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Obama's New "Improved" Leech Therapy

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The sheer sappiness, even from progressives, of most of the commentary we've heard in the aftermath of President Obama's address to Congress this week on health care is truly breathtaking. Now we are going to tell you what really happened last Wednesday night.

The first thing we need to understand is that Obama HAS NO PLAN, at least not one that he will publicly disclose, otherwise he would put forward a particular bill and say, "This is what I want Congress to pass." Instead, what he did the other night was embrace a hodge podge of half-baked congressional proposals, all of which have ONE purpose and singular directive ... to NOT curtail in any way the usurous profit margins of the existing health care industry.

Worse yet, he went out of his way to SMEAR the one proposal that would actually make a meaningful difference, to institute a single payer system, like any of the ones which have been so successful in every other major industrial country. Indeed, what was so incredibly conspicuous by its absence was the fact that, while he dedicated a large part of his speech to debunking the lies being told about health care reform, there was not a word about the heinous and slanderous lies being told about single payer, namely that it is not working in all these other countries or that people there are not happy with their single payer systems.

Instead he stabbed single payer in the back by trying to characterize it as "radical change". This is EXACTLY the same tactic that right wing propagandists have deployed against any proposal Obama himself might make that would be even slightly worthwhile. Remember last month when every right wing Republican magically had the same expression, "risky experiment", coming out of their mouths all at the same moment. Same tactic from Obama, same dishonestly slanted demagoguery, and you'd have to be a serious hardcore Obama moonie not to see it. Obama literally played single payer advocates in the Congressional audience for suckers.

There was a mini uproar when a lunatic fringe Republican house member committed the offense of being in contempt for yelling out, "You lie", when Obama asserted that bills in consideration would exclude illegal aliens, even though that part was probably true. But what about when Obama said that they would consider the best ideas for reform? What kind of a lie was that, when the best idea of all, single payer, the approach favored by a majority of the American people when they are asked, the only change that would make an actual meaningful difference, has been pushed so far off the table that it is not even to be given serious consideration?

Funding of the health care system in America is the 21st century counterpart of leech therapy. We have a massive medical insurance "industry", the function of which is to "manufacture" senseless and unnecessary paperwork to generate outrageous profits for itself, in excess of 30 percent of every health care dollar, sucking the very life blood out of our economy. THAT is the problem, and yet all Obama wants to talk about is building on "what works".

NOTHING about the way we pay for our health care today works, except maybe for medical mega-corporation CEOs reaping their obscene salaries and bonuses. For THEM it works just fine, and they want to keep it just like it is. For the rest of us it is an unmitigated disaster, a veritable Katrina for our whole economy, and nothing Obama said the other night was intended to change anything of substance about it.

Remember in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina when George Bush got up on TV with the misleading rap Karl Rove put in his mouth, talking about how they were going to study "What went wrong, and what went right", complete with cute synchronized hand gestures, as if ANYTHING went right. Nothing went right about the federal response to that cataclysm. And there is nothing worth building on top of the way insurance companies are currently gouging the American people.

So when Obama talks about the government creating an "insurance market", all he is really talking about is making the government the COERCIVE SALES AGENT for the medical insurance leeches. What is the need for creating such a thing? Don't we already have a market where people can shop for the plan they like? Isn't it called the "free" market? So the only difference they are talking about is creating a compulsive mandate, backed by fines if you don't buy one of the provided choices, to FORCE you to buy essentially the same overpriced insurance you couldn't afford last week, or to have taxpayers subsidize the difference.

Sure, the hideously egregious insurance industry practice of denying coverage in every possible unjustified way needs to be outlawed. This should have been done decades ago. But what Obama is talking about is trading the one dollar we would get back in our pockets that way, for license for the same corporate greed heads to take TWO dollars back out with their other hand, by hooking up a catheter direct to the U.S. public treasury, for hardship cases who cannot possibly cough up the required insurance ransom. Net result, even more outrageous profits, not less, for the same culprits we have now, and at taxpayer expense!!

The reason why the Congressional Budget office predicts that only 5% would participate in the so-called "public option" they are talking about is because it would not save us any actual money, so it would have minimal participation. This is even assuming it would ever kick in at all, with them trying to trick it up with triggers and such, so it would NOT provide any real "competition" day one or day 730. It is being conceived of as the weakest possible alternative, a kind of welfare option for those who can prove they are totally destitute already, just the way the insurance industry wants us all to be eventually.

A real single payer system would give we the people, we who need and have a RIGHT as citizens to the health care we deserve, real power to negotiate favorable prices for our health care services. And THAT is the LAST thing those exploiting us now would ever voluntarily allow. Obama and too many members of Congress are in league with the medical industry devils, bought off, paid off, or just naively backing off, making deals behind our backs and then announcing them as "done" deals, and giving speeches to try to bamboozle the American people into thinking they are getting real substantive reform when in fact they are not.

What Obama did more than anything else last Wednesday night was throw down the gauntlet, standing in the way of real single payer reform. He said as bluntly as possible, for those with ears to hear, that if you want single payer you will have to fight HIM, to go through HIM. For his real constituents in this are NOT YOU, they are the medical industry special interests, in that way just like George Bush served only the upper class, and we might as well face up to it now. Because for him to even suggest that a silly new insurance "market" would give you as a medical care consumer any negotiating leverage comparable to single payer, with each of us out there still forced to bargain all alone by ourselves, is absurdity on steroids.

Moreover, as weak as Obama's proposals are, taken all together, the medical mega-corporations are still on full press offense trying to kill off anything that would help cure any part of the real problem, which is THEM of course, at all. It is not enough that they have their own people literally writing these bills word for word, like ex-Wellpoint VP Liz Fowler, to ensure that the outrageous bottom line profit margins of medical mafia are in no way threatened. They won't be satisfied until even the "public option" is literally killed off. In short, the plan is to do nothing to remove the leeches sucking the economic life blood out of our medical care system.

We agree with Brent Budowsky, with his longterm perspective and insight into Capitol hill deal making, that Obama has absolutely NO intention of letting a truly viable public option of any kind survive. When Obama intimates that a public option is not a mandatory provision, this is not "change we can believe in", this is not even "change we'd kinda like", this is "maybe we won't bother". The only reason even the words "public option" are being allowed to hang around on the table is so they can be pushed off later.

And THAT is Obama's REAL plan, the one he won't talk about in a public speech, to let the weakest possible "public option" hang around for a little while as an illusory sop for the terminally gullible, only to bleed it to death before it can actually go into effect. Yes, THIS is Obama's new "improved" leech therapy.

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