Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sound Bites

I got an opponent-of-reform-posing-as-a-liberal comment last night, which I deleted (I didn't know I had this policy, but I Forbid Outright Lies in the Comments [FOLC]), but something about it interested me -- namely, that this person who wants no reform, never seriously considered reform, and has a deep-seated ideological opposition to reform repeated the oft-trotted-out phrase that President Obama has done an awful job of "explaining" the health care bill to Americans.

Now, this muttonhead Libertarian dude did not invent that argument. Republicans didn't invent that argument. I don't even think it was the media -- I think supporters of the public option invented this argument. Many supporters of reform are supporters of the President -- many supporters of the President have significant faith in and high hopes for his administration -- but this can also create a kind of dependence. The President, remember, is not a legislator -- where the Constitution's concerned, he doesn't have much role in making bills past the presence or absence of a veto. He is a leader to the extent that we agree with him and support him, and he's the first one to admit this.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This may have come off in the Inauguration as a stirring show of faith in America -- but the way I heard it was that we don't get anything we don't earn. No administration-backed disinformation campaigns to confuse and divide our opponents. No use of the bully pulpit to drown out opposition. No dirty tricks; no cash lubrication of difficult obstacles. We get the policies that we support, and the ones we agitate for. If he opens his mouth and we don't understand, it's our job to do the legwork, decide what we believe, and go out and get it. Every, every single supporter of the public option that wastes ink or time analyzing the President's inability to tell a good, sound-bite narrative about health care reform has lost a chance to educate his or her fellow citizens about health care reform.

So here are my sound bites:

Our priority as a nation must be providing insurance and care to the 11 million uninsured American children, who make up all too large a part of America's 45 million uninsured citizens. It is a moral duty and an investment in the future: no plan currently considered by Congress does this, except for HR 3200.

Insurance costs are strangling our neighbors and our households. 30% of the dollars we pay to private insurance companies go to overhead, paperwork, and profit. If this system works for you, you'll have the choice to retain it. If it doesn't, HR 3200 will give you the chance to enroll in a government-run insurance program that is responsible to citizens and not shareholders. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that inclusion of a public option in any health reform bill will decrease the costs of that bill by $400 billion over ten years.

The regulations of the current insurance system discourage small business and individual entrepreneurship, make spouses dependent on one another, create obstacles to those who want to change jobs or industries, ruthlessly punish those with chronic illness, and create dangerous levels of uninsurance among those under 25. These injustices can be ended with the stroke of a pen: they are failures of government to regulate insurance, and they cost Americans not just money, but suffering and lives.

And here's a shorter take on the situation --

Right on. In case you missed it yesterday, you can call your congresspeople through the service at 1-877-264-HCAN. We have, probably, less than two weeks to affect what legislation is written and whether or not it passes -- this is the exact wrong time to analyze the varying effectiveness of our elected officials, and the exact right time to decide what you believe and work to make it happen.

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