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Health Care & Environment

03.23 'Dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico will take decades to recover from farm pollution

03.23 EU in 'state of denial' over destructive impact of farming on wildlife

03.23 The ban on assisted death ignores the reality of illnesses like dementia

03.23 Lignite mining: Greece’s dirty secret - in pictures

03.21 THE BATTLE FOR PARADISE [renewable energy is obviously essential for rebuilding]

03.21 London air pollution activists 'prepared to go to prison' to force action

03.21 London air pollution activists 'prepared to go to prison' to force action

03.21 Subsidy-free renewable energy projects set to soar in UK, analysts say

03.21 'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides

03.21 A judge asks basic questions about climate change. We answer them

03.20 Can climate litigation save the world?

03.20 Climate change soon to cause mass movement, World Bank warns

03.20 Plight of Phoenix: how long can the world’s 'least sustainable' city survive?

03.20 Who owns water? The US landowners putting barbed wire across rivers

03.19 Could it be your gut keeping you awake at night?

03.19 Water shortages could affect 5bn people by 2050, UN report warns

News Media Matters

03.22 Bernie Sanders: Russia and Stormy Daniels distract us from real problem of inequality

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

03.23 Our manifesto to fix America's gun laws

03.22 Mick Mulvaney manipulated data to justify “tip-stealing” rule: report

03.22 Crooked Together: Two Equally Corrupt Parties Bent In Different Directions [the Sanders-Warren progressives are the standout exceptions]

03.22 'We Need Medicare for All,' Says Warren, But Until That's Achieved Her New Bill Aims to Curb Pain of For-Profit System [4:10 video]

03.21 Cambridge Analytica execs boast of role in getting Trump elected [videos]

Justice Matters

03.22 In court, Big Oil rejected climate denial

High Crimes?

03.23 Amnesty International slams Western arms sales to Saudi Arabia and allies in Yemen war

Economics, Crony Capitalism

03.20 Russian Roulette review: as Joe Biden said, 'If this is true, it's treason'

03.20 Bernie Sanders’ Economic Inequality Town Hall Draws 1.7 Million Live Viewers [1:38:49 video, studiously ignored online at WaPo, NYT, or Google News...]

03.19 No CEO should earn 1,000 times more than a regular employee

International & Futurism

03.23 Trump Picks 'Unhinged Advocate for World War III' John Bolton as New National Security Adviser

03.23 At last, good news on Brexit: Britain is heading for Norway

03.22 Interview: Paul Ehrlich: 'Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades'


03.22 The evil genius of Cambridge Analytica was to exploit those we trust most [the sociopathic modus operandi of The Trump Organization and Cambridge Analytica are suspiciously identical]

03.21 Donald Trump Jr. Pushed ‘Blatantly Illegal’ Project In India, Former Official Says — ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast [the closer to criminality the higher the profits]


03.21 Hands': 55 Senators Vote To Continue US-Backed Carnage in Yemen

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

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This story was published on July 14, 2009.

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