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08.18 Kuwait's inferno: how will the world's hottest city survive climate change?

08.18 We saved the whale. The same vision can save the planet

08.17 New Research Suggests Memory Loss in Alzheimer’s Patients May be Reversible

08.17 We Just Figured out How to Activate Stem Cells to Treat Baldness

08.17 1 in 9 Deaths are from Air Pollution & Trump is making it Worse

08.16 Ignoring Threat of Rising Seas, Trump Eliminates Flood Risk Standards

08.16 In Egypt, A Rising Sea — And Growing Worries About Climate Change's Effects

08.16 Australian coal-power pollution would be illegal in US, Europe and China – report

08.15 Tagus river at risk of drying up completely

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08.15 Sierra Leone's deadly mudslide: thousands missing as search continues

08.15 Monsanto sold banned chemicals for years despite known health risks, archives reveal [immoral capitalism]

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08.18 Climate change will likely wreck their livelihoods – but they still don't buy the science [a willfully ignorant people? or a public conned by oil-industry subsidized news media distortions?]

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08.18 GOP Senator Drowned Out By Cheers for 'Single Payer' at Town Hall [might our 'representatives' understand better if we took their free healthcare away?]

08.18 If a top Trump aide leaves, it could 'start a run on the bank'

08.18 The United States was never immune to fascism. Not then, not now [2:54 video; “Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

08.18 Trump's evangelical panel remains intact as others disband. Who are his religious cheerleaders? [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

08.18 To understand the US's complex history with slavery, look to Thomas Jefferson

08.17 Cuckoo D'État: The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum

08.17 Stranding CEOs Too Slow To Quit, Trump Disbands His Own Business Councils [could a wider boycott accomplish resignations or positive change?]

08.16 Mark Ruffalo, Michael Moore Lead NYC Protest Against 'Absolutely Racist' Trump [short video]

08.16 Companies Linked To Mike Pence Seek An Upper Hand In Infrastructure Policy [our Public Infrastructure is at risk of being transformed into Private Infrastructure with tolls ad infinitum]

08.16 Surviving America’s Political Meltdown

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08.16 The Guardian view on Donald Trump and racism: a moral failure that shames America

08.16 Republicans denounce bigotry after Trump's latest Charlottesville remarks

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08.18 Buses in Seoul install 'comfort women' statues to honour former sex slaves [immoral crimes are hard to forget]

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08.15 Why Are Drug Prices So High? These Politicians Might Have The Answer [especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, BIG money corrupts & controls U.S. government to the public’s detriment]

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08.18 Spain attacks: Suspects shot dead in Cambrils after van-ramming

08.17 Tesla Just Made A Futuristic Tiny House

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08.17 German Politicians think Trump is dangerously close to Neo-Nazis, and they Should know

08.15 As Yemen Cholera Cases Reach 500,000, US and UK Condemned for Complicity

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  Say 'Good-bye' to the Nice Health Care Reform, Kids
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HEALTH-INDUSTRY CARE:

Say 'Good-bye' to the Nice Health Care Reform, Kids

by Dave Lindorff
Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Real health care reform of the kind that Democratic candidates were promising during last year’s presidential campaign is dead, killed by the timidity of President Barack Obama and by massive corruption of Congress.

Of course I could be wrong. Congress could turn around and pass some cockamamie scheme to kick the issue of health care reform down the road, offering some kind of minimal insurance coverage to a few million more people, and cracking down on this or that particularly egregious health provider rip-off, and then staging a “mission accomplished” photo op.

But real health care reform of the kind that Democratic candidates were promising during last year’s presidential campaign is dead, killed by the timidity of the promiser-in-chief, President Barack Obama (and by the massive corruption of the Democrats in Congress, who have accepted the tainted coin of the health care industry).

Obama could have come to the American people as a newly elected leader and addressed us as adults, saying: “Look, we know what needs to be done. Plenty of countries in Canada, Europe and elsewhere have figured it out already. They set up the government as the single payer to health providers—doctors and hospitals, etc.—and the government bargains and sets the prices those private providers of health care can charge. Of course that means you’ll all pay higher taxes to finance such a plan, but the record of all those countries shows that you’ll be saving money over all, because you won’t be paying for health insurance, your employer won’t be paying for health insurance, you won’t be paying co-pays and deductibles, and you won’t be getting gouged for drugs or hospital stays or doctors’ bills. You won’t be paying state taxes for Medicaid either, nor will your insurance and local property taxes have to subsidize the hospital care of indigents. On balance, you’ll all be saving money, and you’ll never have to worry about disease or injury bankrupting you. Nor will employers be able to hold you hostage any longer. The reality is that the countries that have a single-payer plan are spending half of what we spend per capita for health care, they have no uninsured citizens, and their health overall, as measured by such things as longevity, infant mortality, etc., is better than ours.”

The president could have said all this and rallied the tens of millions of Americans who desperately want a health care system modeled on the single-payer idea to his side, forcing Congress to go along or pay the price in 2010.

Instead, this president who, in years past as a senator, as a state representative and as an activist had praised the idea of single-payer, has taken to saying it’s important do keep the private health insurance industry in business. Instead of inviting Canadian administrators of that country’s successful system down to talk about how it works up there, he barred even American advocates of single payer from speaking at his talk-fests on health care reform at the White House. Instead of taking an axe to the US Medical-Industrial Complex, he has pretended he could reform the current profit-crazed system we have in the US without raising taxes. Instead of pointing out that we already have a well-functioning single-payer system for our elderly and disabled in the form of Medicare, he has spent his time badmouthing the single-payer idea, even claiming that it’s not part of our “American” tradition.

But let’s note that Obama’s sell-out on health care reform was aided and abetted by the progressives, the left groups and political organizations and the unions that failed to hold him to his earlier espousal of single-payer, that instead of calling him out on his cave-in, bought into his initial compromise of a so-called “public option” insurance alternative, and even into his subsequent backdown to an even more watered-down version of possibly state-run or “cooperative” plans.

Now his political cowardice and mendacity have caught up with him. His “plan,” if it can even be called that, of mandating employer health coverage and then adding a government-run alternative “public option” to existing private insurance, has understandably failed to excite the public, while still arousing the passionate opposition of conservative Republicans and conservative members of his own party, and meanwhile does nothing to limit soaring health costs, which already eat up a fifth of the entire gross domestic product of the nation, requires an increase in taxes and reductions in Medicare, will probably, if established, lead to more companies actually dropping their current benefit programs in favor of a cheaper, stripped-down government plan, and yet will still leave millions of people unable to get access to timely, quality, affordable medical care.

Furthermore, his apparent failure to deliver on this key initiative will deal a body blow to his political clout on other initiatives, such as tackling climate change and dealing with an acute economic crisis.

If I’m right that health reform is dead, so is Barack Obama’s presidency. President Bill Clinton’s new administration foundered early on following his shameless backdown on a pledge to guarantee the right of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. It never recovered. President Obama’s new administration is foundering on his equally shameless backdown on a promise to establish a system of quality affordable health care for all.


Dave Lindorff in Washington

About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.



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This story was published on July 14, 2009.
 

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