Health care reform # 5

I just sent this off to the White House.

Office of the President:

I know it doesn’t work like this, but I just wrote a draft of a statement I’d like to see the President make. Please give this approach some consideration.

Statement begins:

I don’t like to tell you this, but the fact is; I can’t get a good health-care bill through the congress right now. The insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies are pushing millions and millions of dollars into lobbying your senators and representatives. The people’s voice is not being heard in Washington. There are also those who legitimately disagree over the place of government. They don’t want a government which solves problems and serves the people.

I could work with congress and entrenched interests and have a measure passed and signed this year. But that measure would have so many compromises that it wouldn’t really solve the problem. I want to work with the Republicans in the House and Senate, but I’m disappointed to say that I can’t find enough Republicans who share my beliefs and there are too many who for political purposes are willing to sacrifice the public good because they want to bring me down.

I know from the people I talk to, and from reading the stories that are sent to me, and from studying the polls, that Americans want a health care system which provides for all Americans. I know that they want a system which controls the skyrocketing cost of our health-care system. They want a system that doesn’t fail them when they need it most. They want a system where illness does not bring financially secure families into bankruptcy. We want a healthcare system that we can be proud of – one where American rates of infant mortality and lifespan are as good as those of the rest of the industrialized world.

Here is the plan I put forward today. In a year and a half, we have midterm elections for the House and the Senate. There will be 35 seats up for grabs in the senate and the people will vote for all 435 seats in the house. I will campaign for some of those candidates.

By the end of 2009, I will announce and publish a clear and simple proposal for universal health care. It will be a smart plan. It will not be a confusing - conflicting - costly plan put together by the competing interests of corporations. It will be based on the best of American health care and the best of other countries around the world which have had universal health care for 30 – 40 – 50 years. If the people who support my plan are elected into office, then in two years we will pass real health care reform. This will be a national referendum on health care.

No plan will make everyone happy. Entrenched interests will oppose it. I know the fact that it will not be good for every industry. But it will be good for America. It will give America what it wants, what it deserves, what it needs.

End of statement.

I truly believe that this is what the President should do at this time. A single-payer plan or its equivalent is the only way to solve this problem.

Sincerely, John Schreiber

Copy to blog

As I said above, I know it doesn't really work like this, but maybe it could. At very least, it helped me think through my feelings.


The real reason some people oppose gay marriage

I am a supporter of gay marriage. Lots of people disagree. I start with an assumption that the people I disagree with are rational, but in this case, I was having a hard time understanding them. Why do people feel that marriage is under “attack” and that it needs “defending.” I thought about it a lot – still assuming rationality.

I started demolishing the stated arguments point by point, but many people had already done that and I didn’t really add anything new. I knew there had to be more than the stated arguments. Homophobia is one explanation, but it can’t be a reason by itself. Then I recognized that there is a huge overlap between groups who oppose gay marriage and those who support a male dominated hierarchical world view.

I think I figured it out. Gay marriage DOES threaten society, if you have an old definition of marriage.

If one believes that in a marriage:

  • roles are defined based gender, or
  • that men must have a leadership role and women must have a submissive role, or
  • that the family is a patriarchal, ownership institution, or
  • that the man is the master and his wife and children are chattel,
then a marriage between two people of the same gender is impossible.

A marriage between equals means that those traditional views of marriage can not true. How can two women marry? There would be no leader. How could two men marry? There would be two leaders. In the traditional view, where roles are decided based purely on each person’s sex, there is no room for two people of the same sex.

If such a marriage can succeed, the traditional view of marriage must be wrong. If sex roles are flexible, how does a man know his place? How does a woman know her place? How does a man remain the king of his castle and keep his woman in her place?

If gay marriage is allowed, the whole hierarchical structure of society is under attack. If I depended on such a structure, I would feel like I am under attack. I find that those who most depend on a hierarchical society, who have the most to lose if their positions are threatened are also those with the greatest objection to gay marriage.

I wish this lead to a strategy, but at least right now, I don't see one.