BBC Panorama: Health Care in America

This explosive BBC documentary, unlike anything you’ll see on American MSM, shows how bad the healthcare situation is in America. You’ll see a charity originally set up to deliver healthcare to third world countries, drawing hundreds of clients in Kentucky. The clip effectively shows the enormous chasm between rich and poor in America. You’ll see rich Republicans who think our system is the greatest in the world, and who are fighting to keep the status quo. The political situation is spelled out as well. The last segment interviews a woman who is getting chemotherapy while living in a tent – she had to choose between rent or medicine.

Several thoughts (feel free to add your own):

We used to have a functioning media in this country that would take risks and report on this kind of thing. Now it distracts, silences, and shapes public opinion, instead of being challenging or revealing. While never perfect, who the media is supposed to serve has changed over time.

The victims in this documentary – the ones too poor for health insurance – come from states that usually vote for those whose policies overwhelmingly ensure the perpetuation of their victimhood. How these people were bamboozled into voting against their own best interests is explained in Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?

Maha wrote earlier about the delusions of the very wealthy. The healthcare situation in this country is a symptom of the same. At some point, all of us choose to shut out the plight of others from our awareness, and we come up with rationalizations for this act – liberals to a lesser extent, conservatives to a greater extent. So much of the political battle is consumed by efforts to cut through defenses of this sort. Keeping explosive documentaries such as this out of the public eye is hugely strategic, because an angry public won’t put up with excuses. Documentaries like this, that have the potential to foment public anger, torpedo all the defenses.

There is a spiritual dimension to this that all contemporary writers and documentaries show or talk around, but which can never seem to directly discuss. It’s as though we don’t have the language for it, or we’re not permitted to directly speak about it – which by itself silently screams obscenities against our culture. We simply feel the moral outrage that some deep spiritual laws are being violated. But without a common language to articulate and address this outrage, this energy is stymied from changing anything. It’s the result of conservative efforts to trivialize and confine spirituality to personal matters, such as who you’re having sex with, blastocytes, and so on, and to keep spirituality away from anything that would seriously challenge the conservative worldview.

Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here. You’ll want to watch all three.

Link to the original BBC program is here, but viewers outside the UK can’t see it.

h/t to nyceve

21 thoughts on “BBC Panorama: Health Care in America

  1. The delusions of the very wealthy are, of course, fed by their absence from the world of those around them. If we all went to the same place for our healthcare, healthcare would improve overnight. But we don’t.

    As for the media going AWOL on this issue, see the op-ed in the NYTimes today. It’s a plea for an endowment fund to rescue newspapers. When will the media realize they’re in trouble because they’ve stopped being reporters?

  2. That is just amazing. Maha you are right on the money about a lack of spiritual language on the part of so many Americans to express what is missing in our lives.

  3. We pay $460/month for a $5000/person deductible for 2 of us. Our good friends (2 people) pay$1600/month for a $10,000 deductible (childhood diabetes). And they just found out that the insurance company has fine print excluding her insulin pump supplies from prescription coverage. This is insane.

    Healthcare cannot be reformed until the insurance is made non-profit. The old-fart saying reform would hurt his health care coverage? I hope he had all his money invested with Madoff.

    Obama should spend the 850 billion on healthcare reform, forget the roads. Road construction benefits a few large construction companies while health care would affect all of us and give us thousands of dollars a month (in lower premiums and oop expenses) to spend ourselves.

  4. The key word in “Health Care” is ‘care.’ Someone would have to care.
    Remember how outraged the whole media was about the deplorble conditions at Walter Reed Hospital? It had been under their noses for years. It only took one REAL reporter who actually looked into things and didn’t take the government at their word. And then the rest of the media idiotocracy was ready to pounce.
    Where’s the reporter who’s going to look into this?
    I have a vested interest – I’m currently unemployed and have no health coverage – except for prayer (and I’m not that religious – this of course is the conservative view of coverage – let God do it). The COBRA plan available is a joke. How do these stooges think I can afford almost $1,000 a month when I’m UNEMPLOYED!
    Thanks moonbat!

