Thursday, December 9, 2010

Governor Jan Brewer's death panels

Cheryl Wachowe, my student and friend, wrote to me of government-sponsored murder of patients in Arizona:

“I don't want to be a downer, but I just saw something on t.v. that filled me with so much sadness and anger. You were the first person I thought of to discuss this with. Apparently, Jan Brewer, that sorry excuse for a Governor in Arizona, has cut out coverage from the state's Medicaid budget for organ transplants. She alleges that this is an elective procedure and blames President Obama's health care bill for the cut (although this was decided before the bill was even signed). A father of six found a bone marrow donor match, but could not afford the surgery. Although a private donor stepped in to pay for his transplant, he died before the funding went through. Another father of four was given a liver by a friend of the family whose wife died. He was told that he had two hours to come up with $200,000 to pay for the surgery. Of course, he couldn't, and the liver was given to another patient. He is pretty much waiting to die. Alan, this is unconscionable. What makes it even worse is that the program costs less than 2 million dollars annually. She paid for an event center roof to be replaced that cost more than this. I am so overwhelmed. What can we do? I know it is difficult to believe, but I think I actually found a politician I despise more than Sarah Palin. At least Palin hasn't killed anyone yet.”

Here is the web address of Anderson Cooper’s report on "Cutting budgets and blaming Obama."

Listen to the two young men talking about their children. These men, one of whom has since died, are unsurprisingly Chicano and poor white (married to a Chicana). Brewer is also the governor who fought for the police apprehending brown-skinned "illegals," many Chicano citizens among them. This is eugenics, long motivated in the United States, by waves of racism against immigrants. Eugenics is the ideology that there are superior – Aryan, Nordic – and inferior races. It is used to divide up working people, to pit citizens against so-called less valuable citizens (whites against blacks and Chicanos) as well as immigrants so that banks and corporations make enormous profits (see Michael Reich, Racial Inequality: a Political-Economic Analysis, Princeton, 1984; Gilbert, Democratic Individuality, ch. 10). Eugenics was in Germany an ideology of medical experimentation, mainly on Jews, and medical murder affecting even “Aryans.” Thus, Nazis murdered all the mental patients in Germany – a quarter of a million – and 25,000 “defective Aryan children.” (Stephen Chorover, From Genesis to Genocide, pp. 98-102). Each of us should look again before taking up these ideas, because the noose, too, is tied around our own necks…

As Hilary Putnam wrote to me about Ameica, even 22 aging and ill Jews have been subject to nonconsensual cancer experiments at Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital after World War II (1963). See especially the section on injection of cancer cells here; the whole document is worth reading. The Tuskegee experiment, refusing to treat black sharecroppers with syphilis until they went blind and died, as well as ones led by the same government-sponsored “doctor” John Cutler on Guatemalans - infecting them with syphilis and not treating them - are part of this counterfeit medical, governmental murder of inferiors. See here.

Sarah Palin sees health care as “death panels.” She projects. Such panels are in fact the racist ones, which she and her ilk (Jan Brewer and the medical insurance companies) enact for Chicanos, blacks, poor whites, and those remaining in the middle class who can’t buy adequate health insurance. She supports the rich. But these are people to be thrown away. Democratic legislators met in Arizona to protest the Governor’s murderous policy, and Anna Tovar named the panels Brewer had created:

“Funding for some transplants through the state's Medicaid program ended Oct. 1 under a budget cut approved earlier this year. Gov. Jan Brewer said the state can't afford to maintain its current program and its previous services.”

“Democrat lawmakers on Tuesday called on Brewer to restore funding to the program.”

"This ‘Brewercare’ has set up real death panels here in Arizona and it is outrageous and disgusting," said Rep. Anna Tovar, who had bone marrow transplants in 2001 and 2002 to treat leukemia.” (Paul Davenport, "Report: Tough Times far from over for States," Associated Press, December 8, 2010 here).

Obama made a compromise on the health care bill with these murderous companies. Compared to the unnecessary murder in American hospitals of people who were refused treatment for so-called preexisting conditions (perhaps 40,000 per year), of people who were delayed for supposedly guaranteed insurance coverage until they died (43, 000 in 2008 according to a Harvard study), of people who died of other diseases than those they came in with (99,000 per year), Obamacare was, nonetheless, decent. It would take a militant movement from below, something highly desirable, to make US health care universal. One should both support limited steps by the Democrats, in so far as these are decent, and build a radical movement, pushing back against them and their owners (the oligarchy, the insurance companies) for universal health care as a core human right. In contrast, the Arizona Governor is nothing but a Heinrich Himmler, happy enough to dispose of young Chicano men who need liver transplants even when they are easily available (a friend, whose wife had just died, offered the liver to one* who was then told he would have to pay $200,000 within two hours, and of course couldn't...), spending the $1.4 million in health care cuts and more on the roof of a barely used Coliseum…

In the 1960s, faced with the murders of civil rights workers like my friend Andy Goodman, and others, Phil Ochs sang rightly of Mississippi, “Mississippi find another country to be part of.” One could imagine then that the threat of Mississippi was not to the country as a whole. Today it is Arizona which elected Brewer, who couldn’t even get words out during one Governor’s debate – English is indeed her enemy. Arizona is a kingdom of racism. But the party of which Brewer is a part is a much more extensive version: it wants to make the American practice of eugenic medical murder – in service to huge medical insurance corporations – “the American way.” The murder of these young men, the 10 children whose fathers were unnecessarily taken, the women left to care for the children, as well as the dark threat that life is dispensable for inferiors – the rebirth of a racist police state within America – is what Cheryl rightly and powerfully is reacting to. Let us fight it.

*Presumably, the wife, also a friend, wanted this.

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