Sunday, August 16, 2009

Is It Too Late To Rescue Health Insurance Reform From The Corporate Shills In Washington?


Listen to Obama being applauded when he was running for office; it can't be denied that the prolonged applause wasn't sparked by his charisma and charm but by his words: "I happen to be a supporter of single player universal health care." Perhaps he believes that his cult of personality is bigger than the ideas that propelled his popularity. If he does, he's in for quite the shock.

It was lovely when Bill Clinton rescued those two American journalists from the clutches of North Korea and when last week 4 European and 2 Kenyan hostages were released after 9 miserable months in Somalia, but the insurance companies have been holding health care hostage for decades, not months. And it was nice when President Obama seemed to promise a crowd in Montana a couple days ago that he intends to rescue the long-held hostage and succeed where Democratic presidents since FDR and Harry Truman have failed.

There was a lot to recommend Rick Perlstein's piece in today's Washington Post, In America, Crazy Is A Preexisting Condition about birthers, town hall hecklers and the return of right-wing rage. But one section that has really stood out in my mind implies a comparison between Obama and his compromised administration and an earlier Democratic president who faced mobs of hysterical white conservatives and racists screeching-- and fully believing their own screeches-- how passing Civil Rights legislation would lead to the enslavement of the white race: "Good thing our leaders weren't so cowardly in 1964, or we would never have passed a civil rights bill-- because of complaints over the provisions in it that would enslave whites... The tree of crazy is an ever-present aspect of America's flora. Only now, it's being watered by misguided he-said-she-said reporting and taking over the forest."

That and lots of suckers eating up the Fox/Hate Talk Radio disseminated Insurance Industry distortions and then running wild with them. Even the fake "Christians" have an angle.

When Obama passed over credible health care reform advocate Howard Dean and picked a suspiciously conservative Democrat, Kathleen Sebelius, to be his Health Secretary-- after his first choice, a blatant corporate shill tainted by years of K Street connections, was proven to be too corrupt for confirmation-- many people realized the game was being thrown. This morning Ms. Sebelius confirmed that they were correct in an interview on CNN's State of the Union.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says Obama still believes there should be "choice and competition" in the health insurance market-- but that a public option is "not the essential element."

Obama has been pressing for the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation's nearly 50 million uninsured. But he had not seen a not-for-profit co-op as sufficient to offer consumers choice and competition that would bring down the costs of private insurance.

With half the teabaggers claiming they've personally lived in Canada or the U.K. and can absolutely attest to the horrors of health care in those downtrodden countries, today's Independent weighed in from the UK. They recognize that the teabaggers aren't about debate but about shilling and psychosis.
Although the Americans spend more on medicine than any nation on earth, there are an estimated 50 million with no health insurance at all. Many of those who have jobs can't afford coverage, and even those with standard policies often find it doesn't cover commonplace procedures. California's unemployed-- who rely on Medicaid-- had their dental care axed last month.

...President Obama's healthcare plans had been a central plank of his first-term programme, but his reform package has taken a battering at the hands of Republican opponents in recent weeks. As the Democrats have failed to coalesce around a single, straightforward proposal, their rivals have seized on public hesitancy over "socialised medicine" and now the chance of far-reaching reform is in doubt.

Most damaging of all has been the tide of vociferous right-wing opponents whipping up scepticism at town hall meetings that were supposed to soothe doubts. In Pennsylvania this week, Senator Arlen Specter was greeted by a crowd of 1,000 at a venue designed to accommodate only 250, and of the 30 selected speakers at the event, almost all were hostile.

Healthcare compared

Health spending as a share of GDP
US 16%
UK 8.4%

Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare)
US 45%
UK 82%

Health spending per head
US $7,290
UK $2,992

Practising physicians (per 1,000 people)
US 2.4
UK 2.5

Nurses (per 1,000 people)
US 10.6
UK 10.0

Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people)
US 2.7
UK 2.6

Life expectancy:
US 78
UK 80

Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)
US 6.7
UK 4.8

Meanwhile over at the Republican Party propaganda station, Kent Conrad (DLC-ND), a notorious insurance industry whore ($828,787) further bashed the public option, using lobbyist-prepared GOP talking points. “Look, the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the U.S. Senate for the public option, there never have been. So to continue to chase that rabbit is, I think, a wasted effort.”

