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CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Healthcare Reform or Insurance Giveaway?
Hamsher, founder of the blog FireDogLake, writes that the current healthcare bill "is a dangerous and unprecedented step on the road to domination of government by private corporate players."
A longtime advocate for a public option, she comments: "President Obama disingenuously confirmed his support for the public option in his September address to a joint session of Congress, but, behind the scenes, he was actively working to kill it. Obama wanted [Sen.] Harry Reid to be responsible for taking it out of the final health care bill so he, the president, could remain popular, according to Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo.
"But Reid is facing a tough challenge of his own and didn't want the honors, so -- as predicted -- [Sen.] Joe Lieberman was called upon to do the dirty work. Far from opposing the president, Lieberman was doing exactly what Obama wanted him to do so that the deal with the hospitals to kill the public option would be honored."
For new background, see: "NY Times Reporter Confirms Obama Made Deal to Kill Public Option"
In a piece published today, Solomon comments: "On a political level, the [individual] mandate provision is a massive gift to the Republican Party, all set to keep on giving to the right wing for many years. With a highly intrusive requirement that personal funds and government subsidies be paid to private corporations, the law would further empower right-wing populists who want to pose as foes of government 'elites' bent on enriching Wall Street."
Currently in D.C. and available for a limited number of interviews, Solomon added: "With this turn of the 'healthcare reform' screw, the Democratic Party will be cast -- with strong evidence -- as a powerful tool of corporate America. But the Democrats on Capitol Hill and the organizations eagerly whipping for passage are determined to celebrate the enactment of something called 'healthcare reform.' ...
"Many well-informed and insightful people are now hoping that the current healthcare bill will become law and then lead to something better. But few backers want to dwell on its requirement that everyone get health coverage from the private insurance industry -- a stunning, deeply structural transfer of humongous power and wealth that would greatly boost the leverage of an already autocratic corporate state."
Solomon is director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.
See Solomon's new article "Zero Public Option + One Mandate = Disaster"
On Capitol Hill yesterday, single-payer advocates directly confronted former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean and Rep. John Conyers, who are both now supporting the healthcare bill. Dean wrote in December that the Senate bill would do "more harm than good."
In July, dozens of House Democrats, including John Conyers, signed a letter stating: "Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates -- not negotiated rates -- is unacceptable."