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|August 6 -12, 2009
Back to Letters
Cato’s wonks get wonky on health care
by Jim Hightower
There’s nothing particularly distinctive about the Cato Institute, one of several corporate-funded holding tanks for right-wing policy wonks — except that its wonks have gone totally wonky.
Apparently, Cato’s covey of anti-government ideologues have been driven over the edge by Barack Obama’s efforts to reform America’s high-cost, low-quality, uncaring health-care system that’s run by profiteering insurance corporations. It seems that this is just the sort of laissez-fairyland system that the Catoers like, so, to protect the status quo, they’ve launched a national media assault on Obama’s plan. Only... the plan they attack is not Obama’s.
Unhinged from reality, Cato is running a goofy, 1950ish, propaganda blitz that features a menacing caricature of Uncle Sam dressed as a physician. “Your New Doctor?” asks the ominous headline of an ad fraught with warnings of “socialized medicine.” You can almost hear the canned shrieks of horror as the ad talks of “a government takeover.”
Then the Cato ad bursts into a bellicose demand for freedom. “Freedom to choose your doctor and health plan” is “uniquely American,” cries the ad, as though the devilish Obama is out to strip this choice from us.
How bizarre. And dishonest. Under the president’s plan, you can choose any doctor you want, which is a better deal than most insurance policies offer. Indeed, Obama’s plan dramatically expands choice by providing a new public insurance alternative to the restrictive health plans foisted on us by the corporate insurers.
What Obama is offering is freedom from being shut out, overcharged, denied treatment, and otherwise gouged by today’s insurance giants. And that’s why the vast majority of Americans support his reforms — no matter how wonky Cato’s corporate apologists get.
For more information on the reality of Obama’s plan, check out www.democracyforamerica.com.
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