Friday, June 29, 2012

Should progressives really be celebrating the survival of the Affordable Care Act?

Updated Below

Seeing the survival the healthcare bill hailed as a progressive victory is interesting. Progressives are celebrating the fact that we're now forced to be the customers of these "evil and greedy" insurance companies. During the Clinton administration, when he was pushing for a true public option, the conservative alternative was essentially President Obama's plan: a national health insurance mandate. This is yet another example how successful the G.O.P. has been at shifting American politics, as a whole, to the right. This is entirely due to the fact that liberal/progressive voters will vote for Democrats no matter how bad they betray their base. In the legislative battle over this law, not only did President Obama lie to the public about fighting for the public option, Congressional Democrats decided not to attempt to get it, when it was within reach. The Democrats killed the public option.
Rachel Maddow covered this in depth right before the bill was passed. See this segment:

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Also check out Glenn Greenwald's post about how President Obama secretly negotiated away the public option before lying to the public about trying to keep it in the bill:
the White House had negotiated away the public option very early in the process (July, 2009), even though Obama and the administration spent months after that assuring their supporters that they were doing everything they could do have a public option in the bill
Read the rest here: Truth about the public option momentarily emerges, quickly scampers back into hiding

Update 7/7/2012:
This should have been included in the original post. President Obama hired a healthcare industry lobbyist, Liz Fowler, to help draft and later implement his healthcare reform bill:

[Implementation] of the massive healthcare bill just enacted by the Congress will be overseen by a former high-level executive of the nation’s largest private health insurer.

As Marcy Wheeler writes: ”It’s a nice trick: send your VP to write a law mandating that the middle class buy shitty products like yours, then watch that VP move into the executive branch to ‘oversee’ the implementation of the law.” Indeed, Fowler played a crucial role in shaping the healthcare bill to ensure there was no public option and to compel every single American to purchase the products of the private healthcare industry (including those of her former employer).

As Politico put it last year: ”If you drew an organizational chart of major players in the Senate healthcare negotiations, Fowler would be the chief operating officer.” It was Fowler who was literally writing the healthcare bills for Baucus which, at least at the time, progressives found so objectionable.

Fowler is the very embodiment of the sleazy Revolving Door and lobbyist-dominated politics which candidate Barack Obama endlessly vowed to subvert
Check out the rest of the post here: The revolving door spins faster on healthcare reform

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