Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Care Bills and Protests

The health care reform bill just passed, and there's a bunch of unhappy people all over the country.

I won't pretend to understand the issue completely (I got bored and stopped following it closely a long time ago). But if the summaries are correct, (and the CBO is accurate, which seems reasonable), we'll get a moderate reduction in the deficit, some new taxes for the rich and people who use tanning salons, some decent subsidy expansions for low-income people, and some mild tweaks to medicaid and medicare. All quite undramatic, really.

All of which makes the protests quite bewildering.

However you look at it, this is not a new health care system. It's certainly not a single-payer universal coverage system. It's not going to allow the government to regulate the industry tightly, and it's not abolishing medicare/caid.

For that matter, the bill barely even falls under the reform category. I daresay what most feminists wanted (behind expanded reproductive coverage, which we couldn't possibly have gotten) was to ensure that single mothers, children, etc. were guaranteed health care - we didn't really even get that. The improvements we did get still filtersthrough the current (read, insanely complicated) system, which is doing a mediocre job at best. Hardly a dramatic victory.

Is it better? Probably. Will it hurt anybody? Probably not. And yet, the protests continue - "the worst piece of legislation ever presented to Congress!" as one radio program I overheard recently trumpeted.

I know a young man - twenty-something years old - who is the stereotype of the teabagger. He's white, decently educated, from a middle class background, rather (if unconsciously) racist, slightly sexist (openly), and republican as they come. He hates health care reform. Thinks it's going to give medicine to all the damn illegals (what a tragedy....) And everyone else needs to earn their own health care, dammit!

Except - he doesn't have insurance worth speaking of. He doesn't make much, his employer doesn't provide a decent plan. And if his girlfriend gets pregnant, she be in the system with the rest of them. All of which seems entirely lost on the man in question.

This doesn't prove anything, of course, but I suspect that there are thousands more just like that. They're protesting, not because the health care reform will actually hurt them, or the economy, or anything else, but just to be protesting - their lack of continued dominance over society, perhaps. Or simple racism, sexism, obsession with traditional family values. Something.

I'm not sure what, exactly (general fear - probably). But it's very strange, and rather frightening.

(Crossposted at Constant Thoughts)


Dr. Jay SW said...

If the Republicans didn't have demagoguery, which they've used with incredible effectiveness to get the white working class to vote for the interests of the rich by demonizing blacks, hispanics, gays, feminists, and comparing anything that might actually benefit them economically to Stalin and Hitler, they'd be nowhere....

Anonymous said...

Fantastic piece!

It is always a shame to see opposition to something that is ultimately a human right. Canadian politicians do the same thing and prey upon people's tribalism (insert various forms of discrimination and marginalization here).

Congratulations though to all the grassroots activists like yourself that pushed past these obstacles to achieve something great!


Anonymous said...

there would never be a purely positive side on it huh?

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Aviva DV said...

The arguments against health care reform are also something I have a huge problem wrapping my mind around, Brianna. I just don't get how anyone can think that people having wider access to health care could be a bad thing! Sigh.