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ON THE SOAPBOX:

Republicans & the Health Insurance Debate

by Lynda Lambert
20 August 2009

Why are Republicans afraid of facts? Facts are not one-sided. Facts are just—well....facts.

I have been watching the current Republican shenanigans with fascination. Okay: Yes. I’m also appalled. But, still, it is fascinating.

For instance, Republicans accuse Democrats of being both Marxist socialists and Fascists, while those who support Republican “ideals” paint swastikas on the sign of an African-American Democratic Congressman from Georgia and walk in a mindless two-step with each other.

Republicans mendaciously claim that having a public health option will allow the government to decide who lives and who dies—Palin’s “death panel”—not recognizing that now that decision is in the hands of for-profit insurance companies. And, really, in the hands of some young claims adjuster who doesn’t really know anything except the parameters of the policy that sits in front of her.

They rail about the National Health Service in Britain, recounting the people who die from not receiving health care, while completely dismissing the thousands that die in the U.S. every year, not only from not getting the healthcare they need, but also from medical mistakes. This last, according to Medical News Today topped 195,000 people per year for 2000, 2001 and 2002 in the U.S.

Nor do those against the public option seem to recognize that, under our current system, the U.S. has the highest infant death rate of any Western country; and we are far enough down on the list that even some developing countries do better than we on that score.

As readers of my comments in previous columns know, I have a few bones to pick with the current health bill that we are considering. I am, for instance, against perpetuating the whole notion of insurance, and would simply rather go for the care. But, rather than addressing issues such as these, Republicans take their ususal tack of attacking character and ideology. They repeat some idiocy, again and again, until people begin to believe that there’s some truth to it.

Republicans pander to the intellectually vulnerable and treat their own supporters as if they are down-right stupid, instead of treating them as if they are capable of intellectual exercise by presenting them with the facts. And this has often bothered me. Why are Republicans afraid of facts?

Facts are not one-sided. Facts are just—well....facts. Why try to twist the facts, instead of simply interpreting the facts? The only people that I can see who would want to do that is people who feel guilty; people who feel that revealing or accepting the facts would somehow cast a glaring light on negative deeds. I wonder what Republicans have left to hide?

All these crazy people that they’ve gotten all het up–screaming and yelling and acting as if the sky is falling–would be almost comical if they weren’t so...

That aside, however, all these crazy people that they’ve gotten all het up–screaming and yelling and acting as if the sky is falling–would be almost comical if they weren’t so...so....unproductive? useless? moronic? disingenuous? self-aggrandizing? childish? dangerous?

I don’t know; you pick a word.


Lynda Lambert, a college English instructor, writes from Baltimore.



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This story was published on August 20, 2009.