Ménager La Chèvre Et Le Chou

This french idiom means  “accomodating  the goat and the cabbage” which  is what, it now  appears,  the health care debate has finally boiled down to; trying to reconcile the recalcitrant.

That may be because so very many of these ‘goats and cabbages’ are,  again as the french might say,  raisonner comme une casserole, reasoning like a saucepan.

T.R. Reid, a former Washington Post reporter and author of  The Healing of America,wrote an article on the 5 myths about health care around the world, summarized by the Physicians for a National Health Program  blog like this:

  • 1. It’s all socialized medicine out there. (Not so.)
  • 2. Overseas, care is rationed through limited choices or long lines. (Generally, no.)
  • 3. Foreign health-care systems are inefficient, bloated bureaucracies. (Much less so than here.)
  • 4. Cost controls stifle innovation. (False.)
  • 5. Health insurance has to be cruel. (Not really. The key difference is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people’s medical bills, not to make a profit.)

Reid also says “All the other developed countries have settled on one model for health-care delivery and finance; we’ve blended them all into a costly, confusing bureaucratic mess. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.”

This week health care reform lost one of it’s stanchest allies with the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, without a doubt one of the most effective  bipartisan legislative negotiators of the last century.   It’s an irony within an irony that the health care reform  that the President is advocating and that Senator Kennedy had been  supporting is similar , with exception, to the one President Richard Nixon proposed and that  Senator Kennedy helped kill in 1974,  the exception being that this year’s  health care reform proposal  is actually more conservative than the 1974 one.

The President has said “These struggles always boil down to a contest between hope and fear.”

Sometimes we all miss the boat of opportunity. Let’s not make this same mistake twice.

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