Monday, August 31, 2009

Where's the Public Option?

The failure of the Obama administration to include the public option in the healthcare reform bill is simply not acceptable. It’s unbelievable that President Obama is prepared to waste all this time and political capital to wind up with a bill that fails to satisfy the most basic needs for reform and will ultimately result in his being a one term presidency. No subsequent action will mitigate having failed the American people on the healthcare issue.

Of course, the president has had the option to push this legislation through by standing by his own words on the campaign trail and by not wasting precious time seeking bipartisanship that was never going to be. Instead, he and other Democrats have capitulated on issue after issue because it has never been their intent to upset the insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical industries by passing meaningful reform. And if that is the end result of the fiasco we have been witnessing since January then those of us who worked so hard to put this administration into power must be just as prepared to replace it.

Listening to the crap being passed off as analysis of the surrender of the public option is enough to sicken the heartiest of souls. An endless hoard of talking heads and pundits, supposedly from both ends of the political spectrum, chatter on about how Democrats would be crazy to not pass a bill just because the public option is being dropped. How Liberals need to see this as a success because something is being done to address healthcare. These are words of appeasement by those who never had the stomach for the fight and who don't have to worry about healthcare.

Just what is the president thinking? Each day more psychopathic assholes show up at his town hall meetings packing heat and spewing hatred, any one of them capable of doing physical harm to the him or his family. Does he believe that whimpiness and capitulation on his part elevates their opinion of him? Do the Democrats in Congress think this? Of course not.

What we are witnessing is a tightrope act being performed by President Obama, his cabinet and Democratic members of Congress to make it appear that they are conscientiously working on our behalf for healthcare reform while making sure not to piss off the lobbyists and healthcare executives that fill their coffers with campaign contributions and other bennies. At the same time we are seeing the Republicans teeing off on Democrats with lies, mis-information, orchestrated protests and as much noise and misdirection as they can generate. The whole time the Republicans are secure in the knowledge that the lobbyists and healthcare executives would prefer them back in power because they are more completely owned and subject to their control.

What would be refreshing is for President Obama to demonstrate his depth of understanding of the Constitution by conducting his actions and those of his administration in accordance with that document. It would be exceptional to see the re-emergence of Constitutional government be the legacy of the first African American president. It would be historic for this president to lead this country back from the reactionary abyss by standing against the forces that are doing everything in their power to ensure his failure. It would be awe inspiring to have a president who understands all of this and chooses not to concede to the corporate thugs seeking absolute power, but opts to steer his ship of state away from the radicalism and hate driven stupidity coming from the Right. The country is in as bad of a state now as it was when FDR stood against the same cabal of power hungry tyrants and put the country back on the path of justice, morality and constitutionality. If ever there was a time for a great leader to emerge, this is it, but as each day goes by and each new capitulation takes place, as each new promise of change is rescinded, as each pledge of correcting the errors of the past administration is ignored, the American people are realizing that we have seen this movie before and we didn't like it any better the first time.

It is now time to prepare contingencies for the inevitable collapse of the Democrats to the pressures of the healthcare industry lobbyists. The idea has been put forward to push for a referendum that would allow individual voters to determine whether members of Congress should enjoy healthcare and retirement benefits when they will not support similar benefits for the people paying for theirs. This approach holds much promise because it would appeal to the Conservative haters of big government and taxes.

A second idea is to Outsource our healthcare requirements to countries that offer better care to their citizens at a much better price. OK, at first glance this may seem implausible, but consider how major corporations got away with it when they shifted American manufacturing jobs to under-developed nations to avoid labor costs and union protections. Certainly, we have as good of a reason for doing so and I’m sure when it was first conceived in some corporate board room many thought it to be too radical and un-American to succeed. Yet, they did succeed and our country’s economy has suffered greatly as a result.

So, why not open negotiations with Canada, England, France, the Nordic countries and other nations with greater respect for the citizens than our Congress has for us? Why not issue Requests For Proposals (RFP) to these nations and get cost estimates for them to integrate interested American citizens into their healthcare system by diverting some of our taxes to whichever country makes the best offer, then have them recruit medical professionals and facilities within our borders to comply with their policies.

Many will say this is not feasible and too many obstacles threaten to kill the idea. I say that we should know by now that Everything is negotiable just like the integrity of our elected officials