Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Are you feeling like a chump yet?"

A few items on Obama and Heath Care
[Edited, 2 links added, 12/24/09]

Below are interesting links on Obama's behavior with regard to getting real reform for Americans who have looked for actual progress and solutions to their financially burdensome and disaster provoking health care dilemma. (Do I blame the wellspring for much of the anti-health care sentiment on the Republican leadership and the likes of Fox News? Of course I do! But they were not elected on a platform that promised real reform. Obama wasted the political capital he was given by a vast majority of the American people and frankly, he lied to us.)

On Wednesday, Obama told NPR that:
"This notion I know among some on the left that somehow this bill is not everything that it should be ... I think just ignores the real human reality that this will help millions of people and end up being the most significant piece of domestic legislation at least since Medicare and maybe since Social Security," ( but many are questioning his spin on the health care/insurance "reform" that is presently before congress. No one really knows what the Senate-House reconciliation will produce, but it is not likely to meet the hopes of many of his supporters, or his own promises, during the '08 election campaign and after he became President.

The first link below, from July of this year, shows Obama saying that any plan he signs "must include . . . a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest." He also reaffirmed his opposition to any mandate requiring everyone to purchase insurance, whether they can afford to or not: "If a mandate was the solution we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everyone to buy a house--the reason they don't have a house is that they don't have the money." It points out that 59 % support a public option, and that only 33 % support a mandate to purchase insurance.

You can watch the video whether you contribute to the cause or not (No Mandate!)--Must See:

Obama rejected mandates during his campaign

Obama also rejected mandates in the January 21, 2008 Democratic Presidential candidates debate, using the notion of promoting mandating the purchase of insurance against Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. He also indicated support for an open process, enlisting the American people in the process, and opposition to secret, "behind-closed-doors" deals with insurance and drug companies, deals that he ultimately made with drug companies and others after he became President. He also said that we need to be "very clear about who is carrying water for the drug companies and the insurance companies and who is looking out for the families who are struggling. . ." So who now is carrying water for the insurance and drug companies? Watch:


Aother article from the Washington Independent:

Obama: Health Reform Bills Not Compromised ‘in Any Significant Way’
By MIKE LILLIS 12/22/09 3:16 PM

Liberals might be grumbling about the concessions needed to pass health care reform this year, but President Obama has no regrets. In an interview with The Washington Post Tuesday, Obama said he’s “very enthusiastic” about the reforms contained in the Senate bill, which, he added, accomplishes “95 percent” of his campaign goals.

In listing those priorities, Obama cited the 30 million uninsured Americans projected to receive coverage, budget estimates of more than $1 trillion in savings over the next two decades, a “patients’ bill of rights on steroids” to protect consumers from being dropped by insurance companies, and tax breaks to help small businesses pay to cover employees. [...]

“We don’t feel that the core elements to help the American people have been compromised in any significant way,” Obama said. “Do these pieces of legislation have exactly everything I want? Of course not. But they have the things that are necessary to reduce costs for businesses, families and the government.”

In a curious claim, Obama also told the Post that the public option “has become a source of ideological contention between the left and right,” but added, “I didn’t campaign on the public option.”

That’s curious because he did campaign on the public option. It’s here, in “Barack Obama’s Plan for a Healthy America:”

Specifically, the Obama plan will: (1) establish a new public insurance program available to Americans who neither qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP nor have access to insurance through their employers, as well as to small businesses that want to offer insurance to their employees.

Easier said than done.

And then there's this one:


Huffington Post
First Posted: 08- 9-09 12:30 AM | Updated: 09- 8-09 05:12 AM

Oh my! But guess what--the White House lobbied against North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan's amendment which would have allowed safe, less expensive drug imports from other countries. Obama said "We'll allow the safe re-importation of low-cost drugs from countries like Canada" during his campaign, but his White House lobbied against Dorgan's bill, and it failed without a whimper from Obama.


The Senate Health Care Bill: Leave No Special Interest Behind,0,6309565.story

See also:

Study Reveals “Revolving Door” Between Capitol Hill Staffers and Healthcare Lobbyists

Obama Double-Crossed Progressives on Health Care

By Matthew Rothschild

December 23, 2009 "The Progressive" -- - Are you feeling like a chump yet?

If you're a good progressive, and you wanted single-payer health care for all, or, second best, Medicare for All Who Want It, or third best, a robust public option, or fourth best, a paltry public option, now you've got nothing, nada, zippo.

Has it ever crossed your mind that this is the way President Obama wanted it to be?

That he tossed in the public option at the beginning only to get progressives on board, knowing full well that he was going to jettison the public option by the end?

Have you considered that maybe Max Baucus wasn't the problem?

And that maybe Olympia Snowe wasn't the problem?

And that maybe even hideous Joe Lieberman wasn't the problem?

But that Obama himself was the problem?

After all, Obama never once said he wouldn't sign a health care bill that didn't have a public option in it. [Well, Mr. Rothschild, he did in fact say that--see the ActBlue link above--Obama Promised!]

After all, Obama dumped on the public option at almost every opportunity, calling it just a "sliver" of the overall package, and not the most important sliver at that.

