Do All Lives Matter? (Part One: The ACA & the AHCA)

Let's make that question personal: Do all lives matter to YOU? Do all lives matter to ME?

I ask because I stumbled across a lonely article last year, which I can't seem to find now. So I went to the source: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reported that approximately 40,000 people lost their lives on American roadways during 2016. That estimate is up six percent from the 2015 numbers, when 35,092 people died on American roadways. Together, 2015 and 2016 mark the most drastic two-year escalation in roadway deaths in 53 years.

But you haven't heard about that on the news, have you?

No, there hasn't been time for the media to dwell on 75,000 Americans losing their lives. They were too busy talking about important deaths. You know, like the ones in Ferguson, Baltimore and San Francisco. And those other deaths caused by someone who shouldn't have a gun, or someone else with a pre-existing condition.

Seventy-five thousand Americans, dear reader. Seventy. Five. Thousand. And you didn't even know.

So here's my question: Why don't their lives matter too?

The answer is simple, and it's something we've discussed on this blog many times over the past year. Their lives don't matter because they are not part of anyone's political agenda. Can I break that down for you? Their lives don't matter because Republicans and Democrats (and the people who vote for them) do not FIGHT over the issue of traffic safety. I want you to let that reality sink in.

Because, if there's one drum I've beat over and over again when talking about media bias, it's the idea that TRUTH does NOT matter to the media or politicians. FACTS do not matter. The number of deaths, or the tragic nature of the deaths, or the number of children who die does NOT matter. Even newsworthiness does not TRULY matter (The greatest increase in highway deaths since 1964? Come on, people!) The only thing that matters is which TRUTH and which FACT will support their side of the FIGHT.

If you are one of the people engaging in that kind of truth manipulation, quite frankly, I'm disgusted with you. Because I hate lies. I hate propaganda, twisting of facts, obfuscation of truth and every manner of deception and manipulation. I hate it in my private life and in the corporate world. I hate it in advertising. I hate it when it's employed by politicians and by the journalists who report on them.

But as much as I hate all that lying, what I hate even more is how liars spread their fabrications through people who have no idea they are being used. People whose caring nature is manipulated for someone else's gain. People who post and tweet and protest and call their representatives, but have no perspective on what they think. Why? Because so many truths are consciously, intentionally hidden from them.

Truths, like all those lives that didn't matter.

And so we find ourselves in a world where the question cannot be Do all lives matter? It must be Do #alllivesmatter? How sad and frustrating.

Today, I'm starting a series on LIFE -- all it's meanings in the media's eye -- all it's controversy. This is my media finale, by the way, a series of posts to wrap up my focus on media bias so I can get back to my fiction.

Here, for your consideration, is Part One:

Do All Lives Matter: The ACA and the AHCA
When Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and company were pimping the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare), there was a lot of media talk about living and dying. People were going to die if we didn't pass this wonderful bill that nobody read, but would save all the lives of all the people who would die if we didn't pass it right now!

Does that sound about right?

So then, as you might be aware, the ACA was passed. And there was much rejoicing from the left because, in all their sainted benevolence, they had SAVED LIVES! (And isn't that what really matters?) Yes, they saved countless lives that would have been lost had the mean and nasty Republicans gotten their way and placed restrictions on our unalienable right to government-sponsored health care! (If you haven't noted my sarcasm yet, please note it now.)

Suddenly, all those stories about people dying from cancer because they had no insurance went away. In comes the ACA and it's as if cancer has been eradicated! Everyone is saved, everyone is cured and everyone -- even men -- get free access to birth control pills, abortions and hysterectomies. Yay!

So here's a question: What about the people who lost their lives BECAUSE of the ACA?

You do realize that happened too, right? That some people LOST their insurance because the ACA took away a benefit they had without it? That the new insurance they couldn't afford had such high deductibles, they couldn't afford to go to the doctor? That countless of them died because they didn't seek treatment for heart attacks they mistook for heartburn? Strokes they put down to fatigue? Cancerous growths they couldn't afford to have looked at? All because they were paying double, triple, even four times as much for their premiums, which meant there was no money left for procedures.

Yes, the ACA, in all its glory, did little more for many Americans than demand they buy a very, VERY expensive plastic card to put in their wallet.

So where were the stories? Where was the media? Where was the outrage over those DEATHS?

You won't find it. Go ahead. Look. Find an article in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the San Francisco Chronicle that criticizes Obamacare for costing people their lives. I would be happy to have you prove me wrong. But you won't. Because this is how the media operates. You know, the mainstream media. The reputable media. The well-educated reporters you can trust to tell you the TRUTH.

The ones who didn't cover 75,000 American deaths because they weren't political enough to matter.

