hearts and minds

September 11, 2009

President Obama’s Inspiring and Historic Speech on the Health Care Crisis

The President made an excellent and moving speech to the people and a joint session of Congress on September 9. However, following the money appears to be the only way to find an explanation for certain failures, omissions, and commissions in the President’s otherwise inspiring speech, in the speech and actions of the great majority of “our” legislators of both major parties, and in the news “coverage” by the mass media.

The President equated advocates of the single payer solution to the health care crisis with laissez-fairyland knuckleheads who propose ending employment based health insurance coverage, and leaving all Americans to individually find and purchase whatever private health insurance policy is offered that they are able to choose and afford. That was a gratuitous and undeserved slam. After all, the single payer solution does solve the health care crisis (and in conformance with the President’s own standards enunciated last spring), and is widely supported by nurses, physicians, and American families. The extreme individualistic marketplace-driven proposal would drastically exacerbate all aspects of the health care crisis and does not have widespread support or credibility. These are not two sides of the same coin.

Attacks from the insurance corporations and Republican strategists on the “public option” have clearly demonstrated the major mistake in taking the single payer solution to the health care crisis off the table before there was even a public discussion of it.

The Republican rebuttal to the President’s speech asserted that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that the President’s plan would cost a lot more money than is currently being spent, and that would make the horrendous deficit even worse. Marginalizing and eliminating the single payer solution from consideration in the President’s plan and strategy has eliminated a progressive reply that would entirely neutralize that rebuttal. “Hey, if you don’t like the cost of the “public option” proposal, then look here at our single payer solution! The CBO has reported that it would save hundreds of billions annually in health care costs. The single payer solution is far and away the most fiscally conservative solution to the health care crisis, from both the standpoint of individual American families, and from the standpoint of the American economy.”

The upsurge in orchestrated astroturf opposition this summer to the amorphous “President’s plan” (HR 3200), fearing Medicare would be robbed, and health care for elders pinched, and “the plug would be pulled on Granny”, to pay for the huge costs of HR 3200, is easily countered by the single payer solution which simply proposes to enhance and strengthen Medicare and extend it to all people of all ages. That would obviously make Medicare stronger, and would buttress health care for seniors against future possible attempts to impose budget cuts on Medicare, which will continue to be promoted if it continues to be only for the elderly and the disabled. “So you think the ‘public option’ proposal threatens health care for seniors? Nobody with a mind that functions as more than an ear warmer, a mouth flapper, and fly bait would think that extending Medicare to become a national health care system for all would threaten health care for seniors. If you really want to protect Medicare and health care for seniors, then adopt enhanced Medicare for All.”

The people should have a choice between a strong public option or the single payer solution, and should be provided accurate, understandable information about each. Such information about the single-payer solution to the health care crisis has long been available, but has been taken “off-the-table” by the mass media and by strategists running both major parties.

The Republican professional politicians and their media toadies would be confounded by this potent and powerful tag team of the single payer solution and the public option, both “on-the-table” for the people to see and consider. And the people would clearly see that team as the one with all the cards, and the corporate shills (with their irrelevant band aids, palliatives, and placebos) would be seen as indefensible and out for the count. Then the people could weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a complicated, costly, and less efficient ‘strong public option’, versus the simple, proven, cost cutting, single payer solution of ‘Enhanced Medicare for All’. Both seek to address what virtually all American families know is the core problem causing the health care crisis – the method of administering our existing health care system. Both retain, intact, the existing system of actual providers of health care. Only the single payer solution (Enhanced Medicare for All) eliminates the insurance corporations from the role of health care gatekeeper, substantially reduces costs, and provides actual full choice of health care providers to people.

Discarding the trump card of the single payer solution from the hand to be played on behalf of the people is such an obvious and continuing mistake, that “following the money” provides the only possible explanation. And a sad and sorry one it is, implying pervasive corruption in both major political parties and an unwillingness by both parties to reject government that is by and for the corporations and the lobbyists. 1.4 million dollars is being spent every single day, right now, by corporate vested interests in lobbying the 535 members of Congress to prevent the people from getting the health care reform all America so badly needs – to say nothing of the billions in campaign “contributions” that have greased the elected officials and candidates and the strategists of both major parties, and the billions more to come – a huge hidden cost that American families have to keep paying – until we ourselves put an end to it.

It is now up to the people to demand the health care we need, and a government that is of, by, and for the people.
You can be sure that no powerful vested interests will do it for us.

It’s clear that the Democratic strategists have been throwing this fixed fight, while the Republicans have been blatantly shilling for the corporations and the super-rich all along. The Democrats will need to put some points on the board that they have cajoled out of their corporate keepers, thrown to them as a bone is thrown a dog, and that they will, in turn, throw to us. Those points will help the Democratic Party keep the Republican hounds at bay, if they play it cagey. But throwing the real fight – the one the people are in with the corporations – is keeping the Democratic Party in good graces with their corporate benefactors, while keeping American families at the mercy of the insurance corporations and in a continuing health care crisis.

