Healthcare Disappears As An Election Issue
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
We have not heard much about the healthcare issue in the last three weeks. The 47 million uninsured have been ignored by both candidates. The upcoming 100 trillion dollar Medicare deficit has been ignored. I guess if politicians ignore a problem it goes away.
The present administration and congress is ignoring the middle class during this financial crisis. In Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine the basis premise is only a crisis actual or perceived produces a real changes. Klein credits the theory to Milton Friedman. This You Tube link is worth seeing. She provides numerous examples of recent applications of the premise to advantage the rich at the expense of the middle class.
A crises permits unimagined change. It produces increased citizen dependency on government. The government officials can imposes policies to the advantage of the few in the guises of helping the many. These changes must be imposed before society recovers from the shock. The Republican administrations has declared goal is the elimination of entitlements and regulations. President Bush and potential President John McCain want to privatize Social Security and Medicare. The only way to do this is to create a crisis on Main street and shift the costs to Main Street for the advantage of a few.
I believe this is what is happening right now with Secretary Paulsen’s proposal to bailout the financial system. His bailout package does not offer assistance to people with mortgage problems that resulted from the banking systems irresponsible but profitable actions.
The financial community will get relief. The taxpayer will not get relief with his proposal. The taxpayer will foot the bill without any hope for payback or profit. This present crisis has not happened overnight. Yet neither Presidential candidate took the lead in exposing the problems. The problems have been common knowledge for a long time. Neither has either candidate taken the leadership to articulate the unfairness of the proposed bail out to the American people.
The healthcare systems problem have not happened over night either. The Shock Doctrine principles will rear its ugly head. When the healthcare system collapses the Shock Doctrine will result in a disaster in either direction. Either the new Republican administration will hand unregulated total control of the healthcare system to the healthcare insurance industry. or we will have socialized medicine with the Democratic administration.
Yet, “No one is speaking about healthcare any more. The economy, price of gas, war in Iraq have surpassed the uninsured and healthcare insurance premiums as top election issue for candidates”
“Public opinion polls have shown that among the top issues of concern to Americans, health care is languishing far behind the economy, the war and the price of gas. One CBS poll from July put voter interest in health care at just 3 percent. In August, it was at 8 percent.”
How can this happen? It can happen very easily. The media is the message. Only 20% of the population uses the healthcare system at any one time. Healthcare is not the concern of 80% of the population at any one time. The bigger issue of Repairing the Healthcare System so Americans can receive the best care on the planet is not a vital issue to either candidate when Americans are preoccupied with the present shock. Barack Obama has tried to generate a conversation about healthcare but John McCain has no new healthcare plan or the interest in a discussion about healthcare. He knows the Shock Doctrine will prevail when the healthcare system collapses. He will then be able to eliminate the entitlement he hates.
American’s most precious asset is health. A functional healthcare system is vital to our health as a nation.
“For a lot of people who have health insurance, they are paying more for health care, but it may not show up as concretely as paying $70 to fill their gas tank,” said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster.”
The candidates do not seem to have an interest in healthcare because the majority of Americans are not affected. When we have a severe economic downturn the majority of Americans will be affected. However it will be after the election. It will be too late to deal with the healthcare issue rationally. Also the candidates must realize how shallow and uninformed their concepts of the problems of the healthcare system are.
“There were no conference calls to talk about health care. There were no television ads about health care”
Barack Obama’s campaign claims healthcare is a top issue but does not force it to be a top issue. His solution to the healthcare system is not a viable solution.
“Obama’s spokesman, Bill Burton, said the problem is the press, not the campaign.”
“The issue of health care may be getting less attention than it deserves from the media, but it’s still a top concern for voters and among the top issues that Sen. Obama talks about on the campaign trail,” said Burton.
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for McCain, acknowledged that the issue has not been prominent so far but when pressed with why the conversation is not a priority he says,
“However,” he said, “There is a stark contrast in the way both candidates would address the issue. Because the views on providing affordability, accessibility and portability of health care are so divergent, it could hardly escape the conversation each candidate will have with voters.”
As usual Tucker Bounds is making a meaningless statement.
I believe more and more Americans are waking up to the existence of these non-specific answers to specific problems. Americans will express themselves at the polls next month. The traditional politicians better wake up. They had better start expressing the will of Main Street and not the will of Wall Street or else they will be out of power.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.