Survival of the press through Health Care Reform

I just figured out why the Health Care Reform Draft Bills are structured like they are.  It has nothing to do with improving the quality, accessibility, or cost of health care, and everything to do with saving mainstream publications.

Proponents say that Health Care Reform is about the uninsured, but that doesn’t make sense.  A small percentage of what has been proposed is about insurance for the uninsured—most of it is about health care itself and what will be available to the currently insured.  Not one of the bills achieves “universal” insurance coverage.  According to the CBO, nothing in them really shows any savings that will make health care less costly and therefore more accessible.  If you read what is being legislated (something few of our elected representatives have done), something is out of whack with respect to it being about health care or even health insurance.

There is a gigantic mismatch between the problem and the solution.  It depends on who you listen to, but most agree that there are about 47 million people—or 15% of the population—that are uninsured.  There is general consensus on some general categories of people that are uninsured—illegal aliens; those who choose not to be insured that earn well over the median income (over $75,000) or over the median income ($50,000) and thus could afford health insurance but don’t buy it; and those who qualify for Medicare or Medicaid and have not enrolled for various reasons.  There is also an increasing number of the unemployed, but the stimulus will create new jobs for them so they will very soon be covered again.

Although everyone agrees that there are substantial numbers of people in these major categories, there is less agreement on exactly how many people there are.  If you don’t count those uninsured in the three major categories in the preceding paragraph, estimates of the percentage of Americans that are actually uninsured that want to be insured range from 3% to 9% of the population, or between 9 and 27 million Americans.

When 90% of those that have health care are satisfied with what they have, you don’t completely overhaul everything in the health care system for 3%-9% of the population.  You fix the part that is busted without a complete overhaul of everything medical.  An 1100 page monstrosity that no Senator or Representative has the ability to read, much less comprehend, is not necessary.

So what is going on?  It doesn’t make sense that what is going on is just to cover the uninsured.  As I said, I think it has to do with saving mainstream publications.

The press is frequently called our “fourth branch” of government.  It is there to be our—the public’s—watchdog.  The press should jump all over everyone in sight at the first sign of corruption.  It is there to be sure that everyone is informed about the facts so that every citizen is armed with the knowledge to vote intelligently.  I personally believe that any form of democracy—especially a democratic republic, as we have—cannot survive without a strong, independent press.  I also believe we do not have that today in the mainstream media.

The days of journalistic ambition to keep the government in our service or to win the Pulitzer for exposing government fraud are way behind us.  Today, the mainstream media is less like Rin Tin Tin, fiercely protecting us, and more like Bo, kind of goofy, always forgiving, and blind to faults.

Our press may not be controlled by the government directly, but it is controlled by liberal philosophy and Democratic Party affiliation.  Like government, it has transformed from being a servant to we the people into an entity bent on exerting power over we the people.  Too many in the mainstream media filter news through their philosophy but continue to present the filtered or even fabricated facts as objective reality.

Some people like this.  It makes things easier.  You don’t have the think because the newspapers or magazines tell you what to think.  “Health care is good.”  Great!  Bring it on.  “Cap and Trade is necessary to save the earth.”  OK—tax me out of air conditioning.  “You need mercury laden light bulbs.”  I see the light—import them from China.  “Obama is sort of god.”  Awesome!

However, technology and alternate media have given all kinds of people access to a more balanced view of issues.  They are beginning to think, “You know, I wish that I’d known the whole story.  Didn’t find out about that in the Times.”  People are shying away from the more blatantly skewed publications—like the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and a whole slew of newspapers from Boston to LA.  Some have gone under, and some are close to going under.

Is the press too big to fail?  Should we bail them out?  The “problem” is that freedom of the press is part of our Constitution.  An independent press in the form of the mainstream media HAS to be preserved, at least in appearance.  The government can’t bail it out.  Bail out talk simmered up very quickly and died even more quickly.  There has been talk of allowing newspapers to operate as nonprofit educational enterprises, but that reform hasn’t come about either.

They’re not too big to fail, but if they do fail, the Federal Government has lost its mouthpiece.  It is a big danger that with modern technology, people have so many more options to stay informed than the mainstream media.  The mainstream media in America today has to be propped up somehow, like Pravda in the Soviet days.

That is where Health Care Reform comes into play.  If we get health care reform as currently envisioned by Congress, it will mean lots of people waiting in lots of waiting room for lots longer than now.  What do you have to occupy yourself in waiting rooms?  Magazines.  Newspapers.  As soon as you hear that Health Care Reform is going to be passed, go out and buy stock in mainstream media.  Keeping them in business without seeming to do so directly is a big enough deal to warrant such a drastic overhaul in our Health Care Industry.

The next time you are in your doctor’s, look at the magazines and newspapers in the waiting room and think to yourself:  Next year, after Health Care Reform is passed, I can catch up on my reading.  That is what this whole crisis is really all about.  Enjoy your reading time!

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Published in: on July 30, 2009 at 12:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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