Both party strategists figure that the people have very short attention spans, and no memory to speak of. On the other hand, they know that the corporations never stop watching, and have very long memories. The party strategists also know that all the other major corporations are watching this particular issue very closely, and will simply not allow either political party to jump ship and successfully serve the health care needs of the people, instead of the corporations. In other words, it isn’t just the sickness business corporations that will wreak revenge on either party that does not protect their particular power and interests. Corporations (and the super-rich) that have no seeming connection to the sickness business see the danger that threatens them if a party successfully goes genuinely populist on this health care crisis. It’s disgusting and embarrassing that the party strategists fear the corporations more than they fear or respect or care for the people.

That is what we are up against, if we truly want to get the health care we need, and a government that is of, by, and for the people, instead of by and for the corporations and the lobbyists.

One interesting side note the President made was that the Bull Moose Party, headed by Teddy Roosevelt, was the first party in a national election campaign to introduce and endorse the establishment of a national health care system. Finally one of the two major parties has publicly credited a third party for this important political breakthrough, and it was President Obama himself who finally made that historical truth explicit. (The Bull Moose Party also, simultaneously, about a century ago, endorsed public financing of elections, to end the legalized bribery of massive “contributions” provided by corporations and the super-rich. The connection of that continuing and worsening legalized bribery to the current deepening health care crisis couldn’t be more obvious.) President Obama’s concluding passionate moral appeal to all of us, to honor and be worthy of the character of America, and to set aside partisan bickering and ideology for the good of the country and for the people, was an appeal worthy of the very best in us, and the very best in our history. Let’s answer that appeal and live up to that promise.

Be sure to watch carefully the critically important Supreme Court decision this September, ruling on what little protection now exists in law that attempts to partially rein in the legalized bribery of corporate campaign “contributions”. We need to reverse the faulty Supreme Court precedents that have built and enshrined corporate rule over the people the last 125 years, not extend and consolidate that rule, as I suspect the Roberts court of today will do.

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3 Comments »

  1. Make no mistake about it, we have a health care crisis. But few people realize why, and that our politicians want to cover it up. They are the source. It isn’t because of ideology or political philosophy or party; it’s because America has this thing called campaign contributions. Cash bribes for favors returned. The public wants health care reform and the insurance industry wants exactly the opposite, and they gave $46 million in campaign cash and the public gave peanuts. Who do you think is going to win?

    Yes, it’s political corruption by both political parties, and it affects all Americans and now all countries. Health care is only a small part of it. Because the bankers gave loads of cash, congress in the 1990’s started eliminating banking regulations and caused an international crisis. Big corporations gave cash for a hands-off immigration policy, and then availed themselves of cheap labor. What jobs weren’t taken by immigrants were outsourced. Businesses gave campaign cash that stifled any attempt to limit outsourcing of jobs, and our nation’s economy trashed in the process. Money that should be spent on children’s schooling and health, and on police and fire protection, is spent instead on special interest giveaways.

    No, our corrupt political system is the cancer, our politicians are tickled pink, and we Americans apologize to the world.

    Comment by MoneyedPoliticians — September 11, 2009 @ 6:40 am | Reply

  2. That was the most disingenuous, disrespectful speech ever given by a President. It is for sure now, he doesn’t belong in the office. During the campaign, a gentleman who had worked with Obama in Illinois, on TV one morning, told how Obama “was really stupid”! His words. It is beginning to look as though that is the case. He is full of amaturism. If he didn’t have writers and teleprompters (he now has a dozen teleprompters to set up on his daily and sometimes three or four times daily “campaign” speeches) he would be lost.

    Comment by John H — September 11, 2009 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  3. ‘Cause we all know how BRILLIANT George W. Bush is. What exactly was disrespectful about it? What was it disrespectful of? Only the propagandist delusion cultivated in us all by American textbook writers and their somnambulant teachers: that America can do no wrong. A great way to get young, impressionable children to die for corporate causes like raising the price of Texas oil, but not a sustainable way to build relationships.

    The presidential office (orifice) is just one of those marketing gimmicks to give people a focal point to bitch at. The president has very little power to do anything unless he breaks the law with Executive Orders that go outside the normal 3 branch approval process. Meanwhile, corporations own the soil, the air, the very existence of our lives. “Freedom” is just a word that says “we have a Word, and it is a Good Word”. “She’s only as rich as the poorest of the poor, only as free as a padlocked prison door..”-Paranoid Larry, “Power and Glory”

    Comment by Dan C — September 15, 2009 @ 1:06 pm | Reply


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