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What the Public Option’s Failure Reveals

February 28th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’m as sick of writing about health care as you probably are of reading and hearing about it, but with the recent near-resurrection and subsequent re-death of the public option I can’t resist pointing out what most of the media seems to have glossed over—that the Democratic party has now been completely exposed for the pathetic bought-and-paid-for subsidiary of Corporate America that it is.

Poll after poll conducted in state after state shows that the public health insurance option which would provide people with an alternative to for-profit insurance remains extremely popular. When asked if they support the current health care bill, only about 30% answer yes. But when asked if they support a government-run public health care option, about 60% say yes. So the American people are clearly in favor of a public option and would rather have a bill with it than without it.

How about the president? Well, he obviously wanted to bargain it away from the very beginning, but he has consistently supported the idea in his statements. So at least in theory, he supports it.

How about Congress? Well, the House of Representatives actually passed a health care bill with a public option, so that’s one chamber. What about the Senate? If you’ll recall, it was Joe Lieberman and one or two other senators who demanded the public option be removed or else they’d filibuster with the republicans and deny the Democrats the 60 votes necessary to overcome the filibuster. So presumably you have about 57 Democrats who would support the public option, but only couldn’t get it because they were aiming for 60 votes. But with Scott Brown’s election 60 votes became impossible so now they’re going to do this through reconciliation, in which case you only need 51 votes.

Okay then. The American people, the president of the United States, and majorities in both houses of Congress want the public option.


Seriously, this is such unbelievable bullshit, such plain and naked balls-out duplicity, I can’t believe progressives aren’t up in arms! I guess they exhausted all their energy last year defending themselves against the Tea Parties and their Death Panel bullshit.

But is it not completely obvious what’s happened here? Supposedly a majority of senators would have voted for the public option, but they needed a supermajority. Now we just need a majority, and somehow we don’t even have that?

Joe Lieberman was obviously doing a lot of his fellow senators a big favor by being the one to take the political heat for killing the public option. The public option was Enemy #1 for the private health insurance industry, and the private health insurance industry not only owns every single Republican but also most Democrats as well. Democrats, unlike Republicans, have to pay a lot more lip service to progressive causes and policies that might benefit the working-class at the expense of the big corporations, but at the end of the day their loyalty is to the corporations. They want to be able to say they support the public option, but they won’t let it pass because their insurance industry financiers can’t abide that. So they let Lieberman, Nelson, and the Blue Dogs take the fall. They can have their public option cake and eat it too. Their constituents are happy that they “tried”. Their corporate financiers are happy that they “failed”.

People, the need for a sweeping revolution has never been clearer. Two years ago we stood up and got behind the presidential candidate who seemed to be our best hope for delivering the change we need so badly—a change whereby the balance of power would be shifted back from the wealthy elite to the average citizen. That president has proven to be at worst a total sell-out, and at best an ineffectual lame duck. Unless he suddenly changes course and decides to follow through on the change he promised, it’s up to the people to do this ourselves.

It’s time for average people to start running for office. I’d fucking do it myself if I had any people skills and if I weren’t so loose with my tongue (not to mention a half a dozen other things in my closet that would destroy me). But we really need people from outside the system to get in there and replace the shills who now dominate both parties.

If an extremely popular policy that supposedly has the support of the president and majorities in congress can’t pass because the health insurance industry won’t let it, we’ve already lost our country. The system isn’t just broken—it’s infected with a deadly disease, gasping for its last breaths. The only way to rid ourselves of this disease of corporate influence is to tear everything down and start again or purge the system of the infection by replacing every bought-and-paid for representative with a political outsider vowing to take no money from corporate interests whatsoever.

It has to be time to change the old paradigm where money buys votes. Don’t believe a single thing you see in a campaign commercial. This is all corporate-funded propaganda. Ignore it, and ignore all candidates who take that blood money. The current level of anger in this country might just be enough to overcome the typical electoral status quo whereby the candidate with the most money wins. Pay attention to where the candidate gets his money, and vote according to that.

You’ll know much more about a candidate by how he funds his campaign than anything he actually says. By refusing to pass the public option even though they could if they wanted to, Barack Obama and at least half the senate democrats have proven that.

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