11 09 2009

I have been pretty hard on Barack Obama–although if Sarah Palin had become vice president, I might have chosen to relocate to Canada for my personal safety–but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen, not once Goldman-Sachs threw down for Obama.

A friend of mine is (or used to be) close to Al Gore, who confided in him as he was about to become Vice-President that he thought he really wouldn’t be able to implement much of his political vision because the President and Vice President are little more than figureheads, who have to deal with firmly entrenched political realities.  Al was right, all too right–from NAFTA to welfare to the Middle East to global warming to the so-called “war on Drugs,” the Clinton-Gore years  at best were a stumble in place and at worst took us way on down the wrong road.

That’s the context in which I see Obama’s movement from an enthusiastic endorser of single-payer health care, to his acknowledgement that, while it makes the most sense, it’s not possible in the arena of American politics, any more than prosecuting Cheney and Bush for war crimes or prosecuting Tim Geithner and the rest of the Wall Street Wolves for economic crimes.  It’s their economy and they’ll trash it if they want to.

I am amazed that a President who has indebted the public up to our hairline in order bail out private enterprise gone bad is accused of being a socialist, but that just goes to show you how ignorant a lot of people really are.  There are loads of paranoid nut jobs in this country who would raise hell if  Bush and Cheney got their due, and all these same ignorant, neurotic people will not let the government go after our vampiric medical establishment and its vicious brother, the convenience food industry.  Like, “I’ll give up my Big Mac when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!”  Probably sooner, rather than later, if the mortality statistics mean anything.  But I digress….

The firmly entrenched political reality in America is that establishing a single-payer health care system, no matter how much sense it makes economically and socially, is a non-starter.  This country is too much in thrall to big money, and big money is not going to go away or commit suicide, at least not fast enough to make a difference.  And so Obama’s “public option” was meant to be a small experiment that, if it worked, would grow–but then Congress, specifically the “Blue Dog” Democrats like Nashville’s own Jim Cooper–messed with the public option, and, unless it gets changed back, they pretty much disabled it.  As originally formulated, this “public insurance” would have paid doctors 5% more than Medicare pays; but the Blue Dogs, supposed financial conservatives, insisted that the “public option” pay doctors and hospitals a negotiated fee that will, in all likelihood, keep it from being significantly cheaper than private insurance.

So, when Obama, after doing a great job of describing the knot our for-profit medical system has tied us in, started proposing his “solution,” it made about as much sense as bailing out the banks for screwing us over.  We, the taxpayers, are going to be asked to bail out the insurance companies for screwing us over, and it’s very likely that the bill that eventually emerges from Congress will do little or nothing to help people who are going bankrupt over their medical bills in spite of being insured.  It will certainly do nothing to eliminate the bureaucratic  labyrinth that consumes enough of our health care dollars to cover the cost of  a single-payer system.  It will do nothing to cap or reduce medical costs, or the cost of insurance, or the cost of pharmaceutical drugs.  It will do nothing to educate people about how to eat right and exercise right so as not to get sick in the first place.  It will be a bonanza for the private, for-profit insurance companies, who do not need a bonanza.  They need to be busted, but it ain’t gonna happen on Obama’s watch.  It’s as if Teddy Roosevelt had let himself be intimidated by Standard Oil.  Shame on you, Mr. Obama.  You may not be a “blue dog” Democrat, but you are definitely a “yellow stripe” Democrat.

In a recent article in The New York Times, Michael Pollan points out that

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet – there’s smoking, for instance – but many, if not most, of them are.

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care.

Mr. Obama’s rhetoric was soaring, and he got most of the important facts right.  But his solution is as effective as a band-aid on a gunshot wound.  If this bill passes, even with its so-called “public option” intact, it will be yet another reminder that our government, no matter which major party is in charge, no matter how good its proclaimed intentions, is completely incapable of acting to benefit “we, the people.”

music:  Cream, “Politician




One response

12 09 2009

Why A Strong Public Option Is Essential – By jacksmith — Working Class

Robert Reich explains the pubic option: http://bit.ly/dDYSJ http://robertreich.blogspot.com/

It’s not just because more than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

It’s not just because according to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!

It’s not just because it will lower cost. Because a strong public option will dramatically lower cost for everyone. And dramatically improved the quality of care everyone receives in America and around the World. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

It’s not just because it will save trillions of dollars and prevent the needless deaths of millions more of YOU, caused by a rush to profit by the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

It’s not just because every expert in every field, including economist, and Nobel laureates all agree that free market based healthcare systems don’t work. Never have and never will. The US has the only truly free market based healthcare system in the World. And as you all know now, IT IS A DISASTER!

It’s not just because providing or denying medically necessary care for profit motivations is wrong. Because it is WRONG! It’s professionally, ethically, and morally REPUGNANT!, Animalistic, VILE and EVIL.


The public option is ESSENTIAL because over 200 million of you are trapped in the forest of the wolves. Which is the forest of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! With no way out except through needless inhumane suffering, and DEATH. While the wolves tear at your flesh, and rip you limb from lib. Then feast on your lifeless bodies like a dead carcase for transplant parts.

At the most vulnerable times of your lives (when you were sick and hurting), millions of you have had to fight and loose cruel, but heroic battles. Fighting against the big guns of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! in the forest of the wolves. All because you have no place else to go. You have no other CHOICE!

But the PUBLIC OPTION will give you someplace safe to go. And it will give us someplace safe to take you. The public option will be your refugium (your refuge). Where the wolves cannot get at you when your down, hurting, and vulnerable. Where everyone who needs it can find rest, security, comfort and the care they need. Protected by the BIG GUNS of We The People Of The United States. THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY ON EARTH.

This is why it is so critical that we do not lead another 50 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans into the forest of the wolves, without the protections of a Strong Government-run public option. We The People Of The United States MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN to any more of our fellow Americans. If healthcare reform does not contain a strong public option on day one. YOU MUST! KILL IT. Or you will do far more harm than good. And millions more will die needlessly. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. NO INDIVIDUAL MANDATES! without a Strong public option on day one.

To those who would continue to obstruct good and true healthcare reform for the American people, and who seek to trap millions more vulnerable Americans in the forest of the wolves. We will continue to fight you. We are prepared to wage all out war against you, and will eagerly DESTROY! you. Time…is…UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! No Co-op’s! No Triggers!

Healthcare reform can be the GREATEST! Accomplishment of our time and century. A time when future generations may say of us, that we were all, AMERICAS GREATEST GENERATIONS.


I therefore call on all my fellow Americans and the peoples of the World. To join us in this fight so that we may finish becoming the better America that we aspire to be for everyone.


I have been privileged to be witness as many of you fought, and struggled to take your first breath, and your last breath on this earth. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Life is precious.

Whatever the cost. WE! MUST SUCCEED.

God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

jacksmith — Working Class

No Triggers! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-rosenbaum/a-trigger-for-the-public_b_277910.html

Triggers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/weve-seen-these-triggers_b_283583.html

Krugman on heathcare (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

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