of Internet space
has been generated over the Frost family, who chose to go public with their problems securing health insurance following a catastrophic accident involving their children (Trust me, you could spend all day linking to articles at just the more prominent web blog sites).
, a right-wing pundit, has become a lightning rod against the Frosts, attacking them for not hocking their commercial property and their supposedly nice cars to pay through the nose to an insurance company willing to cover their children for the catastrophic injuries they suffered. Malkin had originally and mistakenly assumed that the children's private school education was being paid by the family, instead of bothering to check whether the children had received scholarships to the private school (which they had). Other right-wingers on the Internet have joined in--see one of Powerline's posts here
, for example. And, as this has gone on, Malkin herself has been dissed
by Ezra Klein (a true expert on the issue of health insurance reform) for her own personal complaints about the unfairness of our nation's current "system" of health insurance. She then returned that volley, saying that somehow her receipt of a government tax break
for a Health Savings Account (HSA
), which involves a high deductible plan to "save" on premiums and co-pays, is morally superior
to a direct subsidy like the S-CHIP program.
An underlying assumption within most of the arguments about the Frost family is the question over how "poor" you should be to qualify for government assistance in the form of subsidized health insurance, either through tax cuts or a direct cash subsidy. But rather than get into that philosophical morass, which ends up in the trivial arguments over a particular family (just what certain right-wingers who love to see other people suffer for their choices
want to see), let's demand our corporate media ask this question:"Why shouldn't every citizen in the U.S. have full access to health care through government subsidized insurance?"
General Motors knows the right answer to this question--see this
article from In These Times magazine.
Most people in Canada, England, Western Europe, the Scandanavian nations, and Japan know the right answer to this question. And anyone who knows how much these nations spend
on health insurance costs knows the right answer to that question.
And Ross Douthat
at The Atlantic magazine understands the right answer to this question--focusing in his blog piece about how the right-wing moves seamlessly between pro-family rhetoric and then to rhetoric that is abusive against families; and how that right-wing fails to sense the tension, if not contradictions, inherent in that movement.
Robert Kuttner, one of our nation's perceptive economic analysts, wrote a book in the 1980s called "The Economic Illusion"
(Houghton-Mifflin (hardcover) 1984). One of the most salient points he raised in that book is that publicly-funded universalist programs for health care or other basic amenities tend to work more efficiently, cost less per person, and have more public support than so-called "means-tested" programs, where one has to get to a certain level of relative poverty or lower level of income to qualify for a government benefit. I've not seen a credible conservative or right-wing analysis challenging this point and I do not believe, at this point, that we ever will.
So let's get out of the morass of arguing about one family's plight and focus on the real and much larger picture. In other words, the debate should be about why America must move to a single pay system for health insurance because it is the right thing to do, even if it is not the right-wing
thing to do.
The faster the Hillaries, Edwardses, Obamas and others recognize this is the real
debate, the faster we'll engage and win that debate. Yes, it's just one more reason I support Kucinich
But of course, I'm neither "serious" according to corporate media pundits, nor am I a "grown-up" according to Ms. Malkin.
BONUS RELATED POINT:
Remember the ridiculous attacks against MoveOn.org for its advertisement playing with General Petraeus' name and calling him "General Betray-Us"? (See my earlier and single post on this issue here
) Well, now that the retired General Sanchez has ripped
into the administration, no reasonable person should doubt that General Sanchez's comments are also an attack on Petraeus for going up to Congress to support the Cheney (Bush) administration's execution of the Iraq War II.
Those Democrats in Congress who went along with the trivial and ridiculous attack against MoveOn.org, and those Republicans who spearheaded that attack, ought to be ashamed of themselves. Triviality rules our public discourse in so many areas...