Yesterday, despite multiple campaigns to have actual public opinion legislated with regards to healthcare, Washington ultimately decided that our country needs to reward to the private insurance industry that has so ruthlessly broken our health system with a mandate for all Americans to purchase insurance. Uninsured Americans will be criminalized with punitive fines of about 2% of their wages and we will have to start paying for a product that many of us will not be able to afford to use. Let’s be honest about this, this is a tax paid to private corporations who only received this prize because of how badly they have handled their position this far.
To be serious, the outcome we are now faced with is unsurprising. In the current political climate when politicians will be gearing up for reelection at a time when corporations are free to give as much as they wish, it should be unsurprising to anyone who wonders why our voices are silenced in favor of theirs. We will continue to see more and more blatant examples of this because our representatives are no longer beholden to us.
President Obama who campaigned against an individual mandate, and campaigned for a public option has instead done everything in his power to ensure otherwise. Right away, the country was bombarded with a message campaign telling us that “single-payer” healthcare was dead and nothing could bring it back, but the reasons for this were never clearly laid out (making it quite obvious that the corporate masters of these politicians forbade it). Obama was immediately caught negotiating a deal with the pharmaceutical industry that clearly laid out what he was willing to give up. Even when it came to the public option, the president was never willing to defend it with anything more than words that ultimately proved false. Even his own damn plan neglected to include a public option!
During this horribly long debate we have seen several members of congress (Republicans aside, because who seriously listened to them besides the Tea Party?) give varying opinions on what should be included. However the only time the White House thought to take action was when it was a progressive voice asking for the public’s wishes to be respected. The Blue Dogs were never chastised, never had the president deriding them in their districts. No, they got deals like Nelson and medieval amendments like Stupak. Those that worked to weaken the bill or make it more corporate friendly were rewarded for their efforts, so much so that liberals started thinking that it was the only way to win. Liberals went from rightly calling for the bill to be killed to timidly backing it as an important “first step”. When people like Kucinich refused to settle Markos Moulitsas went on television to threaten a primary challenge! Liberals went from wanting to start over to wanting more corporate-friendly Democrats elected. The campaign has been a truly awesome display of fracturing the liberals, when they should have been the left’s greatest ally.
Another sad display of the fracturing our electorate suffered during this campaign by corporate interests was the Tea Party movement. So misinformed were these people that they helped provide the illusion of controversy surrounding publicly funded healthcare when in fact it was heavily supported. This group of people who showed their willingness to campaign and protest should have been subjected to a more comprehensive education campaign by the left and liberals instead of turning them into a spectacle (of which I am guilty at times, too). Educating them would not have destroyed their energy regarding the subject but would have diverted it to a solution that was in our mutual self-interest.
I had wanted to wait until after this mess was done to write about healthcare reform again and it appears the time has come. So now as we ready our checkbooks for the tribute payments required of us to maintain an industry whose very existence is perpetuated by refusing the service it exists to offer, think on all the lies and tricks we have been subjected to. Maybe Obama will be willing to solve the homeless crisis by mandating that we all buy a house or maybe solve the hunger crisis by simply requiring us to buy enough food to keep us fat and happy. These plans, like our “healthcare reform” plan is, in the words of Rahm Emmanuel, fucking retarded.
BONUS: firedoglake has provided a great .pdf regarding the myths of this bill. I have hosted it for your download here: Healthcare Reform Myth Fact-Check.