Two weeks ago the House passed a “landmark” health care bill by a squeaker, 220 to 215. Now, as President Obama remarked, it’s up to the Senate “…to take the baton and bring this effort to the finish line on behalf of the American people. And I’m absolutely confident that they will.”
Not bloody likely. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threatened emphatically on CBS’s Face the Nation, “The House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. Just look at how it passed.” So opponents are dug in for a fight.
Ironically, Republicans have coined this legislation a “government takeover of health care.” Meanwhile, the President is calling it “insurance reform.” Actually, neither could be further from the truth.
Essentially, despite some minor reforms that would actually be helpful, what this bill does in the big picture is lock us into a failing system of private insurance. Instead of reigning in the insurance industry and protecting consumers as originally intended, the bill would require all Americans to purchase health insurance. Not only do insurance companies make out like bandits with over 30 million new customers; they also get subsidized by the government.
And what happened to the so-called “public option” that was supposed to provide competition and control costs? It’s been whittled down to a nub that will cover only about 6 of the 45 million without health insurance. And that anemic little option is sure to be reduced even further in the Senate, if it makes it into the final bill at all.
In short, just like every other attempt at “reform” that makes its way through the congressional sausage factory, this bill turns out to be nothing more than another big fat giveaway for big business.
Listen to the rhetoric coming from the Oval Office: “I’m equally convinced that on the day that we gather here at the White House and I sign comprehensive health insurance reform legislation into law, they’ll be able to join their House colleagues and say that this was their finest moment in public service—the moment we delivered change we promised to the American people and did something to leave this country stronger than we found it.”
Change? Really? How do they define it? Change: defn. The ever increasing power and wealth of the few in place of the many.
If only the GOP were opposing the bills for the right reasons. They’re right on one score: it is socialism; it’s just not the kind of socialism they’re thinking of. For it’s the same brand of corporate socialism that has coddled and subsidized the private sector for decades. The Vice-President put it aptly this week on The Daily Show: “My grandfather used to say, ‘Joey, it’s socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor.'”
The rich get richer. The poor poorer. And they call it “reform.”