Monday, August 17, 2009

Public Discourse and Health Care

I am a fan if dissent. I think it is good. I openly admit, at times, to taking a position that is not my own in order to push conversations to go beyond agreement so that the "other" side is considered. One might argue this helps me to be a better planner (part of my work life). I think most would agree that dissent is good, which is why I find so many public policy debates to be fascinating.

There is, however, a tipping point. It is often times reached during hot button topics-- abortion, homosexuality, male privilege, etc-- and it appears we have reached this point in the health care debate. No matter where one stands with the current bills, the fear-mongering, blatant lies, name calling, and intimidation are in full-force. Civil discussion has been replaced by calling one another terrorists, Nazi symbols and analogies, and death threats (and no, it was not any more acceptable when it was Palin).

For the record, I am rather neutral on the current bills. I have read significant portions of them. I do not think they go nearly far enough to change health care in this country, not to mention the overall health of our people. Medical care is triage. Prevention is key, and I am not talking getting a physical or not. I am talking diet, lifestyle, and complete prevention of needing medical care. Until more people are willing to take personal responsability for what they eat and their environment, AND high quality food and environment is affordable and demanded, we will continue to struggle by putting bandaids on gashes.

That being said, when I pointed out to a friend that a statement made on facebook was false and that I thought the entire system needed an overhaul, I was told " I dont think you know how good we have it."

How good?

When we pay more for worse outcomes? When science is overlooked due to fear of litigation and making it home for dinner at five? Where only chemical options are considered valid? Where natual cures and healthy lifestyles are pushed to the side in the name of convienance and profit?

And how could I not know? I was pregnant in three countries (same pregnancy-- France, US and Germany). Kevin had surgery in France. Of course I know. I have lived what many people opposed fear. Not only did I live it, but I liked Germany's care better. I know in the U.S. I would have been forced to "consent" to a c-section I in no way wanted. I know when my wrists were sore after lifting and carrying The Boy, I would have been perscribed a pill. I know I would have been told by a medical professional to give my baby a bottle when my milk took time to come in. I know I would have been stuck in a bed during my induction instead of encouraged to move around and walk. There are many things I know about the differences between the quality of the care AND the cost. I digress...

This all brings me back to public discourse. It seems, as we enter this heated debate, that many have already lost their civility. Informed debate is overshadowed by exercises of brute force.

Are we really that ugly on the inside that we must resort to low blows? Can the merits of all arguements and stances not stand on their own without millions of dollars being spent on propoganda?

Why all of the hate?

Oh, and for those of you curious about what other countries options, ex-pats around the globe are speaking up. They're not hard to find. Ask them about their experiences. :)


Anonymous said...

Let me comment on two of your unrelated (or almost so) postings at one time. You discuss Nazi Germany's genocide in one and people being called Nazis.

Even after the first post I recalled the picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache. I am told there was one with Bush depicted in the same way. Probably was a lot of pictures go round.

Here is my point. Disagree. Be spirited. Argue points. If you must, call someone dumb, stubborn, incompetent, out of line. But no American President that I am aware of comes close to comparing to Hitler. I'll disagree sometimes but I hope for the best results from each one.

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