Obama Piddles Away the Public's Options

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 00:05
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BARACK HEALTH CAREA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

It's all over but the funeral.” In abandoning the “public option,” President Obama has relinquished all claim as champion of health care reform, the content of which he first diluted and ultimately bargained away entirely. The forces of reaction, which were disorganized and on the defensive when Obama entered office, have been vastly strengthened by the president's “duplicitous backroom deals and back-stabbing of his most loyal supporters.”
Obama Piddles Away the Public's Options
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Obama seems to believe he can salvage a bill – any bill – and scribble the word “reform” on it.”
It became crystal clear that the insurance companies had prevailed in President Obama's health care fiasco the moment the White House coined the term “public option.” Plainly, a public alternative to private health insurance was always merely an option – just another bargaining chip in Obama's private and oh-so-friendly negotiations with the rich and ruthless. Now it's all over but the funeral.
The death of Obama's health care project was both ignominious and foreordained. This is what comes from duplicitous backroom deals and back-stabbing of one's most loyal supporters. What remains of the legislative mish-mash birthed by Obama and his congressional co-conspirators, are corporate bills. That's why the drug barons are spending $150 million to advertise for Obama's fraudulent brand of health care reform. And, although the insurance industry continues to publicly oppose the hollow shell that Obama's project has become, at this stage in the game they win whichever way the wind blows. If Obama's hot air balloon fully deflates, the health insurance companies will continue to enjoy the status quo they have so carefully engineered over the years. But if a bill emerges with provisions that force everyone to buy private insurance, the health care racketeers will add millions of new, subsidized customers.
Obama gave everything away before the negotiations even began.”
Obama signaled that he is willing to engage in further compromise with his corporate friends, the guys whose company and confidence he so highly prized at White House health care forums, venues where single-payer advocates were not welcome. The problem is, Obama gave everything away before the negotiations even began. Now he has nothing left to trade, and not enough forces to rearrange the battlefield, having demobilized and dismissed the Left in favor of corporate Democrats like himself. Still, Obama seems to believe he can salvage a bill – any bill – and scribble the word “reform” on it.
He has been reduced to the politics of semantics. He invites his election day supporters to leap into the river with him as he grasps at “slivers” and straws and calls them “reform.” Obama will describe passage of any legislation with the word reform attached to it, a victory. But his paper victory will represent a lasting defeat for real health care reform, which will have been discredited in the eyes of the public – for how long, no one can say.
But the damage is even more horrific. Obama has succeeded in wounding Medicare – and Medicaid and veterans health care and Social Security – more grievously than the Republicans could have dreamed of on their own. He entered office spreading hysteria about the cost of Medicare and other so-called “entitlements.” Now his little boat is sinking, but the Republicans have been reinforced in their age-old battle to privatize what's left of the public sphere. In the short space of 7 months, Obama has piddled and bargained away huge regions of the public's “options.”
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
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Universal Single Payer Health Care Is As Close...

Submitted by PanaSemitaSioni... on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 02:57.

...to "perfect" policy as you'll ever see.  It's good for people. It's good for business.  It's good for labor.  It's good for the economy. It's good for medical professionals. It's even good for stock and bondholders of all companies but HMOs.  Insurance companies are in the "contingent claims" business not the "free-money from exploitation business"!
It's a libertarian's dream because it puts restrictions back on what the government may know about you.  Not the other way round.
There's a reason every other self-govrerning nation has it and likes it.  And you would never see any politician in Europe or Latin America or Oceania campaigning to get RID of Single-Payer health. Not a chance.
I live in a country with Universal Single-Payer health coverage and it's fantastic. 
I know why politicians and the president especially don't want it.  They get too much money from the lobbyists to enact it.  What puzzles me is why the PEOPLE don't want it.  They've got something pretty damned close to what I have right in front of them in Conyers/Kucinich's HR 676.  Every American should be out in the streets INSISTING on this.  They're always (legitimately) claiming that they get nothing back for their taxes.  Well, with this they'd be getting something excellent back for their taxes.

good points. Majority of people in US do want singlepayer, but

Submitted by NYCartist on Thu, 09/03/2009 - 10:35.

but corporate media doesn't cover single payer and
what's covered is distortions, as you know.
 You raise the interesting question: why don't people in
the US, (with some notable exceptions:May Day a couple
of years ago, immigrants mostly and a few antiwar
protests, and also in NYC, an occassional protest
against police brutality)
get "out in the street" like people in other countries?

Change in one's pockets

Submitted by eshusblues on Wed, 08/26/2009 - 18:26.

Exactly  What's most striking to me about the present period  is the level of delusion.  No one even halfway savvy as far as finance goes would suggest it's possible to balance a personal checkbook by writing an insufficient fund check to cover the mass of debt one might acquire.  And yet, what most people accept is impossible on a personal level is paraded as a "stimulus plan" for a population of 300 million people.  No one blinks when the president says a projected deficit of 9 trillion, or nine thousand billion dollars , is going to dog us for the next nine to ten years.  The people who run this dog and pony show are going to get the debt they've run up somewhere, and if the banking bailout proves anything at all, it proves that they're not going to take responsibility for their debt themselves.  
Reality is the toughest teacher of all, and our country is getting ready to enroll in some seriously real school. 

C. Hedges: It isn't Reform, It's Robbery

Submitted by Enlightened Cynic on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 13:13.

