By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –
The health care reform tempest represents a vitriolic collision of race, class, social conflict and diametrically opposed hidden political agendas. Faced with solving one of the most critical challenges facing modern society, our great democracy finds itself mired in a out-of-control diatribe as opposed to a substantive discussion.
Since when did a poster of President Obama as Hitler, or as the Joker, as well as the brandishing of firearms and swastikas become valid theatrical props and displays at community forums about health care reform? What a debauchery of democracy.
Such approaches defame the democratic process we hold dear. And any true-blooded American should not only be embarrassed but greatly concerned about how demagoguery is supplanting a democratic conversation.
In such a scenario, how can an ordinary American citizen win? How can America as a nation win?
When you get right down to it, health care reform is all about the Haves and the Have-Nots. When you take a look at who makes up those groups, issues of race, ethnicity and class pulsate.
Such outrageous declarations have drowned out practical discussions about feasible alternatives that may be accessible along with present private insurance strategies. Yes that includes a government-run choice.
We do not hear two of the countrys biggest voting constituencies seniors and veterans decrying their government-run health care strategies. They might not be perfect but Medicare and Veterans Health Care Services work for millions of Americans many afflicted with all the best health care needs. Yes, as well as the government is running those applications.
There are alternatives that need not take anything from Peter to provide for Paul. There are public choices in addition to ones run by the government. How about group cooperatives? Many citizen groups have their particular health insurance Plans. There are excellent lessons to be learned from health care cooperatives working in Washington, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Of the more than 47 million uninsured Americans, over 24% makes less that $25,000 per year. African American and Latino (legal immigrants) make up over 53% of those uninsured. Indigenous Americans and kids from indigent families as well as the working poor make up an important percentage of the uninsured as many states continue to cut their State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Medicaid systems.
Most of the uninsured do not have a voice. The uninsured definitely do not ave powerful lobbyists fighting for their interests and wellbeing on Capital Hill.
Yet for those that have one or both, a voice and lobbyists, rather than get to the crux of how healthcare delivery could be made better in this nation, several have resorted to crucifying any alternative set forth by propagating misinformation, exaggeration, and in a few cases downright falsehoods, causing unnecessary anxiety. A few of those anxiety phrases come to mind: Death Panels, Health Care rationing, Taxpaying citizens can buy health care services for illegal immigrants, among others.
It would be great to understand whether there are measures that could be taken to make present healthcare delivery more affordable and cost efficient allowing resources now squandered to be redistributed to boost accessibility and boost quality results.
Exactly why is this debasement happening? Could it be misplaced anxiety of who stands to gain?
One decision is inescapable: In a bid to offer healthcare choices for many Americans, the deep seated, age old divisive issues around race and class have once again raised their ugly heads.
What part can health care providers, payers and consumers play in making health care better? How can the 47 million uninsured gain entry to health care coverage and services in a cost effective manner?
These questions beg for exhaustive exploration if we actually expect significant change in our health care delivery system in the United States.
Figuring out the best way to provide quality health care services for the largest number of citizens should be the priority. However a healthy voice of reason and civility can barely be heard amid the cancerous fear mongering as a result of race, ethnicity and class discrimination that still hold many Americans within its grasp.
Edited and Reprinted with Permission of USAonRace.com