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Joe Lapointe

Joe Lapointe has worked as a sports reporter with the New York Times and a segment producer for "Countdown With Keith Olbermann'' on Current TV

March 27th, 2012 11:17 PM

What Is Heartless and Who Has a Heart?

The hard-hearted mindset of the right wing comes through both in deeds done and words spoken.  The latter was obvious again Monday night on Fox News Channel as it tried to tilt the first day of Supreme Court health-care arguments in favor of right-wing paranoids and insurance-company profiteers.

Britt Hume, the scowling cleanup hitter among Fox pundits, took up the case of those Republicans and "conservatives" who oppose President Obama's program to improve American health care and make it more fair and balanced.

Hume seized the Constitutional high ground by claiming that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not allow Congress to force people "to buy products they don't even want."  He kept repeating it.  It was a window into how the "Fair and Balanced" network subtly chooses words that place reality in a crooked frame.

By calling health insurance a "product," Hume assumes that health insurance, like most goods and services, is merely a consumer commodity that people choose by making rational decisions.

"Hey," you might think.  "I've always wanted that gall-bladder operation!  I think I'll save a little money and treat myself to one.  And maybe buy the wife an artificial hip and surprise her on her birthday."

But most rational people know health care is not something based on consumer whim or disposable income.  It's a necessity, often unexpected.  Most nations of the developed world realize this.  If citizens and their representatives treat it as a necessity and acknowledge the need for it in society as a whole, they will find a way of paying for it through shared sacrifice.

Of course, Fox, the Republicans and the conservatives oppose it, even though many of them pushed plans like Obamacare in the past, even with its now scary "mandates."  To them, defeating the current President is more important than caring for the citizens who elected them.

Those citizens, some of them sick now, some who will be sick in the future, do not have high-salaried lobbyists slithering around Washington cutting deals for insurance companies who would rather not insure people with previous conditions.  Those unfortunate victims are left to fend for themselves in the "free market."

Oh, and speaking of good health care:  Former Vice-President Dick Cheney last weekend got a heart transplant.  Good for him.  Some people complained that a healthy heart should go to a younger person instead of a 71-year-old man who has had chronic heart problems.

It is an interesting question.  Here are a couple more.

How much does Dick Cheney's heart transplant cost?

Who is paying the bill ---- the vast fortune of the wealthy Cheney or the hard-earned dollars of lesser-paid taxpayers?

Does everyone in the nation have the same opportunity for such care as Mr. Cheney?  If not, why not?  In fact, what percentage of people get good health care like Mr. Cheney?  Ninety-nine percent?  Or one percent?  Who, exactly, is heartless and who has a heart?

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