07.28.09

The Democrats must pass health insurance reform

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Commentary, Health Care, Insurance Reform, Take Action at 10:15 am by wcnews

It’s key to remember, just like with the stimulus, the Democrats don’t need a single GOP vote to pass health care reform.  After reading this column by State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, Texas would be biggest winner under Obama’s health care reforms, it’s obvious that, not only are Republicans not needed, they’re irrelevant and don’t want  to reform our health insurance system.  No, the biggest impediment to a solution to our country’s health insurance quandary are Democrats.

The members of the the Democratic Party that receive the most benefit from health  insurance corporations are the ones that are holding up insurance reform.  Two of the most egregious Democratic examples are Max Baucus.

No one serving in the Senate today has taken as much money from the Medical-Industrial Complex as Baucus ($2,865,881) other than notorious corporate whore Arlen Specter ($4,066,433) and two former presidential candidates, John Kerry ($8,163,141) and John McCain ($8,672,260). Baucus even tops Medical Industry shill Mitch McConnell ($2,755,468). And when it comes to the Financial Sector– the banksters, Big Insurance and Big Real Estate– Baucus was also on the payroll in a major way. His $4,675,393 in donations put him in the Top 10, with corporate whores like Mitch McConnell, Alexander Lamar, Arlen Specter, Joe Lieberman, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Chuck Schumer… basically the folks who oversaw the economic legislation that dragged the economy right over the cliff.

And Sen. Evan Bayh and his wife Susan, Susan Bayh an issue in fight over health care.

But for Bayh, health care isn’t just the latest high-stakes political fight in Congress. It’s also a substantial part of his family’s income.

As the debate over health-care reform intensifies, Bayh’s wife is receiving lucrative payouts from some of the companies that could be most affected by that legislation.

Bayh contends the $2.1 million that his wife, Susan, earned from public health-care companies from 2006 to 2008 represents no conflict of interest. Questions persist, however, for at least two reasons. First, Evan Bayh has been unclear about his positions on many issues related to health-care reform. Second, there’s the timing of Susan Bayh’s rapid rise into corporate governance.

[...]

Adding to speculation about a connection between her board memberships and her husband’s office is Susan Bayh’s unwillingness to discuss the matter, including for this story. She has declined several requests for comment on her corporate interests, making it difficult to tell where those interests end.

So, as Obama attempts to keep his party together on what he has called his most important domestic policy initiative, Susan Bayh’s business contacts are a growing concern.

“What makes her appointments suspicious and worrisome is the fact that most of these board positions came after Evan Bayh was elected to the Senate,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group in favor of a single-payer health-care system. “The situation that the Bayhs are in poses a very serious and obvious conflict of interest, and one that should be worrisome to the public and to the senator.”

Yesterday the CBO released some very good news on the public option.

In a letter to Rep. David Camp (R-MI), the CBO said a “preliminary analysis” found that a health care bill with a public option “would result in 3 million more people enrolled in employer-sponsored coverage by 2016, compared with what would happen under current laws.” “The CBO has…disputed claims made by the Republicans about what our legislation will do,” declared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in response to the letter.

Here’s a great post on the difference between how the traditional media treats CBO news that’s good for the people vs. news that’s good for insurance corporations, Peaceful Coexistence.

Strangely, the headline to this article doesn’t characterize this development as a devastating blow to Republicans and opponents of health care reform the way every other report from the CBO has been characterized as a devastating blow to Democrats, even though it punctures one of the industry’s central arguments against the public plan:

A new government health insurance plan sought by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats could coexist with private insurers without driving them out of business, an analysis by nonpartisan budget experts suggests.

The estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — seen as good news by Democrats — comes as leaders pushed Monday to make progress on health care overhaul before lawmakers go home for their August recess.

I personally don’t like insurance companies and I’d be happy if we had a system where they weren’t necessary. But if they could be made to do their business in a fair and equitable manner, sell their products honestly and fulfill their obligations, then we could probably live with them. Rapacious greedheads making obscene profits on the backs of sick Americans, however, is an immoral and expensive arrangement that can’t be tolerated any longer.

It’s not Democrat v. Republicans on health care. It’s the people v. the health insurance corporations. And yes, it’s way past time for the people to matter more than profit.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » You gotta stand up and mean something said,

    August 18, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    [...] previous reporting on Evan Bayh can be found here. This is why a bill hasn’t come to the floor of the Senate yet.  Because many Democrats, [...]

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