The Fix Is In: Ben Nelson (D-NE) To Administer The Death Blow To Health Care Reform
Ben Nelson in a graphic frame normally reserved for Repugs
The Senate's most Republican Democrat (see chart below), Nebraska reactionary Ben Nelson, has long been in the pocket of the Medical-Industrial Complex and Big Insurance. He was a former insurance company executive. They have underwritten his career with millions of dollars in legalized bribes-- $1,196,799 from Insurance special interests and another $1,000,366 from the HMOs and other "health care" industries. And they're promising him lots more if he will do their dirty work for them again this year. And he will.
Nelson is worried that voters in Nebraska will start understanding that he doesn't work for them-- not ever-- but that his real employers are the wealthy and powerful vested interests he is always serving. His main function in the Senate seems to have always been to water down all reforms and make them meaningless. Today he went to the Lincoln Journal Star to spin his role in the killing of health care reform so that the dull minded among his constituents miss the point. "Sen. Ben Nelson," reads the friendly and deceptive first line, "says he’s open to a government role in securing universal health care coverage."
A couple nights ago progressive health care reform advocate, Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards explained how the Insurance company shills in Congress would embrace the public option and then make sure it non-robust, worthless and uncompetitive with the plans of their "generous" patrons.
Nelson says, he does not want to “destabilize or adversely affect” the private health insurance coverage now in place for most Americans.
“I have not closed my mind to any option,” says Nelson, a key figure in the approaching showdown over health care reform.
While he’s opposed to opening the door to choice between a government and a private plan, Nelson says he wants to “see how a public plan is crafted.
“It’s a deal-breaker for me if there’s a government-run plan to replace existing insurance plans,” he says.
“I see a role for government, but not the primary responsibility,” Nelson says. “I see a backup plan,” but not at the expense of “erosion of a market-based system.”
...What’s not on the table is a single-payer universal health care system managed by the federal government.
Nelson says he’d adamantly oppose it, but the Obama administration and congressional leaders aren’t even crafting such a plan.
“Single-payer can’t pass,” Nelson says.
What’s open is how to construct coverage for 45 million uncovered Americans who would be brought under the umbrella of universal coverage.
The private insurance industry is prepared to eliminate barriers to coverage for Americans with pre-existing health conditions if there is universal coverage, Nelson said.
So what is it that the insurance companies and shills in the Senate like virtually the entire Republican caucus plus the worst of the Conservadems want to kill? In short, anything that looks like it will compete with the awful private insurance plans that almost all Americans hate with a passion.
Progressives demand a plan that is fully risk-bearing, like Medicare. It must fully bear the risk of medical claims for its enrollees. The idea is to keep administrative costs low-- like Medicare and unlike the private insurers-- and guarantee a high standard of care. As for payments, again Medicare is a good model to start with, but the new entity should be free to use its buying power to establish fair provider rates. It should have the authority to structure provider rates that build on Medicare’s payment system and to develop and implement payment system reforms that promote quality care, prevention, and chronic care management. At the very minimum it has to be available to anyone (which also means everyone) who lacks employer-provided insurance. And it must allow patients to have access to their choice of doctors and other providers that meet defined participation standards, as Medicare does.
Imagine having representatives in our own government who are there to fight for us, not for their campaign contributors in big business? It'll never happen until we get rid of the horribly corrupt way we finance our "democracy." Until then there will always be stooges like Ben Nelson and Max Baucus-- not to mention the entire GOP-- who fight for the lobbyists and for the industries that underwrite their careers rather than for their own constituents. Not a single Republican voted for Social Security when Roosevelt proposed it-- not one. They called it socialist and said it would bankrupt America. Sound familiar? As I mentioned yesterday, when Rep. John Sullivan, Oklahoma's rabid anti-health care fanatic, decided he needed-- reason not yet clear-- to fly across the country and check himself into the Betty Ford Clinic to treat his long-documented dependency on alcohol, the taxpayers were forced to pick up the entire tab, probably $30,000. Nice for him, but isn't it a bit hypocritical for him to vote against that kind of health insurance for the rest of us?