  5. It’s unfortunate, but the “have’s” do not care about the “have not’s”. This is a very self centered society that truly does not care about the poor.

  6. Thanks for the link, Moonbat. I watched the whole thing and felt angry, sad and (I hate to throw it in all your faces but…) incredibly lucky to be living here in Canada. The situation in the US seems odder than Dorothy’s visit to Oz and yet people think that this normal.

    I must read the Kansas book…

    The French comic book character, Astérix, used to say, “Ils sont fous, ces Romains.” (These Romans are nuts.) With my apologies to Astérix: Ils sont fous, ces Américains.

  7. Maha wrote earlier about the delusions of the very wealthy.

    When GHW Bush was president he made a phenomenally clueless remark that American health care was the best in the world because his rich buddies from the Middle East and South America came here for their major surgeries. Clueless assholery runs deep in that family.

  8. Y’know, you’d think the U.S. “news” media would feel a sense of shame, however small, that they’ve been scooped on this, time and again, by the likes of Auntie Beeb and Michael Moore. But whenever I’m watching 60 Minutes or the network nightly news, who do I see advertising? Big Pharma.

    (I hate to throw it in all your faces but…) incredibly lucky to be living here in Canada.

    Every time a Canadian citizen speaks the truth about your health-care system, an angel gets its wings. The warriors for the U.S. status quo continually feed us the lie that your system is a failure, thousands die every year waiting for routine procedures, most Canadians obtain private care any way they can, etc., etc. No wonder we look crazy to you!

    Are there transcripts available to those of us who can’t or won’t listen to the audio?

    Me, too…. I have dial-up at home, no sound card at work.

  9. anon – you might check the BBC site for transcripts, if they exist, or possibly the link to the original DKos posting by nyceve. Both links are provided above.

  10. The situation in the US seems odder than Dorothy’s visit to Oz and yet people think that this normal.

    They do think it’s normal, which is part of the problem. This is part of what I call the “learned helplessness” of the U.S. working class. The right-wing propaganda machine has done a bang-up job implanting in them the belief that it’s wrong to expect government to do anything for them.

  11. On justifications: Indeed, for me it’s global climate change. If we don’t change the factors that contribute to it the entire human race is probably extinct. I could rationalize anything for that.

    Close behind is bird flu, but that’s mostly because I’m a germaphobe, because only 2-3 billion would die max from a bird flu epidemic.

    Either of those are scary thoughts though.

  12. No matter where you live, people who get really sick, get really scared and the “scare machine” has hit us in Canada too. Yes, there are horror stories here but many fewer than I suspect are NOT talked about in the States. Canadians love to complain about the system, but I doubt many would trade our health care system for yours in the States.

    I have waited a long time for elective surgery, but I have gotten MRIs and CT scans very quickly when needed. When my doctor realized that surgery he’d performed on me had backfired, he apologized, scheduled revision surgery in a reasonable period of time and fixed the problem. No lawyers were involved in the process.

    As a self-employed person with several “pre-existing conditions”, as the insurance companies so quaintly put it, I would be uninsurable in the States and probably bankrupt at this point. Living in Canada, I have a great GP, access to specialists when I need them, a well-paying career and the ability to pay my fair share of taxes to support myself and my fellow Canadians.

    As I always say, it’s not perfect here, but the alternative (the US system) is too scary to contemplate.

  13. maha,
    OMG – We can’t do that: It’s socialized medecine!
    Let me ask everyone out there a question. What is the most ‘socialized,’ and always has been, part of American society?
    Their benefit’s, and those of Congress, should be what WE, the People, should ALL have!!!!!!!
    Look it up, I’m too tired to educate anyone on this subject.

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  15. This is such a silly argument, which seems to be the norm for the Republican. In all the stats I have seen the majority of poor people don’t vote.

  16. “Canadians love to complain about the system, but I doubt many would trade our health care system for yours in the States.”

    Like I told my GF from New Zealand– yes, there are waiting lists in NZ, but at least you are ON a list.

    Its so bizarre living here in the US, where Darwinism as science is rejected by a large part of the population, and yet *social* Darwinism is perfectly acceptable.

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