TB had not intended to address this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about health care reform. Alright, here is how I feel about it.
If when you say health care reform you mean godless totalitarianism, Hoffa-handed fascism, European inspired communism, that forces money from the hands of the people to the pockets of the insurance companies, that is overly complicated and inefficient, that is a boon to pharmaceutical companies and may overburden an already overstressed medical profession, yea that in point of fact abjectly fails to provide the universal care or cost controls that its proponents proclaim; if you mean the evil takeover of government bureaucrats from insurance bureaucrats of decisions better made by you and your doctor; if you mean toppling our great nation from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of the Joker’s lair, the witch doctor’s fire, and shame, helplessness and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
If by health care reform you mean beginning of a new conversation, a philosophy of the pursuit of health as a natural right of man, a tonic that alleviates, if admittedly fails to cure society’s ails, that puts life in the eyes of a young child with cancer and banishes bankruptcy from the fears of an old man with early Alzheimer’s, and replaces the mark of a c-section as a denial for preexisting condition with the warm glow of contentment of a new mother still insurable; if you mean projected budget deficit reductions; if you mean the increased rates of pay for Medicaid that will put a spring in the step of many physicians; if you mean the unexpected mechanism for handling student loans so that the bankers no longer take the profits while passing the defaults to taxpayers, the savings which will put billions of dollars toward actual medical treatment and even deficit reduction, which will be used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm, then certainly I am for it.
This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.
Some of you will recognize my play on Soggy Sweat’s famous “Whiskey Speech” made by the Mississippi legislator many years ago during a debate on the legalization of alcohol. In reading reaction to the health care law all I have seen or heard is how great a triumph it is, or that it will ruin our country. I don’t believe either narrative. It will do a lot of good in my opinion, but it is imperfect in many ways that can be criticized by left or right. Certainly, there are provisions that few would argue with, such as banning the preexisting condition exclusion excuse for insurance companies. Similarly, the mandate that people must purchase insurance from a private company, few would argue, is offensive from multiple perspectives. I am sure I will regret even raising the subject as rational discussion of such things is difficult for most everyone; but I think most people who read here are up to the challenge.
Finally, I am copying the real Whiskey Speech and linking to one of many sites where it can be found, just for your enjoyment or interest.
“I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.
“If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
“If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.
“This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.”