Health care is one of the most contentious divides between red and blue in the US right now, and the issue is only getting more polarized as the 2012 election heats up.
On one side of the issue is Barack Obama, the first president to pass a broad health care bill covering certain swaths of the population (such as those with pre-existing conditions) that were previously inhibited when it came to buying health insurance.
On the other, Mitt Romney is desperately trying to distance himself from Romneycare, which was essentially the same thing on a small scale in Massachusetts, a mandate dictating all residents have health care coverage.
And nowhere to be found is anyone advocating single-payer health care, aside from a few outliers, despite the fact that American health care outcomes are humiliating when stacked up against those of the rest of the developed world.
Spin is heavy when it comes to the health care debate, as Business Insider points out in an article urging Americans to be more cognizant of where we can do better as a nation:
“When opposing President Obama’s health care reform proposals, Speaker of the House John Boehner repeatedly proclaimed (with passionate intensity) that America has the “best health care system in the world.” Boehner is correct only if you exclude the entire developed world from the comparison. The U.S. ranks 50th for longevity and 49th for infant mortality, where we’re barely ahead of Belarus, Croatia and Lithuania.”
Still, mostly-Republican opposition to reforming the current, broken status quo continues to loudly insist that if you want to break the stranglehold for-profit insurance companies have over Americans, you might as well feed your own grandmother some arsenic, because that’s basically what’s going to happen.
But adherence to a flawed and demonstrably incorrect worldview on health care is basically as American as apple pie at this point, and Don Berwick, Obama’s first Medicare chief, explained how such spin about “rationing” stuck to him in the presence of evidence to the contrary:
“When a myth gains traction … it creates a terrain of silence,” said Berwick. “A new kind of calculus is needed here, in which people believe engagement about the truth is wise.”
And Philly.com describes two nearly identical ads (one right, one left), both claiming the same outcome if the other party is elected:
“The ad from the left, by The Agenda Project, features an actress playing an elderly woman in a wheelchair. Pushing her is a younger man acting the part of Ryan, R-Wis. It looks like an outing to a scenic overlook, but then he steers for the edge of the cliff as she tries to fight him off. He thrusts her over the side with “America the Beautiful” playing in the background…”
The site continues:
“The ad from the right, by AmericanDoctors4Truth, shows an elderly woman in a wheelchair being pushed off a cliff, this time by an actor representing Obama, after she demands a pacemaker recommended by her doctor.”
It appears when it comes to health care, no progress will be made until Americans agree on a bipartisan set of facts before the decisions are made- and that definitely won’t happen until this campaign cycle is put to bed.