Plumbing New Depths of Inanity in the Tea Party Crowd
Let me preface this column by saying that I don’t think all conservatives and right-wingers are stupid. In fact I have some right-leaning friends of a libertarian bent who are really smart, and a lot of fun to argue with. They may have an unquestioning faith, bordering on religious zealotry, in the wonders of the “market,” but like Jesuit-trained Catholics defending the existence of God, debating that faith with them can be entertaining and even challenging.
Having said that, I have to say that the so called “rock-ribbed” conservative crowd -- let’s change that to “rock-headed” -- that serves as the foot-soldiers for the Koch-brothers-funded Tea Party “movement” are really low-wattage.
Back in 2008-2010, their incredibly inane rallying cry was: “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”
Never mind that the Medicare these bozos were trying to protect is a government program.
Now, after the latest Supreme Court decision, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the four alleged “liberal” members of the court to uphold the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare), the new cry from these dopes is that they want to move to Canada “because the US is too socialist.”
I kid you not!
Wally Weldon (@WallyWeldon), is a classic of the genre. In a Tweet, he declares, “I’m moving to Canada, the US is entirely too socialist.”
Van Summers (@VanSummers) chirps back, “Screw this commie country, I’m moving to Canada.”
Problem: Canada has what might best be described as socialized health care. Way back in 1947, Tommy Douglas, a social-democratic provincial leader of the prairie province of Saskatchewan, introduced the first public hospital insurance program in Canada. That plan was expanded nationwide in 1957 in the face of militant opposition from the Canadian Medical Association. In 1962, Saskatchewan broadened the program to cover all medical costs, making health care in that province fully funded for all by the government. A conservative Canadian national government expanded the program in Saskatchewan nationwide in 1966. Doctors fees were set buy the provinces, but doctors responded by adding on private charges called “extra billing.” That practice was banned in 1984, giving Canada the basic system it has to this day. It’s quality health care at half the cost in terms of share of GDP (10%) that it is in the US (20%).
Canada’s Medicare-for-all program is not socialist in the way that the British National Health program is socialist--with UK hospitals owned by the government and UK doctors receiving state salaries. Doctors in Canada still are private entrepreneurs, but their fees for service are set by the provincial governments. Hospitals can also be private, but patients only pay a nominal charge for treatment in them. Their costs and their reimbursements are negotiated by governments.