Count me out
Max Bachus' health care reform bill came out of the finance committee today. This is the bill that most experts agree represents what health care reform is most likely to look like, because although he didn't admit it Obama basically quoted the Bachus bill right down the line in his address to congress. According to the Washington Post, the Bachus bill appears to have everyone angry, but drug companies, hospitals and insurance companies are less angry than others. This is said to be a good thing.
Count me as one of those liberals who is opting out. I said all along that I would not support a bill that doesn't have a robust public option, and this bill doesn't have one. Bachus' bill amounts to nothing more and nothing less than a huge giveaway to the insurance companies--the very people we should be reigning in. We should certainly not be pouring money into, or worse yet forcing people who can't afford it to pour money into, their corporate pig trough. The insurance companies are not opposing this bill because the reduction in costs they will receive is offset by the 30 million new customers they will receive. That's right, they are being bought off in the worst possible way--because the government is going to force us to give them money. In the case of my family, money we cannot afford to give them.
I object. I strenuously object.
Just as Bush sold us out to the oil companies, Obama is selling us out to the insurance companies. Great. Perhaps the worst thing about all this is that it proves that slime Glen Beck right. He said in his otherwise horrible book that the job of both parties seems to be to take your money and give it away to some corporation or other. Sure looks that way to me.
In his speech to congress last week, President Obama wagged his finger at liberals like me (and Rush Limbaugh *still* thinks he's Obama is a liberal!) and told us that we should not hold the public option as the end all and be all of health care reform; reminding us like a parsimonious school marm that the driving force behind health care reform has always been to cut waste and fraud. Excuse me, Mr. President, but I call bullshit. The driving force behind health care reform, since Teddy Roosevelt first proposed it, has been universal health care. That is what Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Clinton all were fighting for. All of them failed. That is certainly what I was campaigning for when I worked as a campaign worker on the single payer ballot initiative in California, which also failed. Not once in your speech Mr. President did you mention universal health care, sir: not once. Nor have you said it since. This is the best shot we've ever had, and this time we cannot fail. But this bill represents a colossal failure. This bill does not cover everyone, and without an affordable public option it cannot help to do so. My congress person and at least one of my senators has said they strongly support a public option, and have indicated they will not support a bill without it. I hope they stick to that. I hope the House sticks to its plan to pass a public option. If Obama's plan is to get the bill to a conference committee and then make sure it comes out with a public option inserted into it then fine, their strategy is ok. But there is no way to tell, so at this point I have to say that anyone who supports this bill in its current form is abandoning the public trust.
So count me out.