Half a loaf? No, worse. Here is your Christmas present -- a big lump of coal. Let me simplify and make clear my assertion. You are ill and need help. You want the best. Whose wise counsel and help do you seek? You want someone who is sympathetic, skilled and competent.
Dr. Howard Dean
This debate has never been about health. Certainly not your health. For the last six months I have steadfastly maintained the large insurance racketeers would not lose this one. They have thrown prodigious amounts of money into the ring and it has paid off handsomely. Their paid surrogates have performed well. Like their Wall Street kin, the pirates have won again. Robert Reich pulls no punches:
In other words, the private insurers are winning and the public is losing.
Pharmaceutical companies are winning as well.
Howard Dean, on Meet the Press, was almost spot on although it was evident he had been "rolled" by David Axelrod, White House proxy. As Dean highlighted, health insurance stocks, as illustrated by WellPoint (formerly Blue Cross), have moved to 52 week highs. Investors are bullish. They see nothing but a pot of gold in this legislation.
Wellpoint hits a 52-week high.
Dean continued his conversation on insurance reform:
... Now, there are two countries that have done this without a public option, Switzerland and the Netherlands, but they treat insurance companies as public utilities. That's what we would have to do. And I don't have an objection to that. The--my, my concern about the public option is not ideological. But I just think a 30-year fight with the insurance industries over every little detail about how they're going to control costs ...
In the last six months you have been distracted by the pitchfork and torchlight mobs manipulated by Dick Army and Glenn Beck, the Democratic assertions, the Republican assertions, the White House, the President, the CBO. The list is prodigious. Everyone has had a say. But the one group conspicuously absent are ... physicians. Don't think for a minute that the toothless AMA had any real input.
Who is against this bill? The California Medical Society; Dr. Jeffrey S. Flier, Dean of Harvard Medical School; former Labor Secretary Robert Reich; Dr. Howard Dean; Dr. Marcia Angel, former editor of the New England Journal; and Dr. Andrew Weil. In fact, I just saw a copy of Andrew Weil's latest book, Why Our Health Matters .. 50% off retail. A testament to the lack serious focus on ... health.
Most of the provisions in the legislation, we are told, will not even take effect until 2014. If this is such a crisis, why a four year delay?
So who really benefits? Not that many.
The estimate is an increase in coverage from 83% to 94%. All of this for a 11% yield? And primarily because of a forced mandate. You will be forced to buy coverage that in all likelihood you will not be able to afford. If you consider yourself a true progressive, this bill has nothing. If you are a true conservative (not a phony one), this bill has nothing. Unions are upset. If the House Stupak abortion restrictions are reintroduced in conference, women will see the clock turned back 30 years.
Near as this practicing physician can see ... little benefit for anyone.
As Arianna had so forcefully said, the real storm lies ahead. We have taken our eye off the ball. Call it what you want -- recession, depression, upturn -- the loss of jobs and the economy is issue numero uno. This entire year, with the advent of a fatally flawed bill shoved through in the dead of winter, will produce nothing but a Pyrrhic victory for the Democratic Party.
Staggering job losses