Sunday, August 16, 2009

Peace With Honour

For some reason Neville Chamberlain is on my mind today. This morning the Secretary of Health signaled that the White House is ready to wave the white flag on the public option for health care, which is in my opinion, the backbone of the proposed legislation. A month ago I wrote an article in which I expressed my frustration over what I perceived to be a lack of commitment on the part of the Obama administration to real health care reform. First of all the only way to truly control the spiraling cost of health care is with a single payer system. However the Democrats gave up that fight before they even started down the reform road. Since single payer had been so demonized during the Clinton attempt at health care reform, they decided that they would forgo it this time in order to try and keep the rhetoric to a minimum. So before this current attempt at health care reform had even begun, they had already conceded the best option to control costs and to make sure that everyone receives some level of coverage.

It seemed naive to me at the time to believe that by conceding this option it would lead to less vitriol from the opponents of real reform and events have proven this point. As I have said previously, the Republicans are not interested in bi-partisanship. Their only goal is to defeat the President's agenda. The Democrats continue to concede point after point (the provision to provide end of life counseling is, if you pardon the pun, dead) in the name of bi-partisanship when the Republicans have no intention of voting for a health care reform bill regardless of the number of concessions that are made. If a bill does receive solid bi-partisan support you can rest assured that calling it a "reform" bill would be massive misnomer. In a town hall meeting this week the President singled out Chuck Grassley as a Republican who was trying to find ways to get bi-partisan agreement on the reform bill. The next day Grassley told an audience that the government shouldn't be in the business of killing grandma.

Each concession that the Democrats make only serves to embolden the opposition. The question becomes, is our government in the business of protecting the private insurance companies or protecting the health and well being of it's own citizens? Each concession in the never ending chase for phantom Republican votes only takes us further and further away from true reform. The Democrats are going to have to pass this bill on their own. They now have to figure out whether they want to pass something truly historic and helpful to the citizens of this nation or whether they want the GREAT HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL OF 2009 to become just another footnote in the history of politics of usual in Washington D.C.


SJ said...

I now have a creepy suspicion that no one wants real healthcare reform.
Certainly not the Republicans, but maybe not enough of the Democrats either.

The scenario is fairly academic: the GOP has openly said it will not sign any of the bills (I think there are 5 distinct versions) proposed; whether this is due to their loyalties to their lobbyist paymasters in the health care industry or just a partisan motivation to spike a Democratic president's initiative isn't important. Republicans won't vote for it, period.
The willingness of Democrats to meaninglessly bargain away key items and programs in the bills will also fulfill the Health Care lobby's goals. Are Democrats afraid to "own" Health Care reform, desiring a shared responsibility/culpability, or are they letting Republicans play the villians in this charade, so they can look like they "tried," and ultimately placate the Health Care industry and their own respective paymasters as well?

It doesn't really matter ultimately because the result and consequence is the same regardless of motive and intent on the part of whoever.

The Health Care industry will continue to prey on Americans and Business big and small.

With no Public Option, there is no reform.


Mycue23 said...

Well said, my friend.

Jack Jodell said...

It is time for the Democrats to shit or get off the pot. It is time for them to get tough---on the Republicans, AND on their own weak-kneed waverers. They should steamroll the GOP on this, just like the GOP steamrolled them and the country on Bush's tax cuts for the rich and the illegal Iraq war.

The time for bi-partisan overtures and bullshit is over. The time for action and result is NOW!