Monday, October 14, 2013

Letter: Treat Obamacare just like Prohibition

Phillip Thiele attempts to rile up a supposed silent majority of Americans to oppose the inevitability of better access to health insurance for all by comparing it with Prohibition. Okay, you've had your chuckle, now consider the unintended wisdom here.

Prohibition was an idealistic campaign by social conservatives, not least women who had endured untold abuse, depradation and ruin at the hands of generations of drunks, rammed through legislatures that clearly understood that it couldn't work, but to vote against it risked being labeled as not 'clean' enough to hold office. The new women's vote in particular put legislators in fear of replacement by wild-eyed zealots that would be at home in today's Tea Party. Ultimately it failed, and was rather quickly repealed, as the predictable consequences were tearing society apart.

The proper parallel is the health-care 'system' we have endured up to now. Running against the successful examples of every other developed nation for half a century, we plowed forward on ignorant idealism about the sanctity of the market (and, for the real power brokers, the sanctity of immense profits), enduring predictable consequences that have been tearing our society apart for far longer than the tenure of Prohibition.

Where Mr Theile and his ilk, adamantly blinkered to the real effects of their ideology, projects a campaign by political idealists, in reality the ACA and the long, slow march toward responsible, practical health-care solutions are not parallel to the institution of Prohibition, but rather its repeal.

We still have the wild-eyed zealots in the wings, of course, and that's what's driven the House of Representatives to vote several dozen times for repeal of the ACA, to shut down the government for two weeks now in an attempt to extort a repeal, and to threaten the entire world economy with destruction of faith in the credit of the United States. (If that's not "getting down to business," Mr Theile, what is?)

In an admittedly flawed and patchwork way, the proponents of better access to health coverage are trying to correct a history of bad decisions. It probably won't work as well as we need, but it will be substantially better than we've been doing. The ship was on the rocks. Only a fool pours on more steam for that.

Drive-by editorial: Pay attention to abused kids, for a second

The unnamed editor draws another write-it-and-forget-it column from the passing fancy of the teevee news, describing the abuse, neglect and murder of children as "a singular facet of a complex societal ill that goes unchecked, ... What a sad commentary on life in modern-day America."

The really sad commentary is that a newspaper editor has so little grounding in social history that he thinks this is a "modern" phenomenon," so little understanding of our social systems that he imagines it's worse now, and such thin interest in the issue that it only comes to mind because a sports star is involved.