HCAN Rally at Chicago Aetna Headquarters | Feb. 16, 2009
In order to continue to tug health care in a more humane and less corporate direction, Americans should continue to stand up and speak out in favor of single-payer health care. The very future of the so-called public option and/or Rep. Alan Grayson's "Medicare You Can Buy Into Act" depends on people who are willing to take a position for real healthcare for all, a system that does not work within the context of a for-profit system.
Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and David Sirota, author of The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington, are still working to keep the movement for a public option alive by delivering petitions to Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.
Hamsher and Sirota are looking to force Sen. Bennet to offer an amendment including the public option when the Senate is in the process of adding "fixes" to the bill. And, since Sen. Bennet has a primary challenger who is also publicly stating he is for the public option, Hamsher and Sirota are making it possible for voters to apply pressure on the primary so Bennet might take action.
John Nichols, writer for The Nation, is already calling for a "reform of the reform." Suggesting there were "practical and political reasons" for supporting the recent health bill signed by Obama on Tuesday and that passage was part of a process, Nichols now hopes people will come together to build a "Medicare for All" framework around a core principle--that "everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health"--which Obama declared the health reform enshrined in America.
The problem with continued willingness to support the public option is that it has the potential to be driven by people who misunderstand what just happened here. Facts and figures never suggested the public option was better than single-payer or that would reasonably improve the health care system. The public option was a market-based proposal that promoted the idea that if government competed in the health care market than costs for healthcare would go down.
Such a belief was and still is questionable.So, a few questions need to be asked before pressing on with campaigns for healthcare.
First, what just happened and what passed? What did the bill reform?
Second, what did the movement for Medicare for All do already to try and get 51 senators and a majority of the House to support real healthcare reform even as the Obama Administration was compromising on healthcare with unyielding Republicans and forcing weak progressives to fall in line with the intention of ending the reform process soon?
Third, if Americans were unable to gain momentum or enough support for a public option (or a state single payer amendment), what makes one think the public option is going anywhere now that the health reform process is coming to an end?
"A Victory for Capitalism"
Despite the reports from the GOP and Tea Party groups, a socialist 9/11 that allows an Antichrist Obama to advance support for his extreme Muslim Stalinist beliefs even further did not occur. Really, what happened is insurance companies won at the expense of American taxpayers.
In the same article where Nichols calls for the recent health legislation to be reform, Nichols cites the Physicians for a National Health Care Program's (PNHP) assessment of the bill.
PNHP notes that 23 million will remain uninsured nine years out meaning an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths could occur, millions of middle income people will be pressured to buy commercial health insurance costing up to 9.5 percent of their income which covers an average of 70 percent of their medical expenses, and $447 billion in taxpayer money will be given to insurance companies to subsidize and enhance their power to influence future health reform legislation.
Additionally, as with Massachusetts, PNHP further notes health care costs will continue to skyrocket, celebrated insurance regulations like ending denials on basis of pre-existing conditions will suffer from major loopholes since insurance companies helped craft the legislation, and women's reproductive rights will be further eroded.