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Cockamamie Opposition To Health Reform

By       Message Daniel Tilson     Permalink
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"Cockamamie" -- That's what the Republican governor of Florida - a state where four out of eighteen million residents have no health insurance - has publicly called President Obama's efforts to use the power and best experience of our federal government to provide coverage for the state's massive uninsured population - third highest in America - and for nearly all of the more than forty-three million other uninsured Americans.

According to the Encarta World English Dictionary, cockamamie is an adjective with two meanings:
1. having very little importance or meaning
2. having little or nothing to do with reality

The irony here is as obvious as the shameless demagoguery exhibited by Governor turned U.S. Senate candidate, Charlie Crist, the ultimate political opportunist. In fact, only one side in the health reform debate has relied on relentless factual distortion and outright disinformation. It's clear to anyone willing to do even a little digging that the opponents of health reform have largely made their case based on arguments having "little or nothing to do with reality". And just how much "importance or meaning" this kind of opposition will have in the long run remains to be seen.

So Governor Crist, in an attack mode effort to throw oratorical red meat at a hungry partisan crowd and offer them an easy, nasty label for the President's health reform efforts, chose the very word that best describes most of the "opposition" to national health reform. Thanks, Charlie.

Speaking of cockamamie - and we are - Crist recently went even further in exemplifying the kinds of tactics used by opponents of real health reform, writing an Op-Ed piece claiming that his own weak-kneed failure of a statewide reform effort, something called Cover Florida, was actually a "model" for "working with the private sector" - rather than the federal government that we fund with our tax dollars - to insure the uninsured, and to reform a for-profit health care system gone wild.

The truth, as many have now reported, is that Crist's Cover Florida program is a hole-riddled joke. Introduced in January 2009, this Swiss cheese of a program has signed up less than 4,000 of the state's 4 million uninsured to date. I was never much for Math, but my calculator tells me that in eight months, this "model" program has succeeded in enrolling one tenth of one percent of Florida's uninsured.

Could that have something to do with the fact that, in order to gain passage in a legislatively Republican-dominated state, the program dispensed with requirements to cover things like cancer drugs and treatments, extended hospital stays, and prescription drug costs that go too high? Now that's what I call working with the private sector.

As has become standard operating procedure for Team Crist, the political calculation is that it's worth taking a shot - forgive me, Sarah Palin - at putting lipstick on a pig and moving on. Their cynical assessment is that they, like the architects of health reform "opposition" nationwide, can get away with distortion and deceit because many reasonable people remain uninformed, and are likely to stay that way.

Besides, in Florida as in the rest of the country, it's not the reasonable folks that this disinformation campaign is targeting as it tries to induce Americans already simmering in anger to boil over, grab some crayons, make a colorfu, wacko sign or two, maybe grab a gun, and rush out to be public pawns on the frontlines of this dirty war of attrition.

The sad Sunshine State truth is, health care costs are swallowing up more and more hard-working families, and are growing at a rate that far outpaces the growth in people's wages -- helping fuel a whopping sub-category of new foreclosures and bankruptcies.

But rather than demonstrating a non-partisan commitment to helping solve The Health Care Crisis, Governor Crist has run the opposite way, hard to the right, showing an audacious lack of veracity as he continues to pull trick plays out of the national Republican/Reactionary/Corporate Anti-Health Reform playbook - no doubt a tome with a snappy title like "How To Lie Through Your Teeth, Win Friends and Influence People". Or something like that.

Here, in a state with so very much riding on the outcome of this health reform debate, one would think that the governor might be doing just a little more than sucking up to corporate campaign contributors and pandering to the extremist base - and I do mean Base - of his party.

One would be wrong.



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Daniel Tilson was born and raised in New York City, a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, and New York University's Film and Television School, with a double major in Film/TV Production & Broadcast Journalism. Tilson established his own first (more...)

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