Monday, September 14, 2009

But words will never hurt me?

I have concluded (way late in life) that my wife is right and that people are stupid. Now when you say this, it includes both her and I, so I guess it should really be stated that people will often believe something to be true based on perception rather than fact. In this case, words have power to sway and entrench. So lets do away with two of them in the health care debate.
Phrase 1: keep the insurance companies honest.
When President Obama said recently that it will give Americans “a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep the insurance companies honest.” he unfortunately concluded that these companies are not being honest now or will become dishonest in the future.

Insurance companies are not the bad guys in this fight. They are a business, and as such, put the interests of their shareholders primary over everyone and everything else. This is how business works in the USA. Unless there is a driving force to "not be evil" businesses will always behave in a way that benefits them. This has nothing to do with honesty, it is the nature of the beast and why, in my opinion, government is a necessary player in a free market.

Business is a lot like the Botulinum toxin - both a remedy and a deadly poison, all at the same time. To say that the toxin is bad because it can and will kill, is to ignore the good that comes with it. In the hands of a skilled physician (government) the toxin is free to do do the work it can do (capitalism) and provide the benefits wanted by the individual (market). Those that participate in the health insurance industry are no more dishonest in their labor than the physician is an administer of poison.
Phrase 2: socialized health care system.
When Chet Edwards was asked "Have you decided how you will vote on HR 3200?" his response of "I will not vote for any bill I believe would result in a Canadian–style, socialized health care system." fed into the notion that government involvement is socialism or leads to socialism. Government involvement is, and should, be kept in check by a strong healthy free market. Asking government to step in, make laws, provide services is no more an example of socialism then Google is an example of a monopoly.

When used willy-nilly or purposely, words have power. These two phrases must be stopped dead in their tracks.

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