White House, HCAN, Ignore the Single Payer Option

Most western democracies guarantee their citizens a right to medical services through their own version of government managed single payer health care. But such a system has been attacked in the US as "socialized medicine" since before the 1950s especially by lobbyists for the insurance and drug industries who would see their profits decline. Although Barack Obama was elected on a health care reform platform, his version ignores single payer. Nor is single payer advocated by his allies in the well-funded coalition called Health Care for America Now, composed of MoveOn, USAction, ACORN, Americans United for Change, the unions SEIU and UFCW and other liberal heavy hitters. Journalist Russell Mokhiber, founder of the new group Single Payer Action, notes that no advocate of a single payer system was invited to the recent White House summit on health care reform. Only protests by Progressive Democrats of America and others won an invitation for Congressman John Conyers, sponsor of the United States National Health Care Act: H.R.676. Mokhiber quotes Dr. David Himmelstein of Physicians for a National Health Program: “The President once acknowledged that single payer reform was the best option, but now he’s caving in to corporate health care interests and completely shutting out advocates of single payer reform," even though "the majority of Americans favor single payer, and it’s the most popular reform option among doctors and health economists."


It's the voters' fault. YES, I MEAN YOU! You have consistently voted for corporate-financed parties that are dead-set AGAINST single-payer. Why are you complaining? You got what you voted for! Even 5% of the vote for a non-corporate party (like the Green Party) that ADVOCATES single-payer would have sent the Democrats a wake-up call. But no, you TOLD THEM with your votes that what they were doing was just fine. You've made your bed, now lie in it. (And make a wiser choice next election!)

Typical Green whiner! The most imaginative thing you can think of is telling people to vote Green every four years. Well, frankly, the Greens haven't shown an ability to organize their way out of a wet green paper sack! If the revolution depends on the Greens, everyone go have fun and kiss it goodbye. And I often vote for Green candiudates. But this whining loser attitude that mistakes the Green Party for the Second Coming is one reason why you Greenies turn off so many. Take that vitriol and sniping and aim at liberal sellouts like HCAN and MoveOn, not at the public at large, Greenie.

The problem with these arguments is it ignores the function of propaganda in our society. Please return to Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent. The United States has ceased to be a free country in any meaningful way (if it ever was). Elections are decided on appearances -- even JFK said so directly more than 40 years ago. As long as this state of affairs continues, it is pointless to blame the sheeple. There is an elaborate 'appearance' of elections which are all that is needed to give the 'appearance' of democracy. Direct proof of stolen elections for many years causes no stir in the people. Maybe in their hearts most know we do not have freedom?

Maybe if the Green Party would start at the local levels like state Reps and Senators, or US Reps and Senators, they might have a chance. You can't build a party by just going for the Presidency every four years, that'll never work. I do agree with much of the Green Party's platform, but it will never be a viable option without building from the ground up. Single payer is the only viable option for a prosperous future.

If Mokhiber's Single Payer Action group finally opens up the Pandora's Box regarding private insurers' vast holdings in most of the worst health-damaging firms on Wall Street, including even top cigarette manufacturers, then we will know that we have a Single Payer activist group that is not doing As-Little-As-Possible....as so many others seem to be doing. As a visit to public documents at the Security & Exchange Commission (SEC) shows anyone who cares to look, top health insurers also have multi-million dollar investments (using what was our health care money) in Big Coal, top oil producers, pesticides, GE "food", chlorine interests galore, and top "war" contractors. Insurers invest also in pharmaceuticals, thus setting up motive and fiduciary duty to favor investment properties' drugs over others that may be safer, cheaper and more effective...and to overlook health problems with the property's drugs. The idea that Private Insurance is Bad for Our Health (not just our finances) has not been put into the discussion. This is a clue to what may be a dark, almost (not quite) unimaginable situation, that some or many Single Payer groups are somehow set up to fail...to create the illusion that "something is being done"---as long as it's ineffective in removing private insurers from our public health system.

Unfortunately on the left end of the spectrum groups are so used to failing that it becomes a way of behaving. But I actually think there has been some great and underpaid, not to mention under appreciated, policy work done on single payer by groups like Physicians for a National Health Program. The REAL problem are the mainstream liberal and union groups pouring by now probably a hundred million dollars into [[HCAN]] -- the SEIU, UFCW, MoveOn, etc. This giant liberal coalition is nothing but a cheering section for Obama's inability to bite the hand that has fed him. Look at Obama's big donors, and of course he had more big donors than ANY candidate in the race, and you'll see Wall Street and the Insurance Industry own him as well as the Congress, and these boosters in the unions and the liberal money clique don't want to do anything but have a small chair at that party. Conspiracy? Look at the obvious.

Dude, I don't know who you are, but your excellently-worded post speaks volumes to those of us who are saying, upon reading such a post, "it's about time somebody said this stuff! I've been railing against the 'health' insurance industry for years, intuitively seeing it for what it is: yet another tentacle of a MACHINE that ultimately wants to get its hands on as much of our assets as possible - health be damned. Our friendly auto mechanic paid $13,000.00 for coverage for himself, spouse and 3-year old in '07. I still can't believe he still smiles - or has incentive to go to work and bust his ass every day all the while forfeiting such shocking amounts of hard-earned lifeblood to the greedy and arrogant. Talk about 'entitlement mentality'! Only when enough of us STOP paying the shysters will any meaningful change come about. As a pertinent aside, check out this riveting, totally accurate skewering of Massachusetts' so-called 'health reform' - basically welfare for 'health' insurance companies: http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=fraud+in+the+guise+of+health+reform Moreover, who's talking about the nature of medicine itself - so inextricably tilted toward profitable, pharmaceutical/surgical sick-care? You might be interested in finding out about natural alternatives: lef.org http://www.anhcampaign.org/index.php Many of us would love to completely opt out of our for-profit American system, yet welcome some kind of 'safety net', should we get gravely injured, etc. Dave

Your pot shots at HCAN are mean spirited and are as helpful to the left as a Cointelpro hit. The folks at HCAN aren't Obama's "allies," they are authentic grassroots activists PUSHING the Obama agenda and they represent tens of thousands of people all across the country. When you show us how you can get 60 votes in the senate to eliminate one of the most powerful industries in the history of western capitalism you will suddenly find yourself with just as many allies and grassroots organizers as HCAN has. Then we can talk about nationalizing other industries, like energy. Until then, please continue to push forward the critique of the insurance industry but PLEASE do not take pot shots at your allies working to expand the public sector and shrink the private sector. We HAVE to work together. PS . I enjoyed your book and used it in my Social and Economic Justice Class. But please cut the crap.

<blockquote>"The folks at HCAN aren't Obama's 'allies,' they are authentic grassroots activists PUSHING the Obama agenda and they represent tens of thousands of people all across the country."</blockquote> They're Obama's allies precisely because they're pushing his agenda instead of pushing him to push the true grassroots aganda, i.e. single-payer universal coverage. <blockquote>"When you show us how you can get 60 votes in the senate to eliminate one of the most powerful industries in the history of western capitalism you will suddenly find yourself with just as many allies and grassroots organizers as HCAN has."</blockquote Yeah, but should it have to take 60 votes in the Senate just to get a couple of token single-payer advocates a seat at the table? This side of the squad is reloading. Better duck.

<blockquote>"I enjoyed your book and used it in my Social and Economic Justice Class."</blockquote> Too bad, then, to have to remind you that such books don't spring from a toe-the-line mentality, and neither does social justice itself.