"Obamacare Is to Health Reform What Bank Bailouts Are to Financial System Reform, Which Is to Say it Is the Opposite of What its Name Implies" → Washingtons Blog
"Obamacare Is to Health Reform What Bank Bailouts Are to Financial System Reform, Which Is to Say it Is the Opposite of What its Name Implies" - Washingtons Blog

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Obamacare Is to Health Reform What Bank Bailouts Are to Financial System Reform, Which Is to Say it Is the Opposite of What its Name Implies"

Pop quiz.

Guess who wrote the following, someone on the left or the right:

These are not really "town meetings" at all, at least in the sense of the town meetings I grew up with, and started out covering as a young journalist in Connecticut--that is, meetings called and run democratically, with leaders elected from the floor, open to all residents of a community.

These "town meetings" are really nothing but propaganda sessions run by members of Congress who are trying to burnish their fraudulent credentials as public servants, and trying to perpetrate a huge fraud of a health care bill that purports to be a progressive "reform" of the US health care system, but that actually further entrenches the control of that system by the insurance industry, and to a lesser extent, the hospital and drug industry.

ObamaCare is to health reform what bank bailouts are to financial system reform, which is to say it is the opposite of what its name implies...

Americans are about to be royally screwed on health care reform by the president and the Democratic Congress, just as they've been screwed by them on financial system "reform."

The appropriate response to this screw-job is the one the right has adopted: shut these sham "town meetings" down, and run the sell-out politicians out of town on a rail, preferably coated in tar and feathers they way the snake-oil salesmen of old used to be handled!

This is not about civil discourse. This is about propaganda. The Obama administration and the Democratic Congressional leadership have sold out health care reform for the tainted coin of the medical-industrial industry, and are holding, or trying to hold, these meetings around the country to promote legislation that has essentially been written for them by that industry--legislation that will force everyone to pay for insurance as offered, and priced, by the private insurance industry. What a deal for those companies--a captive market of 300 million people! There will be little or no effort to control prices, and the higher costs will be financed through higher taxes..

This isn't "reform." It's corruption, pure and simple...

The only proper response at this point is obstruction, and the more militant and boisterous that obstruction, the better...

The only proper approach to the wretched health care legislation currently working its way through Congress at this point is to kill it and start over. At these "town meeting" staged events, Obama and the Democrats need to hear, in no uncertain terms, that we don't want no stinkin' ObamaCare.

If you guessed someone on the right, you'd be wrong. The above was written by a prominent liberal writer, Dave Lindorff.

Lindorff is right: the "townhall meetings" are actually staged events to begin with (and see this).

And Huffington Post confirms that the White House is including big giveaways to the healthcare industry as part of its plan.

And the New York Times says that Obama assured drug companies that his plan won't significantly reduce drug costs.

Indeed, leading investigative reporter Greg Palast - who studied healthcare economics at the Center for Hospital Administration Studies at the University of Chicago - says that Obama got next to nothing in return for his concessions to the healthcare lobby.Specifically , he says that the "$80 billion in healthcare savings" claim touted by Obama is not very impressive:

Over ten years, they will reduce the amount at which they would otherwise raise drug prices. Got that? In other words, the Obama deal locks in a doubling of drug costs, projected to rise over the period of "savings" from a quarter trillion dollars a year to half a trillion dollars a year. Minus that 2%.

We'll still get the shaft from Big Pharma, but Obama will have circumcised the increase.

And what did Obama give up in return for $80 billion? ... Obama agreed to dump his campaign pledge to bargain down prices for Medicare purchases. Furthermore, Obama’s promise that we could buy cheap drugs from Canada simply went pffft!

I'm strongly for a healthcare system which provides better healthcare to more people for less money. But Obama's proposal is a sham.


  1. Worse than a sham, imo. An active effort of the NWO to gain control of us and deny us care - and treat us like NWO livestock.

    Please read this:


    There's so much more to this effort of this evil NWO controlled government's "health care plan".

    But this is a good start to see how deceptive they've been - and you'll see the focus on denying care to the elderly, etc.

    By the way, the NWO is relying on wellmeaning liberals wanting to see the govt provide better care - especially to the poor. Bait the wellmeaning liberals, then switch to advance NWO goals. So, it's all a scheme when you get right down to it to rob us all blind and make slaves out of us.

