Conservatives rage against health reform and warn senior citizens of “death panels,” rationed care for the elderly and the impending government take-over of Medicare.
In this particular inverted vision, conservatives are somehow the champions of the well being of old and young alike. The trouble is nothing could be further from the truth. Conservatives have fought against every program ever enacted to protect well being and health of the elderly and children against the raw cruelty of the unbridled market. Social Security and medicare, just to name two examples, were passed over the shrieks of conservatives.
Conservatives still fight to abolish both programs. Has anyone ever heard of Newt Gingrich or Dick Armey? Ronald Reagan warned us not to pass Medicare, it would lead us down the primrose path to “socialism” he said. If medicare was passed into law, Reagan warned us in 1961, America’s senior citizens would lose their choice of doctor and face government rationing. Sound familiar? Learn to play another note on the piano, already!
Reaching back further progressives enacted legislation abolishing child labor and passed laws mandating universal education and worked to fund public libraries. Conservatives fought against schools and libraries, warning us of the dangerous ideas they might spread. Abolishing child labor was an intrusion on the family, they said. State Universities? Conservatives opposed them. Municipal water standards, publicly operated fire departments and pure food and drug regulation. They opposed that too.
Conservatives warn us of the impending doom of a “Canadian-style” or “British-style” “socialized” medical system where the government rations care to the old, and lets them wither and die, to save a little spending cash for the governments of those Stalinist Monarchies to spend on beaver abatement and saving the wild haggis from the ravages of global warming.
I have a history background, but anyone who purports to know a little something about mathematics would tell you to check your numbers. According to the CIA World Fact Book, life expectancy in Canada ranks 6th from the top and the United Kingdom comes in at 25th. The United States? We weigh in at number 50, way behind every other industrial nation and some not so industrial. It’s just a hunch here, but considering the similarities in diet and lifestyle between us and Canadians, the difference in rank of #6 versus our #50 might have something to do with universal access to health care.
“Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?” Conservatives have been raving for a century and a half, “Do you need health care? Just go to the emergency room!”
Progressives applaud and encourage the free market, but when corporate bean counters overstep and begin rationing care to those too old, to young, too sick, or too weak to meet their preferred “market demographic,” we will support the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of all Americans and demand reform!