The call to arms on healthcare reform
Disclosure Number One: For nearly a decade and one-half, until I retired a couple years ago, I was licensed in California, in Florida, and in Nevada, and appointed by a slew of life and health insurance companies, to represent and market life and health insurance products.
Disclosure Number Two: In 2007, I was found by the Veterans Administration eligible to receive full medical benefits through the VA.
I read with tempered interest a headline email I received this morning (June 9, 2009) from Op-Ed News.com, “BREAKING NEWS: BIG BREAKTHROUGHS FOR SINGLE PAYER HEALTHCARE.” (http://www.opednews.com/articles/2/BREAKING-NEWS-BIG-BREAKTH-by-Kevin-Zeese-090609-881.html) Tempered because I have too often permitted myself to become excited over something, only to suffer pangs of disappointment that were in direct proportion to my initial levels of enthusiasm, when the prospect came to dust.
The breaking news? That the Senate Committee on Health, Education and Pensions has invited Dr. Margaret Flowers, a single-payer advocate, to testify at this coming Thursday’s hearing on healthcare reform.
A month ago, Dr. Flowers was among those arrested (but never charged) for disrupting the hearing on the matter that was chaired by Montana’s Democratic US Senator Max Baucus. That the outspoken physician has been asked to actually testify is encouraging news. Insofar as I am concerned, it is not, however, earth shattering, something to break out the champagne over. At 63, as I intimated above, too often I have been there and done that.
Insofar as “single-payer” goes, I submit it would be more prudent to bet on a snowball surviving on the south-facing side of the Great Pyramid that President Obama recently visited.
Senator Bernard Sanders (VT-I), is the only senator speaking enthusiastically on behalf of single-payer, while concomitantly excoriating every vestige of the for-profit, private insurance industry. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Raz2R_82ugE) Then there is the fact that simply because the Democrats have a strong numerical majority in the Senate, even allowing for the time when Al Franken eventually joins their ranks, by no means means there’s unanimity on this, or any, issue. Staunchly opposed to single-payer is Baucus, the senate chair who had the 13 observers, including Dr. Flowers, arrested. Also opposed is the contingent of fiscally conservative Democrats that includes Oregon’s Ron Widen, Delaware’s Tom Carper, and the two senators from North Dakota, Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan. Furthermore, no one should count on either of Arkansas’ Senators, Blanche Lincoln or Mark Pryor, to support single-payer. Additionally, not in attendance in the Senate are West Virginia’s 91-year-old Robert Byrd, out with a staph infection, and Massachusetts’ Ted Kennedy, currently battling aggressive brain cancer.