On Sunday morning, I picked up my New York Times and read the front-page headline, "Sweeping Health Care Overhaul Passes the House." I said to myself, "Wow, I can't believe they did it."
President Obama hailed the victory:
We are just two steps away from achieving health insurance reform in America. Now the United States Senate must follow suit and pass its version of the legislation. I am absolutely confident it will, and I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year.
It all looked and sounded good to me -- this was the moment we'd been waiting for, right?
House lawmakers voted 220 to 215 to approve the plan. Thirty-nine Democrats voted against the bill, one of whom was Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. In a statement on his website, he explained why.
We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.
He went on to explain his opposition to the bill.
But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies - a bailout under a blue cross.
Congressman Kucinich appeared this morning on Democracy Now, the nationally-syndicated radio and television news program hosted by Amy Goodman.
You can watch the interview here.