Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Comedy team in health care reform

Neil's newest Dose of Reality treats the recent hearings on health care reform in the Senate:
As we watch the Senate Committee on Finance grapple with the task of how to reduce the cost of health care in the United States it is easy to get the impression that we are watching a remake of the old movie, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, a comedy horror film from 1951. The plot in the new version is thin; centering on the old-timey burlesque gag in which the players have a problem that they stumble around trying solve, not realizing that the solution—which as the watching audience is well aware—is obvious. That solution is virtually staring the Abbott and Costello company in the face, but of course these comics cannot see it, and they take humorously extreme measures to avoid looking in the right direction.

Replacing Abbott and Costello as lead comics in this modern-day version of that film are Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) and his straight man Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The part of The Invisible Man is played by the proposal for single-payer health care, best embodied at the moment by HR 676, introduced into Congress last year and gaining increasing public support. The remainder of the cast is comprised of the other twenty-one members of the Senate committee and their staffs. Experts all, the cast excellently parodies how we in the public think our elected officials should represent our interests.
As well illustrated in an interview with reporter Mike Dennison on Democracy Now!, Baucus and Grassley are heavily funded by the health and health insurance industries, and have not been interested in a full discussion of health care reform options.

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