Tag Archives: healthcare

Where Are the Body Counters?

So if you follow news from America you know that once again the Republicans have come back with a new healthcare bill to replace so called Obamacare. So far it is has passed the House, and Republicans are visibly ecstatic about it. It still has to get through the Senate, but naturally people are already freaking out due to some of the provisions in this new bill. One of the most alarming changes is the return of insurers’ right to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. What is worse is that things like childbirth via C-section, rape, and a history of domestic violence can apparently be considered pre-existing conditions under the new bill (as far as I know this is based on those parts of the bill which have been made public so far).

Suffice to say, millions of people are in danger of losing their coverage, and the inevitable result of a lack of access to medial care is either suffering and/or death. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, America’s inability to implement a healthcare system on par with the civilized world was more than anything an embarrassment. Once America achieved one baby step in the right direction, i.e. Obamacare, the deliberate effort reverse that precious inch forward ought to be seen as something else. Murder.

Is it too hyperbolic to say that men like Paul Ryan or Donald Trump want to murder people? They are deliberately proposing policy which will literally result in preventable deaths. Seems a little familiar, doesn’t it?

In The Black Book of Communism, the authors assert that 100 million people were killed by “Communism” in the 20th century. Needless to say, there are numerous problems with their methodology, but let us ignore those for a moment. The 100 million figure is largely based on two things- the Holodomor in Ukraine and the famine which occurred as a result of The Great Leap Forward in China. Both of these incidents entail millions of preventable deaths due to ideologically driven government policy. Is it right to compare the deliberate denial of healthcare to Soviet or Chinese collectivization policy? You’re damned right it is- in all three cases people are denied something essential to live for ideological reasons.

Now before someone objects and cries whataboutism, let me shut that down by saying that I’m not using this example of healthcare as a justification for anything terrible that happened in the USSR or China. After all, the outrage we find in The Black Book stems from a genuine concern for human life and human rights, right? If a person can be “killed by Communism,” then it stands to reason that they can be killed by free market capitalism. If not, there needs to be a coherent explanation as to why not. Otherwise the operative fallacy here is not whataboutism (“tu quoque”), but rather special pleading.

What we have here is a rather open and shut case- preventable deaths as a result of ideologically-driven policy and, in this case, the opportunity for a big tax cut for America’s super-rich. Now we can add that to preventable deaths due to lack of healthcare plus malnutrition worldwide, stack that on top of capitalism’s long legacy of colonialism and slavery, and voila! Capitalism’s body count trounces even the Black Book‘s generous total for Communism.

Once again, this isn’t about justifying those crimes committed in the name of Communism, because we are, of course, really just concerned about human rights and morality, just like the authors of The Black Book of Communism. Clearly the higher body count of “free market” capitalism compels us to abolish and replace this murderous dogma. Well at least it would, if professional body counters were actually concerned about human life and not scoring political points.

I’m sure that can’t be the case.