The Great American Medicine Show: it's on television, ladled into magazines, paraded across the WEB, and suffuses the newspapers (such as they are). And the players dance about from political left to right: trumpeting everything from single-payer, to public tiered, to privately (insurance companies) managed, to indeed elimination of current Medicare..
And there's the Congress and the President, publicly pointing across the stage at each other, accusing the other of too much or too little, guestimating costs, but really keying into who's going to pay for it. Meanwhile the audience (read: citizens) variously asign blame for inaction to one branch or the other. A small minority insightfully fingers the greed-meisters while coming close to a consensus that the President will need to play a leading role, yet often backing off to aver that he can do nothing without cooperation from Congress.
The charade endures unendurably: Should the world's richest nation (inequitable as the income distribution may be) which has the 37th "best" medical system for its citizens, at twice the per capita cost of the average of the 36 better systems, with 50 million citizens without any medical insurance -- finally move to a national medical program?Let's set this stage and the roles quite clearly: the President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. He can do just about anything he wants to do, in any way he so desires.
If he wants to give a trillion bucks to the banksters, Congress will get the assignment to approve, and they will comply - indeed, they HAVE complied, regardless of 90 plus percent public disapproval. (We might well ask if the rewarded interests were in fact "too big to fail," or were their masters too powerful to deny?)
If the President wants to increase the stakes of a treacherous and useless (except to the pipeline interests and weapons makers) war in Afghanistan, Congress will get the assignment, and they will comply - they HAVE complied repeatedly, and you and I have enabled them in doing this by paying the bills, surrendering our youngsters to slaughter, and voting for representation that persists in the mayhem.
If he wants to annihilate the populations of China, Russia or wherever, he needs only to pick up the Red Phone, and the annihilation will immediately proceed -- NO PRIOR CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL REQUIRED. Ex post facto he might explain that we should all support our missile-launching troops, and lamentably we in all probability would.
And if the President REALLY wanted single-payer healthcare, he would call in his Congress movers, and he would get it -- even before their vacation! (Too disfavoring of exploitation to succeed?)
What we now experience is not an agenda, not a negotiation, but a ballet led by a better dressed, smoother talking ballet master than the predecessor, and the ballet master and the corps de ballet are performing in turn for the master's masters, while providing the electorate the contrived "conflicts" essential to any dramatic performance.
Also lamentably, we of the electorate will now get caught up in the diversionary pros and cons of the contrived conflicts and inevitably settle for something less than single-payer, then to be advised how fortunate we are, and to "move forward" as instructed.
And the electorate -- as with the mindless precedents of the current wars -- apparently will take no meaningful action to change things.
It wasn't supposed to be this way, but that is how we allow American "democracy" to work in the 21st Century.
Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin would surely ask if their efforts were worth it.