November 1, 2019

"The glib and oily art to speak and purpose not" (part I)

Medicare for All means restructuring the tax code to eradicate a market-driven, for-profit industry that deprives Americans of coverage, needless expense and choice.

I’d venture to say that what the 99% really wants, in addition to universal coverage, is a reduction of the overall costs we pay for public items — infrastructure, government, education, and the like. Under Medicare for All, we’d pay for healthcare like everything else, through taxes, not with bloated out-of-pocket amounts for healthcare in the current design of things.

Unfortunately, as the Kaiser Foundation noted earlier this month, you can’t discern that widely held position from the polls. Wording of the questionnaires themselves affects the responses you get, and how successful politicians and their spokespersons “sell” the various proposals in different parts of the country also makes analysis slippery.

The true Medicare for All candidates, catching the tailwind of the two bills already introduced in the Senate and House, are very clear on the issues. We have to change the tax structure to achieve two goals: make healthcare universal and reduce the overall cost. What’s in their way is Big Money, Big Pharma and a couple of the Big Unions, ours included.

That the AFT/UFT’s position on Medicare for All is not progressive, even spineless and duplicitous, is clear from Weingarten’s Sept. 27th letter in the Jacobin, from which I’ll riff on a few things she’s written.

“I am supportive of AFT members fighting for diverse viewpoints and positions”
and “the AFT has embarked on a very different process — one that puts member engagement front and center.”

Silky smooth. The fact that leadership may support members “fighting for diverse viewpoints” doesn’t mean that Weingarten, Mulgrew or other execs actually listen to or buy into the arguments made by the rank and file, particularly those of us who support M4A legislation. In fact, I’d argue there’s been a certain hostility to polling the membership, much less following its lead.
“I want that glib and oily art to speak and purpose not.” (Shakespeare, King Lear, act 1)

“Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.” (Plato, The Republic, book 1)

“We agree that we must make healthcare a basic, universal human right ... but ... I don’t believe there is just one way to get there.”
It’s way too facile to agree with Progressives that healthcare is a basic right. To suggest that there’s more than one way to get it is catastrophic for any real change. Every proposal that sidelines M4A legislation buttresses the fundamentally self-serving layer of bureaucratic redundancy and greed we have now in for-profit insurance. But Weingarten supports that fluffy prose.
“We may yet go singing on our way — it makes the road less irksome.” (Virgil, Eclogue 9)

“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters)
In fact, restructuring the tax code is the only way to kill this dragon and make healthcare truly universal and truly universally accessible.
“There is but one road that leads to Corinth” (Pater, Marius the Epicurean)

“I argued for Medicare for all as a floor, not a ceiling, with a role if people want for private insurance.”

This stance is idiotic. Anyone who advocates for it condones for-profit healthcare.
“Here the boundaries meet and all contradictions exist side by side.” (Dostoevski, The Brothers Karamazov)

“Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.” (Mencken, Prejudices, 3rd series)
And, in fact:
“This was the most unkindest cut of all.” (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, act 3)

“In concept, health insurance is supposed to lower the cost of care and expand coverage ...” That’s a false premise right there. Let’s be honest. The purpose of health insurance right now in this country is to limit the amount of care people can get and make money for shareholders.
“He who would distinguish the true from the false must have an adequate idea of what is true and false.” (Spinoza, Ethics, pt. 1)

“Truth exists, only falsehood has to be invented.” (Braque, Pénsées sur l’Art)

“That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.” (Valéry, Tel quel)

... Unfortunately it hasn’t worked that way. Medicare for All is one way to fix the concept, but it’s not the only way. The point is to get to universal coverage, and to stop the prohibitive costs that keep prescription drugs and healthcare out of reach for too many people.”
You can’t stop “prohibitive costs” when the biggest players back industry-driven out-of-pocket expenses. This argument is essentially a sham.
“A picture is something which requires as much knavery, trickery, and deceit as the perpetration of a crime.” (attributed to Degas)

“If I be false, or swerve a hair from truth ...
Upbraid my falsehood!” (Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, act 3)
Upbraid her falsehood indeed.

“ ... the goal for us as a union remains finding a standard-bearer who fights for universal coverage.”
So they want us to fight just for universal coverage? If that’s all she’s willing to go to the mat for, our cause is truly hopeless.
What might ills have not been done by woman!
Who was ‘t betrayed the Capitol? — A woman!
Who lost Mark Antony the world? — A woman!
Who was the cause of a long ten years’ war,
And laid at last old Troy in ashes? — Woman!
Destructive, damnable, deceitful woman!
                                                     (Otway, The Orphan, act 3)

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