Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hard To Imagine Why No One In Congress Came Up With This Simple Proposal To Fix The Health Care System


Did Blue Shield really give you $75,200? Kewl!

George McGovern lost a lot of credibility-- pretty much all of it-- when he teamed up with the GOP to campaign against employee free choice. He went from being a respected progressive elder statesman to being a waking joke and a pariah. So people may have been surprised this morning to wake up and find such a fine OpEd penned by him in the Washington Post. Could anyone not currently working inside the sausage factory have not come to the same conclusion as McGovern-- that the way to solve the country's health care problem is Medicare for all? As he points out, it is simple and even teabaggers might understand it: "If we want comprehensive health care for all our citizens, we can achieve it with a single sentence: Congress hereby extends Medicare to all Americans."

Obama's speech last week had one fatal flaw-- his insistence that the insurance industry has a legitimate role to play in the country's health care system. They don't-- unless you also consider the role of Typhoid Mary legitimate. This insistence, fueled by obscene campaign donations-- thinly disguised bribes-- is what blocks the path to meaningful health care reform.
Those of us over 65 have been enjoying this program for years. I go to the doctor or hospital of my choice, and my taxes pay all the bills. It's wonderful. But I would have appreciated it even more if my wife and children and I had had such health-care coverage when we were younger. I want every American, from birth to death, to get the kind of health care I now receive. Removing the payments now going to the insurance corporations would considerably offset the tax increase necessary to cover all Americans.

I don't feel as though the government is meddling in my life when it pays my doctor and hospital fees. There are some things the government does that I don't like -- most notably getting us into needless wars that cost many times what health care for all Americans would cost. Investing in the health of our citizens will enhance the well-being and security of the nation.

We know that Medicare has worked well for half a century for those of us over 65. Why does it become "socialized medicine" when we extend it to younger Americans?

...Many people familiar with politics in America will tell you that this idea can't pass Congress, in part because the insurance lobby is too powerful for lawmakers to resist.

As matters now stand, the insurance companies claim $450 billion a year of our health-care dollars. They will fight hard to hold on to this bonanza. This is a major reason Americans pay more for health care per capita than any other people in the world. The insurance executives didn't cry "socialism" when their buddies in banking and finance were bailed out. But to them it is socialism if the government underwrites the cost of health care.

Consider the campaign funds given to the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over health-care legislation. Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, a Democrat, and his political action committee have received nearly $4 million from the health-care lobby since 2003. The ranking Republican, Charles Grassley of Iowa, has received more than $2 million. It's a mistake for one politician to judge the personal motives of another. But Sens. Baucus and Grassley are firm opponents of the single-payer system, as are other highly placed members of Congress who have been generously rewarded by the insurance lobby.

Far be it from me to call any fine politician a whore but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Senator Grassley is up for re-election next year and very much counting on the Insurance Industry and the Medical-Industrial Complex to pay the costs. So far they haven't let him down. In the current year the Insurance Industry has already forked over $89,800 to Grassley's re-election efforts. Compare that to the $16,070 they've given to Bernie Sanders-- in his entire career (and not one cent this year)! The Medical-Industrial Complex is also favoring Grassley this year-- so far to the tune of $186,600. And, believe me, Grassley has earned every cent of it spreading shallow lies about death panels and sabotaging reform efforts every step of the way. If America winds up without health care reform, or with inadequate reform, no list of culprits will be complete without Chuck Grassley. Baucus, of course, will be the first name on the list-- or at least fighting for pride of place with Rahm Emanuel.

Yesterday John Amato called me, pretty excited for John, to say he was watching Obama's Minneapolis speech on health care and that the president was sounding more behind the public option than he would if Rahm Emanuel and his corporate buddies were calling all the shots. The audience reaction speaks for itself. John put the video up at Crooks and Liars today and gave me permission to use it here as well:

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At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His language at that speech was still just the same he has been using. He wants to pass a bill. He just wants us to think he is for something, dump the public option, have a photo-op with a couple of Republicans and Joe Lieberman, and talk about how he is the President of everyone not just the Democrats or some other vapid bi-partisan screed.

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous DeanOR said...

Well, I came up with that proposal all by myself a long time ago, and I'm just another guy on Medicare. Just change the eligibility rules. Presto, a universal plan. The bureaucracy to run it already exists (which is no small consideration), it's very popular, and people actually know what the hell it is. I know, we only have money for wars and banks.
McGovern also came up with a proposal for "How to leave Iraq" when nobody could figure out how: "Leave the same way you came in - load up the trucks and head for the border".
He's a good man, but America preferred to continue punishing the hippies with Nixon!

At 4:05 PM, Blogger lahru said...

I just do not buy the meme that members of congress are bought for $89K over enough years to make the dollar value large enough to make it sensational. The back story is there has to be something else going on that adds money to their wallets. They seem to get elected living from paycheck to paycheck and retire not having a care about where their next meal is coming from. Me thinks that once you are in the clique you get enough so you don't have to worry about making money.

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous me said...

It is not possible to overstate how much better our country would be today if the mainstream Democrats had not stabbed McGovern in the back in 1972.

At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Medicaire careening towards insolvency and people think this is a good idea?

Of course seniors like it: Everyone likes getting something for nothing.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Anonymous (at 2:25AM), a friend of mine, Kid Oakland, wrote a very well thought-out post yesterday, The Circle Of Health Care, that I'd like to recommend to you. If nothing else, it will help you to understand the fundamental difference between conservatives and normal Americans.


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