Monday, June 22, 2009

Health Care Showdown

Paul Krugman

[...]...voters are ready for major change.

The question now is whether we will nonetheless fail to get that change, because a handful of Democratic senators are still determined to party like it’s 1993.

And yes, I mean Democratic senators. The Republicans, with a few possible exceptions, have decided to do all they can to make the Obama administration a failure. Their role in the health care debate is purely that of spoilers who keep shouting the old slogans — Government-run health care! Socialism! Europe! — hoping that someone still cares.

Whatever may be motivating these Democrats, they don’t seem able to explain their reasons in public.

Thus Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska initially declared that the public option — which, remember, has overwhelming popular support — was a “deal-breaker.” Why? Because he didn’t think private insurers could compete: “At the end of the day, the public plan wins the day.” Um, isn’t the purpose of health care reform to protect American citizens, not insurance companies?

If politicians were honest, which of course most of them cannot be or their house of cards would collapse in favor of having more truly public-spirited people in office, the answer would be, "Of course not! It's all about obscene profit. It's the American way.". They don't dare, so they talk about 'unfair competition' as opposed to no competition which is the way it is now, ever has been, and must stay as far as they are concerned. If there is, and there must be, a 'public option' that offers quality health care at an affordable price, Americans will jump on it like a duck on a Junebug and poof! goes the health 'insurance' monopoly out of business and good riddance to them.

Big Insh knows that the public option is the precursor of civilized single payer health care and thus their death knell and it scares the livin' shit out of 'em.

They want those 46,000,000 mandatory new customers too. We as taxpayers will be paying for those who can't afford it as well as for ourselves. Big Insh doesn't care as long as they get the money.

And Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota offers a perfectly circular argument: we can’t have the public option, because if we do, health care reform won’t get the votes of senators like him. “In a 60-vote environment,” he says (implicitly rejecting the idea, embraced by President Obama, of bypassing the filibuster if necessary), “you’ve got to attract some Republicans as well as holding virtually all the Democrats together, and that, I don’t believe, is possible with a pure public option.”

Honestly, I don’t know what these Democrats are trying to achieve. Yes, some of the balking senators receive large campaign contributions from the medical-industrial complex — but who in politics doesn’t? If I had to guess, I’d say that what’s really going on is that relatively conservative Democrats still cling to the old dream of becoming kingmakers, of recreating the bipartisan center that used to run America.

But this fantasy can’t be allowed to stand in the way of giving America the health care reform it needs. This time, the alleged center must not hold.

"Alleged" center is right. In the Senate, there is no Far Left, there's a few Liberals and Progressives, and a huge and unified bought-and-paid-for Far Right aided and abetted by (scare quotes) "Centrist" conservative and bought-and-paid-for Democrats.

The Repugs have defined anybody even slightly to the left of their party line, but still to the right of center, where most of the "Liberals" are, as commie/socialist/European bomb-throwing lefties, and it scares the shit out of 'em.

There is no Center and not likely to be one anytime soon. That would imply bipartisanship and that is not about to happen. Obama and Reid better wise up to that and get the 'public option' in and get it passed any way they can.

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