By Dave Lindorff
Of course I could be wrong. Congress could turn around and pass
some cockamamie scheme to kick the issue of health care reform down the
road, offering some kind of minimal insurance coverage to a few million
more people, and cracking down on this or that particularly egregious
health provider rip-off, and then staging a "mission accomplished"
But real health care reform of the kind that Democratic candidates
were promising during last year's presidential campaign is dead, killed
by the timidity of the promiser-in-chief, President Barack Obama (and
by the massive corruption of the Democrats in Congress, who hav e
accepted the tainted coin of the health care industry).
Obama could have come to the American people as a newly elected
leader and addressed us as adults, saying: "Look, we know what needs to
be done. Plenty of countries in Canada, Europe and elsewhere have
figured it out already. They set up the government as the single payer
to health providers-doctors and hospitals, etc.-and the government
bargains and sets the prices those private providers of health care can
charge. Of course that means you'll all pay higher taxes to finance
such a plan, but the record of all those countries shows that you'll be
saving money over all, because you won't be paying for health
insurance, your employer won't be paying for health insurance, you
won't be paying co-pays and deductibles, and you won't be getting
gouged for drugs or hospital stays or doctors' bills. You won't be
paying state taxes for Medicaid either, nor will your insurance and
local property taxes have to subsidize the hospital care of indigents.
On balance, you'll all be saving money, and you'll never have to worry
about disease or injury bankrupting you. Nor will employers be able to
hold you hostage any longer. The reality is that the countries that
have a single-payer plan are spending half of what we spend per capita
for health care, they have no uninsured citizens, and their health
overall, as measured by such things as longevity, infant mortality,
etc., is better than ours."
The president could have said all this and rallied the tens of
millions of Americans who desperately want a health care system modeled
on the single-payer idea to his side, forcing Congress to go along or
pay the price in 2010.
For the rest of this article, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist. He is author of
"Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains"
(Bantam Books, 1992), and of "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's
Press, 2006). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net