A national health care plan of any meaningful kind is doomed. There are many reasons why it doesn't have a chance. Democrats, even with their overwhelming majority in Congress, show us once more that they don't have the courage to lead. It is as if they have already forgotten about their years of irrelevance that were brought on by their own terminal timidity. They really are such an easy target for Republicans because even as creepy as Republicans look today, they at least stand for something. Americans respect that. It's not only cowardice that will doom national health care. Seventy-two percent of Americans want meaningful health care reform. The bad news is that organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the pharmaceutical industry, and the insurance industry, want to maintain business as usual because for them, our dysfunctional system is a cash cow.
Drug companies showed a profit of 80 billion dollars last year while the health care industry collected 13 billion in profits. Life is good, and they are spreading all those billions around to the Democrats -- the same way they did for the Republicans. For every one member of congress, there are four health care lobbyists. Where money and politics is involved, a donkey looks exactly like an elephant.
Max Baucus is the head donkey with his hand out this time around. He is a Democrat senator from Montana who is supposed to help lead the reform legislation. It would be difficult to find a senator in Washington who is more beholding to drug companies, and insurance companies. Those groups adore Baucus to the tune of almost 4 million dollars in campaign contributions. So here's how Baucus repays the favor: He works to derail real health care reform, the kind that three quarters of Americans want. He helps negotiate a "deal" with the drug companies where those companies promise to lower drug costs so older Americans can afford the medicines that keep them alive. The trade-off is that government is not permitted to limit costs like they could under a national health care system. In other words, there will be no cost oversight... business as usual.
But the Baucus scam doesn't end there. Baucus wants to protect the profits of the people who own him by passing on reform costs to families that receive health insurance benefits from their employers. The value of health benefit plans that cover hospitalization, drugs, vision and dental care would be taxed. Baucus is no doubt certain that his plan would be difficult to sell. But that's the point. The people who paid him 4 million dollars don't want reform of any kind. To them, it's better to kill reform completely.
So here's the fallout: The United States remains the only industrialized country in the world without a universal health care system.
- 46 million Americans remain uninsured;
- 20 thousand people continue to die each year because they are uninsured;
- Elderly Americans continue to make the choice of whether they should eat or buy medicine;
- Health care costs continue to bankrupt American families.
But there will be some justice. Democrats will lose in midterm elections because voters will remember that they are nothing more than Bill-Clinton-gutless moderates.