Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Compliments, Alexander Cockburn

A while ago, I sent you a note including this.

- - - it is time to consider things more soberly. Let me focus on just your final dart: about the president "trying to pass off as 'healthcare reform' a gift to the insurance industry of 30 million new customers, to be required by law to pony up insurance premiums and then be cheated."

At the time, I advised you that the bill was not yet in final form. Well time has passed and it is beginning to smell like a sellout of considerable proportions even though still not finalized. In its present form, the Senate bill looks like a mockery written for the insurance industry by its own lobbyists and a number of bought Senators.

At the same time, the Senate has defeated a proposal to permit the re-importation of American pharma products in order to lower the costs to the American people. Both of the Democratic Senators from my state, New York, voted against it. I have not yet received their explanations. However, there was a deal between the Obama administration and the pharma industry early this year. What the administration got was their promise of a pittance to close half of the "doughnut hole" in the Medicare part D package and to refrain from opposing the health care reform bill. Since then the pharma prices have been increased by about 9 percent but the administration, it seems, remains faithful.

The congressional attempts at financial reform will very likely contain enough loopholes to keep the big banks happy. Washington has not changed. Money talks and the government will not protect the public from more of the traditional fleecing.

The president is courting catastrophe. The people who made their small contributions to his campaign, who rang doorbells for him, and who spent hours on the telephone for him will not return in 2010 or 2012 unless he wakes up and works to make good his campaign pledges. His fruitless attempts at bipartisanship are not perceived as leadership. His obsession with passing a health care bill, any bill, as soon as possible is much like taking a helicopter to board the Titanic. The Democratic party may be split.

I'm sorry to have to say these things but I value objectivity.

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