Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It looks like we are going to get 'Health' Insurance Re-Form.

You may have noticed the particular way in which I stated those three words. Allow me to explain.

The quotes wrapped around 'health' are there to remind all of us that this bill ceased long ago to be about the health of anyone, including the health of the bill itself, which has been getting eaten from the inside out for over a year by a form of corporate-controlled, Republican-stonewalling, Democratic-wimposity cancer.

As for the italicizing of 'Insurance', I think at this point we all need to accept that this bill isn't about providing health care; it is primarily concerned with changing (superficially from what I can tell) how our insurance business is done. As long as we're only dealing with for-profit corporations in covering our healthcare costs, few issues of actual care can be looked at. We will always be shackled by the insurance cartels' lust for the juicy bottom line, at any cost.

The decision to hyphenate 'reform'? There's not much real reform here, but there is plenty of re-forming of how people will buy overpriced insurance from corporations. A lot of it comes from a mandate to push more people into the darkly lit barns of corporate health insurance coverage. Exactly what incentive does one give a greedy bully to change his ways if one increases his leverage over and access to the weak and vulnerable?

So there it is. Just as we must re-examine terms like Free Trade Agreements (backroom deals cut between the powerful elite that are rarely free, publicly agreed upon or even about genuine trade), we must also not let people put up banners and dance down the street congratulating themselves with false parlance like 'Health Care Reform'.

But, considering the fact that it's here and it ain't goin nowhere.....

Should we, and therefore our elected representatives, vote for it?

This has been an argument that has been boiling between myself and friends (and some sworn enemies) for over a year now.

There are two primary arguments that I've seen, for and against. The people that would support it say it is, in the words of one, a 'beach head'. That most civil rights bills (and make no mistake, this is a civil rights issue) have been weak in retrospect, having had to be watered down to begin with to have any chance of passing and coming into being but that with time and growing public recognition of their worth, have been strengthened to where they stand today. Think the Voting Rights Act, Social Security, Civil Rights, Medicare. These people claim that this bill is the same, paving the way for more aggressive and progressive action in the future. Without it, they say, the status quo will remain and may even further concretize.

Not a bad argument. Now let me speak for those against.

They would say that this bill strengthens and further validates the corporate hold on health coverage, ushering in even more people to the private framework. It doesn't offer real cost controls, leaves no possibility for any government involvement beyond what already exists for the young, poor and elderly and, if passed, will succeed in silencing any talk of real reform for a generation, giving every politician from now til doomsday the excuse that 'we got something done in '10 at great political cost and it's too soon to try again.' That this is an extremely rare moment in the history of this country to actually open the door to eventual universal healthcare through a public option and if we miss the chance this time, it won't come again for a long, long time. Now is the moment for the Democratic Party to truly show the people who it stands for, the public or the private. If the Democrats water themselves down along with this bill, they may never be able to reclaim higher moral ground than the Republicans on this issue. They were voted in with a massive majority that is about to be eroded. It's Now Or Never.

Hmm. This is a hard one.

Michael Moore was interviewed last night and was asked whether or not if he were a sitting Congressman right now, would he support this bill, a bill he has savagely criticized. I think he found the right balance, saying he would support it reluctantly if the President, while trumpeting the pathetically few positives in the bill for working people, would also admit to the fact that this bill was a boon for corporations and overall did not advance the cause of the vast majority of American citizens in relation to their ability to have quality, affordable healthcare (I'm paraphrasing).

I'd also support Mr.Obama if he were straight with us in this fashion. Alas, I am dreaming and he does need to gain some sort of political victory out of all this so get ready for the confetti.

Oh, and the same impossibly high premiums and mediocre care.

Remind everyone you know when the healthcare crisis comes up in conversation:

As long as for-profit corporations are in charge of our health coverage, there is NO chance for quality, affordable care in this country.

Reminder to self upon waking every morning: give thanks for being healthy.

1 comment:

  1. Hello darling,

    This is wonderful writing. It makes me rage to think that most people living in the US either dont really understand or simply just dont know what is going on.

    As a woman caring for a 90 year old mother with dementia, here in Australia, I am supported magnificently by the Health Care System which provides free care for mum so that I can have respite each day. And if it is not free it is so heavily subsidised that it is totally affordable.

    I wonder how many people in the US know what is happening or even care? I cant imagine how a woman in my situation living in the US would manage...let alone beat the depression that would certainly develop from lack of support to have a life of her own. It makes me both sad and also furious that today - in 2010 - there are still people who must die or be ill with no free health care.

    Its got to change.......and every little bit of energy that you and I can put out there to bring about that change is a political/Spiritual act. So good for you Marc....I salute you.