Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Chris Prevatt Headshot

Health Care Reform: The Real Price is in "Brother can you Spare a Dime"

Posted: Updated:

It has become readily apparent that efforts to achieve health care reform in the Senate have become a disaster and effectively dead. This seems to be clear to everyone, with the exception of several senators, including Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

At any chance, GOP senators have obstructed the progress in reaching meaningful reform in their attempt to ensure the status quo remains. If the current Senate health care bill were to be enacted into law, the health insurance industry would experience a financial windfall from millions of customers forced to purchase coverage at whatever price they choose. This is simply unacceptable.

Dr. Howard Dean said in a radio interview on Wednesday that it is time to KILL this BILL:

This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.

If Democratic leaders cater to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), they will be left with a bill that is not worth supporting.

The failure of Senate lawmakers to address the need for meaningful reform does not fall squarely on the heads of Republicans in the chamber. Conservative Democrats like Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and the so called "maverick senator" from Connecticut, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are also culpable.

Perhaps most disappointing of all, we have President Barack Obama to thank for not having yet achieved comprehensive health care reform. The President campaigned on the platform of real health care reform, but since elected has not fulfilled his word and has failed to lead.

The Obama administration has effectively caved to the interests of health insurance industry executives. The president has provided little, if any direction or pressure on the matter; he has produced no change at all.

We're really not talking about a lot of loose change here. With 308 million Americans, health care coverage would cost about fifty-cents a day, for every person in the country. Yeah, that's all it would cost.

For the sake of comparison, each year we spend three times that amount to fund the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. More than twelve and a half times that amount has been spent this past year alone to bail out Wall Street bankers.

One of the best known songs of the Republican Great Depression, "Brother Can you Spare a Dime," was written in 1931 and released just prior to the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Made famous by Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee, the song was viewed as the anthem of the shattered dreams of the era. As we now endure this current economic recession, and our shattered dreams of Change, this song seems to be strikingly relevant.

So to Barack Obama and the United States Senate I have just one question.

Brother, can you spare five dimes? Just fifty-cents a day to fund health care for all?

Below is a video of the song "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" as sung by Rudy Vallee.