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The Health Care Debate Has Only Just Begun (Common Dreams)

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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:13 AM
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The Health Care Debate Has Only Just Begun but what is Obama really doing to lead health-care supporters toward a viable plan?
Of course, none of this has stopped the cuckoo right from portraying Obama's health reforms as "socialistic." But if conservative ideologues want to envision Bolsheviks manning the HMO help line next time they call to make a doctor's appointment, let them. The more daunting reality is that it is going to take an extraordinary mass political campaign if the American health care system is ever going to catch up with an industrialized world that has long recognized health care as a public resource similar to education or fire protection.

What makes such a humanitarian goal especially daunting in the United States is not just the crazy talk resistance of far-right Republicans. The other obstacle to progress is the endless genuflecting before corporate power on the part of the Democratic Party leadership. Tellingly, Obama has admitted single-payer health care would probably be the best health care system, if we were starting from scratch. Instead, Obama wants to promote a more socially palatable version of the existing health care system while preserving the industry's profits. This is another way of saying the President is not about to risk his political career on some wild plan to root out the scourge of private insurers and investment firms who are ruining health care.

In place of the current wheeling and dealing among Washington lawmakers that now defines health care reform, imagine instead if Obama called upon the roughly 13 million voters who enlisted as the grassroots base of his presidential campaign to rally on the steps of Congress and demand comprehensive universal health care reform. Unfortunately, despite the grassroots vigor of his presidential campaign, a mass action campaign for health care justice does not appear to be on Obama's to do list for anytime soon.

In contrast, right-wing zealots appear more than ready for mass action, as Democratic supporters of health reform recently learned when confronted by shouting mobs opposing socialized medicine at town hall meetings. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), and others have accused health insurance lobbyists and GOP activists of orchestrating these hooligan hootenannies.

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