This morning, I watched the spectacle of the United States Senate passing legislation that is still sometimes called health care reform, though it is not, and thought about how the Obama administration will now work far harder to push House Democrats to accept this bad joke on the American people than Obama or Rahm Emanuel ever pushed a single Senator who caucuses with Democrats to allow cloture on debate so that the United States Senate could have voted up-or-down on real health care reform with a public health insurance option.
Now Obama is saying that the government is delivering on “the promise of real, meaningful reform.” Yes, according to Obama, the country is near the end of the health care reform battle. BarbinMD at Daily Kos takes issue with this characterization: “This bill won’t be the end all, it will be the first step. Let’s not let them forget that.” I’m not sure what BarbinMD thinks this bill is a first step toward, but she’s right to say it isn’t the end.
We’re seeing Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment.
Jon Walker at Firedoglake argues in Senate Health Bill Passes; US Senate Fails that the big winners here are PhRMA, health insurance companies, Obama, Reid, Nelson, Lincoln, Lieberman, and, of course, the lobbyists, “who just saw their profits jump thanks to this great opportunity to show their clients just how powerful their hold on Washington really is.” Please allow me to add that it also is a win for Landrieu, but to take issue with the assertion that it’s a win for Obama, Reid, Nelson, or Lincoln. They’re celebrating now, but they’ve shot themselves in both feet politically. I’ll give Reid, Nelson, and Lincoln enough credit to say that they are intelligent enough to feel the pain. Obama, apparently, not so much. He still wants to smile big, sell the American people a lemon, and act like he feels no pain at all. Well, the damage is being done. And the pain will be felt.
SouthernDragon at Firedoglake argues that Progressives aren’t done yet and that the legislation can still be improved. True. But, with all due respect to SouthernDragon and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), there’s no excuse for accepting this monstrosity, this bad joke on the American people, even if there are a few improvements here and there.
Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake aptly put it this way:
“If you’re fighting those who want a better bill in defense of this bill, you own this bill, not the bill you’d like to see but are doing nothing to advance.”
The fact is that this bill, this monstrosity that is still oddly called health care reform, though it is not, creates a huge liability for Obama, who has, in fact, made all the bad actors in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries his political partners. The private health insurers aren’t in the business of caring about people. They’re in business to make profit. And Wall Street types are certainly counting on them to profit big time. Progressives will spend the next few years highlighting examples of private insurance companies’ significant abuse and waste, and they will pin all of it on Obama, on this alliance which he has formed with all the bad actors in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, and on his failure to fight for real health care reform on behalf of the American people.
Obama can’t even claim that he’s all that sure that this bad joke will accomplish “the oft-stated goal of health reform: reducing the growth rate in health care costs and expenditures – often referred to as ‘bending the cost curve,’” as Jeanne Sahadi at CNN has put it. “That growth rate is what drives federal spending on Medicare and other federal health programs,” in case you’re wondering why anyone should care about ‘bending the cost curve.’
The few improvements to our health care system, Jon Walker says,
“come at a huge cost. There is a poorly designed tax that will cause many people’s insurance to get worse, a rollback of women’s reproductive rights, and a mandate forcing people to buy low quality, expensive insurance for unregulated private insurance companies.”
“Mission Accomplished,” Mr. President. Not.
Thanks for selling us out.
President Obama is going to spend 2010, 2011, 2012, and every year of his post-presidency learning that he can’t sell empty promises to his base the way he did as Candidate Obama in 2008.
[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]
[Cross-posted at Daily Kos, where comments are far from kind…]