We have met the enemy and he is us.
Each time I read what passes for debate on healthcare reform (and anything, really) in our venerable houses of congress I’m reminded of that line and its truth. We have met the enemy and he is us.
Our system of vested and selfishly conflicting interests are supported by those who benefit and allowed by those now disinterested. A well-funded rear-guard action of no compromises, ever...EVER along with skillful betrayals of commitments to constituents, personal integrity, our nation as a whole and even economic data, along with a shrill call to xenophobia and a willful turn of the eye to inconvenient inconsistencies in ideology that lacked supporting data and in some cases logic of the obvious and linear kind...has delayed, diluted, diminished, denigrated any and all efforts and parties involved with even attempting to reform even a portion of the current healthcare system...the health insurance system...whose prices have grown so bloated from skillful avoidance of competition that the companies in this industry gleefully leave 45 million customers and their monthly premiums...on the floor. Literally it seems.
What kind of competitive industry leaves a market of 45 million on the floor for its steadfast refusal to reconsider its pricing structure? Clearly not one designated as competitive operating in a truly free-market arena.But the real question for this industry is the result of leaving 45 million potential customers on the floor. What happens to them?
Nothing good, really. Of those 45 million Americans who cannot afford health insurance, .1% (1/10th of 1 percent) or 45,000 die each year from the result: They cannot afford healthcare. They cannot afford doctor’s visits nor treatments nor prescriptions. And the healthcare needs that could be met with regular visits to the doctors and prompt access to prescriptions...is denied. Not for a year, or two. But year after until those simple needs become unmanageable.
And yet, this system is allowed by us, the voters and us the consumers. We allow lobbyists and non-profit shells funded by the health insurance industry to tell us what to think or how to react. And we allow them to dictate terms and conditions not only of votes but of entire bills before members of Congress. We allow this as the news of their influence, an influence that overrides ours, is clear and obvious and reported regularly by ‘radical’ media sources like the USAToday and CNN and MSNBC.
Whatever happens or doesn’t, whatever leadership springs to action or more likely doesn’t, we get what we have settled for. The enemy is not them. It is us. We’ve met ‘em. And they are us.
Here's Walt Kelly's Pogo strip for Earth Day.