By Ernest A. Canning
72 percent of the American people, including more than 50 percent of Republicans, believe that they ought to have the choice between a public or a private system. This is not a liberal-conservative thing. This is whether you’re going to vote with the health insurance companies or whether you’re going to vote for what 72 percent of your constituencies want. But government-industry collusion, under cover of disruptive Town Hall meetings, takes single payer off the table.
In the final analysis, the ideological differences between Republicans and the corporate/controlling sector of the Democratic party are relatively narrow and insignificant as compared to the bi-partisan link to corporate wealth and power — a link both share with the corporate-owned, mainstream media.
In 2008 it was the insanity that was the Bush/Cheney flirtation with fascism. Today, it’s imaginary “death panels” and the undereducated, easily manipulated wing-nut mobs sent to shut down one of the oldest forms of American democracy — the town hall meeting.
These provide the perfect cover. They permit the more gifted corporate Democrats, for example Barack Obama, to seduce the great masses of working stiffs who make up the American electorate with soaring, but ultimately deceptive, rhetoric; producing brief euphoria on the eve of the last election, followed by no real substantive change.
As the corporate media misdirects focus on brown shirt-like disruptions at the town halls, the real “death panels” — the corporate profiteers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians — hammered out a pseudo-reform package that will perpetuate a corrupt, dysfunctional and deadly health care system which kills more than 18,000 Americans each year simply because they can’t afford coverage and countless more when carriers refuse to authorize vital, life-saving procedures…
A Business Week piece, “The Health Insurers Have Already Won” reported: “The carriers have succeeded in redefining the terms of the reform debate to such a degree that no matter what specifics emerge in the voluminous bill Congress may send to President Obama this fall, the insurance industry will emerge more profitable.”
This back-room deal was, in large measure, cooked up by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Charles “I-killed-the-death-panels” Grassley (R-IA) inside the corporate occupied confines of the Senate Finance Committee — a development that should surprise no one given the Washington Post’s report that the health and insurance lobby “gave nearly $170 million to federal lawmakers in 2007 and 2008, with 54 percent going to Democrats…” An additional $15.3 million was doled out to federal lawmakers between April and June of this year by the health care sector.
While “30…lawmakers [involved in drafting] health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments” and while Grassley has certainly collected tidy sums from all sectors of the health care industry, Baucus is the number one recipient of health insurance lobby campaign funds.
Huffington Post exposed an internal White House memo which showed that the President entered a back-room deal with the pharmaceutical industry “to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government’s leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada.” This was followed late Sunday evening by a revelation that the White House was poised to abandon the “public option.”
During a recent appearance on Democracy Now, Dr. Howard Dean, the former DNC chairman observed:
72 percent of the American people, including more than 50 percent of Republicans, believe that they ought to have the choice between a public or a private system. This is not a liberal-conservative thing. This is whether you’re going to vote with the health insurance companies or whether you’re going to vote for what 72 percent of your constituencies want.
In light of the numbers, there is only one word to describe these back-room deals — betrayal!
Perhaps the time has come for Americans, this writer included, to stop accepting the lesser-evil electoral choice and to start paying greater attention to independents like Ralph Nader, beginning with his powerful Aug. 14, 2009 appearance on Democracy Now!.
A choice between the crazies and the corrupt is not much of a choice.