Friday, December 11, 2009

How Things Work

Ah, Democracy!

Why was Joe Lieberman, Aetna's $3-million man, the only Senator smiling as they emerged from the closed-door meeting that "compromised" the health care public option for the third or fourth time?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that Hartford, which calls itself "the insurance capital of the world," has almost as many insurance company headquarters as Florida has oranges?  Nah, that's cynical.

Left on the cutting room floor after that meeting were the last shreds of "reform" in the Senate version of health care reform legislation.

Among them is one that particularly infuriates me because I am a cancer survivor.  Its loss represents literally a death blow to fellow survivors who, unlike me, require costly, long-term treatment.  A case in point is my friend Garry, one of the most courageous people I know, an athlete who, in the Lance Armstrong mold, continues to push himself to the limit even as medicine and chemistry keep him alive.

He'd have had to start paying all of his treatment costs if the new Senate health care "reform" bill had been in effect.  It would have wiped him out, leaving him a pauper. (A dead pauper, most likely.) That's because the bill would place dollar limits on insurance coverage for costly illnesses like Garry's.

The Associated Press reports today: The legislation that originally passed the Senate health committee last summer would have banned such limits, but a tweak to that provision weakened it in the bill now moving toward a Senate vote.

The AP quotes an American Cancer Society official as saying, "We don't know who put it in, or why it was put in."

But we can guess, can't we?  As investigative reporters used to be told, back when journalism was practiced and there were investigative reporters, "Follow the money."

What began as a noble ideal called health care reform has died aborning.

The best kind of reform, a government single payer plan, was taken off the table before the drafting of the first proposed legislation had even begun.

Follow the money.

When the first weakened draft of health care reform became public, a vast and highly successful campaign of lies and misinformation ("death panels," "forced enrollment in a government plan," etc.) turned the public against it.

Follow the money.

When Max Baucus (an insurance company million-dollar man) and his finance committee went behind closed doors to craft a Senate version of the bill, the media assured us that "the public option is dead."

Follow the money.

Senators Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, Rolland Burris, and Sherrod Brown revived the public option. The $80 million insurance industry puppets Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Mary Landrieu took Joe Lieberman's Sword of Hartford and carved out another "compromise."

Ah, Democracy! Follow the money.

1 comment:

  1. After reading of the latest discovery in the 2,074 page senate version of the health care bill, it's not unreasonable to imagine a scenario like the following happening some night inside the nation's biggest whorehouse:

    Before leaving his office for the day, the senator slipped the key(s) to the back door of the senate building to an insurance industry policy, coverages, and legal expert writer saying, "Just lock yourself in my bathroom until you've finished your work. Be sure you're the hell outta here before the morning's dawn. Use the keys to let yourself out the back of the building. If Ollie, the night watchman, happens to see you, it's okay. He's expecting you. Don't worry, he's cool. He's done this lots of times for 'us', plus I've slipped him a few extra bucks. But for Christ's sake, whatever you do, don't let anyone else see you!"

    How else do you explain a loophole in the Senate's bill that wasn't there when passed out of committee last summer. What's strange is: no one knows how it got in there or by whose hand although, as you have so nicely "hinted" here, we know whom to suspect. And as you have also intimated, our two houses on the hill have been infiltrated by an infestation of whores and their pimps who do their work in the absence of daylight, perhaps in a locked senator or representative's bathroom in the darkness of night. Truly, houses of ill-repute!

    Of course, adding to the puzzle is the sweet irony that this revised section of the senate bill still bears the title "No lifetime or annual limits."

    Thanks for posting this.