Not all Democrats have given in yet, though. Democrats more concerned with ordinary working families than with the viability of the utterly useless and no-value-added insurance companies have taken a pledge to vote against any health care bill Insurance Business "allies" try shoving down Congress' throat. With sleazy ex-congressional wheeler dealers Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, and Bill Tauzin, now head of Big Pharma's lobby, working together with some of the insurance CEOs to do a Bush-like deal to enrich the insurance companies and pharmaceutical giants at the expense of the public, it will be the ultimate act of political courage for the Progressive Caucus to stand up and just say no. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) says progressives aren't about to give in to Emanuel's threats. "We signed a pledge to reject any plan that doesn't include a robust public option, and this plan doesn't have a robust public option."

And it isn't just Nadler who's standing up against the Insurance Industry, Big Pharma and the corrupt wheeler dealers who would sacrifice the HOPE of the millions of Americans who believed in Barack Obama when he was running for president. 57 dedicated progressives signed a letter to Nancy Pelosi pledging to oppose any health care legislation that doesn't include a robust public option now being bad-mouthed by Emanuel's team inside and outside the administration. 18 members have also signed onto the FDL pledge to only support a bill that includes a public option. This afternoon Jane explained the strategy of how this could work to prevent the Insurance Industry from running away with the reform package. These are the heroes of American families who refuse to be cowed by corporate America or by the political hacks who enable corporate America (phone numbers are included so you can call and say thanks; they deserve a thanks):

First, the members who signed the letter to Speaker Pelosi:

Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)- 202-225-4811
Corrine Brown (D-FL)- 202-225-0123
Michael Capuano (D-MA)- 202-225-5111
André Carson (D-IN)- 202-225-4011
Judy Chu (D-CA)- 202-225-5467
Yvette Clarke (D-NY)- 202-225-6231
William “Lacy” Clay (D-MO)- 202-225-2406
John Conyers (D-MI)- 202-225-5126
Elijah Cummings (D-MD)- 202-225-4741
Bill Delahunt (D-MA)- 202-225-3111
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)- 202-225- 4865
Donna Edwards (D-MD)- 202-225-8699
Keith Ellison (D-MN)- 202-225-4755
Sam Farr (D-CA)- 202-225-2861
Chaka Fattah (D-PA)- 202-225-4001
Bob Filner (D-CA)- 202-225-8045
Marcia Fudge (D-OH1)- 202-225-7032
Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)- 202-225-2435
Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)- 202-225-8203
Phil Hare (D-IL)- 202-225-5905
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)- 202-225-1313
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)- 202-225-6335
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)- 202-225-4906
Michael Honda (D-CA)- 202-225-2631
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)- 202-225-3816
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)- 202-225-8885
Hank Johnson (D-GA)- 202-225-1605
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)- 202-225-4146
Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI)- 202-225-2261
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)- 202-225-5871
Barbara Lee (D-CA)- 202-225-2661
Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)- 202-225-3816
Eric Massa (D-NY)- 202-225-3161
Jim McDermott (D-WA)- 202-225-3106
James McGovern (D-MA)- 202-225-6101
Gwen Moore (D-WI)- 202-225-4572
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)- 202-225-5635
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)- 202-225-5256
John Olver (D-MA)- 202-225-5335
Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)- 202-225-5751
Donald Payne (D-NJ)- 202-225-3436
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)- 202-225-6116
Laura Richarson (D-CA)- 202-225-7924
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)- 202-225-1766
Linda Sánchez (D-CA)- 202-225-6676
José Serrano (D-NY)- 202-225-4361
Albio Sires (D-NJ)- 202-225-7919
Jackie Speier (D-CA)- 202-225-3531
Pete Stark (D-CA)- 202-225-5065
Bennie Thompson (D-MS)- 202-225-5876
John Tierney (D-MA)- 202-225-8020
Ed Towns (D-NY)- 202-225-5936
Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)- 202-225-2361
Maxine Waters (D-CA)- 202-225-2201
Diane Watson (D-CA)- 202-225-7084
Mel Watt (D-NC)- 202-225-1510
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)- 202-225-5161

