What health care reform?

At first I thought it was some clever ploy.

Orchestrated by those who understand the problem and the solution.

Here’s what we’ll do, they said.  We’ll float the idea of “single-payer”.   We’ll get the insurance companies, drug companies and other assorted political contributors to wail, moan and decry the takeover of health care by the inefficient socialists who run government.

We’ll repeat, over and over, that health care in the U.S. is half again as costly as any other civilized country, produces no better results, and fails to provide adequate care to one out of seven of its citizens.

We’ll wait for the insurance companies, right-wing broadcasters and their political base to wage class warfare by spending oodles on TV ads that encourage their constituents to wreak havoc at any meeting where the subject is raised.

We’ll bide our time.

Then, at the right moment, we’ll pretend to understand the righteousness of their arguments, the religious fervor behind their rantings…and cave in.

We’ll roll out the “public option” as a reasonable alternative to “single payer.”  They’ll smile broadly, be thankful they’ve convinced us, and congratulate themselves for bringing us to our knees.

That’s the way it was supposed to work.

So what happened?

We get a thousand page bill from the House and a bunch of works-in-progress from the Senate.  So, nobody knows what health care reform really means.  And, the don’t touch my Medicare, don’t kill my granny  folks can pick, choose and distort without fear of retribution.

We split the Democratic super-majority in two.

We get a president who, despite being a really nice guy, tries to convince folks that they shouldn’t worry about a health care reform bill that’s smoke and mirrors, subject to negotiation, amendment, and tailoring to suit every player in the health care industry, including veterinarians and psychic healers.

And so where are we now?

We get to enroll the fifty million uninsured with the very same insurance companies that manage the mess we call health care.  A financial bonanza.

We get to form local, non-profit co-ops that will negotiate with health care providers.  With the same, elegant success achieved by Blue Cross, Aetna, and Mutual of Omaha.  A been-there-done-that encore for those who, ignoring history, are sure to repeat it.

We get to watch the share of GNP spent on health care move ever upward.

We get to watch everything else get short-changed.

We get to see business as usual.

We get what we deserve.


5 Responses to “What health care reform?”

  1. 1 Shed August 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Your absolutely correct. If insurance companies are forced to insure everyone the rates will go up, up, up. So will their profits. We’re screwed! (again) Good choice of subject matter.


  2. 2 Jon August 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    And it’s such a surprise? With the election of each congressional representative dependent upon the money trains run by the health care industry and other self interest PACs? Until the non-wealthy electorate can organize and represent a cash-rich funding source we don’t stand a chance. We do have the very best government that money can by, and it acts accordingly.


  3. 3 mackay crampton August 18, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Well said, Fred. You are so right: we have the best government that money can buy and once again they have been bought. It is all so discouraging!


  4. 4 Maureen Celusta August 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    When I was working for a health care company I often was made to feel like I wore a black hat; suddenly their current employees are all wearing white hats. I don’t think their policies have gotten any more customer friendly, probably only worse in the last 10 years as they all became for-profit and publicly traded.

    All it took were the politicians getting involved. Now those of us in (or were in) the insurance field are the “good guys”. As some talking head on Fox news said “well at least we can sue the insurance company” as if this is better than any alternative being proposed by Congress….and apparently the majority of the people believe this!

    To me it seems a very sad reminder that you CAN fool all of the people some of the time.


  5. 5 Ojaidon August 18, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    If you start with the assumption that the health care reform proposed by the Obama Administration was exactly what a majority of the American people desired, then your despair is justified. On the other hand, if a majority of the American people wanted something less (say, improvement but not total overhaul) then maybe we got not what we deserved but what we were seeking. You are being harder on Obama than many conservatives.


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