Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Socialist Worker editorial on the defeat of health reform

(Excerpts from SocialistWorker.org):

Surrendering to the status quo

A president who was hyped as the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt is conceding to the right on every question.

August 25, 2009


Certainly it was expected that the health insurance and drug companies would use their clout to try to block real health care reform. On the campaign trail last year, Obama explicitly promised to keep them in line. "I'll have the insurance and drug companies at the table," he said. "They just won't be able to buy every chair...And I'll be at the table. I'll have the biggest chair, because I'm president." Obama even promised to televise negotiations on C-SPAN.

Yet it was President Obama who empowered Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus to frame health care legislation in a closed-door session with six senators from both parties--and it was Baucus who gave Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa veto power over any deal.

Now Obama is poised to junk the so-called "public option"--a government-run insurer that was supposed to compete with private companies. Obama once championed the public option as an essential way to force private insurers and the industry generally to control runaway health care costs--now he calls it a "tiny sliver" of health care reform.


For health insurance companies, this proposal is "a bonanza," Robert Laszewski, a former health insurance executive, told the Los Angeles Times. He said the insurance companies' reaction to the plan can be summed up in a single word: "Hallelujah!"

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