Health Care Debate – What’s Missing




Background notes:

September 24, CNN opinion piece: “Health Care Debate Turns Nasty”, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican, of Utah: CNN highlights: “He says Democrats are making same mistakes GOP made when it held power.”

September 10, CNN opinion piece: “Time for Health Care Hardball”, Rep. Jared Polis, Democrat, of Colorado: CNN highlights: “He says he’s encouraged Obama clearly defined the issues.”

Both writers (part of a CNN special on freshman congress representatives) speak to health care in these articles. The Polis piece follows the August recess, focuses on town hall meetings, and outlines features of a public option, which Polis supports. Chaffetz’s more recent article focuses on anger throughout the country, and suggests there is need to examine more ideas on what can be developed for health care reform without totally changing what exists.

The articles are not direct contrasts to one another. Neither, however, includes what I believe is consistently ‘missed’ (avoided?) in public statements about health care reform, what we have – what needs changing.

We do not hear open, leadership statements, about the role, historical and present, of emphasis on PROFIT by entrenched big corporate interest. We do not hear this about Health Care (except from those deemed “leftist”said to be “in favor of Big Government”). And we do not hear this generally about ‘what ails America”.

Those from the “right” especially seem to avoid acknowledging mega-corporate involvement with what becomes official policy – not only in Health Care Reform, but in diagnosing what ails the country. Those from the “left” do not offer much themselves, except as noted – those labeled ‘ultra left’.

Both tend to ‘leave the sleeping dog alone’. Polis describes “what is going on” in terms of citizen involvement, but does not “name” forces disinterested in citizen well-being, despite the huge influence of these forces. (Big Corporate push to see policies ushered in that do not overly strip them of power.) Chaffetz speaks in such a way as to draw a reader’s attention to “Big Government” as an exclusive agent of demise.


I read Chaffetz’s article today, Polis’s earlier. I hoped Chaffetz would reference “Big Corporate Power” in statements about “Big Forces” that ignore citizen interests. But he did not. I include Polis’s article to demonstrate that Polis, also, waxes on without ‘telling the people’ what we are ‘up against’.  Following is a post (with only a few changes) I made today in an on-line discussion of Chaffetz’s article:


I agree in a very (very!) GENERAL way with Chaffetz’s remarks. I am greatly troubled he points to ‘big government’ as issue without reference to the other Big Power running away with our resources, our choices, our lives. Large Corporate Power, and Consolidation of this Power, is every bit as destructive as ‘Big Government’.

In fact, the two, at “Washington level” often work too smoothly together. Corporate Power pressures and schmoozes policy makers of all persuasions, who are inclined to “sweeten the deal” for Corporate Profits, with no regard to effect on ordinary citizens. High level government appointees are frequently interchangeable with high level corporate board members. This has been going on a long time, and appears not to be changing. Rather, it appears “settled in” as status quo.

Eisenhower cast the warning: “Beware the military-industrial complex.” This complex now is solidly in place.  The complex is now expanded. ‘Military’ and ‘industrial’ are joined by banking, media, health care, and …?? more ??. Jefferson warned against large financial operations that had powers to function with monopoly or in cartel, (formal or informal — how does anyone prove informal cartel!).

Ordinary citizens have too-long functioned as “ATM”s for corporate interests. Not ‘ordinary enterprise making modest profit while providing goods and services’ — but Big Corporate ‘enterprise’ with total emphasis on PROFIT. Large corporate interest achieves this through public statement and advertising (we buy into this); they have also done this by massive and persistent lobbying for ‘advantage to profit and power’ in government policy. (They are, on the whole, very successful).

I strongly suggest there is much common ground for ordinary citizens, but confusion linking “large corporate enterprise” with “ordinary enterprise” must go. They are not one and the same.

The day I hear/read speakers/writers of Chaffetz’s view, and of Polis’s view, expressing strong, and clear, harm done by both “Big Government” and “Big Corporate Power”, I will believe we citizens are hearing what we need to hear. Corporate Power manipulation of population, and manipulation of Government (often too willing to go along), shows clearly in “Health Care Reform”.

