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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
Attorney • (808) 845-2211

News From Congress: You Don’t Matter In The Health Care War

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Look what happened while I and my staff was at Maluhia Nursing home in Honolulu on Monday donating two Nintendo Wii video games to the delighted residents as a part of the national effort by 60 law firms, who are part of the Injury Board, in 25 states to help bring some fun and exercise by the less fortunate in our Hawaii community? Wiihabilitation Comes To Honolulu!

I was feeling great having seen the smiles on the faces of the mostly wheel chair bound nursing home residents and then came home to TV news that Big Insurance and corporate CEO’s are stealing the hope for change that we all had in January. They are stealing the health care battle from the people. That is us. The people.

This isn’t a night time sneak attack. Big Insurance, Fox News, the radical right are all doing tis in broad daylight right in front of us. The people. You and me. No, its not a nameless drive by. They are right in Anderson Cooper’s pretty face and Wolf Blitzer’s bouncy salt and pepper hair. Daylight burglary is scary. The criminal is arrogant and sending a message. Big Inurance gives a new meaning to arrongance. Do you care?

Did you get the message? If not, here it is:

YOU DON’T MATTER!

Make no mistake. The Obama Presidency is facing a test of whether or not the hope of an Obama Presidency at the inauguration in January 2009 was just a theatrical event or whether the lock on Washington buy corporations and insurance executives will in fact be broken. If we do not get a public, single payer health care plan passed this year then I think the Obama dream is over. I smell a rat among democrats. All republicans gave ever cared about is money so at least they are honest about it.

Myths About Single Payer National Health Insurance – By Wayne Parsons

Single Payer Health Care Reform Is In Sight – But Watch Out For Big Insurance Trying To Stop It – By Wayne Parsons

Will Congress respond to the undeniable overwhelming public desire to get Big Insurance completely out of health care and to implement a public single payer system. For Republicans and the so-called Blue Dog Democrats this is all about money except perhaps for a few in Congress who are illiterate about the facts. After watching Sarah Palin run for the vice Presidency we all know that some in elected office are completely ignorant and do not care.

Here is the picture. Seventy-five percent of the country knows that Big Insurance will ruin and corrupt the health care system if they maintain their lock on the process. They will rake in the money, deny treatment, chisel doctors out of fair fees and then award themselves with huge bonuses, fancy retreats and all that we have seen. Panic stricken by the public desire and support for a public plan, the insurance industry hires goons to organize fake opposition at Town Hall meetings. You’d think that would last about two minutes with crack journalists reporting on this shibai, but major media gets a lot of its money for advertising from the insurance industry and the new reporters aren’t really journalists, they are actors and were picked from runway models and fraternity parties. So they go soft on this blatantly open phony protest the uses words like "communism" and "traitor" to the cameras.

If you don’t see parallels to right wing corporate disruption in other eras and other countries then you are missing something. This is about money and power and so far you don’t matter.

"You don’t matter" is an interesting concept in a democracy. You don’t matter means that the insurance industry and the right wing political operatives in the media ( all of Fox News which is a tool of Karl Rove and the Dick Chaney crowd) are counting on the fact that you won’t do anything including understanding the phony protest. The election is over and now you don’t care any more. Sadly it is probably true.

I am hopping mad about this scandalous sell out of the country. But I am just one voice and what can one voice do? If 10 people read this article I’ll be lucky. I suspect the Google and Yahoo searches today will be in the familiar areas of sex, porn, recipes and shopping. Term papers will be researched, lost friends will be searched for and the weekend photos will be going up on Facebook, MySpace, Flicker and Twitter. Meanwhile, a presidential election full of hope and purpose is being ruined. Why?

Here are some links that will educate on the current situation. They are important if you still want to fight for democracy and if you are sick and tired of corporate CEO’s running our country. I sure am! The question isn’t whether the progressive majority is unreasonably resisting reform to save the public option. The question is whether a small minority of conservative Democrats will sabotage reform simply to stop the public option.

[1] New York Times

The futile quest for bipartisanship may be dead. NYT: [1] "…Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks … ‘The Republican leadership,’ [Rahm] Emanuel said, ‘has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama’s health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day.’"

[2] Huffington Post

House digging in on public option. HuffPost: [2] "House Democrats dialed in Tuesday for their weekly caucus meeting and uniformly expressed support for a public health insurance option as part of comprehensive reform. Not a single member spoke up on behalf of co- ops, according to both people on the call and people briefed on it … ‘I was surprised there were so many people who were still so firm on [the public option],’ said a participant. ‘A lot of people were saying this is what they’re hearing from their constituents.’"

