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Single Payer and the Duplicitous Rahm Emanuel

Earlier this year, Dr. Marcia Angell, the former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, warned about what she called "the futility of piecemeal tinkering."

Obama and the Democrats did not heed her warning.

Earlier this week, the most liberal of the Democrats tinkering plans - Senator Kennedy's - went up in smoke when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the Kennedy plan would cost $1 trillion over ten years and still leave 37 million Americans uninsured.

Three months ago, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) told single payer supporters that he would seek to get the CBO to score single payer legislation (HR 676).

But Steny Hoyer backed off his pledge.

He never did get the CBO to score single payer.


Because it would show that under single payer, we'd pay what we are paying now - or less - and it would cover everyone.

Zero people left uninsured.

Zero people dead from lack of health insurance.

No more medical bankruptcies.

But at the same time, single payer would eliminate the more than 1,000 health insurance corporations.

That's how you save $400 billion a year to cover everyone - replace the 1,300 payers with one single payer.

So the corporate Democrats and Obama are now engaged in a protection racket - protecting the bloated, wasteful health insurance industry from sure extinction if single payer becomes law.

We caught up with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel this morning, after he had just delivered a speech to the Democratic Leadership Council (read: the corporate Democrats) at the National Press Club.

And we asked him - hey Rahm why don't you get the CBO to score single payer?

"I don't control the Congressional Budget Office," Emanual told Single Payer Action.

Wait a second.

If President Obama wanted the Congressional Budget Office to score single payer, he couldn't get the Democratic Congressional leadership to do it?

Ah Rahm, still at your duplicitous ways.

We also asked Emanuel why Obama flip-flopped on single payer.

After all, as a young state Senator in Illinois, Obama said he was for single payer.

All that would be needed to make single payer a reality, Obama said in 2003, would be for the Democrats to "take back the White House, the Senate and the House."

Fast forward six years.

The Democrats have taken back the White House, the Senate and the House.

Now Obama is opposed to single payer.

Why did Obama flip flop?

"It's about the objective, not the means," Emanuel said.

Well, if the objective is to cover everyone and control costs, the CBO says that the Democratic Party's tinkering plans won't do it.

As Dr. Angell puts it - single payer is not just the best option, it's the only option that will get the job done.

It's the only health reform that meets Obama's objectives - cover everyone, control costs.

Yes indeed, Rahm, it's about the objective, not the means.


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Russell Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter.  He is also founder of, and editor of the website Morgan County USA.

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