Remember, in June the public option was supported by large numbers of voters (as it is now). Why did Baucus and Conrad seek an alternative to the public option in June when the public option they both claimed to support appeared very strong?
It is time for progressives, consumers, workers, populists and anyone who supports affordable healthcare to ask: Was the fix in from the beginning through a secret deal between the White House and insurance companies to kill the public option?
I don’t know, but I do know that a secret deal with Big Pharma was made in similar fashion.
Sure, the fact of the pharma deal was known, but many details remain secret today. I do know the president has given the weakest support imaginable to the public option and time and time again has announced his willingness to surrender, as I wrote on this site months ago. I do know that to this day the White House is keeping secret the logs of meetings from January through September when deals were made from the banking bailout to the healthcare bill. I strongly suspect the reason involves meetings about deals including pharma and insurers.
Was the fix in against the public option? I don't know, but I do know this: If enough members of the House and Senate refuse to support a bill without a public option, the public option can still prevail.
I know this: A majority of the American people support the public option.
I know this: Over 75 percent of respondents in The Washington Post/ABC poll support a public option for those who cannot get private policies. What would it say about a Democratic Senate that many of us worked hard and for years to win 60 seats if it lacks even the minimal courage to stand with more than 75 percent of the nation, either because it fears the 25 percent or it craves the money the industry doles out to Democrats as well as Republicans?
I know this: The three House committees that reported a healthcare bill ALL included the public option.
I know this: The Senate health committee reported a bill that also included the public option.
I know this: The Congressional Budget Office says the Rockefeller public option proposal would cut the costs of the bill by $50 billion, and anyone who opposes it makes a mockery of their alleged interest in protecting taxpayers and reducing wasteful spending.
I know this: There is no serious analyst of healthcare who believes that insurance co-ops are even a minimal check and balance against insurance abuses, and even the Congressional Budget Office says co-ops will have virtually zero impact lowering the cost of the bill.
I know this: Some of the Democrats who are opponents of the public option, or who pretend to support it within minutes of their voting against it, are huge recipients of campaign money from insurance companies.
I know this: The insurance industry has been proven again and again to have engaged in abuses, and yet the insurance industry is granted an exemption from antitrust laws that should be repealed, and allows them to commit price-fixing, collusion, market allocation and other wrongs that would be illegal in virtually every industry under antitrust laws.
I know this: Private insurers don't give a rat's behind about the poor, the jobless, the hungry, the hurting and will charge them high premiums they cannot afford, so a Congress that does not include a public option will create huge subsidies not for the poor, but for insurers who charge outrageous premiums the poor cannot afford.
And I know this: The president, who read a book about Franklin Roosevelt's first hundred days, has not even begun to wage a true fight for the most important provision of a healthcare bill, and has hinted, winked, nodded again and again that he would gladly surrender on this vital issue, which raises the legitimate question: Is there a secret deal with insurers for a formal surrender that leaves a bill with gigantic windfall profits for insurers subsidized with taxpayer money to be ratified by a Democratic president and Democratic Congress?
I don't know whether there is such a deal, but I do know that this question should now be asked, and above all, I do know this:
A majority of the American people, a majority of the Senate, a majority of the House and the president, with great eloquence, all support the public option. If progressives wage the fight that should be fought, the public option should, can and will be won.
September 30, 2009, 01:54 pm