Headlines concerning the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of the proposed GOP replacement for Obamacare scream that 23 million Americans will be deprived of health care if it passes. As too often happens now, on a quotidian basis, the headlines are distortive, deceptive and hypocritical. They are designed to create emotional responses based on generating fear and insecurity and hate. They are designed to increase the divisiveness that so pervades us and in the end, to further lead us down the path to civil strife.
I oppose both Obamacare and the GOP replacement option preferring a real national healthcare program based on the most popular worldwide option, single payer (or Medicare for all). However, the distortion in the mainstream media’s portrayal of the facts is dangerous and disgusting. The reality is that 23 million Americans who are being forced against their will to support the corrupt insurance and healthcare industries will no longer have to, exercising their own judgment as to the fiscal options they feel that they require. Their decisions may be foolish or wise, depending on the consequences, but they are not being “deprived” of anything. Like most people, my decision would be different than theirs, but I have no right, nor does the government or anyone else, to force my perspectives and priorities on them, especially given the corrupt and inefficient system they would be forced to support.
Healthcare for all, as President Richard Nixon proposed in the early 1970’s, almost a half century ago, is recognized as a fundamental human right in international treaties (see the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights); unfortunately, while the United States regularly inveighs against purported human rights violations by others, we are probably the worst violator of all, not only with respect to other countries but with respect to refusal to honor the economic, social and cultural rights of our own citizens. Such violations are a bipartisan tradition enabled by mainstream media dishonesty and hypocrisy for blatant partisan purposes. The mainstream media is not only the primary enabler of bipartisan dysfunctionality but the force that most impedes related truly democratic decisions. That is what is happening today.
So,… the current healthcare battle is not with whether to deprive 23 million Americans of healthcare but with whether to enable those Americans to decide on their own whether or not to support an inadequate and corrupt healthcare system, a system which with its political donations (honest people would call them bribes) subverts our political system and our democracy and increases the constantly growing gulf between the wealthiest few and the rest of our citizenry.
Given that the mainstream media’s current purpose is not to inform but to manipulate for the benefit of their own patrons, we will have to engage in a diminishing practice: exercising organs that seem to be atrophying. We’ll have to think for ourselves, using our common sense and our own experience in order to reach the decisions that will most benefit us. As for me, having engaged in that apparently painful exercise, my perspective is that Obamacare is a failure and a rip-off; that the GOP alternative is better for most people but will backfire against those who elect to gamble with their health and that of their families and lose, while benefitting those that gamble and win (a risky choice). But that neither meets the reasonable social obligations of government to its people, as embodied in the evolving concepts relating to human rights, or the common sense solution already tried and true by most of the rest of the world, single payer healthcare for all.
It’s not as painful as it’s made out to be.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved
About the Creator
Former chair, Political Science, Government and International Relations Programs at the Universidad Autonoma de Manizales. My university degrees are in political science, law, international legal studies and translation studies.