Leave it to the French to chide us over our recent health care "debate."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking at Columbia University in New York said, "The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate" is something astonishing to us." Then to rousing applause he added, "If you come to France and something happens to you, you won't be asked for your credit card before you're rushed to the hospital."
Well it should be "astonishing" to us here in America. The travesty of how the critical need for health care reform degenerated into the spectacle that we all were forced to witness and endure was an embarrassment and a disgrace.
For there was no real "debate" on the issue of health care "reform." That was scuttled early on by the dithering of President Obama and the refusal of Senator Max Baucus D. MT., to seat representatives (doctors and nurses' advocates and spokesmen for a "single payer" reform measure) from being seated on the panel of the initial hearings of the Senate Finance Committee that he chaired. The "single payer" representatives were allowed in the audience (of the hearing) but when they vocally complained and protested their exclusion of not being seated on the panel (which included private health care and drug company advocates and doctors) they were summarily escorted from the committee hearing room by security personnel and thus a "single payer, Medicare type reform" was excised from the discussion at the very outset.
The private health care industry had Baucus in their pocket (they being the largest contributor to his campaign committee) and he dutifully did their bidding.
Meanwhile President Obama dithered with bipartisan foolishness and his fear of being perceived as the master director and leader for health care reform (to which he always was) and the health care "debate" degenerated into the irrational shouting down idiocy at the town hall "debates."
So what America got in the final analysis is health care reform at the edges (some 30,000,000 more people covered (albeit under private health insurer plans) and eliminating the denial of coverage for preexisting conditions by the private health care insurers (a favorite ploy to deny those most in need of health care coverage and security from potential financial wreckage).
But overall health care costs weren't contained which only "single payer" could provide, spurring would be needed competition between a public option and the private health care industry. Without competition the private insurers retain their monopoly over health care and thus runaway costs of American health care remains on track heading for the stratosphere.
Unfortunately, that is the all too familiar American way of legislating "reform."
Corporate special interests and their lobbyists exercise their outsized influence and "voila", reform is still born or at best born "developmentally challenged" (don't want to be politically incorrect here).
Meanwhile the people's interests remain subordinate on every issue overwhelmed by corporate interests influence on every issue or problem of significance.
Next up on the agenda is presumably reform and regulation of the financial industry.
The people, whether on the right or left, detested the bailouts and the almost total lack of accountability to those who perpetrated the financial meltdown that brought the "great recession" to "Main Street."
The correct way forward and the blueprint for financial reform is known, available and in our history books, (previously exercised by the Roosevelt administration in 1933 at the height of the "great depression"). With the advent of the "Pecora Commission" and the enactment of the "Glass- Steagel Act and the subsequent regulation of the financial industry that contained the worst excesses of our financial "masters of the universe" up until the Reagan administration when deregulation mania first took hold and culminated with the Graham, Leach Bliley Act of 1999 essentially over ruling the 1933 statute and nine years later brought about the onset of the "great recession" in the dying days of the Bush administration.
Based on what we have witnessed with health care "reform" is there anyone out there who truly believes we're going to really rein in the financial industry. Wall Street and their financial associate's, have contributed millions to the reelection campaigns of key members of both party's in the House and Senate as their way of influencing the final outcome of financial reform and regulation.
Does anyone want to venture a guess as to the ultimate legislative outcome regulating the excesses of the financial industry?
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