Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Propatainment & Infoganda

A local talk radio program asked listeners whether health care is a "right" or a "responsibility," invoking a question from last night's debate. The verdict seemed to be that health care is a "responsibility" which one meets by saving money to cover medical expenses. One caller said she had done this to address a tooth ache since "it's not government's job" to do, I was left to presume, anything people might reasonably expect of it.

The hosts welcomed the consensus. After all, in Canada people have to "wait" before they can receive free care. And look at France's stagnant economy! Why, people even come from far away lands just to receive unrivaled American care.

It struck me how consistently the callers seemed to articulate only the preoccupations of the very rich. It's inconvenient to wait for a service when you have the money to buy it, or an insurance plan which covers it, for example; and whatever will become of our gross national product!? And this from the same folks who borrow themselves into bankruptcy when their "health savings account" is put in the ring with a more serious contender than tooth decay.

It's generous that people would risk their health for the consumer prerogative of a privileged few, but I wonder how many realize just how generous these attitudes really are. They may be giving up more than they know, and for the comfort of those who are not themselves.

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