After all, Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was huddling regularly with Max Baucus when the Montana Senator squashed the public option the first time.

And after all, Obama didn't even ask Lieberman to back the public option.

Seems to me that Obama played us all for fools.

His discussion of the public option was a cynical charade from the start, and now he expects all good progressives to rally around this "historic" health care bill?

Forget about it.

The most historic thing about Obama's health care bill is the double-cross he dealt progressives.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.
© 2009 The Progressive

This could go on and on . . . . But lastly, two items from BBC:

BBC World News - US Congressman DENNIS KUCINICH on healthcare reform 1300g 24Dec09

Obama's bonanza for lobbyists

US President Barack Obama's decision to leave Congress to flesh out his healthcare plans has provided rich pickings for lobbyists on Capitol Hill, as The Report's Simon Cox discovered.

As any viewer of the long-running but now ended US political drama The West Wing could tell you, lobbyists are almost part of the fixtures and fittings on Capitol Hill.

Back on the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama announced that he was "the only candidate who isn't taking a dime from Washington lobbyists".

But leading lobbyist John Jonas argues that today, the way the President has chosen to present his healthcare reforms has created a bonanza for the industry.

"That's kind of one of those curious things the way the world works out. Obama has made a lot of noise about his dislike for lobbyists, raised a lot of concerns about their negative influence on the process," said Mr Jonas.

"Former president Bill Clinton did not have those concerns, but interestingly, by leaving the process to Congress by not being prescriptive in the way Mr Clinton was, President Obama has really allowed lobbyists to have much influence on the process because it hasn't come in a pre-packaged form.

“ In the US lobbying is a great sport. The insurance industry is once again triumphing over the public interest ”
Congressman Dennis Kucinich
"It has been developed in a variety of different committees and so we've had a much more porous process."

Lobbyists trying to influence the reforms have focused their efforts on winning the argument about the economic cost.

Washington has been awash with dollars spent on lobbying, with an estimated $250m (£156m) spent in the last six months alone. Tales circulate of several lobbyists vying for the attention of a single senator or congressman as they make their way to vote.

'Gucci Gulch''

As someone firmly on the left of the Democratic Party and strongly pro-health reform, Congressman Dennis Kucinich is unlikely to be on any lobbyist's list.

He put forward his own failed bill, which would have introduced a US version of the British National Health System in America.

As a long-time advocate of the controversial so-called public option - a government insurance plan that would compete with private insurers - Congressman Kucinich has watched lobbyists' attempts to influence Mr Obama's healthcare reform with growing alarm.

46 million uninsured, 25 million under-insured
Healthcare costs represent 16% of GDP, almost twice OECD average
Reform plans would require all Americans to get insurance
Some propose public option to compete with private insurers
"In the US, lobbying is a great sport. The current bill before Congress is called HR 3200 - I explain to people how that got its bill number: 3200 is the number of lobbyists who are promoting the interests of the private insurance companies," he said.

"We have an area where people move through to try to go to vote, an open space called Gucci Gulch, where all the people with their $2,000 suits and their Gucci shoes gathered to importune members of Congress, and frankly the lobbyists have been successful.

"The insurance industry is once again triumphing over the public interest.

"They have moved mightily to forestall a very weak so-called 'public option' that would give people who could not find private insurance an opportunity to find any kind of insurance, and they are aggressively knocking down each and any effort towards substantive economic reform."


So who are these Machiavellian figures who prowl "Gucci Gulch" looking to buttonhole senators and congressmen?

Nick Allard, who formerly worked for the late Senator Ted Kennedy before joining advocacy firm Patton Boggs, rejects this stereotyped view of his industry.

"That expression plays into the popular image of influence peddlars, and cigar-chewing people who get results and influence with money," he says.

“ The dirty little secret about our government is that it can't be bought, it can't even be rented for a little while ”
Nick Allard, lobbyist
"Really the way you get things done is kind of boring and embarrassing, but it is by rolling up your sleeves and making a good case on the merits."

But, as I stood with him on the spot which Dennis Kucinich called the Gucci Gulch, he admitted he will make last-minute attempts to catch a Congressman before a final vote.

"At the final stages of legislation where things are really stacked up the only chance to get them is here," he says.

Some $250m (£156m) have been spent by lobbying firms in the past six months but Nick Allard denies that this money has bought undue influence:

"The dirty little secret about our government is that it can't be bought, it can't even be rented for a little while. There are exceptions of course, but by and large money doesn't buy results," he told me.

"If it was that easy you wouldn't need to hire expert advocates."

President Obama hoped to have his plans ready by summer but he will be lucky to have one by the end of the year. Whatever the outcome, it appears the lobbyists win either way.

You can listen to The Report via the BBC

or download the
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/10/01 09:01:53 GMT


I'm so tired of being a chump for the Democratic establishment!

So . . . I signed up with Oregon's new Progressive Party (hoping not to be a chump for them). At least they support "Every American will have access to guaranteed quality health care, regardless of their financial means," although I probably wouldn't be able to support some of their positions on mass immigration.

Oregon Progressive Party:

No comments: