December 15, 2009
-- by Dave Johnson
I posted this earlier at Open Left
Back in July I wrote here, in Democrats Had Better Find Hiding Places
I said it the other day, and I feel the need to repeat it: the public does not yet understand that the government is about to order people to buy health insurance, with their own money. Yes, the government is about to order people to cough up hundreds of dollars a month each.
When the Republicans start using their toxic message-machine magic on this, and the public starts to understand that they are being ordered by the government to cough up a huge amount of money every month, Democrats had better have good hiding places, because things are going to get really bad out there.
This is the kind of policy that results when "centrist" Democrats give in to to the demands of Republicans and big corporations and the top 1% of the wealthy. Instead of just taxing the wealthy and corporations at reasonable rates and using the money to provide We, the People with health care -- thereby vastly improving the economy for ... the wealthy and big corporations -- they instead come up with a scheme to order regular people to pay for health insurance because they don't already have it because they can't afford it.
Now it is December and the current health care reform bill orders everyone to buy very expensive insurance from the big corporations, with no public option and no Medicare buy-in. Even if you are in the income range where you receive subsidies you have to pay "only" 9 or 10% of your income, at a time when people are runnng up credit cards just to get by as it is. That is with the subsidies. Above that level you pay more.
The public hasn't really tuned into this yet, but if this passes and Republicans start working their toxic magic (with of course little or no organized effort by Dems to counter their lies and sell it to the public) I expect this will be as unppular as Bush's bailout of the big financial firms, which the Republicans have largely engineered the public into thinking was Obama's, just as they did with the Bush deficits.
So I think that when all these factors come into play for the next election, passing this will turn out to be suicide for the Democrats who hold office. They don't see that because at this point are in a mindset that the public wants them to just get it over with and pass anything.
But this is bad beyond just the next election.
Here is the larger problem: the public is going to judge US - progressives, liberals, Democrats, etc. - based on what these clucks pass.
This health "reform" bill plays right into decades of conservative/corporate propaganda about liberals and their policies - and government in general. Republicans will sell it as "big government ordering you around and reaching into your pocket" and the corporate media will echo that until everyone sees it that way. There won't be a word explaining that this money actually goes to big corporations, it will be about everyone losing the insurance they have and how people will soon be paying big money to a "government insurance bureaucracy." (Are we going to counter this by saying, "well, no, actually it goes to big corporations not government"?)
And, frankly, why should the public ever again listen to anyone left of John McCain after this, if this is what happens when Democrats get power? It is just wrong to use that power to order everyone to shell out a huge amount of money - while Wall Street hands out billions of taxpayer dollars as bonuses. They will be portrayed as confirming what the right has been saying about "liberals" they use the power of the state to order people to follow elitist schemes - which is exactly what this is, a scheme where elite people with power decide what is good for the rest of us - mandates are important because you can't cover pre-existing without them, etc. THIS is where a President is supposed to be a leader come in and insist on broader guidelines with a veto threat.
What I am most afraid of is what will happen when Republicans start making up shit about what passed, while people feel no immediate benefit. It doesn't take effect right away so it will just be this looming, terrifying, expensive "big government" program coming at people in a few years that is going to cost everyone a lot of money and ruin our health care system. Without sufficient immediate benefits that people feel, on the scale of free insurance for everyone, the Republicans will have lots of time to just make up shit about what is coming if they don't vote for Republicans so they can repeal it.
Unless you're pretty sure that Repubilcans wouldn't do that, wouldn't just make shit up to scare people. If you're like Senate Democrats who seem to think that, don't worry about this.
Here is what I am talking about. Last night I was driving and heard on the radio that there will be a 15-year jail term if you don't buy this government insurance. The announcer also said the bill bans things like Snickers bars, and that there is funding in the bill for government to come in and check your house for unhealthy food, as the liberals define it.
That is what I heard on the radio last night. This is what's out there now -- just the beginning of the 2010 election mantra.
And what are we going to do, explain that it isn't a 15-year jail term, only a big fine?
The bigger picture - the sellout.
Isn't this mandate to buy insurance really just another form of privatization of a pubilc service? In this case it is maintaining a privatization-by-refusing-to-provide. Most other countries provide health care as a right - a core function of government. But here privateers have seized it for themselves for profit. So to maintain this, to keep taxes low for the rich and keep the profits privatized we are ordered to buy it from companies instead of having it provided as a government service. This is the battle between democracy and plutocracy.
If this bill is passed and signed (progressives can filibuster, too) it means that Democrats as a party have abdicated their role as defenders of democracy against the forces of organized wealth.
Wrap it up
I hate to say this but money flowing out of big corporations has outmaneuvered the public good once again. If we don't pass a health care bill the Democrats have done little to show the public the value of showing up and electing Democrats: there is very high unemployment, no one has been held accountable for the crimes and corruption of the Bush years and Wall Street got and kept their bonuses after crashing the economy - $140 billion just this year. But if we do pass this, the way it is, it's even worse. And the joke is that this fix we're in is being engineered by a bunch of lobbyists!
