Friday, August 10, 2007

Hillary Clinton: "I have never supported socialized medicine"

Via dKos, we get this quote from Hillary:
"Number one, I have never advocated socialized medicine, and I hope all the journalists hear that loudly and clearly because that has been a right-wing attack on me for 15 years, and it is wrong."

First off, there is ultimately one answer, and only one answer, to our health care woes: socialized f*%king medicine. Private, profit-seeking insurance companies and HMO's lower the quality of care for the bottom 90% of the country by their very existence. The only function they provide is to siphon money out of the system and into the hands of their corporate elite by squeezing patients and denying access. They and tobacco companies share the dubious distinction of being two business models where profit is attained primarily by killing one's own customers, and if Clinton or any of the other candidates had the spine or decency to do what's right, they'd commit to "socialized medicine" if for no other reason than to exterminate those parasites from the American health care system.

In order to oversee the people's needs and keep the system running smoothly, the government, like it or not, has to occupy precisely the position currently filled by HMO's. It's at that spot in the economy, the payer/price negotiator/middleman, where our system goes awry, and the reason for that is that the current occupants of said role are not honest brokers. The problem is that they cannot be honest brokers because their primary loyalty is not to the people they represent (i.e., patients), but rather to the wallets of their shareholders. Thus, the party performing that role in a functioning system is not motivated by profit, but rather it genuinely represents, and is accountable to, the people. Put another way, using the popular "car" metaphor for the state, on the only road in sight to well-functioning health care, there's only place for HMO's: on the shoulder, as roadkill.

Interestingly, however, she follows it with this:
"Do you think Medicare is socialized medicine?" she challenged him. "To a degree it is," Ashanti said. "Well, then you are in a small minority in America because Medicare has literally saved the lives and saved the resources of countless generations of seniors in our country."

Of course, Medicare is socialized medicine. That's sort of the point. We know socialized medicine works not only from foreign examples, but from a program we already have. Perhaps, as some of her supporters have suggested, this is merely an attempt to brush off an unpopular term without replacing the thing it represents, such as people did earlier this decade with the term "liberal." Supposedly Hil is crafting a health care strategy that she will unveil soon; I wonder how close it will actually be to universal health care. How do you think it will treat HMO's? Let's just say that, after seeing SiCKO, I'm a little skeptical of Clinton's commitment to doing what must be done to fix the system.

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