  2. Thank you. We need health care reform. This ain't it. The whole rant fest about "rationing" and "choice" is a Red Herring. We HAVE rationing to the few (and getting fewer) who have adaquate insurance and/or cash. The troubling fact is that we pay more for crappier care than any other industrialized nation on the frigging planet. We get no debate about how we are being screwed by the insurance/drug/medical industry because the corporate interests control the debate and get (ahem) a seat at the table to help create a plan that will only serve to increase their future profits. What the hey, it's worked out pretty good for the financial industry. We cannot even have a rational conversation about whether or not it is even socially responsible to keep granny alive as a vegetable for a couple of months on a respirator. (What's that cost? A cool quarter mill? Come on all you free market economists, ever hear of "opportunity costs?) I'm pretty sure that the folks who don't want "socialized medicine" don't see the irony in that or the fact that sacrosant Medicaid is (drum roll) socialized medicine.

  3. lol really?


  4. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I want to see specifics about what is so terrible about this plan that it somehow makes things worse than they are now.

    Remember, under Obamacare, you still have the option of keeping your existing plans (those of you who are lucky enough to have one) -- so let's start with how Obamacare makes your situation worse if you decide to stay with your existing plan.

    Please note: I agree that single-payer is what we need ultimately. Do you think we have the political momentum to push that through now? Will pushing Obamacare through delay or accelerate the momentum for single-payer?

    While I might be inclined to think that cancelling this round would leave us more momentum for pushing through single-payer, the following considerations give me pause:

    (1) Purely selfish: I want affordable healthcare now, and Obamacare -- flawed as it may be -- is promising to deliver that, and I haven't seen anything concrete that makes me think otherwise.
    (2) The opposition to Obamacare has been based heavily on lies and distortions (even if the particular objections raised here are not) -- any argument which seems to have legs, however hypocritical or erroneous. How do we know the entrenched interests who are against reform won't use the delay we cause by "starting over" to spread more lies and have more people believing that they don't want change?
    (3) How do we know that Lindorff's position is valid? His liberal credentials certanly seem good, but is it not possible that reform opponents have simply found a believable argument that appeals to him? What are the details of the plan that are objectionable?

  5. Oooh, ooooh, I know, I know! Have you read anything by Kip Sullivan, wonky guy, has worked on health care reform for years, and can also explain in plain English.

    Finding anything in writing on the Senate HELP committee legislation was very difficult, but he eventually found the chairman's marked up version. My comment addresses what he says, but there's much more to read.

    Here's a list of Sullivan's writing on PNHP's blog.

    CorrenteWire.org also have several people who have been going over what is known about HR 3200.

    Medicare for All...with a Robust Private Option!

    Have fun!

  6. Things went blooey when I tried to preview--hope cimment is legible.

  7. I looked at the Sullivan article ("The Senate HELP Committee “public option” will be multiple “options,” and these will be run by insurance companies"), and here's what I see.

    First, he claims that the legislation is difficult to find. Searching Wikipedia for "Obamacare" takes you to a section of a page about "Obama administration proposals" for healthcare reform. That section describes the Obama-Biden plan, which (as I understand it) was intended as a guide to what the administration would support; Congress created its own plan essentially from scratch, and that's what we're discussing here.

    The next section of that same Wikipedia article ("Congressional proposals") explains that the bill currently under discussion is the Affordable Health Choices Act; following that link, you find pretty quickly that the bill in question is HR 3200, introduced July 14.

    So why couldn't Sullivan, writing on August 8 or later, find the bill number?

    The next thing I see is this: the "insurance companies" which he frets about in the title will be nonprofits (the "health insurance companies" we all know and loathe, such as those franchised(!) under the Blue Cross / Blue Shield name, are for-profit, some of them publicly-traded (i.e. they make enough money to be a good investment -- that's your healthcare dollars, going into the hands of people who have enough money to make more money off the mere fact of having lots of money). Furthermore, they will be created by much the same process which creates similar companies for Medicare -- and my understanding is that Medicare recipients are generally quite happy with the care they receive, so this would appear to be a good model for expanding into mainstream care.

    Yes, it looks like some of these same much-loathed for-profit companies will be delivering services under Obamacare -- but they will be using the Medicare model for delivery, and that seems to work. Headlining with the claim that Obamacare "will be run by insurance companies" is yet another anti-reform scare-tactic and covers over the fact that Sullivan's article is basically picking nits and putting them under a microscope, hoping to gross people out by how nasty they look up close. Yes, it's probably a flawed bill (Sullivan doesn't even address the flaws I see in it) -- but* can we realistically expect anything better this time around, and do we really think that supporting Obamacare now will pre-empt or delay further reform later? Are we going to insist that any reform must achieve certain goals or we must oppose it -- and keep what we have now?

    Rather than fill up this comment space with the rest of my analysis, I've posted an expanded version here; feel free to show me where I've got it wrong.

    *This does not make me a "political yes-but"; I favor single-payer and would probably support such legislation if there were any to support. I don't see how supporting reform now, incomplete though it may be, moves us further away from eventual single-payer.


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