The health care reform debate will heat up in Congress again.Â Like many people who demand full adequate health care coverage for all Americans, I donâ€™t have any faith that we will get anything more than a watered down package accommodating the powerful insurance industry and corporate interests.Â Once the President signs the fully compromised legislation, he will be able to place his â€œhistoricalâ€ achievement on the Oval Office shelf right next to his Nobel Peace Prize.
I am listing below the top 6 lessons that we, as Americans, should have learned during last yearâ€™s theatrical health care debate.Â In my book, this list is stating the obvious but it is important that this countryâ€™s Power Elite and Super Rich know that we know how and why they manipulate the system whenever serious health care reform is considered.
Lesson #1:Â Congress is for the Corporations, by the Corporations, of the Corporations. Donâ€™t believe it, huh?Â When the military-industrial complex wanted a civil liberties lockdown, it got the Patriot Act passed in less than 60 days.Â When credit card companies wanted a lockdown on your ability to claim bankruptcy, voilÃ¡, a major federal bankruptcy bill was passed, conveniently, just months before the major American economic meltdown.Â When Wall Street raiders and other miscellaneous multinational corporations needed financial bailouts, Congress and the Presidency were quickly compliant.Â But when 50 MILLION Americans without health insurance needed a bailout for basic health care coverage, Congress wrangled over legislation through most of 2009 in an effort to strip away, piece by piece, real comprehensive insurance coverage for citizens.
Lesson #2:Â Churches have a vested interest in sitting out the health care debate.Â In a very un-Christianâ€“like manner, large sectors of the Christian and Catholic churches, and their leadership, have remained silent on the health care debate.Â Why?Â There are two key reasons.Â First, organized religion and Christian churches benefit from the misery of the citizenry.Â These religious institutions know very well that comprehensive health insurance in the U.S. will result in a European-style reduction in religiosity and church participation as citizensâ€™ health and financial troubles ease.Â Second, church leaders know that their largest and richest donors â€“ many of whom earn their wealth directly or indirectly from the corporate health care system â€“ quickly close their checkbooks in reaction to any public stance favoring an adequate health care for all citizens.
Lesson #3:Â The American Power Elite and Super Rich consider the citizenry a â€œlegacy cost,â€ which makes us worth more to them dead than alive. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and pensions are going to be very expensive as the Baby Boomers, and generations after them, retire and age.Â Financial claims by the citizens against these social protection systems will expose that the money collected by the government has been frittered away on Wall Street shell games, unabated military spending, and other elaborate financial shenanigans.Â Rightfully, people should be angry.Â But they cannot be angry and cannot make claims against the system if they are DEAD.Â And people cannot effectively protest the system if they are weak, unhealthy, and broke from living under the existing health care systemÂ So why give everyone health care and prolong their suffering?Â It turns out the Death Panel exists after all.
Lesson #4:Â Even though American businesses will benefit significantly from health care reform, the issue remains one of the most important labor issues in the countryâ€™s history. Should workers attain national health care, employers will be severely weakened in their ability to exploit and extort workers into submission, or to punish dissidents.Â The moment national health passes, workers will no longer be tied to miserable jobs â€œfor the health care benefits.â€Â In fact, national health care enables employees â€“ unionized or not â€“ to tell employers to â€œTake this Job and Shove Itâ€ without the fear of losing the benefit.
Lesson #5:Â Democrats have not had a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate [regardless of the election in Massachusetts]. The Senate Democratic caucus is obviously the home of cloaked Republicans, leaving the health care reform efforts vulnerable to blackmail.Â If the Senate Dems really wanted to reform health care, including a public option, there is an easy cure to the Joe Liebermans of the world:Â Let â€˜em filibuster.Â Tie up the Senate while a big national spotlight is shined on the debate.Â None of this, however, will happen because the Congress, especially the Senate, never had the intention of passing real comprehensive health care insurance coverage (see #1).
Lesson #6: Â The establishment media, including National Public Radio (NPR), covered the â€œtheater of the absurdâ€ and passed it off as a health care reform debate. You expect this crap from Fox News, obviously, but as the weeks passed it became obvious that NPR was fully embedded with the powers intending to kill real reform.Â The clearest, most prominent evidence was NPRâ€™s editorial policy of verbally labeling conservative Senate Democrats as â€œmoderates.â€Â Proposals to water down comprehensive reform were cast in a favorable light by NPR reporters â€“ with complicity from its editorial leadership and management â€“ by insinuating that â€œmoderatesâ€ were overseeing the process.Â To top off the theatrics, NPR and others then proceeded to report the declining poll numbers for the public option and for President Obama, while failing to acknowledge the subtle and not-so-subtle swift boating of proposals moving us towards comprehensive health care insurance coverage.
Those are my top six lessons.Â Live, learn, and act accordingly.
— Rico Thomas Rico
SEPARATE TOPIC: MYTHS OF SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE