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Government and health care

A feature of the town meetings on health care held by senators and Congressmen seems to be screams of "Get socialism out of health care." What if we obeyed such idiots? We'd have the closure of Rice Hospital in Willmar, our hospital and clinic in Appleton, and those of all of the surrounding towns in western Minnesota, as they are all government-owned. Does anyone naïvely think that the large corporations would keep our small rural hospitals and nursing homes operating?

We would also end Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. Many American citizens coming into our emergency rooms every day all over western Minnesota and the rest of America would still be treated, because most of the doctors and nurses there are caring human beings, but the hospitals wouldn't be paid. All those kids who happen to be growing up in poor families? Yes, let's cancel their coverage under Medical Assistance or the SCHIP program.

We would also cancel Medicare. All of our senior citizens would suddenly be without primary health care coverage. Add the disabled people who are also on Medicare.

Let's keep giving media attention to point-blank liars like Roy Blunt, a Republican leader in Congress, who has been claiming that, at age 59, if he suffered a broken hip, he could never get an operation in Canada or Britain with their single-payor, universal coverage system. The truth? Those countries have been paying for thousands of such surgeries for their seniors for years.

While we're at it, let's turn our water, sewage, streets and public schools over to corporations so their executives can grab salaries 40 to 50 times higher than our public employees.

Sometimes the "dark angel" in me imagines cutting off all of these stupid or corporate-paid citizens from any government-based or financed health care. But then my humanist "angel" -- the one my parents preached the Golden Rule to -- takes back over. Let's hope the meanness and greed of the pharma and health insurance industries don't prevail over our "better angels" of American society.

Brian Wojtalewicz