Friday, August 21, 2009
My Thursday Afternoon "Health Care Town Hall" Experience
Senator Ben Nelson has decided to hold some "health care town hall meetings" back on the North Forty, that is, in the State of Nebraska which has elected him lo these many years to the U.S. Senate. He has decided that the very best time to get the concerned citizens out there is on short notice, with little publicity, on work days in the middle of the afternoon. (That ought to get them out...)
In spite of this stellar approach, the meeting I attended at Madonna Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln yesterday had a crowd estimated to be around 1,000 people.
You can check out the usual suspects (Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World Herald) for factual coverage. I don't dare direct readership to them (read link to them) for fear of reprisal. (They are AP affiliates and the AP is very touchy about who directs readers to them. I know, it makes no sense, but there it is. Bloggers have to watch who they link to nowadays.) What I wish to relay concerns the tenor the the anti-reform crowd, which was overbearing, loud, pissed-off, rude and intimidating. BTW I am pro-single payer health care. I think the French, British and Canadians have it figured out.
The contacts I had with two of the anti-reformers left something to be desired in both their comportment and their manners. The most derisive and rude to me personally was a man some 20 to 30 years my junior, 4 inches taller and very strongly built and heavyset, who tried to engage me in debate and then intentionally twisted what I said and used mockery as his defense.
I disengaged quietly and politely and wondered to myself how his mama managed to raise such an "upstanding Christian" son. The quality of other anti-reform commenters in the meeting was similar in stridency and aggressiveness.
As far as Senator Nelson goes, he seemed the quintessential appeaser, willing to make nice with anyone of any persuasion in order to maintain his position. He did handle himself well, and I do not doubt his feelings of concern for the people of the state of Nebraska. However, I question whether he has ever had or will ever have the kind of courage it takes to oppose the powerful key holders of his golden handcuffs, his big donors in the insurance racket. That is what is is, a big fat racket, and just as all trading on Wall Street these days is insider trading, and all get-rich at someones expense schemes turn out to be Ponzi schemes, so all insurance turns out to be a confidence game, and we are the rubes, we're the suckers, and getting Mom or Junior or Auntie or Dad to the doctors in their extreme hour of need means nothing to these bloodsucking fiends, the lords of health insurance.
The for-profit health care industry is running our government and until we get election reform and lobbying(influence peddling)out of Washington we will only get an anemic version of what this country needs.
p.s I have just come across Matt Taibbi's latest, which is about health care. He is a national treasure.