Obama and Health Care: Don’t Blink
While it indisputable that President Obama organized and ran a brilliant presidential campaign, his handling of health care is sorely lacking the same brilliance. Obama has let the Republican Right get out in front of this issue and frame the discussion, using the discredited propaganda propagated by Ronald Reagan: Government is the problem and is therefore incapable of delivering health care service to Americans. The “free market” this argument goes is best suited and more capable of deliver health care. Despite the financial collapse and mismanagement of the economy by the private sector and the “free market”, the Republican and “Blue Dog” Democrats (Democrat who behave and think like Republicans) are still pushing this bogus line. What is most disturbing, however, is President Obama’s capitulation to the Right. In effect, Obama is starting to blink admit the onslaught of Rightwing propaganda and lies.
Rather than listen to the Right, Obama should take counsel from cognitive scientist and Nobel Prize Winner in Economic George Lakoff. Lakoff presents a compelling and cogent argument on government sponsored health care stating: “Insurance companies get their money by denying care, by saying no to as many people in need as they can get away with.… Health insurance will always work this way. It is not the same as care.” He goes on to say that, “Heath care is a matter of protection, not a commodity….Take other forms of protection. Should you have to but your police protection, day from competing security services? Or fire protection? Is it a commodity? Sorry your home will have to burn down. You didn’t pay your premium. Heath care is just as much a matter of fundamental protection. It shouldn’t be sold like insurance.”
This is the argument Obama should be advancing rather than negotiating a fake and unnecessary bi-partisanship. In his haste to bridge the Red State; Blue State; Republican, Democrat, left, right divide, he has lost sight of the moral dimension of the health care issue. The more Obama talks of bi-partisanship, the more probable it becomes that he will blink and turn his back not just on those who elected him, but the invitation history has given him to make good on his promise to bring about significant health care reform.