Nothing From Nothing

I am away but nonetheless furious over the possible demise of the public option in health care reform.  I did manage to catch about five minutes of Howard Dean on television and although he admits to a difficult process, he believes that we will have a public option and the new legislation will be on the President’s desk by December.  Dean was somewhat comforting.

If this reform goes through without a public option, all we will get will be still-spiraling premium costs for those who can still pay, a ballooning of enrollment in Medicaid and Medicare for those who cannot afford the premiums, absolutely NO containment of health care costs and of course, the insurance companies will still be maintaining their 30% plus profits.  There is just so much cutting and whittling down of provider costs that insurance companies can mandate: if left up to these private insurers, fees will become so low that we will see an exodus of physicians creating a doctor shortage that we have never seen before.  Hospitals will also be forced to close their doors.  Rationing will a necessity.  But hell yes!  The insurance companies will still make a profit of 30%  that will be the only aspect of health care that would remain the same.    Then in five years, whatever “system” we have will totally fall apart and we will have to start over.  What a total waste of time!  Pleas read Bob Herbert of the New York Times:

Health care must be regulated just as the public utilities are.  Last time I checked, utility companies were making a pretty penny, all the while WITH government regulation.  When the forces of regulation were lifted in the Enron scandal, you bet your sweet life that the company raped Californians.  The same will hold true if we have no public option or any other regulatory controls on insurance companies.  We’ve been there, done that.  In a country of over 300 billion people, the government MUST offer regulation and oversight.

This must be an evil joke.  Where are you, President Obama?  Has your need for compromise supplanted your intention of obtaining true help for Americans?  Hello?  Where are you, Rahm Emanuel?  Understandably, your superhuman schedule is taxing, but has it left you lifeless and all to ready to throw in the towel?  By all means, take a vacation but don’t cave on important principles that will affect every American.  And David Axelrod: your job is to whip President Obama into shape to actually FIGHT this battle.

Health care reform WITHOUT the public option is truly a joke, a carrot on a stick approach.  We have the largest bureaucracy, i.e. Medicare, already in place.  Why in all tarnation wouldn’t our government use that already existing structure as the basis for a fair, competitive launching ground for real reform?  The insurance companies and drug companies have our President by the throat.  Why is he caving in?  Nothing from nothing is nothing.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has said that nothing has changed in the administration’s health care goals.  They have made no changes to their rhetoric.  So what is going on here?  Is the opposition so base, so low, that they are perpetrating these rumors just to see the Administration fail?  I think that might be true.  President Obama still has no specific plan, a course he purposely mapped out because he did not want to become the target like the Clintons became with their health care proposal.

It is time to get a damn plan on the table and fight like hell for it.  If there is no public option, there is no reform.  I can tell a placebo when I see it, and so can the American people.  Over 70% of Americans have said that they want a plan similar to Medicare.  What good are fighting wars for freedom and justice when we cannot even provide our own citizens with decent health care?  Here we are the richest nation on the globe and our citizens are lining up in tents and stadiums to get medical care.  If we are not yet  the laughing stock of the world, we will be soon.


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