cover of Tom Tomorrow's "The Future's So Bright I Can't Bear to Look"
Just kill it. Put it out of [our] misery, now.
It's been both appalling and nationally embarrassing to watch the healthcare "debate" turn out to have been a flimflam all along. We've been punked. Let's admit it.
In a speech he gave to the AFL-CIO in 2003 [link includes video] Obama said:
I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And thatís what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And thatís what Iíd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.
Regardless of whether he was actually sincere at the time, in his statements since being elected he's moved from single payer to the red herring, "public option" to something like, "yeah, well, whatever", as long as he can pretend it's "change".
Today, the health care industry is not only back in charge, it's on top, and if anything like either of the bills currently alive in Congress manages to pass, it will have made out like bandits. It's what it does; it's all about money, and it's what its investors demand, but it's not what the people asked for, not what they need, and it's not what why they voted for a Democratic President and a strong Democratic majority in both houses.
Howard Dean begins his Washington Post op-ed piece of today:
If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. Any measure that expands private insurers' monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.
"Health care" simply cannot be about the health of corporations and investors (there are alternative careers and earning sources, even if their numbers are shrinking as Health care assumes an ever larger share of the American GDP). We've been plugging away at real reform for almost a century now, battling greed and its fictions about socialism throughout. Simply nothing works better for everyone than single payer, and that's a fact.
[image via Cover Browser]