As ‘ordinary citizens’ we seem all too willing to choose a ‘side‘. This divides us, leaves us unaware of one another’s well-being, of common interest. I also insist we are in different relationships to ‘government’ and ‘corporate’ powers. We own government, it is our device, our tool. It is up to us to make it work, using its “reach”, if it suits us, the citizens, to do so.  Government players are susceptible to thirst to maintain power (re-election, benefits of service), but theoretically are trumped by citizen power.  Corporate power is not available to us, an entire citizenry, as “democracy”.  Even shareholders to not have full control of corporate policy. 

Government has responsibility to fiscal intelligence and service; corporations have responsibility only to profit and maintaining power.  Eisenhower recognized this difference. Jefferson was not fond of ‘party politics’; he promoted “individual enterprise and wisdom” with equal regard for “common weal’. His view was ‘government’ is the ‘agency’ to serve both (by direction given through independent, intelligent, individual vote – not ‘partisan fostered’ perspective.’)

To Common Interest Known!      My Best To All! — MaggieAnn


About maggieannthoeni

A description once given of me was "rooted in the earth while roaming the stars" - and this has felt 'right'. I believe in something akin to this for each of us. I am a passionate supporter of discovering the autonomous self while serving the whole as primary intent. I believe in discovery of innate principles, clearing the overlay of socialization that obscures this from us. I believe it is our responsibility to leave no one behind - most particularly to respond to suffering as best we can whereever we find it, whenever we are made aware. I believe in this for the insect as well as the most magnificent form of humanity. I believe in brother/sisterhood without boundary. I believe in righteous indignation when it is appropriate, but do not believe in an enemy. I believe in consciousness, in intelligence, in logic, in rationality, in emotion, in transcendence - and am convinced until we generally practice explore and honor all this in ourselves, we remain profoundly immature. (I believe real maturity is known and practiced by many young children, and not enough adults!)
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4 Responses to Health Care Debate – What’s Missing

  1. Isadore says:

    In regards to your reply to my first statement, you only wish that it was true that the people own government, the myth of government by the people for the people is promoted by the same intrests that control the house of representatives and the senate with lobbiests toting bags full of money.

    Childs car seats are sometimes equipped with steering wheels much to the delight of the little would be drivers as they manoever through traffic, it keeps them quiet and occupied, and when they arrive at a destination even think that it was their driving that got them there, and the real driver tells them no different and may even congratulate them on a job well done. So whats the problem? Everybody concerned seems to be happy with the excercise, well not exactly, because far too often the children end up at an automobile dealership or a clothing store when they actually wanted to go to Toys R Us or Mcdonalds. The irony of this story is that when those little would be drivers grow up and become real drivers they no longer want to drive to Toys R Us or Mcdonalds but head for the nearest clothing store or automobile dealership.

    Your mention of ‘William Tell’ prompts me to remind you that he was a Swiss folk hero, and Switzerland as few Americans realize has a long tradition of practicing a rare form of participatory democracy in which all the citizens of the country vote on all the important issues, they leave
    the little stuff for the elected members of government to take care of. Truly government of the people for the people, relatively impervious to monied lobbiests and firmly ‘in the drivers seat’, not for one day every four years or so but for 365 days a year.

    • maggieannthoeni says:

