Monday, September 21, 2009

Is Obama just an asshole? 

Obama is the one who set up the "Health Care Reform" Bill to go through the bipartisan gang of six (shitbags) in the Finance Committee. What Baucus et al. "came up with" had to have been formulated a long time ago, in consultation with Obama and Rahm Emmanuel. (Did you know that that prick founded the "Blue Dick" caucus and also was Clinton's point-man for the genocidal NAFTA?)

So Obama wants, and has always wanted, to base "Health Care Reform" on Baucus' bill, which was written by a former lobbyist for one of the largest insurance companies. Sweet.

From an Alternet article on Jay Rockefeller's announcement of his revulsion at the Obaucus bill:

"[T]here's no way that I can vote for the Senate [Finance] package for a lot of reasons and, obviously, the lack of a public option is one of them," Rockefeller told reporters -- even if it meant Baucus' proposal never made it out of the committee to face a vote by the full Senate...

...Asked about President Barack Obama's desire to get some kind of health care plan passed, and pressure by the administration to pass something -- anything -- Rockefeller told reporters, "It does represent a worry of mine … that if it becomes just a question of passing something so that you can say you did health care reform, then you really didn't do what we have an historic opportunity [to do]. That I find very distressing."

He then deferred to Yale professor Jacob Hacker, who was brought onto the call by Rockefeller to serve as an expert.

"It's been said that we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good," Hacker said, "but I would also say that we shouldn't let the terrible be the ally of the expedient."

From Dr. Marcia Angell (note, people like Hacker and Angell and Jay Rockefeller are not radical agitators):

With the long-awaited release of the Baucus health plan, which is said to have Obama's approval, the fix is in. Billions of taxpayer dollars will be thrown at the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, much of it diverted from Medicare and Medicaid (despite Obama's protestations that he would not raid Medicare to shore up the private system). We'll simply pour more money into a system that's already shown itself capable of absorbing whatever we put into it without providing anything like commensurate health care.

Look at the bare bones of the plan. Americans will be required to buy health insurance at whatever price the companies choose to charge, many using government subsidies. Businesses will have to contribute or be fined. Drug companies will still be able to charge whatever they like for drugs, and continue to jack up prices at several times the inflation rate. In short, the government will deliver to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries millions more paying customers, with virtually no curbs on their profiteering. The "public option" was first gutted, then all but dropped....

... Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions or reducing benefits when customers have the temerity to get sick, but these prohibitions are easily circumvented...

We can get a glimpse of what lies in store from Massachusetts, which three years ago adopted a plan similar to the Baucus/Obama plan. Premiums in the state are rising at double-digit rates, benefits are often skimpy, co-payments are rising, and subsidies are costing the state far more than originally predicted. Die-hard advocates now say that universal insurance was always the first goal, to be followed by cost-control and increased benefits, but that hope is belied by the fact that things are moving in the opposite direction. Moreover, Massachusetts offers a best-case scenario, since the state already had a very low rate of uninsurance and was able to tap into a large pool of money set aside to provide free care to the indigent. The lesson is that there is not much sense in expanding coverage if it will quickly become inadequate and unaffordable.

All of this assumes that Baucus/Obama will eventually make its way through Congress in its present form. That is unlikely, but it is probable that some remnant of it will survive. It is now clear that the essential element in whatever passes will be publicly financed expansion of the insurance and pharmaceutical markets. Indeed, the purpose now seems not so much to provide universal health care as to win the heart and minds -- and wallets -- of these industries. They give copiously to Congressional campaigns, and with this health plan, the Democrats are positioned to take the lion's share of their donations. They've rolled right over the Republicans, whose health plan pretty much consists of, "Go out and buy insurance, and lots of luck." While that is good for the industries, it's not as good as the market expansion the Democrats now promise.

Insurance and drug companies will have plenty of opportunities to show their gratitude to the Democrats in the elections of 2010 and 2012. Moreover, since reform is not scheduled to be implemented until 2013, any public disillusionment won't be felt until after those elections...

So, is Obama a very conservative, tentative politician afraid to take risks and therefore conceding too much in advance to his opponents? Or is he just a cynical operator who thought he could parlay his mandate into a sneaky and highly remunerative bailout for the death industry without anyone really noticing? In other words, is Obama just an asshole?


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