Sunday, November 1, 2009

Healthcare Hypocrisy

The Democrats’ healthcare overhaul has been a ruse from Day One. This week, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi all but declared victory in the months-long healthcare reform “debate,” with Thursday’s unveiling of the finalized plan. Yet, while the media jubilantly reported on the “historic” public-option-backed legislation—which looks likely to pass the House, at least—the truth is, the Democrats’ healthcare bill is little more than a Wall Street-style bailout for the health insurance industry.

If the bill passes, President Obama will get exactly what he wanted: A watered-down, slight re-organization of the healthcare industry, with a mandatory “public option” that, despite what you will read in mainstream newspapers, is a far cry from complete, government-run universal coverage. Such true, comprehensive coverage for every single American would require more than a mere re-working of our current system. It would require the dissolution of the entire healthcare industry—just as Michael Moore calls for in his film, Sicko (2007).

However, Obama (despite his support for single-payer healthcare as a senatorial candidate), made a decision early on in the healthcare discussion not to take on the healthcare system, claiming single-payer only made sense if we were developing our healthcare system “from scratch.” And, as a result of the president and the Democrats’ timidity, we will likely end up with a “reform” that still leaves hundreds of Americans without health insurance, and forces a mandatory plan on others who cannot afford it.

No wonder Ralph Nader, at a recent stop on his lecture/tour for his new book, Only the Super-Rich can Save Us!, decried President Obama as having an "excessively concessionary personality.”

Likewise, no wonder Bruce A. Dixon, writing for, admonishes the Congress, “The behavior of some leading Democrats on single payer is positively schizophrenic, poo-pooing, downplaying and dismissing single payer while they describe their incredibly complicated some-of-you-in and most-of-you-out versions of the public option and the ‘robust’ public option as Medicare For All in everything but name and unique American-ness.”

And, no wonder Democratic representative, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) went so far as to call the public-option a bailout for the healthcare industry, on a recent appearance on the “Ed Show."

Americans need real, comprehensive healthcare reform that covers all citizens and single-payer is just that. Single-payer means everybody in, nobody out. It makes healthcare a guaranteed right in this country—not a privilege that only the well-off can afford. And yet, I talk to liberal colleagues on a regular basis who do not know what single-payer healthcare is. Certainly, one will not learn about it watching “liberal” news anchors like Keith Olbermann, or Rachael Maddow who, to my knowledge, have never once uttered the words “single-payer.”

The United States currently ranks 37th in overall quality of health, according to the World Health Organization and without real, comprehensive reform in the form of single-payer, or Medicare for all, this sad, easily improvable statistic is not likely to change anytime soon.

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