      When I say: “we” (people) “own government” “…, I am referring to the personal autonomy within each of us. In this sense, each of us is ‘self-governing’, or can be, to the extent we can strip ourselves of effects of over-socialization and become conscious of a “unique essence” that is belongs to each of us. When the Declaration of Independence was penned with the words used, it drew attention to any individual’s birthright to autonomy, not ‘special autonomy’ that ‘accidentally’ belonged exclusively to the colonists. This is why I included “no matter where we live, no matter what country, and whether or not our ‘formal’ goverment, in appearance or fact, is “in line with” our ownership. The child you describe, if I read it right, grows up with ‘socialized behaviors’ toward wants and needs. Such a child is not attuned, even as an adult, to personal autonomy that is available. Your description of the Swiss makes it seem as if they, with or a Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, or our Constitution, are “onto this”! Ideally, a government reflects the will of autonomous individuals — in most cases, even when it claims to support this, we find “socialization” rules the way! Related aside: I heard today an interview with an author and his companion journalist. They have written a book “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” ( It’s a remarkable story, and now that I think of it, the boy, William Kamkwamba, functioned with great autonomy. All ‘realistic’ odds, as well as social opinion, was against him. His autonomy seems to have been “intuitive”. Most of us become pretty entangled with whatever socialized views, practices, we accumulate and have to go through a ‘disengagement process’! .. on my way to look up info re Swiss government! … -MA

  2. Isadore says:

    “We own government……..” Sadly , that statement is not true, maybe it was true in the past, maybe it never was true, however the fact is that a priveleged few own government not ‘we’, if ‘we’ owned the government universal HC would have been instituted a generation ago . Just how ‘big’ does govt. have to get to be called big? Big enough to murder a bunch of students at Kent State? Or immolate a bunch of kids at Waco? Or set aside the American constitution in the name of homeland security? Or ignore the Geneva convention because it sets itself above international law? Or executes the leader of Iraq because it’s pissed off he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction and they couldn’t catch Bin Laden? Or give the perpetrators of the latest economic disaster billions of dollars to make up for the billions they stole from the American people? No, I guess none of that would make the govt. big however, if the govt. was to take proper care of the health concerns of all its’ citizens by instituting a universal health care program -that would make it big, and in the eyes of the ultra conservative right, ‘evil’.

    I guess you can’t please everybody no matter how ‘big’ you are.

    • maggieannthoeni says:

      Your first statement inspired an interesting response for me – stubborn insistence: We not only own the government, “we” (people) “own government”, no matter where we live, no matter what country, and whether or not our ‘formal’ government, in appearance or in fact, is “in line with” our ownership! The story of William Tell illustrates this, a story long known before the birth of America. Democracy – giving intentional voice to a people – inspires as a structure designed to support and allow ownership that already exists. As your list suggests, the label ‘democracy’ means nothing.

      I may have spent myself for the most part on HC for the time being. (Can’t say for sure, but all the details and statistics to support single payer, to describe powers at work that prevent it, have been repeated many times – densely in the last six months.)

      For enough individuals, (not Big Players), there seems lingering commitment to “health care is not a right”. Arguments against are ‘moral’ and ‘economic’ – without will in either argument to examine universal human vulnerability, potential, value and plain old common sense of ‘best bang for buck’ in resource management.

      When the first 3 are examined, “health care in an age of information and technology that can address health issues” seems to not inspire enough response of “Let’s provide ourselves access to such care!”. (Despite shared agreement of, for instance, The Golden Rule.) ‘Plain, common, best bang for buck sense’ seems to fall on heads that have not experienced “nitty-gritty ground level resource management”. (Clamor for ‘fiscal responsibility’ ignores, does not calculate, societal impact of ‘collateral loss’.)
      We will follow ourselves into whatever conditions we create, and learn. Big Government is not ‘government’; it is the same thing as Big Corporation. Both exist because there are sufficient numbers without primary commitment to service in response to vulnerability, potential and value. Sovereign individuals, life itself, become fodder in a giant Monopoly game.

      IN THE MEANTIME there are interesting ground level shifts afoot. Stirrings. Odd threads of agreed observation from disparate points of view.

      One of these is focused on Big Government – should not be much of a stretch to broaden the focus to Big Players. We’ll see! Just and rational health care is not entirely off the table – but it’s pretty close to the edge. It may fall off, take on a life of its own, and climb back up – this time, standing on the table – but will not be the only “William Tell” present when it does.

      Lets hope the Williams can see one another in light of universal vulnerability, potential, and value! Many thanks for the list – it reminds present times have been a long while developing! – MA

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