[3] The New Republic

TNR’s Noam Scheiber credits strong pushback from Left: [3] "Around the conference table at TNR, we’ve been saying for weeks that what Obama really needed was a group of equally vocal, equally zealous critics on the left, pulling the debate’s center of gravity in the other direction. And, wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what’s happened over the last 48 hours."

[4] http://www.cq.com/display.do?docid=3192349&sourcetype=6

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley dumps cold water on negotiations in CQ interview, indicates politics trumps policy: [4] "The climate has changed a little bit in the last month … But I can’t measure it at this point. We’re only the second week into a recess. I think it has changed. But I don’t know exactly how, except it’s more chancy … Maybe it’s more difficult now than before, because there is kind of a feeling out there that there might be something wrong with our health care system but we think Congress is going to screw it up, so maybe it’s better to do nothing … The town meetings obviously have to cause me to reassess, but I can’t do the reassessment just because of two weeks … First of all I’m representing Iowa. I got to think about what Iowans are telling me. Secondly I have to observe how the impact nationally might affect Republicans."

[5] http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/08/can_reconciliation_work_for_he.html

Ezra Klein argues for a different policy approach if Senate budget procedure is used to prevent filibuster: [5] "the 2004 Dean proposal, which I’ve been talking about lately, offers a good example of the sort of bill you could pass. Dean basically folds the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid into one program called the Families and Children Health Insurance Program and makes everyone up to 185 percent of the poverty line eligible for it. He also allows people between the ages of 55 and 65 to buy into Medicare. He creates a tax credit for people in the middle … That’s not a great outcome, but that’s probably the best you can get in reconciliation, and it would be a step forward."

[6] http://blog.healthcareforamericanow.org/2009/08/18/nbcwsj-poll-results-misleading-they-changed-the-questions

[6] http://blog.healthcareforamericanow.org/2009/08/18/nbcwsj-poll-results-misleading-they-changed-the-questions/

and

[7] http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/08/18/2034778.aspx

HCAN knocks NBC/WSJ poll for dropping the word "choice" from its poll question on public option [6], resulting in weaker support. NBC responds. [7]

[8] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/18/AR2009081803655.html?hpid=topnews⊂=AR

WH aides blame progressives, not Blue Dogs: Condescending remarks towards progressives from unnamed WH aides in W. Post: [8] "’I don’t understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo,’ said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘We’ve gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don’t understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform.’ ‘It’s a mystifying thing,’ he added. ‘We’re forgetting why we are in this.’ Another top aide expressed chagrin that a single element in the president’s sprawling health-care initiative has become a litmus test for whether the administration is serious about the issue. ‘It took on a life of its own,’ he said."

[9] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-l-borosage/health-care-let-the-major_b_262666.html

Robert Borosage puts the burden on the Blue Dogs to get out of the way of reform: [9] "There are a lot of talking heads out arguing that the ‘left’ shouldn’t be so extreme as to risk health care reform by insisting on the public option or the lifting of the absurd ban on negotiating lower drug prices. The reality is exactly the reverse. It is the handful of Blue Dogs and conservative Democrats in the House and Senate that are standing in the way of the majority in favor of a comprehensive plan.

In "Health Care – Let The Majority Be Heard" Robert Borosage makes the point well:

The editors of the Wall Street Journal say that the public option in health care reform has been "sent to the death panel." Obama "concedes" the public option, reports the Financial Times. Even liberals seem to agree. The public option is "all but gone," writes Bob Herbert of the New York Times. The American Prospect’s Mark Schmitt mourns its "likely death."

Nonsense. There is no reason to exaggerate the strength of the small tong of conservative Democrats and claque of obstructionist Republicans standing in the way of reform. Here’s the reality:

Offering a public plan as a choice to compete with the private insurance companies has continued strong support in polling. President Obama favors it. The Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate support it. More importantly, a majority of legislators in the House and a broad majority of Democrats in the Senate will vote for it. Needless to say, the activist base of the party thinks it vital.

The only question is whether a small minority of Democrats in the Senate will dig themselves into such a rabid fever that they would sabotage health care reform itself to stop the public option. Whether their animus derives from ideology or insurance company contributions, it is inconceivable that a handful of Blue Dogs in the House or conservative Dems in the Senate would block the president’s key reform to make their point. It would also be suicidal, for if 1994 is any indication, Democrats — particularly those from more conservative districts — will pay a harsh price at the polls in 2010 if they fail to pass reform.

Citizens can help concentrate their minds. Legislators have heard from the screamers in the town meetings. They’ve been besieged by legions of insurance company lobbyists. They’ve comforted seniors terrified by the lies being peddled. Now it is time for them to hear from the majority of citizens, and the vast majority of Democratic voters who want health care reform that works, one that includes both a public plan as an option to compete with the insurance companies, and the lower drug prices that will result from enabling Medicare to use its buying power to gain discounts for patients.