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To blame


In psychology, the term “Projection” refers to “the process of displacing one’s feelings onto a different person, animal, or object. The term is most commonly used to describe defensive projection—attributing one’s own unacceptable urges to another.”

I think I’ve spotted an instance.

In a September 27 article for his organization’s website (“Hospitals deserve blame for ‘crisis standards of care’”), Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation wrote, “Don’t blame the unvaccinated for the activation of the state’s ‘crisis standards of care’ at Idaho’s hospitals. Blame the state’s big hospitals.”

The immediate subject of his piece, the crisis standards now used in Idaho health care, is – unlike many of the topics the IFF highlights – serious indeed. It is a new and weaker standard for deciding who gets what kind of care and put in place because the providers don’t have enough people and resources to take care of everyone who comes through their front doors. People are going to die as a result.

So why is this happening?

Hoffman’s take is that, “Such an uptick in residents might have been manageable had the hospitals not insisted on more government-run healthcare. After Congress passed Obamacare a decade ago, hospitals and their allies in the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry were at the forefront of trying to expand Medicaid.”

Somehow the expansion of health insurance was used more than originally estimated (that part is true) which led to somewhat less hospital use by patients (also partly true, since more people could get help without resorting to an emergency room) which somehow led to fewer beds in hospitals than would have been the case otherwise. Or something like that. Maybe you can figure out his chain of reasoning; I can’t.

And somehow all this led to inadequate beds and staff when this season the latest Covid-19 wave hit hard, swamping medical facilities across the state.

And it’s all the hospitals’ fault.

Hoffman’s argument fails to account for (among many others things) the adequacy of Idaho health facilities up until the last couple of months. It was adequate – roughly matching needs with services – over the years, before Obamacare, after it, through the Medicaid expansion. And even through the early waves of Covid-19, although finally at some point providers began to report pressure when the Covid-19 numbers rose high enough.

Idaho’s health services began to fall seriously short only this season, when the pandemic exploded – and exploded in Idaho in large part because – and this is the plain fact – so many people refused to get vaccinated or take other steps that would help curtail the illness.

Many of them refused to do that because they were taking bad advice from the community whose leading voices in state include those of Wayne Hoffman, Ammon Bundy and the corps of politicians who have been warning them away from the medicines tens of millions of Americans (I’m one of them) have used safely, because of freedom – or liberty – or something.

Thereby unleashing their hostility at (and often harassment of) the people trying to help them keep from getting sick. In the process, unleashing a separate, quiet fury at those people who keep this pandemic going when it should have been mostly in our rear view mirror by now.

There’s a sickness here all right:

The crowding of Idaho’s hospitals and the death and suffering the state’s people are experiencing are due in large part to the anti-vaccination and anti-masking garbage spread by a coalition of misinformers. They couldn’t possibly accept that, so someone else must be to blame. Hence, projection.

The hospitals? Really?

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