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August 23, 2009 - Ray Hall (Archive)
The health care issue this summer has succeeded in arousing passions in the most casual observer to the most ardent political junkie. News reports of so called ‘town hall’ meetings filled with harsh and strident sounds and gripping images of armed, angry citizens eclipsed some of the most colorful martial infidelities involving politicians since Wilbur Mills and Fanne Fox.

Even the most perfunctory observation of such meetings leaves the impression that many attendees were not present to listen as they would have us suppose, but to yell and scream and try to embarrass elected representatives. While their actions demonstrates the value of the first amendment protesters should have also known that elected officials are next to impossible to embarrass.

The tiny, scattered remnants of a fair and balanced national press managed to report that a number of the protesters are hired ‘guns’ touring the country at the behest of former Representative, now Washington lobbyist. Dick Armey on behalf our legalized drug trade.

Some number of ‘town hall’ attendees no doubt were there for information, but it is equally obvious that another segment was ideologically driven. These are the people who have never lived in ‘our’ country, living instead in the individual ‘my’ country and are now trying to contend with the reality that they are indeed losing ‘their’ country. These are the folks at once angered and frightened every time they drive past a gathering of brown skinned inhabitants speaking a foreign language at such a rapid cadence that it could not be understood in English.

Equally disturbing to this group is a visible and nagging reminder of the continental drift that is taking place in ‘their’ country; President Barack Hussein Obama. Some protesters have legitimate questions about a national health plan, but from what I’ve seen on television ‘town hall’ meetings are of little use and shatters the notion that ignorance is bliss.

One protester, a woman in her mid thirties, recently lashed out at an Arlen Spector meeting with an incoherent babble of meaningless charges and accusations. She yelled that she wanted her country back. I am curious to know what ‘country’ she wants back--who took it away from her? Another man angrily screamed that he did not want death panels or health care rationing and damned the government for even wanting a ‘public option.’

What these screaming matches demonstrates is not hot bloodied political fervor as in Patrick Henry’s “give me liberty or give me death” or Thomas Jefferson’s comment about the tree of liberty being watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants. What separates present day screamers from Henry or Jefferson is that the latter were neither ignorant nor uninformed.

Patrick Henry would have known that he was deliberately committing an act of treason in speaking before the Virginia Convention where in 1775 he urged Virginia’s House of Burgesses to commit troops to the Revolutionary War. There is not historical certainty he said those words on that occasion and Jefferson’s often partially cited quotation was a casual reference in a letter to a friend. The actual quotation is: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” Current protesters are only wallowing in manure.

Most people, I believe, would agree with the man who railed against rationed heath care. After all, who would want a nameless, faceless entry level bureaucrat sitting behind a computer in some obscure office clicking rapidly through a series of computer screens before dragging your claim to a virtual trash bin. But it happens every day.

The troubling aspect about the man’s charge of rationing is that he and other uninformed/misinformed/ignorant bellyachers, name your own issue, are totally oblivious to their surroundings; they are like fish swimming in an ocean looking for water. They are ignorantly blind to health care rationing taking place in private sector insurance companies on a daily basis across this nation. Are they so dimwitted that they do not realize that every time an insurance company denies a claim that health care is being rationed?

The most common grounds for rationing or denial of claims are "customary and reasonable" for a particular service performed, or that the charges were more than what the insurance company declared as reasonable and customary fees. Another; the patient or provider waited too long to file a claim or that the service was rendered by an ‘out of network provider. Every time you pay a deductible or co-payment health care is being rationed.

Why you ask are insurance claims denied? Profit, and more profit. According to the American Journal of medicine 62% of all personal bankruptcies are as a result of medical bills. When was the last time you heard of a health insurance company going bankrupt?


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