I know I keep repeating myself, but this hasn't changed (and it's not going to change anytime soon). I discussed it a few months ago in my blog post "Truth, Lies & Everything In Between." In particular, I wrote about Bernie Goldberg's book BIAS, in which he analyzed media coverage of homelessness in America. If you'll recall, he found that journalists loved to write articles on the homeless problem in America during the Bush 41 administration. There were tens of thousands -- no, hundreds of thousands -- no, millions of people living on the streets in America back in those days, but George Bush just didn't CARE! Then, suddenly, when Clinton was elected, all the reporting on homelessness went away. Not a single bit of legislation can be tied to this phenomenon, just the change from a Republican to a Democrat in the White House. Hallelujah! Bill Clinton had eradicated homelessness just by being a swell guy! But then George W. Bush was elected and, you guessed it. Homelessness was suddenly an issue again -- something we should all care about, something to attribute to the Republicans and their greedy, greedy nature.

You already know how this fits in with the recent passage of Trump's American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives, don't you? It's all over the news, then repeated and analyzed again and again on social media. So we're back to wailing and gnashing our teeth. Why? Because people are going to DIE! They are DYING, I tell you! Really DYING and the dirty, nasty Republicans don't CARE! They just laugh and line their pockets with gold while more and more people DIE because of TRUMP and his horrible, horrible healthcare plan!

And we're supposed to take these theatrics seriously. Call your representative! Grab your Magic Marker! Host a hunger strike (no actual fasting necessary), and don't forget to tweet, retweet, retweet, retweet.

And now we're back to me doing this:


How dare I mock people who will die because of the AHCA? How DARE I?

I'm not mocking them. I'm mocking YOU, if you're the kind of person who will share these doom and gloom stories about Trump's healthcare bill, but don't care that Obama's healthcare bill cost people their lives too. How dare YOU use people's lives to score political points on Facebook? When you didn't care at all about the people suffering under Obamacare for the past seven years. Now all of a sudden, you care about matters of life and death and healthcare and we're supposed to take your crocodile tears seriously?

But let's put aside all the hysterics and bleeding heart liberals versus compassionate conservatives for a minute and ask ourselves a really basic question: What do we want from our government in regards to human health? No, maybe we should go back to an even more basic question: What do we want if we or someone we love is sick or injured?

We want them WELL, right? We want wellness, not sickness or injury. We want it quickly and we don't want it to financially bankrupt us.

But it's time for a reality check there, my friends. That ^^^^ right there, is an impossible wish for the government to grant. Sickness happens. Accidents happen. And the products, drugs, facilities and experts it takes to make someone well cannot be obtained without vast quantities of money. Here, for your consideration, is what it takes to solve just one aspect of wellness:

And even if you're cynical about Big Pharma, how much they charge, and how ethical their relationship is with the FDA and members of Congress (I am skeptical myself), you have to admit, that a LOT of money is spent on creating these drugs before even one prescription is filled and paid for -- either out of pocket, by an insurance company, or a government-run healthcare program.

And that's just medicine. When you consider all the rest of those expenses (and no one is going to work for free, folks, much less spend eight plus years in expensive medical school to work for free) you begin to understand that healthcare is a great big expensive issue -- and there's nothing FREE about it. And even if you rape and pillage the one percent (I mean confiscate everything they have. Literally. Take it all and put it into healthcare), it still will NOT cover all the needs of all the Americans who get sick and injured. And now we don't have those rich people to buy the goods and services that create jobs for you and me.

This isn't hate, people. It's economics.

But never mind that. We have convictions, after all. And aren't convictions bigger than economics?

So if you're a Socialist, you want the government to pay for all of our healthcare or, in other words, you want taxes raised so that the costs of healthcare for all citizens are disbursed to all citizens. In OTHER words, sick people and well people will pay the exact same price (through their taxes) for healthcare. On the other hand, if you are a Libertarian, you don't want the government to pay for ANY healthcare costs that can possible be paid for by private citizens, the companies they work for or charitable organizations.

Can I just point out something rather obvious? In either scenario, whether the Socialist gets her way, or the Libertarian gets her way, people are going to die. Yes! People are going to die, because there are going to be shortages, or waits or bad facilities, or no one to operate or empty blood banks, or any number of other situations that will result in the death of patients. AND YOU CANNOT LEGISLATE THAT AWAY.

So we do nothing? We don't even try?

No, I know we need to fix healthcare. But I have to admit, when I picture the problem in my head, it's a lot like a political cartoon where the American Patient is lying on a gurney, bleeding out while Trump, Obama, Pelosi, Ryan, etc. push each other out of the way so they can put a Band-aid on a little scratch.

I'm not going into my ideas for healthcare reform. I just ask, respectfully, that as you discuss these things in social media circles, or with your friends, you don't USE the lives of Americans as political pawns. Those people who lost their lives on America's roadways may not "deserve" the attention of the media and politicians, but you know about them now, so they at least deserve your respect.

Thanks for listening, and watch for my next segment of "Do All Lives Matter?" when I will discuss war.

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