I’m getting a bit confused. On hand #1 Obama says he thinks we need a “public health option” if for no other reason than to take care of the people the insurance companies don’t want. On hand #2, his HHS Sec, Kathleen Sibelius, told NPR yesterday that all public health options are “off the table”, that they ought to be because single payer is “a bad direction to go” and, furthermore (just in case the insurance companies Rahm wants donating to the Democrats next year had any doubts or fears) that the president – the president elected by the people who are the 60+% percent who want single payer – has no plans at all to create one. None. (Via DCblogger at corrente)
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says that a single-payer option is not on the table.
“This is not a trick. This is not single-payer,” Sebelius told Steve Inskeep. She added: “That’s not what anyone is talking about — mostly because the president feels strongly, as I do, that dismantling private health coverage for the 180 million Americans that have it, discouraging more employers from coming into the marketplace, is really the bad, you know, is a bad direction to go.”
Asked if the administration’s program will be drafted specifically to prevent it from evolving into a single-payer plan, Sebelius says: “I think that’s very much the case, and again, if you want anybody to convince people of that, talk to the single-payer proponents who are furious that the single-payer idea is not part of the discussion.”
The single payer option exists primarily as a threat (which is what we said it was), a stalking horse to scare the health insurance companies into line, Sibelius confirmed, even though she admitted that Medicare shows a real public option is demonstrably cheaper.
A public health insurance plan, Sebelius said, will put pressure on private insurers to keep costs competitive. “And that’s a good thing,” she says. “I think that’s a good thing for the American public. Medicare right now has lower overhead costs than private insurers.”
What’s wrong with this picture? Sixty percent plus of the public wants national health, voted for the guy who said he was for it, voted for a Democrat Congressional representation that claimed to be for it, yet that clear and supposedly powerful majority is being deliberately and openly ignored in favor of making sure insurance companies get to keep wringing us dry?
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work in a democracy, is it? Don’t these assholes work for us? How can the president and all his Third Way stooges pretend this is what they promised? How can they persist in claiming that single payer won’t fly with the public even as the polls (some as high as 80%) prove it will? What they’re really scared of comes down to this: if there’s national health, everybody will want it and the insurance companies’ hefty profits go down the drain and maybe the industry does too. And with them, their campaign contributions.
This is a losing proposition for the Dems, yet when they lose the Third Way bimbos (otherwise known as the BD/DLC Alliance) will cry that it’s because they didn’t compromise enough, weren’t tough enough on those GD lefty bloggers, didn’t give enough away to the insurance corpo’s, Big Pharma, and their Republican front men.
This is bullshit. Obama’s got all kinds of cover to make the move to single payer (or, as a commenter pointed out, what should be called “single provider”) and instead he’s promising to set it up so national health can NEVER HAPPEN. The political excuses for this crap are running thin. The Democrats are going to pay a price and never allow themselves to understand why.
It’s Third Party time, people. The Democrats are clearly a waste of time and energy. Don’t give them any more. Avedon Carol says they should watch their asses and she’s right.
The administration and their Blue Dog supporters always have a lot of lame excuses for doing what the Republicans want, but the bottom line is that they are doing destructive, wasteful things that nobody else wants, and rather than trying to promote good policies (by talking about what’s good about them), they put forward the arguments that the right-wing is making against them, supposedly as an explanation for their own failure to do better, but if you’re making the argument, you’re making the argument. And they’re doing this not just on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Iraq and Afghanistan, but on healthcare as well. And while it may be that at least one Blue Dog is changing his tune, these people, and the administration, should not be feeling so safe about their unipartisan Republican policies in the face of an electorate that has shown its bipartisan support for liberal policies. It should not even be possible to speak in terms of supporting stupid, unpopular policies just to please a bunch of far-right loonies in the Republican leadership. Even Conyers has fallen into the trap. John, it is not bipartisan to support only GOP policies.
They think they can get away with refusing to give us what we want because we’ve got noplace else to go. They need to find out how wrong they are.
Dump Obama. Dump the Dems. Neither one of them is going to do a damn thing for you if what you need threatens their corporate paymasters. In the end, it’s no more complicated than that.