Last week, Real Time With Bill Maher featured, among other guests, Matthew Continetti, editor of the Weekly Standard. Normally, another right wing talking head spitting rhetoric on television wouldn’t be anything to comment on, but Continetti’s arguments were enough to make me smack my head into my laptop monitor a few extra times than normal. At the time, I happened to be chatting back and forth with a friend and potential new contributor Aaron Schaps, author and creator of the comic General Jack Cosmo.
Schaps: My favorite part about what Continetti said last night was when he tried to defend the Republican running in Nevada for her ridiculous assertion that people who cannot afford to pay for healthcare should barter with their doctors by offering livestock in exchange for services. Continetti tried to say that what she really meant was if people had to pay out of pocket more often, there wouldn’t be as much waste? Huh? How the fuck did he connect *those* dots?
As for the Palin thing…I love that he brought up Palin’s pregnant (during the campaign) daughter. Does anyone think, for one second, that if Obama had a 17 year-old daughter who was pregnant out of wedlock, that he would have had a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming president? Please. You know what most of the Right’s reaction would have been to a 17 year-old black girl with a baby in the oven and no husband?
Cynic: The other ridiculous part of Continetti’s barter argument, aside from what you’ve pointed out, he implied that right now, people aren’t paying for healthcare. Really? So the money that’s taken out of my pocket by the insurance company doesn’t count as “payment?” Isn’t that the whole point of the ponzi scheme that is insurance? I keep paying you money until something happens, then you pay out? It’s a funny unstated social arrangement. You’d think that neocons would be up in arms about paying insurance companies, since it’s a collective pool of money that sometimes goes to other people instead of back to the same individual. What else does that sound like?
As for the Palin thing, you’re 100% right. Granted, I’ll concede that some of the stuff was a bit over the top – but at that point, you’re lumping in conspiracy theorists in with more legitimate journos. Are you telling me that the same type of people who believed that Trig was Palin’s daughter, rather than Bristols, are the same type of people as those who commented on the queen of “abstinence only” had an unwed mother in the family? It’s two different things. Plain and simple, that was about dirty politics all around. And if you think for a second that the right hasn’t been playing dirty for the past few decades, then your bias is already showing.
Schaps: Yes, I think the idea that what is wrong with the healthcare system is that people are getting too much care is laughable, plain and simple. It’s a complex issue, but if I had to strip it down to a few sentences, I would say the problem is that people are paying into a system (at a higher rate every year, and for no good reason) that, when the time comes for it to pay out, will look for every possible way to weasel out of its end of the bargain. Obviously, this is because it is run for-profit, which I would argue is just morally wrong (when it comes to people’s health…I have no general problem with the idea of the free market).
And you’re right: it is very strange that the Right has no problem with the idea of everyone paying into a private insurance system, with only certain people reaping the benefits, but they lose their fucking minds over the exact same thing happening with some hypothetical government system. The big joke is, of course, that there never were any Death Panels in any of the proposed versions of healthcare reform…but every private insurance company *already has them*.
Cynic: Again, spot on. People without insurance don’t even have the fortune to go in front of a death panel, they just have to stay sick or die. Say what you will, but Alan Grayson was right. The reality of the mainstream view (republicans or democrats, as both are so beholden to the industry) is that poor people may as well just get sick and die quickly.
Schaps: The difference between Democrats and Republicans on this issue (and many involving Big Business), in my opinion, is that while there are certain individual Dems in key positions of power who are in the pocket of the industry in question–enough to keep a filibuster-proof majority from being a reality–it seems like the Republican Party, as a whole, tends to be ready to go all-in for corporate interests every step of the way. It’s like that is basically their party platform–big money first–whereas with the Democrats, you have certain assholes like Evan Bayh who have gotten themselves into a good position to throw the proverbial wrench into the works.
But at least the Democrats in DC do really care about healthcare reform…certainly more than the Republicans do. I mean, if the Republicans cared about it at all, why didn’t they so much as mention it during the 6 years they controlled the White House and all of Congress? It was never even on their radar until the Democrats took power and started to beat that drum.