A New York call-in commenter on Ron Reagan’s Air America show today asserted that the insurance industry had contributed $90 million to the Democratic party and $65 million to the Republican party in the last election.
Such alleged obscene gifting is undoubtedly one more “kiss of death” to a just and effective new health care system for America. How can we citizens hope to compete with such formidable financial influence? The single payer program, not profit driven, seems to many the wisest, most citizen-friendly choice. Evidently it has the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell for passage against such applied lobbying.
Just as Goldman Sachs’ $1 million donation to Obama’s campaign (and proportional generosity to the Democratic party as a whole in the last election) undoubtedly brought it phenomenal advantage post financial meltdown, these massive insurance contributions eradicate the loyalty of a heartbreakingly large number of members of the House and Senate toward those they took an oath to represent.
In fact, Congress seems especially incentivized to join in on the health care industry’s sophisticated propagandizing to an economically shell-shocked but still naive citizenry (with a compromised corporate media no help for enlightenment). Congress is rising up and “giving ’em the old razzle dazzle” (with American-apple-pie-red-white-and-blue reverence) about how superior private health care is to a government run program, shudder. Throw in additional strident “sky-is-falling” cries of socialism.
We are long used to a strong contingent of lobby-compromised representatives. But, tragically, those beating the drums against the most advantageous health program to the average American vastly outnumber its supporters in the House and in the Senate, fantastically, only one lone member stands by the single payer program.
In Deadly Reasons to Oust Incumbents in 2010, Ed Ciaccio writes:
The single payer bill, H.R. 676, in the 435-member House of Representatives, has only 83 co-sponsors as of June 21, 2009. The Senate version, S. 703, has only its sponsor, Senator Bernie Sanders. Yet more Americans, including doctors, prefer a single payer health care system to any other option once they understand that they will have total choice of their doctors and hospitals in such an inclusive system, despite the lies and propaganda from the profit-care industry and its shills in the media and Congress.
In No Reason to Favor Private Health Insurers, Joel S. Hirschhorn writes:
If Congress and the Obama administration believed in true, necessary health reform, then they should favor a government run single payer system. But they do not because they are corrupted by the money from the private health insurance industry. If the public was not delusional and brainwashed, then they would be screaming for a single payer system …
Considering the predominantly negative experiences most Americans have had with their private health insurance companies, these results are depressing. The only rational explanation is that Americans have been successfully brainwashed by years of propaganda and disinformation from the health insurance industry. As I and other Medicare users can attest to, a government run plan has provided me total freedom in choosing any physician and hospital I want to use. There is no sound reason to believe that a larger version of Medicare offered to all Americans would in any way reduce the quality of health care received.
The simple fact is that a huge amount of money can be saved by shifting from private to government health insurance, $4 trillion over ten years, more than enough to pay for universal health care coverage for absolutely all Americans.
What we are now witnessing in Congress and the White House is a total, ugly capitulation to the money and power of the private health insurance industry. If the private health insurance industry maintains its stranglehold on the national system, then taxpayers will pay even more money for the worst national health care system in the world, if Congress makes that costly insurance available to more Americans by using government money.
Mr. Ciaccio, aforementioned, also does not mince words in expressing his outrage.
These Congressional tools of the corporate health insurance and pharmaceutical industries value their re-election chances due to continued contributions from their corporate patrons more than the lives of 22,000 Americans who die each year, the 25 million who have inadequate health insurance, and the 50 million who have no health insurance at all.
He quotes Jon Stolz:
"Let me get this straight. The latest polls say three-quarters of the American people want a public option in health care, yet it’s in question. But, Congress is about to throw $369 million (on a down-payment of $2 billion) for a dozen F-22 fighter jets that even the Pentagon doesn’t want. Oh, and the money for it? It’s coming out of funds that were set aside to clean up dangerous nuclear waste in the U.S."
Ciaccio also expresses intense frustration as to how easily the administration is willing to spend on the military while crying poverty about investing in robust health care for the American public:
Right now, 22,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford health care. That’s an average of 60 deaths every day. These ghastly numbers put all the fuss about how much it will cost to insure all Americans in clear perspective. That the wealthiest nation in history, with a War Department budget of more than $600 billion (actually closer to one trillion dollars if the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons, NASA’s military section, the CIA, and other “national security” expenditures are included), and with an empire of more than 800 military bases in over 130 foreign countries (costing $100 billion per year) cannot afford to provide adequate health care, a human right according to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to all its citizens, is much worse than a travesty. It is a national disgrace and a very avoidable tragedy (by the way, our next nearest spending rival in national ‘defense’ is China, with a war budget of $65 billion, or one-tenth ours).
If they vote to sacrifice American lives in endless, unnecessary wars thousands of miles away or oppose a health care system which would save tens of thousands of American lives here at home, they are most definitely not “our” Congressional representatives in the House and Senate, regardless of their party affiliation and alleged ideology.
To add insult to injury from this massive health care betrayal, Congress intends to increase their own fiscal 2009 office budgets by 7 percent. Greg Bacon writes in Congress Just Gave Itself Nearly 4 Billion For Expenses:
Then become a member of the Congressional royalty and you too can wallow in the pork of nearly FOUR BILLION dollars to be used for "expenses." $3.7 billion divided by 535 members of Congress works out to a sweet $6.9 MILLION for each one of our Congressional "princes" to spend on "expenses."
But in the Never-Never Land of Congress, no such horrors as belt-tightening will ever come to the floor, as this year’s legislative branch spending bill is SEVEN PERCENT HIGHER than last year’s. Amendments that were offered up to cut this massive pork project were shot down quickly. How dare anyone try and make Congress face reality!
Overall, the House bill totals about $3.7 billion — which is expected to increase to $4.7 billion when Senate items are added. That’s about a 7 percent increase over fiscal 2009 spending — including an 8 percent increase for Members’ office budgets.
We Americans certainly do have the best Congress that money can buy.