Saturday, September 26, 2009

Derailing healthcare reform

It seems crystal clear that a country that ranks first in healthcare costs and 37th in overall health system performance urgently needs healthcare reform. But based on the spam I've been getting, it's also pretty clear that the so-called debate over reform is setting new lows for public discourse. Death panels? Gimme a break!

The campaign against healthcare reform reminds me of this quote from Richard White's biography of Huey Long, Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long(Random House, 2006):

In order to succeed, a mass movement must be superficial for quick appeal, fundamental for permanence, dogmatic for certainty, and practical for workability.
That seems to define the movement to derail reform in a nutshell and I can't help but believe that it is being orchestrated and financed by commercial interests. Follow the money, right?

By the way, Long's biographer found the quote in a 1935 Saturday Evening Post article published shortly after Long's assassination. It was spoken by a guy named Gerald L.K. Smith, a preacher who had a hankering for political power. He helped Long organize the Share Our Wealth Society, a scheme to take from the rich and give to the poor that Long cooked up during the Great Depression, which Smith tried to take over after Long was killed. Smith was a pro-Nazi white supremacist and a virulent anti-Semite who opposed labor unions. Unfortunately, like insurance companies and healthcare providers, he also knew how to get other people to do his bidding.

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