And these are the members who are credibly onboard with the FDL Pledge:

Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)- 202-225-4535
Pete DeFazio (D-OR)- 202-225-6416
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)- 202-225- 4865
Donna Edwards (D-MD)- 202-225-8699
Keith Ellison (D-MN)- 202-225-4755
Bob Filner (D-CA)- 202-225-8045
Barney Frank (D-MA)- 202-225-5931
Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)- 202-225-2435
Phil Hare (D-IL)- 202-225-5905
Rush Holt (D-NJ)- 202-225-5801
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)- 202-225-7944
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)- 202-225-5635
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)- 202-225-6116
Maxine Waters (D-CA)- 202-225-2201
Robert Wexler (D-FL)-202-225-3001
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)- 202-225-5161
John Yarmuth (D-KY)- 202-225-5401

Another way to say thanks might be to stop by a brand new ActBlue page: Standing Up For The Public Option and leaving a little something for the members you want to thank.

Insurance Industry Still Holding Health Care Reform Hostage

But Jim Webb (D-VA) persuaded the Myanmar dictatorship to free John Yettaw, an American being held there. Something tells me FDR and a more robust kind of Democrat would have freed health care reform by now as well. Obama's a big disappointment. "Better than Bush or McCain" isn't enough, not even close.

Labels: , , , ,


At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Technology said...

Caved already! He didn't last too long.

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Our President is getting his first taste of going against the insurance industry, which is, make no mistake about it, a CARTEL, no longer the intended business model originally created to protect in an event of a loss, with their hands in all elections, all the time and process as much money as our government and in fact controls many public policies. Currently, what the insurance industry wants, the industry gets. They feel that no one is too big for them. With profits paramount, currently running health care as well as auto collision repair in there unsuccessfully dysfunctional way with no one to challenge them, as well as crushing free enterprise with their referral systems. When US States successfully created affordable government run workman’s comp insurance for business, the system currently works extremely well, with government achieving a much higher level of service at half the cost, but not surprisingly the insurance industry attempts to abolish the program every legislation cycle. They complain about being in competition with the government, but have no regard to health care patients well being, care facilities or the collision repair stores they our putting out of business daily by pushing all the patients or damaged autos through locations they own or have interest in, aggressively via referral systems. Insures are in competition with all businesses they pay claims to. From health care to auto repair. The insurance industry is currently a competitor to businesses and crushes whom they feel like, with no Federal Trade Commissions stopping them. The insurance industry controls the largest majority of claims service rendered. Free competition is long gone but seriously needs to be restored. I believe government should not just challenge the insurance industry, but to do its job and control them. I wish a leader to challenge the cartel, not give in to greed, and win. Mr. Obama, please don’t give up. The insurance industry can and should be restored back into its intended purpose. The insurance industry currently has more money than local governments and is right behind the federal government with regards to cash flow. They have hand placed policy makers in all levels of our government, federally and local. This presents serious threats to our government and should be investigated by the Federal Trades Commission, FBI and the CIA to ensure the stability of our government.

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anne said...

Dude. Get a clue. You don't compare life expectancy. You compare your chances of survival after a diagnosis. The U.S. wins every time.

At 2:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concision, gentlepersons, concision.

Sometimes DWT can be such a chore.

