Sunday, November 29, 2009

The health care reform coin flip: Heads they win, tails we lose


Howard Dean has already done the job of setting out the case for real health care reform. Now if only we had a national leader -- one who actually believes in real health care reform, of course -- prepared to take on the herculean job of selling it to the American people.

by Ken

By now I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but I often still am, kind of, whenever Howie says -- or, now, writes -- something that turns out to be exactly what I was thinking. It happened again with his post this afternoon, "Is The Healthcare Bill As It Now Stands Even Worse Than Nothing?"

I've been fearing for some time now that the outcome, if the Democrats actually manage to pass what Master Rahm Emanuel would call "a bill" (any bill) concerning health care, is likely to be disastrous in just the ways Howie outlined: It's almost certain to impose huge financial burdens on Americans ill able to afford it, in exchange for crap coverage they better hope they'll never need, while vast quantities of money -- including the inadequate subsidies coming from our tax dollars, is transferred to the coffers of the corporations that have done so much to make affordable health care a pipe dream in this country.

If you think about it for even a moment, it all stands to reason. What would have led anyone to expect any other outcome?

Meaningful health care reform, of the sort that, say, Howard Dean has been talking about, would carve a chunk out of the pockets of some seriously deep-pocketed corporate interests. After all, when we talk about hoping to get control of massive wasted expenditures on health care, there are people to whom that money isn't a waste, it's a bonanza. By and large those people are corporations making money off the health care crisis faster than they can count it. Were we expecting them to stand idly by and wave bye-bye to all that loot? Especially when you consider what an easy remedy they have. Not cheap, but easy: buying up enough members of Congress, the ultimate "deciders" on "a bill," or at any rate renting them.

Only two things give me pause concerning Howie's suggestion that we'd be better off if the various bills now working their way through the House and Senate were dumped and we started fresh next year.

First, there's all that money the insurance companies have been pouring into hard-core opposition to its fun-house-mirror vision of the proposed reforms. This makes me wonder: If they're that dead-set against them, can the proposals really be all bad? I don't know. Could it be a front to make us think they're dead set against the bills? (If nothing else, all that money they're spending tells us how much money they believe is at stake for them.)

Second, there's the practical argument against starting fresh: Is there any reason to believe we would wind up with a better and not a worse result? After all, the forces of corporate greed and selfishness are only just getting their shit together, hitting their stride at organizing to protect their interests. If we give them time to start from scratch with their campaign, would there be any hope of defeating them? And since at present there appears to be no price to be paid by members of Congress who openly pocket massive bribes from their health care industry masters, whereas members who show courage in standing up to them can be fairly easily smacked down, are likely to see more or less congressional independence in starting the process all over?

I'm not at all in the camp of those saying we have to accept whatever, ahem, "compromise" is ultimately hammered out. I think there's a good chance that Master Rahm's "a bill" will indeed be worse than nothing. I just wonder whether the momentum hasn't fatally shifted to the other side, who now look to be doing more than merely retaining the status quo -- they're looking for a giant new payday. Unless, of course, we had a charismatic national leader who could take the case Dr. Dean has made so reasonablyin his bookto the American people and make them understand why it's in all our interests to dramatically change the way we pay for health care.

And what do you think the chances are of that happening? Right!

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At 8:55 PM, Anonymous wjbill said...

It becomes disheartening when I think where we are in this country and what those who want to achieve progress are up against. You see it and hear it every day just about everywhere .... corruption in politics, power hungry, greed, the religious extremes (I wonder if scientology gets faith based initiative dollars), the ignorance, the bigotry, the hate, ..... I think we are in trouble. The top 1% have so much firepower I do not see how that can be beaten with what "we" have to work with. Then you think about what we are facing that are global problems, climate, hunger, water, sickness, have we passed the tipping point? I like what Frank Schaefer said recently about so many revel in their ignorance. Sad

At 7:08 AM, Blogger gademakquoquoi said...

We can not Continue to Spend Beyond our Means. We must used Health Information Technology (HIT) Solutions to Contained our Unsustainable Healthcare Spending. We must used some Stimulus Funds to Build Smart/Intelligent Infrastructure Services for: Smart Grids, Transportation Systems, Broadband, and Healthcare IT. This Investment in Smart/Intelligent Infrastructure Services can Serve as an Immediate Enabler for New Jobs Creation and Economic Recovery

Proper Deployment of HIT Solutions and Training will Increased Productivity (i, e, medical dada mining/warehousing, risks treatment, service delivery), Efficiency (i, e, medical errors, redundant an inappropriate care), and a Costs Savings of around 20-30% of our Annual National Healthcare Expenditures ($2.4 Trillions).

The Enegine of Economic Growth in this 21st Century is "Broadband." We can start by, Deploying a pure Packet-based, All Optical/IP, Multi-Service National Transport Network Infrastructure, using Optical Ethernet throughout this National "Network of Networks."

The Investment in this "Network of Networks", in addition to New Jobs Creation and Economic Recovery, can also Serve as a Business Driver for: e-Healthcare, e-Commerce, e-Education, Transportation Systems, Energy Systems, Social Networking, Entertainment, etc.

Please See: for Summary Deployment Plan, for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

Gadema K. Quoquoi
President & CEO

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous robertdaggmurphy said...

gademakquoquoi: We cannot spend beyond our means. We have limitless energy coming from the Star Sun. All other materials can be made better with each recycling, careful not to scatter resulting in our inability to retrieve our ninety two regenerative chemical elements. More wealth exists and is incoming than we can ever spend.

First we must eliminate debt, we don't owe the Sun. Our economic system does not reflect our good fortune and is based on scarcity when we have abundance. What ever needs to be done can done.Information technology is at the heart of our ability to transform a dark age Malthusian economic model based on scarcity to one based on abundance. Put the right information in the computer and out will come the correct answers. Also, we only learn more not less. If we combine ever increasing intellect with limitless energy we have a formula for ultimate success.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

We'll win with the public option, just like those in Ohio are winning with it and have been for years.

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