Q: How Many Republicans Does It Take To Screw Up The Health Care Reform?
A: None. They can just leave the job to the Democrats.
Alright, Mr. President, please forgive my forthrightness, but enough with the charade. We all like a good thriller from time to time, but this ain't one of those times. So please don't keep us in the dark. End the suspense already. We are waiting for that audacity with hope -- and it's nothing outstanding, mind you, just a belief that what's right and just will prevail and that you still stand for it, with us, not against us.
The hands-off un-Clintonian approach you've learned to cultivate for our own good has not worked all that well and we are pleased to see that you're traveling and meeting with people now that the wingnut crock has hit the fan. You put out new messages on your website trying to undo the Limbaugh-Beckian nonsense and that's all good too, but it seems that somehow the kick-ass attitude from your campaign has gotten lost or diluted. Supposedly because you have gone all bipartisan on us.
Why on Earth would you do THAT? Is there anything in the Republicans' staunch opposition to ANY health care reform that would make you think they:
a. are interested in the good of the nation?
b. know what they are talking about?
c. give a damn?
d. make sense?
If not, then why the hell are you so willing to compromise with them? You don't compromise with idiots -- or not very bright children -- playing with destructive toys. You step in and take their toys away -- for their own and everyone's good.
I've never thought I'd say so, but I have to agree with some Republicans* here who, ever so gleefully, notice that the only bipartisan thing you have accomplished so far is to raise criticisms of your nebulous health care reform proposal, which is getting fuzzier by the day. No one is sure what it'll look like, but pretty much everyone has already found things in it to be angry about.
To be sure, the Republicans' idea of the health care reform appears, so far, to be just more of the same for-profit private insurance bonanza.
But is yours really that different?
I've listened to your town hall meeting a couple of days ago, where you showed up with your sleeves rolled up (a nice touch, that), and responded, to a woman inquiring why we can't do a single-payer government-run system, a Medicare for all, by saying something along the lines of it not being feasible or such. Then you added that what we will get is going to be a "uniquely American system."
Forgive my cynicism, but when I heard that, I thought immediately that this, translated into plain English, means just more fleecing of the American middle-class and the poor. It seems that this uniquely American thing will be trying to achieve the impossible: combine for-profit medical "care" with, well, you know, medical care. It indeed seems uniquely American to keep screwing up while the whole world is laughing at us and to do the right thing only after we exhaust all other idiotic options.
The progressive bloggers, in general, have been quite forgiving toward you -- it just shows that you've generated a massive supply of hope and good will in people. But not every one of your supporters is so patient and kind, and I have had my doubts too. Now you're telling us you are ready to drop the public option.
So let's get it straight. We are learning about your secret deals with Big Pharma after you've promised to make any such negotiations public and transparent. Then you -- or your people -- issue unconvincing denials about those.
But we have not been born yesterday, and we realize that profit-making behemoths do not, all of a sudden, grow hearts and consciences, so you must have promised them something pretty sweet in exchange for their support. That 50 million new customers does sound good on its own, to think of it. Add to it a promise of no cost controls, and hallelujah! There is heaven on Earth, after all -- for some of us (OK, not us, but them) at least.
So please tell us straight what this is all about: deal or no deal with the Big Pharma? And if there is a deal, then why? How does this advance your and our cause of the health care reform? No cost containment. No regulation. No public option.
Where does the reform part begin?
Yes, we get the insurance reform proposal shtick going on now. We do notice that you have switched from health care reform to health insurance reform. We totally get it -- it's more palatable and less scary to average Americans to hear that you are going to push for consumer protection laws in the insurance industry rather than a total overhaul of the system, although the latter is what this country desperately needs. The switcharoo is part of that crazy pragmatism your own doctor warned you about. Personally I think you should have listened to him, because that kind of pragmatism is dangerous to your own and our health.
However, we also get the pragmatism part, if we must. And health insurance consumer protection laws are nothing to sneeze at (no pun, I swear), to be sure.
But, still, where is the reform? As in, the single-payer not-for-profit system, which, as you well know and as everybody who has seriously studied the issue clearly states is the only sensible way to reform our health care? How is pouring more money into this bottomless pit of greed and human misery called the American health "care" system going to change it for the better?
Yes, there is that whole thing about politics and sausage-making. None of it pretty, sure. But making compromises with the medical insurance industry in the name of reforming our health care is sorta like negotiating chicken coup's security with the foxes. Sure, they are promising to do a good job of it, but, historically speaking, their record in that matter is not encouraging, to put it gently. See that drool dripping from their chins already?
So while the wingnuts are raving about offing grandpa and palining about with imaginary death panels, we, your supporters, worry too -- that maybe you are punking us, after all.
Please, Mr. President, say it ain't so. Americans are patient people, they can wait when necessary, they've been waiting for, oh, 70 years or so, but I'm not sure how much longer they can manage it, you know, with 14,000 people losing their insurance coverage each day and close to 2,000 dying every month because of lack of adequate health care. 2010 isn't far away, nor is 2012. If Democrats want to have anyone voting for them, they better get this right.
*Thus the picture above. Pigs must be flying as I'm saying this.
Cross posted at The Middle of Nowhere.