Thursday, October 08, 2009

Death Merchants

As Keith Olberman noted in his extraordinarily good special comment last night, health care is about death. It is a major facet of our avoidance of that inevitable consequence of life. Very many people are very afraid of that ending. That fear can lead to all kinds of strange behavior, including going nuts over lying rat bastards' talking points about reform or spending outrageous sums to little or no effect to stave off death.

Here is a number Keith brought up, you are 40% more likely to die if you don't have health insurance. Health insurance companies make a fortune from selling a product that adds nothing to health care performance. Nothing whatever. What they sell is access to health care and, hopefully, the avoidance of economic catastrophe from accessing health care. Understand that what happens is that these outfits ensure that a good portion of the public die in the name of their profits. They ensure this by cutting out any recourse for the uninsured through political means and policy limits and exclusions.

Some of what is going on is a sociological problem, excessive fear of death. Death has been isolated from us, it seldom happens in the home - instead it is pushed into the cold sterile environment of hospitals. Very nearly death is something participated in only by conscious choice. Sure, we hear about it on the news and watch movies with horrendous body counts, but only at that distance. Mortuaries have removed the necessity of keeping a body in the home prior to burial and go to great efforts to prettify it. We are all going to die and while it may be reasonable to not unnecessarily court it, it is bad to be freaked out by the prospect.

Don't expect the health care reform project to be reasonable or even particularly rational, not in consideration of what it finally is about. It is about who gets to die and when and whether we give a damn. The Republicans have made it pretty clear that a whole bunch of people could do the nation a big favor and get around to dying.

No comments: