Bye Bye Public Option

09/18/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

No surprise really, but very disappointing all the same, that owing to the activities of a few extremist nutcases, Obama is signaling he's prepared to accept health care reform that does not include a public option.

Obama does not seem to have a taste for conflict; he seems too keen to secure agreement with those who oppose him. Making a deal with the drug industry that precludes using the purchasing power of the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices was a disaster.

In general though, why is it that the Republicans always seem to win, while the Democrats always cave? Two years ago, after Bush and McConnell hammered and hammered away that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act desperately needed reforming, in order to, in Bush's words, "give our intelligence professionals the tools they need," the Democrats in Congress caved and gave them their victory. The White House's case was built on lies and misrepresentation, but no Democrat had the guts to challenge those lies, so we got a completely redundant law called the Protect America Act, and, six months later, another battle when that law expired.

Now the boot's on the other foot: a Democrat in the White House. But the Republicans are still telling lies, only now the lies and misrepresentation are about health reform. And their lies are being believed once again.

Isn't it interesting that Obama only supported a public option as one among a spectrum of choices, most of which already exist? It's intriguing to speculate on the real reasons behind the venomous opposition the public option has inspired. Are some worried that it might work too well, perhaps?

Now we hear from Republicans and conservative Democrats that health care reform will be too expensive. How is it that a trillion dollars is too much to spend on health care for all, when last fall a trillion dollars was not too much to flush away into the banking system to pay off contracts concluded recklessly and tied to nothing of real value at all?

I'm an English-born immigrant and a Canadian citizen. Oh, yes, and I admit it, I was brainwashed by Orwellian British propaganda into accepting the National Health Service as normal. My mother was able to have surgery because of the NHS, and because of that, my two brothers and I were born. The NHS took care of me, for example when I had an appendectomy at 18 months and after a serious car accident at 26. So did the Canadian system.

It probably won't interest American readers, but to Europeans and Canadians the debate over health care in this country has a stale, fusty, worn and worn-out feeling. Americans still can't agree over an issue that was settled so long ago in so many other democracies.