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Monday, October 19, 2009

Democracy: Battery edition

Remember that great moment in The Matrix when Neo wakes up and realizes that he's merely a battery in an immense machine?

Welcome to the Health Care Reform Matrix.

Matt Taibbi walks you through the machine in a very depressing article about so-called health care reform in the September Rolling Stone. Read it.

"We might look back on this summer someday and think of it as the moment when our government lost us for good. It was that bad."

Then, listen to the interview from today's Kathleen Dunn program on Wisconsin Public Radio.

You'll learn that the fix has been in for many months. The Obama White House shook down health industry lobbyists for money to propagandize the American people (if the government had paid it would have been illegal.) You'll learn about deals made with pharmaceutical companies including one that extends drug patents (as if they hadn't gotten enough already) and, of course, no negotiations to pay true costs. You'll understand why Olympia Snowe has become our nation's 45th president and why Max Baucus' bill will be The One and why single payer was "off the table" from the very beginning.

Then, go ahead, and call Ron Kind and ask him to support what most people really want - single payer universal health coverage or even a "robust" pubic option that's not just the rug under which all the uninsurables are swept. Ha ha ha.

You are just a battery.

All that's left of health care reform is a collection of piece-of-shit, weakling proposals that are preposterously expensive and contain almost nothing meaningful — and that set of proposals, meanwhile, is being negotiated down even further by the endlessly negating Group of Six. It is a fight to the finish now between Really Bad and Even Worse. And it's virtually guaranteed to sour the public on reform efforts for years to come.

"They'll pass some weak, mediocre plan that breaks the bank and even in the best analysis leaves 37 million people uninsured," says Mokhiber, one of the single-payer activists arrested by Baucus. "It's going to give universal health care a bad name."

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