"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Sep 22, 2010

Kyrie Elision

What I find most telling about the Obamanoid argument, regarding the prospect of Republican health care shenanigans, rests not in what they dispute:

"In a conference call with new media reporters and bloggers, Nancy-Ann DeParle, the president's top health care adviser and the White House official most intimately familiar with the bill, acknowledged that there were a myriad of ways to choke off the legislation's revenue streams.

'Through the appropriations process, what [Republicans] can do and something they've done in the past with reforms, they would de-fund them in the appropriations bill... Any aspect of this could be de-funded. There is funding in here for insurance authorities to do a better job of rate review. They can take that away. So there are things they can do." 

'We should all know,' she added, 'that those who seek to de-fund and repeal this law will take us back to the days when insurance companies were in control of our care instead of consumers and doctors.'"

(emphasis mine)

It resides in what their argument does not state.

The ellipsis tells the story.

First, as to generalities - laws don't fix problems. Because, as the sage counselor to power casually notes, the people who make laws can unmake them. Or fuck with the money.

Laws don't fix human conditions in any sort of permanent state. A law approximates. If it provides for enforcement, it still does not and cannot do anything, of itself. People might really want to believe in lexical magic, but the law itself lacks any sort of power. Words which no one reads, believes and enforces don't do anything. A law can only justify conduct. It gives cover. People - especially those with power - will do as they please, and what they can get away with, so long as the slap on the nose hurts less than the reward on the plate.*

The law sacralizes their endeavors, before and after the fact.

Second, as to the specifics of this case - the authors of this law could have written in anti-defunding language if they wanted. Or tied the funding to percentages of any number of bellwethers. Or established a funding mechanism, with enforcement, that modeled something like Social Security, or Medicare - which legislators cannot tamper with, without actually passing new laws and opening themselves up to the rage of angry hordes of mobility chair bound Abraham Simpsons. Obama and the Congressional Dems did not code these defunding protections into their legislation. To do so would have exposed them to the distinct possibility of actual changes to the health care regime, in this country. It would have actually given the iatrogenic corporations a government opponent. The exact opposite of what they actually received in exchange for their campaign small change...

The health care guru (heh) elides these key notes, of course.

Her boss's narrative requires it.

How else can they blame the Republicans for all the bad shit that happens, when the enforcement of this law ramifies throughout the body politic, and people start to realize that yes, really and truly, the United Democratic Congress gave the insurance companies legal sanction to treat them as a medical corvée?

And a final programming note: the health care combines still fucking control health care. And most doctors (at least where I live) belong to one...

* - let's have a moment of reflection: sometimes the slap on the nose is part of the reward on the plate; martyrdom and all...


Joe said...

My sister-in-law, who is a doctor, is seriously considering moving to Alaska (from PA) to escape the combines. Her job has been reduced to filling out dopey checklists to make sure she's adhered to the proper procedures when seeing patients, under threat of demerits for failure to mark off the appropriate items.

Anyone who thinks the Republicans alone are to blame for these kinds of corporatist screw-jobs are beyond hope.

Jack Crow said...

Ain't that the truth. My wife front ends a medical office, and at least half of her day is devoted to this shit.



Al Schumann said...

I keep running across headlines that claim Obama is touting it with all his might. I can't be bothered to read the stories. Of course he's touting it again. He's very proud of it. It's a big, big bill and he made a lot of noise getting it rubber stamped. His feelings are hurt, too, judging by past actions and statements.

He's got the same mixture of placid viciousness, willful stupidity and malevolent corporate accommodationism that makes Yggie a star. It's a feature of people who are perfectly well-adjusted. I'd hate them, but it's like hating a giant carnivorous mold formation. What can you make of something that defies any conception of moral agency? There's nothing there.

Anonymous said...

Al's right, of course. We complainers have mental health issues that won't be covered by Obamacare, but that doesn't mean Big Pharma can't fix us with a pill or five. Soon enough Uncle Wiggly... errr, ahhh... Uncle Sam will be mandating mental health exams and prescribing these Rx for us -- with an alternative of perpetual State Care in a wonderfully equipped** government mental health facility.


**Reminiscent of the Torture Room in Brazil.

Al Schumann said...

I could make an argument, for the fun of it, that any energy spent rejecting the Evildum and Evildee freak show is tantamount to an incapacitating condition.

• It rejects consensus reality.
• Pursuit of it does the sufferer no definable good.
• It's socially limiting.
• Persevering is a recipe for depression.
• It can bring harm to self and loved ones.

All the markers are there, and the coerced happiness professionals are eager for new clients.