This Country Needs an Outburst of Common Sense
If ever there were a time for comprehensive health care reform, it's now, and yet the forces of darkness are lining up against this urgent need, buttressed by lies, mobs inflamed by those lies and millions of dollars changing hands and changing votes in Washington, D.C.
The idea that doing nothing and going on without changing the way this country's health care is delivered works to the benefit only of the insurance companies, the giant health care providers and the big pharmaceutical companies.
That industry is now pouring $1.4 million A DAY into lobbying — read that buying or renting members of Congress — to water down or delay or preferably kill health care reform and hope it goes away for another 20 years or so.
Part of that high-dollar industry budget is going to the low end of Washington's K Street lobbying corridor, the firms and the folks who specialize in dirty tricks, panicking the uninformed and most vulnerable citizens, financing the creation and spread of lies written, spoken and spread like viruses by robot dialing machines.
The Republican Party, on life support itself, somehow sees an opportunity in encouraging and participating in this flim-flam operation. It ought to, and should, seal the GOP's fate.
Each night for the past week, we've been treated to the sight of mobs screaming and ranting and shouting down town hall meetings where congressional representatives had come to answer their constituents' questions.
No questions got answered. No information got provided. No one left more informed than he or she was when he or she arrived.
That's because they and their organizers were following online playbooks that are telling them where to go, where to sit, how to make it appear as if there are more of them than there are and, above all, to stop the program and allow no discussion of this issue.
They scream that any government-run health care is socialism or Communism. But look at them; look at their gray hair and thickened waists. At least half of them probably depend entirely on Medicare, a government-run program and a damned good one, for their own health care.
They scream that the bills still being written and amended in Congress will deny vital treatments for older Americans and doom them to an early and unnecessary death. Some dare call it euthanasia.
What utter, unadulterated BS.
The only outfits in America that have the right to refuse you treatment for an illness or deny you an organ transplant are the health care corporations, if you're unlucky enough to have to depend on that wonderful private insurance the right wingnuts are so loudly praising and defending.
This is the same wonderful health coverage that's driven hundreds of thousands of American families into bankruptcy because their private insurers refused to pay for urgently needed surgery or cancer treatment, or simply cancelled their coverage.
Why is that?
It's because those same corporations have, in just one decade, driven their profits and overhead (hiring those lobbyists and buying those congressional critters and building their fleets of private jets) from 5 percent to nearly 20 percent.
In other words, the corporate bite has gone from 5 cents of every dollar paid in premiums to 20 cents of every premium dollar.
It's good old unregulated American greed of the same stripe that drove this country into its current economic meltdown. Wall Street loves these guys.
We desperately need a government-run health care program that can, by good old American competition, force private health insurers to get off their pirate ships and back in the real world. The 46 million or so uninsured Americans need somewhere to get their health needs tended. The millions more in dire danger of losing their jobs and their private insurance need some alternative immediately available.
All of us need some people in Congress who haven't been bought or rented by the pirates, liars and thieves to speak out in favor of filling those real needs.
Wonder how much Big Pharma donated to the key committee members who amended the health care legislation to prohibit any government-run health program from negotiating lower drug prices with the price-gouging drug companies of, you guessed it, Big Pharma?
What we need right now is a huge outburst of common sense and enlightened self-interest.
Those gray-haired Medicare recipients who're playing angry mob need to stop screaming and start listening and reading, separating fact from fiction and learning who’s manipulating them and why.
Follow the money trail back to the pirates and thieves and their handmaidens, the greasy liar lobbyists and those in Congress who're slurping at their troughs.
© 2009 McClatchy Newspapers