Morality and the Health Care Debate

Last week, after it became apparent that the GOP campaign of disinformation regarding the health care legislation was working wonderfully [1] President Obama shifted gears a bit to talk about *why* this change is necessary.

WASHINGTON — President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans.

“I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness,” Mr. Obama told a multidenominational group of pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders who support his goal to remake the nation’s health care system.

To be sure, I’m no multi-denominational preacher.   In fact, my spiritual beliefs and the foundation of my moral system is largely outside of those of the ancient religions.  But more on that in a moment.  Let’s look at the problem here from a slightly larger perspective.

As has been widely reported, there are 47,000,000 red-blooded American citizens that don’t have health insurance.  As we are a compassionate country (in some ways) when any of these 47,000,000 living, breathing, humans show up at an emergency room, they will get treated for what is likely to make them dead humans.

The problem with this “final solution” is that treating illness when it becomes life threatening is extremely expensive and that cost is then paid completely by those not currently receiving life saving treatment.

Every single other large industrialized country on our planet has determined that providing preventative and diagnostic health care for emerging problems has proved far more economical than just ignoring the fact that forty-seven-million Americans don’t get any health care until they are at, or near, their death beds.

For those of us with morals, this situation is untenable.

As mentioned previously, my moral foundation is grounded not in faith in the supernatural, but in the preponderous amount of qualified information we now have regarding the natural world and it’s wondrous creations [2].  In this formulation, based on understanding as much verified information as possible and providing the best possible explanation (aka “theory”), the question of morality and health care is even simpler.

And the theory is also getting stronger, as more information becomes available.  Which brings up to Operation Stardust, and the latest bit of verified information.

For the first time, a building block of proteins — and hence of life as we know it — has been found in a comet.

That adds to the prevailing notion that many of the ingredients for the origin of life showered down on the early Earth when asteroids (interplanetary rocks orbiting the inner solar system) and comets (dirty ice balls that generally congregate in the outer solar system beyond Neptune) made impact with the planet.

In the new research, scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md., detected the amino acid glycine in comet bits brought back in 2006 by the NASA space probe Stardust.

So what does finding an amino acid in a comet’s tail have to do with providing healthcare for all Americans?

Good question, and I’ll be honest, we’re doing a bit of misdirection here [3].  You see, my moral foundation comes from the idea that simple elements combined over time is vast explosions in space created more complex elements.   The more complex elements, attracted to each other by the natural bending of space known as gravity, came together to form larger, more stable structures (like the glycine mentioned above, verifying this step of theory).

Once the stable building of blocks of life existed, all that was needed was a wet warm place to grow, which brings us (literally) to Planet Earth.

Mix in a few billions years, and tendency of more efficient organisms (in terms of survival and propagation) to gain in complexity and the ability to alter and effect reality, and you get life as we know it.  Mix in a few more million years, and you get life that we would call human.

Mix in another 10,000 years and you get human life that we would call civilized.

Mix in another 100 years and you get industrialized human life, where machines do most of the work, and human’s biggest health problem in now one that we ourselves create.

We now know so much about ourselves and our world most health problems and horrible diseases can be treated, and these amazing things we have become can life happy and healthy lives…when given the amazing medical care now available to prevent and treat disease before they can become life-threatening and chronic.

Which is why I support a health care system reform that places profits over people.  In the industrialized world, there is but one country that places profit in the marketplace above and beyond the amazing thing we call life.  That country is the United States of America, and it is time for that country to change.

It is, quite simply, the right thing to do.

——-

[1] “THE POLL: 45 percent said it’s likely the government will decide when to stop care for the elderly; 50 percent said it’s not likely.

THE FACTS: Nothing being debated in Washington would give the government such authority.

THE POLL: 55 percent expect the overhaul will give coverage to illegal immigrants; 34 percent don’t.

THE FACTS: The proposals being negotiated do not provide coverage for illegal immigrants.

THE POLL: 54 percent said the overhaul will lead to a government takeover of health care; 39 percent disagree.

THE FACTS: Obama is not proposing a single-payer system in which the government covers everyone, like in Canada or some European countries.

THE POLL: 50 percent expect taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions; 37 percent don’t.

THE FACTS: The House version of legislation would allow coverage for abortion, but the bill says a beneficiary’s own money — not taxpayer funds — must be used to pay for the procedure.

[source]

[2] For those with a moral foundation in the supernatural religions, the question of whether or not health care should be provided to all fellow citizens was decided long ago.  The question now is only how to make it more efficient.

[3] The necessity for the misdirection is explained by the results of this study.

“In fact,” he says, “for the most part people completely ignore contrary information.

“The study demonstrates voters’ ability to develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information,” he explains.

While numerous scholars have blamed a campaign of false information and innuendo from the Bush administration, this study argues that the primary cause of misperception in the 9/11-Saddam Hussein case was not the presence or absence of accurate data but a respondent’s desire to believe in particular kinds of information.

“The argument here is that people get deeply attached to their beliefs,” Hoffman says.

I can’t just go at the issue for those that have already decided, and become emotionally enamoured with the idea that Obama is an evil socialist/Muslim bent on taking away their guns.  You have to go with the science, and attack from the flank.

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Ending the Heath Care debate

It’s been more than a few days since I shared my wondrous insights with my legions of fans here at RPN (does two people count as a legion?), and there’s been a bunch of back and forth on the health care debate so far, so instead of doing some massive fact-laden post, we’ll pick up this thing mid-stream and go with it (besides, the debate has devolved to the point where facts mean little, and are quickly ignored).

The quick point of this post…maybe it’s time to quit even talking to Republicans about the problem and the proposed solution.  As Senator Charles Grassley recently opined, it doesn’t matter what’s in the bill, this is about putting Obama in his place.

When NBC’s Chuck Todd, in a follow-up question on the show, asked the Iowa Republican if he’d vote against what Grassley might consider to be a “good deal” — i.e., gets everything he asks for from Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D) — Grassley replied, “It isn’t a good deal if I can’t sell my product to more Republicans.”

There reaches a point in any debate when it becomes clear that one party of the other is actually arguing about something else.   Once this point is reached, it’s time to just make a decision.

So far we’ve seen very prominent and unemployed Republicans opine about how the terrorist-lovin’ Obama (he pals around with them, I hear) is working to institute a fascist/socialist/Hitlerist program in this country , where he will be killing old people and pushing abortion on everyone.  He’s going to take the guns away and blot out the Sun, from what I hear.  Sure, none of this has anything to do with having a modern health care system, but that’s the point. 

When folks are talking about what health care is really like here, no one says that the system we have is beyond reproach.   I’ve personally talked to folks, after the calm down and quit frothing at the mouth, that make suggestions for health care reform *that are already in the bill*. 

When one side is saying that we need to reform a health care system that is currently rationed out to the point where 1 out of 7 red-blooded Americans get nothing, and the other side is carrying around high powered assault rifles to rallies, it’s time to end the debate and bring it to a vote.

The Democrats have the votes needed to pass legislation.  The Republicans have made this a proxy fight against Obama himself (very little they say, and their media motormouths repeat, has anything to do with the legislation as proposed).

Bring it to a vote and do the job the majority of Americans elected you to do.

[originally published in the Examiner]