“For someone my age who is making $40,000 a year you are required to lay out $5,000 for an insurance premium for coverage that covers nothing until you have spent $2,000 out of pocket,” Himmelstein said. “You are $7,000 out of pocket before you have any coverage at all. For most people that means you are already bankrupt before you have insurance. If anything, that has made them worse off.  Instead of having that $5,000 to cover some of their medical expenses they have laid it out in premiums.”
"Change you can believe in."  "Change" is still the appropriate mantra for the Obama Administration, "change" is what will be left in your pockets once Obama and his Team of Oligarchs get down with us.


Submitted by Dosamuno on Sat, 08/22/2009 - 13:16.

A writer who identifies herself as "nyceve", observes in dailykos.com:
"...keep in mind that the for profit health industry exists for one purpose, to generate profits for shareholders. In order to do so, this industry collects premiums and then it delays and denies medical care–think you’re insured, think again."
And an indication that the industry is doing this well is reflected in the salaries that are paid to its CEOs. While Howard Phanstiel of Pacificare must somehow survive on a piddling $3.4 million per year, Centene’s Michael Neidoriff receives a more substantial 8.8 million; Cigna’s Edward Hanway earns $13.3 million per year, Aetna’s John Rowe, $22.2, Wellpoint’s Larry Glassrock gets $25 million, and William McGuire of The United Health Group–take a deep breath, is paid $124.8 million.
The health care industry, like the investment bank industry, is nothing more than a blood-sucking parasite. It produces nothing, but feeds on the blood of those who do.
Obama continues to serve the interests of his constituency, the rentier class. Let me count the ways: Expansion of imperial wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Colombia; government subsidies to the banks and insurance companies; the privatization of everything;and a rhetoric that blames the victim for his plight.
Obama personifies the fallacy of identity politics–the fantasy that if a member of the tribe becomes President (Mayor, Governor, Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State, Attorney General), the rest of the tribe will benefit.
In Mythologies, a book published in 1957, Roland Barthes writes:
"...I am at the barber’s, and a copy of Paris-Match is offered to me. On the cover, a young Negro in a French uniform is saluting, with his eyes uplifted, probably fixed on a fold of the tricolor. All this is the meaning of the picture. But, whether naively or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any color discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal show by this Negro in serving his so-called oppressors"
Apparently this kind of iconography is still useful in another empire fifty years later.



sad, true, yet I don't want to give up on single-payer "sooner"

Submitted by NYCartist on Wed, 08/26/2009 - 18:14.

rather than much later.  Another good commentary.
In a "side bar" to the right is a line from HealthCare-Now.
org: "don't mourn, escalate".
  This commentary is even better on rereading. 

Democrats = Pantywaists

Submitted by Enlightened Cynic on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 22:07.

Check out the little girls (no offense to women) dickering around, tripping over their feet for "Republican Support."  When did GWB ever seek or desire Democratic Support?  Answer. NEVER!  For 8 years he put his foot up their arse.  Seems I recall he used to bitch-slap them at every opportunity, breaking their twinkie will with one threat of veto (how many times in 8 yrs. did he even use it?) or public tongue lashing after another.  Now read how the "landslide" Party, with their MoveOn and DailyKos enablers, is having a conniption trying to accomodate the RIGHT WING that, heretofore, has demonstrated a complete disdain and hostility towards them.  ( I would hate to be a cellmate with a Democratic pol I'd have to either kill his weak, untrustworthy ass or pimp him out)
"Several softer deadlines have already come and gone without a deal. One Republican senator, Orrin Hatch of Utah, has dropped out of the talks. The remaining Republicans have suggested they would only support something that had the backing of many GOP colleagues, an unlikely prospect.  Still, the three Republicans who are negotiating with Sen. Baucus said Wednesday they believed a deal could be reached. "I'm hopeful," Sen. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine) said. "It's not without challenges, because of the complexity and the costs associated with it. We recognize that. And that's why it has consumed the amount of time that it has."
Sen. Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.) said the Democrats would be making a mistake by forging ahead on their own. "We need to get a bill that 75 or 80 Senators can support," he said. "If the Democrats choose to shut out Republicans and moderate Democrats, their plan will fail because the American people will have no confidence in it."
Democrats must also deal with intraparty differences even if they abandon hope of Republican support for a comprehensive bill. Some Democrats in the Senate oppose using reconciliation. And Democrats can't agree whether a public insurance option is essential, as liberals say, a "preferred option" -- the White House's stance -- or a bad idea, as some on the Finance Committee believe.  If a deal is not reached by mid-September, Mr. Baucus plans to present a bill that is likely to have little if any Republican support. At that point, Democrats will have to decide whether to proceed under the reconciliation process, which allows legislation to pass with a filibuster-proof 51 votes." 

Holy shit! "At that point Democrats will have to decide....."  WTF!!!  Question?:  How do you chose to convert a position of strength to a postion of weakness?!   Answer:  Become a Democratic Party pol.   I see Harvard and Princeton were (again) named the top colleges.  You would never know so many Harvard grads & Ivy Leaguers grace the Obama Administration.  All this f****king brainpower and they have to debate & pms over one of the most tired as well as tried and tested parliamentary procedures in the world, reconcilliation.  
In case the ladies think I use misogynistic language to demean I assure you otherwise.  I wouldn't dare compare the strength and will of the Democratic Party to that of most any woman.  In fact when I think about the Democratic Party I think about a line we Bruhs borrowed from a well known comedian (whose name escapes me now) to direct our ire, disgust & displeasure with  weak-kneed Brothers:  "(Democrats) If you were only half the man ya mamma was."
Democratic Party R.I.P.

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