As someone who has been in the organizing profession for a couple decades I am watching the health care debate this month very closley.  And it really does make my head hurt for a number of reasons.

I am very disturbed by the lack of quality information regarding the deficits of the current health care system and the implications of the legislation Congress is considering.  The organizing match between corporate funded opponents of health care reform and traditional advocates of the uninsured and underinsured would be less painful if the quality of the debate weren't so low.  I keep thinking, where is the light?

The media is covering the horse race as ususual with few exceptions, shirking their responsibility to provide quality information.  If I ran a news organization I would run a week long documentary on health care in America to help people understand.  I read the three bills sitting in Congress and I am still confused as I don't have enough information to know what their impact will be and how we are going to pay for the changes we need.  PBS' Frontline did a short piece last year and I learned a lot from it...more please.

Another thing that needs to be said....and I hate to say it, is that so called Astroturf groups ginned up by money from the ultra conservative Koch Foundation and other corporate interests have, in my view, succeeded in transitioning from cheesy transparent Astroturf to spawning a true blue, poorly informed, paranoid, misguided grassroots foment.  While they might be using corporate money to pull this off they have legitimately tapped into real fears of some on the right about socialism, taxes, and anti-Obama anxiety that does in fact exist out there.  And from this organizers view, they have done an impressive if professionally irresponsible job.  Dag.

My guess is that President Obama and others on his side of the issue will catch up quickly as this debate moves into the fall, more details about the legislation become clear and organizers and activists on the reform side adjust their strategies and tactics.  But round one goes to the corporate organizers, who have effectively played on people's fears and ignorance to aid them in guarding their bottom lines. I also think the corporate folks will over play their hand and that most Americans will look upon their current tactics as uncivil.  And given all the random reasons that have little to do with the health debate that the protesters are putting forward (abortion, immigration, fear of communism) they will undoubtedly lose credibility with the thoughtful public.

8/15/2009 21:42:39

I watched the Frontline "Sick in the world" piece last year and really loved it! I bought the video and I usually put it once a year in social policy class.
Comparative social policy is very important, as a way to educate people and to reform institutions.
I was amazed by how polarized in the US the health reform issue is. I remembered having debates about which was the better (or the least worst) systems, as we experienced them in the US, Mexico and the UK. And I still remember someone who described the UK one as a "socialist model". I'm still shocked at how acceptance there is for a public education system (and how Americans look at how strange is it that you take your kid to a private school in Mexico). But in contrast, if the health system is a bit "public", then it's "socialist".

10/2/2013 13:28:06

Very interesting post, really informative of all the blogs I have read on the same topic, this one is actually enlightening. I was longing to read such kind of informative write-ups from a very long time good to know that such kind of posts are there to help ignorant and novice people.


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