here. Unlike our last White House tenant, this one at least is trying to do something. One also must never forget that the Hill is essentially bought and paid for by the lobbyists.
Although I seem to be popping more pills every day, my basic health isn't half bad most of the time. Sure, I could lose some weight--yes, I'm actually showing some progress there--actually, I could stand to lose a lot of weight. And I won't use painkillers most of the time because I figure it helps to know how I feel without them. So I wish I could laugh when I hear the pharma lobby fret in its famous commercials about how we need a system where people don't get thrown out of coverage for pre-existing conditions. Maybe we'll soon hear the insurance companies preaching about letting Uncle Sam negotiate drug prices. You guys fight each other.
It strikes me that the most dangerous legacy we still are suffering from after the eight years of snarkiness is the fear factor. Scare people and you can do whatever you want, tap their phones, eliminate taxes for your rich friends, and give handouts to religious crazies and bankers. Don't get me started on bankers.
Wall Street walks off with unearned monster payoffs, everyone on the Hill rips off the public by grabbing earmarks like crazy--and defends the indefensible practice (I've seen the projects that these earmarks fund--) as an inalienable right of being elected to Congress--and then George McGovern can do no better than say that union representation elections need to be preserved. Just because management has enshrined union-busting, and the corporate types grab everything that isn't nailed down, let's not let people organize under the most adverse conditions when a fair election is totally impossible. CEOs and their hand-picked boards set their pay at ridiculous multiples of anyone else's but that's just fine. I used to think people should have been ashamed for voting for the Tricker over George 37 years ago but even that view is quickly vanishing. We sure do need that Festivus for the rest of us.