Since When Did Americans Stop Rooting For the Little Guy?
That’s what the whole “debate” on Health Care Reform makes me wonder about. It made sense to me that Americans went ape sh%t when CEOs and Executives of companies like AIG got greedy and tried to line their pockets even further with bonuses. Yet when the CEOs of the Giant Health Care Corporations try to do the same thing, we let them cry poor and win?
Something else must be going on here.
When you do a little bit of digging, the answer becomes clear rather quickly. For every lawmaker in Congress, there are about six lobbyists pushing their health care priorities, according to a Bloomberg News investigation released ten days ago. That’s about 3,300 registered health care lobbyists working Capitol Hill, outnumbering and constantly swarming 100 senators and 435 congressmen.
Bloomberg also examined new lobbyist registrations since July 1 and found that, on average, three lobbying organizations per day, many headquartered on Washington, D.C.’s K Street corridor, are lining up to lobby Congress on health reform.
After reading that you can see why it looks like Americans might not be rooting for the little guy (themselves in this case). This is because Billions, and maybe eventually Trillions, of dollars will have been spent to scare Americans, and subsequently kill Health Care Reform.
Whether it’s lobbying Congress, running scare Ads on TV, or paying to bus protestors to Town Hall Meetings, Goliath has started to thwart any momentum David seemed to have going.
But all hope is not lost. If you recall, less than 10 months ago many people and Large Corporations said that a Black man with a funny sounding name getting elected to the Highest Office in the Land was impossible. Well, score that one David: 1 Goliath: 0.
Getting Health Care reformed doesn’t have to be all that different than the election. People need to take a little time out of their busy lives to, number one, educate themselves on what Reform actually means.
A poll by the Associated Press last week highlighted what a big problem this actually is:
(Here is a link to the article): http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hfODLR0wl7aBmaQ38Za6eyzLJ9hQD9A6AE0G2
THE POLL: 45 percent said it’s likely the government will decide when to stop care for the elderly; 50 percent said it’s not likely.
THE FACTS: Nothing being debated in Washington would give the government such authority. Critics have twisted a provision in a House bill that would direct Medicare to pay for counseling sessions about end-of-life care, living wills, hospices and the like if a patient wants such consultations with a doctor. They have said, incorrectly, that the elderly would be required to have these sessions.
House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio said such counseling “may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.”
The bill would prohibit coverage of counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option.
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who has been a proponent of coverage for end-of-life counseling under Medicare, said such sessions are a voluntary benefit, strictly between doctor and patient, and it was “nuts” to think death panels are looming or euthanasia is part of the equation.
But as fellow conservatives stepped up criticism of the provision, he backed away from his defense of it.
THE POLL: 55 percent expect the overhaul will give coverage to illegal immigrants; 34 percent don’t.
THE FACTS: The proposals being negotiated do not provide coverage for illegal immigrants.
THE POLL: 54 percent said the overhaul will lead to a government takeover of health care; 39 percent disagree.
THE FACTS: Obama is not proposing a single-payer system in which the government covers everyone, like in Canada or some European countries. He says that direction is not right for the U.S. The proposals being negotiated do not go there.
At issue is a proposed “exchange” or “marketplace” in which a new government plan would be one option for people who aren’t covered at work or whose job coverage is too expensive. The exchange would offer some private plans as well as the public one, all of them required to offer certain basic benefits.
That’s a long way from a government takeover. But when Obama tells people they can just continue with the plans they have now if they are happy with them, that can’t be taken at face value, either. Tax provisions could end up making it cheaper for some employers to pay a fee to end their health coverage, nudging some patients into a public plan with different doctors and benefits. Over time, critics fear, the public plan could squeeze private insurers out of business because they would not be able to compete with the federal government.
It’s unclear now whether Obama is committed to the public option. He described it recently as “just one sliver” of health reform, suggesting it was expendable if lawmakers could agree on another way to expand affordable coverage. Now the White House is emphasizing his strong support for it.
THE POLL: 50 percent expect taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions; 37 percent don’t.
THE FACTS: The House version of legislation would allow coverage for abortion in the public plan. But the procedure would be paid for with dollars from beneficiary premiums, not from federal funds. Likewise, private plans in the new insurance exchange could opt to cover abortion, but no federal subsidies would be used to pay for the procedure.
Opponents say the prohibition on federal money for the procedure is merely a bookkeeping trick and what matters is that Washington would allow abortion to be covered under government-subsidized insurance.
Obama has stated that the U.S. should continue its tradition of “not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care.” Current laws prohibiting public financing of abortion would stay on the books.
Yet abortion guidelines are not yet clear for the government-supervised insurance exchange. There is strong sentiment in Congress on both sides of the issue.
So as you can see, people taking time to educate themselves and their friends and family on what actual Reform would entail is quite a big deal. If that can be done, a similar strategy to the 2008 Presidential Campaign can be enacted. Getting normal Americans to inform themselves and then use that information to educate others around them. An educated and active Public is a nightmare for the large Health Care Corporations and their lobbyists. So in turn, it is also the best chance for Real Health Care Reform.
Mark “Marky Mark” Grimaldi
The Leslie Marshall Show
“The Only True Democracy In Talk Radio – Of, For and By The People”