So I'm with Chris,
I don't intend to help this bill pass. If progressives get backstabbed by Lieberman and then ordered to cave at the finish line, then as far as I am concerned the White House has made its own bed with this. They can try and pass the bill, but they are going to have to do it on their own. I'm not helping. In fact, I kind of just want to hang out in the tall grass for a while and plot my revenge.But I am also trying to sound a warning, to wake up Democratic leadership and try to head off this disaster. Pass a good bill, not an insurance lobbyist's dream.
Tell me again, why was "Medicare-For-All" off the table? All of this complicated, 2000-page jumble of backroom deals and mandates and confusing formulas is to avoid just giving the people what they want - health care. And the reason it was off the table was to avoid being called "socialst."
Posted by Dave Johnson at December 15, 2009 7:07 PM
I'm beyond being angry... I'd only be angry and disappointed if I had expected anything different. At this point, it's kind of amusing to watch, in a sick and twisted way. How low can they go?
I heard on the radio today that a bunch of Democrats joined with Republicans to defeat the drug re-importation amendment. Are Canadian drugs any less safe than American ones? I have grave doubts that more than a tiny fraction of Americans believe this... and I suspect your average Canadian believes their drugs are *safer* than American drugs! But, who do the "centrist" Democrats in Washington, D.C. listen to? Big Pharma. This is such hypocrisy on the part of Republicans - "free trade" on everything but drugs?!? This is a flat out endorsement of the exact opposite of "free trade" on their part.
i am one of the working poor without insurance and who will be negatively impacted by this proposed legislation.
according to the dec 1st posting in speaker pelosi's blog, "the gavel", a person making $18K a year will have to pay $1800+ for insurance and that is AFTER receiving a subsidy.
when i was looking at the chart i noticed that these are based on 2009 figures. with the insurance industry already hiking the premiums for next year, i can only shudder with what the fees will be in 2014 when this god awful piece of crap legislation would go into effect if it's shoved through and onto us.
rents in my area are over $1000 for a small apartment in an old building but in a safe area. i'm paying almost that much but get a trade off in exchange for cleaning the building.
i have other responsibilities and very little money right now because of the recession. i'm working as self-employed and at a minimum wage. at least i'm surviving and paying taxes.
i'm absolutely horrified at the tone of the legislation. it feels to me as if an entire shadow regime is running the show behind the scenes and even the president is in their pocket.
i thought so highly of the president and his original goals but what i've seen now is like looking on the face of the beast.
i've no doubt karen ignagni of AHIP has played an important part in this.
fyi...i called sen. schumer's office on dec. 1st to explain my situation. from the n.y. office i was told to call the washington office. the washington office was very flip about my concerns. the advice i got was:
a. we're not forcing you to buy private insurance.
b. we want to make sure that those who have the money PAY.
c. read the bill when it goes online.
i cannot and do not accept this as a satisfactory answer.
also, there seems to be a very real incoherence in the way democrats are behaving with the media. today congressman alan grayson kept saying people will die if we don't pass this legislation. he was on the ed schultz radio show. grayson kept insisting that he'll save so many lives.
ok, so why not just allow anyone who wants to join medicaid NOW, like ASAP and pay an entry fee. and if they wait until they are too sick to join then they pay a penalty. or something like that.
i don't believe any of the democrats really has a conscience. by forcing me to pay for the insurance on my own i will have to give up being self employed and get a corporate job where the employer may want to pay the coverage for me.
in fact i'm beginning to think a job at goldman sachs might be the best thing. i'm not a selfish bitch intent on being greedy but at least i could sleep at night and not worry about the rent.
the dems fail to understand that until one's own needs to live, not just survive, are met there is really very little to be concerned about in terms of someone else's welfare. survival hardens the soul and the mind.
this situation is breeding a backlash that will be far more confounding that anyone can yet anticipate.
if anyone wants to advise me on this issue feel free to contact me.
i wonder if there could be citizens filing lawsuits as a group, against the government? can a team of savvy lawyers take a case against the mandate? can we challenge it in court?
It all may be part of Lieberman's evil plan. He destroys the bill to the point that is is political suicide to either pass or not pass it. Then, when the Dems endure withering losses next November he becomes a Republican and keeps his chairmanship. How many ways has Lieberman outsmarted and outmaneuvered Obama?
Lieberman = Obama.
partners in crime.
I wouldn't worry about the Dems committing suicide because (a) it would be good if they did and we're just not that lucky, and (b) the Republicans will screw over the people just as badly on their watch and then the peasants will demand (la plus ca) "change" again. Rinse and repeat.
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