Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obama + Health Care = Not Much

While his rhetoric soared, as usual, his reality was risible, as expected. He said many presidents have tried to fix health care but he’s determined to be the last to have to deal with it… Very sorry, Mr. O, but you’re going to have to do a lot better if you don’t want to the subject to be revisited in the near future.

Obama is generally an honest, straightforward kind of person, but when he said that extending coverage won’t start for four years because they want to take the time to do it right, the whole assembly should have broke into uncontrollable guffaws.

As remarked in a previous post, it only took 11 months, starting from scratch, to get Medicare up and running in the sixties and that was before computers. No, the real reason, I surmise, for delaying the start is to avoid paying for it when you also have wars to fight and bankers to coddle.

Today, it would take only a few months to ramp up Medicare to enroll the entire US population, not to mention the smaller number who would choose it over private insurance, if given the choice. But the current plan only provides choice to the indigent - those who cannot afford coverage on their own - for the rest of you suckers it’s the greedy-bastard insurance companies or nothing.

And if you choose nothing and get caught, you’ll pay a $4000 fine. It’s called an individual mandate, and it’s why, in spite of Obama’s fighting rhetoric and the tweaking he talks about regarding rules for insurance companies, the bloodsucking health care industry is all behind the Obama plan. If so, can it possibly be good for the people? I personally can’t imagine a scenario in which the insurance companies and I would be on the same political wavelength.

The proposal maintains employer based coverage, an evil in itself because it forces people to stay in jobs they may hate for fear of losing health care. This plan, even with a public option, won’t change that since, when your employment ends for whatever reason, you’ll have to come up with a lot of money to have coverage or go the indigent route.

The Dems plan is not universal. It’s expected that about 5% will avoid purchasing insurance; that’s 15 million Americans. It won’t save any money; the CEO’s will still earn outlandish compensation and there’ll still be a big chunk taken off the top in profit.

In comparison, single-payer automatically covers everybody and saves big money in the process. The latter is probably why discussion of it was taken off the table from the start: Once the numbers were officially crunched showing single-payer saving hundreds of billions a year, it would’ve been difficult to justify dumping it for the sake of protecting insurance company profits.

When you consider the majority of Americans – around 60% - are in favor of public involvement in health care and the vast majority of Democrats – around 90% - are, the current garbage bill is just an additional disgusting testament to the worthlessness of the Democratic Party.

There are, on the other hand, 60 members of the House who have pledged to vote against the plan if it doesn’t have a public option. If what they are eventually offered is the present totally inadequate public option, they should vote against it.

Furthermore, this should be a final test, a showdown, a call to arms. Activists should begin a campaign to defeat any legislator that doesn’t pledge to vote for single-payer to take effect on an ASAP timetable… fuck this four year bullshit. If not single payer than a strong public option that is open to everyone to join.

To placate the wingnut crazies, it should be possible to include an opt-out in a single payer plan; that is, if you prefer private insurance you could get a credit from the government based on actual Medicare costs.

For myself, I’m almost beyond cynicism in regards to US politics. Whether it’s health care, regulation of finance, global warming, never-ending warmongering, the trashing of the Geneva Conventions, I see no light on the horizon. A strong leader, an FDR, could’ve made big changes, but to expect Obama to fight for real progress; it seems unimaginable.

He does have an important redeeming quality; that is, he has the ability to admit his mistakes. Maybe that will eventually translate into the audacity to fight for those who elected him, but I’m not holding my breath.

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