At 3:43 AM, Anonymous paul_lukasiak said...

even the "robust" public option that Hamsher is flogging is a complete waste -- it only "saves" money if it uses Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors/hospitals/tests, and Medicaid rates for drugs. Most crucially, the "public option" leaves in place the grossly inefficient insurance system that costs health care providers hundreds of billions of dollars each year in billing costs -- costs that wind up being paid for as "overhead" by patients and the government.
Jane's efforts are useful only so far as they can kill the current disaster, and pave the way for effective reform next year or the year after. But what she is advocating -- a "robust" public option -- remains pure BS; she bought into the multi-million dollar, parasite backed HCAN campaign against single-payer, and now she's trying to get out in front of a parade that has already passed her by.

At 4:28 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

health benefits offered by morning walk

The secret of longevity for a major section of people who are ‘ octogenarians ‘ – That is People who are in their eighties would be morning walk which was done for decades. People have nowadays gradually started realizing the importance of morning walk in shaping the health of human body. But still there are umpteen number of people who do not unwind themselves from their mechanical lives. Technological advancements have made life more simpler in all respects but we humans must also pay the price for it if we do not allocate time in our hectic schedule for some physical work like walking or visiting Gym’s. Around fifteen years ago, TV remotes were rarely found in houses and hence we used to walk at least for changing channels. But now ? Sitting hours together in front of the idiot box, continuously feeding the stomach with snacks or sweets, leading to obesity. If you question a doctor on the health benefits offered by walking he would give you a long lecture. Let us see some of the benefits.

1) It is a stress buster which instills a feeling of freshness to the body as well as mind.

2) blood circulation is promoted, reducing greatly the chances of high blood pressure.

3) Checks obesity by burning unnecessary calories of fat in the body.

4) It makes the joints more strong and hence people would be less susceptible to Orthopedic troubles associated with old age.

5) Chases away neck pain and back pains.

6) If you go walk in a park surrounded by trees, you will inhale more fresh air, containing higher concentration of oxygen, thereby bringing down breathing problems too.

7) Keeps sugar levels under control.

At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think alien has really got something. Staying healthy is the only way to beat the insurance companies. My wife says when she is 120 she plans to go in for a check up. I say, why take a chance?

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Nashville Steeler Fan said...

I think opposition to health care is largely about distrust of the entire political class, which is something you can’t fix with a few amendments.Yes. And trust, once lost, is hard to regain. Just ask the Republicans . . . .

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Brendan said...

Obama is not going against the health care industry or even many lobbyists. They are all on his side, they stand to gain a lot from this reform. Fuck, even NPR has admitted that there are over 150 million dollars in pro-reform advertising that are being funded by "big-pharma," the unions as well as other groups.
The corporate shills are on your side.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I have had enough of this President. He is a typical spineless Washington D.C. Democrat.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger nosayno said...

The private sector folks spent 1/3 of the Iraq funds on thier cause with little success except for those working it.
Now they want to maintain the health care sector to the maintain the same advantage for those working it.. its the American way.. the greed in the computition.. we need it.. but it needs to be tempered

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter what the President or congress want! It is our Healthcare & lives & country not his or theirs & therefor it is our choice not his or theirs! If Obama & Congress want public option then Obama & congress can be the only ones to get on it, not us! Then we can VOTE them all OUT of office on the next ELECTIONS!

At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

"If Obama & Congress want public option then Obama & congress can be the only ones to get on it, not us!"


They already have a fantastic public health plan for Congress, nosebleed. Try closing your piehole, and reading for a change.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

At the height of teabagger mania the tens of millions of dollars the astro-turf organizations spent drove the approval for the public option all the way down from 76% to a mere 59%. Since then it has started climbing back towards the 70% mark and now stands at 66% approval. I have a feeling the people who have the most to worry about being voted out of office are the ones who are standing in the way of health care reform-- Republicans and Blue Dogs.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. President,
you ARE a great man ...
you've SHOWN the heart!
KEEP the promise ...
FIGHT FOR & SECURE the public option you described at the beginning of YOUR journey!
For this you will be remembered!
with LOVE ... with KINDNESS ... with GRATITUDE & with the RESPECT of the MANY!


Post a Comment

<< Home