Thursday, December 17, 2009

Howard Dean: Kill the Bill

Howard Dean has come out in favor of scuttling the Senate's current health care "reform" bill unless it's given back its teeth--i.e. a public option and protections for consumers.
Any measure that expands private insurers' monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.

Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG. (My emphasis)
He's right.

Almost immediately after the health care fight began, cowardly Congress-critters started selling out the core principles of reform and President Obama sat on the sidelines as his campaign promise was picked apart and betrayed. Apparently the "no-public-option" scare from earlier in the summer was simply a harbinger of things to come. After a months-long circular debate, the Senate bill is now nearly worthless. Without a robust public option, a national mandate is nothing more than corporate socialism.

It's time to either restore the bill to its former glory or start over completely. And here's a tip for President Obama and the Senate Dems: this time instead of coddling the very people who are profiting from the unmitigated national disgrace that is our health care system, stand up for the people. It's time for single-payer Medicare for all. Maybe once they water that down and compromise it away, we'll end up with something approaching the original version of this bill.

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