THE BLOG
09/13/2006 11:19 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Job #1 Is NOT Iraq

Not that the "Democratic Tsunami" (as front-runner Chris Matthews likes to say) is a sure thing...but should the public throw the evildoers out of Congress and out on the (K) street, Iraq, while important, is not the most important issue facing Americans.

Yes, global warming and the dozens of other environmental issues must be addressed, and they will be once (or if) the oil companies are divested of ownership of the American government. We know what to do about that.

But Job One should be health care.

It is the sole issue that touches each of us every day. There are powerful forces to be beaten, but what the health care industry (pimping the Republicans, and many Democrats like Joe Lieberman) have designed...what passes for a "Health Care System" ...is criminal in the extreme. The problem is there are no criminal penalties against it. To the contrary, the health care industry owns the levers of power in government.

For a start, let's stop calling them "the health care industry." They are "illness profiteers" and no better than war profiteers. They make money from our illnesses. They make it if we're not sick, and they make more if we are.

First, they take our money in CASE we get sick. Then they want us to be sick enough to need medical care and then borrow money from the banks (in on the deal) to pay for it. So the pharmaceutical companies get our money, the hospital industry gets our money, and doctors too, but banks via their credit card operations, and medical loan companies get to transfer money to those industries and then bill us at a huge rate of interest so we can pay it off.

We're hit three times. Number 1: We pay premiums. Number 2: The money we pay when the coverage isn't enough (or through deductibles and co-pays), and Number 3: The interest we pay when we have to go into debt to pay off the deductibles, etc.

Nice thing they've set up for themselves. A license to print money? No, a license to steal from us, when we are at our most vulnerable.

Why aren't these people in jail?

On top of that, millions upon millions of us don't have ANY health care. When you stop and think about that, it's hardly within the imagination of folks of good will, that this could even be possible. The illness profiteers are not good folks.

And as soon as you begin to talk about a system of national health care as they have in Canada, the illness profiteers will start screaming "Socialized Medicine," as though that's a bad thing. Ever talk to a Canadian about it? Of course there are problems. We're all human and human institutions and individuals make mistakes. We always tinker with things and try to make them better.

The simple fact is that the Canadian system works for folks. Please don't bother commenting here with anecdotal problems. For the vast majority of Canadians, the thing works. And it could work here.

If the Democrats were truly different from Republicans, they'd have a plan on the table NOW, and stop grandstanding about Rumsfeld. The American public has already made up its mind about Iraq and Bush. Even moderate Republicans know they made a big mistake electing that bunch to two terms.

Why is Sen. Clinton so silent on the subject? Who knows better than she what Americans are up against in the fight for fair health care? It's like someone sat her down like Howard Beale was sat down in "Network" and shut her up, because she's been silent ever since the first year of her husband's first term.

I can safely say that if it weren't for employer-provided health care, hundreds of thousands of people would be dead. I'm one of them.

The illness profiteers, who make billions from the real and potential suffering and misery of all of us, must be defeated.

It's a national shame.