Double Talk on Health Care

Contributed by Agnes Pomata.

When I read Jim DeMint’s views and proposals, I have to admit that I sometimes get to feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Because he was once an adman, DeMint is good at selling his ideas. As with all ads, though, the fact that his policy proposals sound good does not mean that they are good, or in fact, based on true findings.

DeMint Health Care Scowl

DeMint: There are no solutions, only problems. Source: Getty Images via Esquire.

Alternately, DeMint peppers his arguments with words and phrases that are intended to create a chill, like “government-controlled health care”. “So-called ‘free’ universal health care”, as far as I know, is only being called “free” by Jim DeMint. And of course, there is the ever frightening “socialism”.

And he is shrewd enough to know that he needs only to appeal emotionally, and that what he says does not even need to make sense.

Take, for example, DeMint’s statement on health care, on his website http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=HealthCare. Despite the fact that with increasing deregulation of industry, health care costs have skyrocketed, and in fact, the insurance industry continues to have record profits, he claims that it is “bad tax policy, frivolous lawsuits, government price fixing and over-regulation” that have reduced access to care and increased costs. Just how does that work? If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance, then you surely know that the government has nothing to say about the fact that premiums and co-pays continue to go up as payouts have gone down. If you have spent any time trying to a) contact your insurance company or b) get information regarding coverage or claims, it is obvious that the insurance industry has made the concept of government bureaucracy obsolete.

DeMint goes on to describe his fantasy of “socialized medicine” with absolutely no regard for published health statistics. Compared to the dreaded Canadian universal health care system, life expectancy is lower and infant mortality higher in the U.S., while costs in the U.S. are dramatically higher. So, when DeMint contends that “the wealthy in Europe and Canada often come to the United States for care” part of me doubts the accuracy of the statement while another part of me recognizes that in fact, it would be the wealthy, because they alone could afford U.S. health care.

Always, ALWAYS, we need to watch DeMint’s words. Facts are spurious, arguments use the same emotionally charged rhetoric. The conclusions are idiotic.

DeMint’s proposal to fix our health care system is the same as his proposal for everything else: privatize, deregulate. The huge hole in that argument is that that’s what we have had. That’s what we have now. It doesn’t work. In fact, it has created the broken system we have now.

It is difficult to argue the facts with someone who does not use facts. When words are thrown out for their emotional value alone they cannot be debated. But when we engage in discussions about this important issue with our friends and family, we need to just reiterate what we all already know. We have the system that Jim DeMint is proposing. And it doesn’t work. Nobody really wants more of the same.

Further Reading:

Tea Party Inc.: The Big Money and Powerful Elites Behind the Right Wing’s Latest Uprising.  By Adele M. Stan

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