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How Washington is making health care reform DOA

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Richard Clark       (Page 1 of 13 pages)     Permalink

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And it's not going to get fixed, because it's encased in another failed system: the U.S. government. Rather than attempt to remedy the problem this summer, our government sat down and demonstrated its dizzying ineptitude. "We might look back on this summer someday and think of it as the moment when our government lost us for good," writes Taibbi. "It was that bad."

Taibbi then breaks down the five steps Congress took to be sure no bill would pass -- aiming low, gutting the public option, packing it with loopholes, providing no leadership and blowing the math. In a series of video interviews at RollingStone.com, Taibbi tells how the Democrats (and some progressive groups) sold out their constituents in exchange for financial contributions from the relevant industries. He also explains how the biggest flaw in the American health care system is that almost a third of its costs are associated with administration and paperwork. Further, he examines the easiest way to eliminate this red tape and explains how the Democrats wound up on the defensive -- then alleges that Obama struck a sideline deal with the pharmaceutical industry to use a $150 million advertising budget to back "Obamacare" (rather than oppose it) -- provided he lets go of the "public option" that so many Americans are counting on, thereby selling these good folks (including all his campaign workers) down the river. Finally, Taibbi looks inside the "individual mandate" that would force people to buy crappy insurance policies and how the bill might make conditions worse than before.

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America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world. It's become a leprosy eating away at the American experiment -- a bureaucracy so insipid and mean and illogical that even our darkest criminal minds wouldn't be equal to dreaming it up on purpose.

The truth is that the existing health care system doesn't work for the vast majority of us. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it's often a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they're sick with incurably expensive illnesses.

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The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable -- and that's the good news. The bad news is our failed health care system won't get fixed, because it exists entirely within the confines of yet another failed system: the political entity known as the United States of America.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)
 

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