Why Public Option is not an option in the Historic Health Care Reform?

December 29, 2009

    By Padmini Arhant

    During the Presidential election campaign in 2008, despite the encouraging endorsement from the “Majority White,” electorate in Iowa, the media, the African American caucus and the Democratic Party wrote off the Obama candidacy in the wake of New Hampshire and Nevada results favoring the then formidable opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton representing the establishment in the Democratic Party.

    It could be a distant memory. Nevertheless, the reality of an African-American candidate as the 44th President of the United States made possible by the average citizens from all walks of life representing the stars and stripes who came forward in multitudes with donations ranging from a dollar to an affordable amount, seeking the long overdue change in Washington.

    It certainly didn’t emerge from the political realm or within the Party and various African American organizations who were cautiously observing the direction of the political storm.

    Now, when it’s the payback time for the historic election’s beneficiaries to demonstrate the real commitment to the people in a democracy, the political betting is placed on satisfying the insatiable appetite in the form of bribery to the fellow democrats in the Senate caring more about their own financial gains and political future than the republic interest. The reference made to the Democrats in particular because, the Republican minority stance is to oppose not the issue but the party in a majority.

    If it were the Republican administration pushing the agenda, the republican minority would not be wasting time in their innovative tactics to boycott the bill. Unlike the democrats, the party is ever united in their pledge to advance the ideology with further support from the conservative/moderate democrats evidenced in the legislations passed during the Bush administration.

    The republicans have a point. In spite of the filibuster proof majority, the democrats are forced to scramble for votes in the senate and left at the mercy of the conservatives and moderates within their own party. You don’t need foes with “friends” like that suggesting the Democratic Party is merely a platform for these representatives of the special interests’ strategy to enhance the odds on both sides that guarantee them an absolute victory with every legislation.

    It’s worth examining the lobbyists’ orchestrated health care bill.

    For instance, the delay in the Senate voting was perceived to be a drawback for the democrats with the republican members threatening to stall the progress at the behest of none other than the same lobbyists working on both sides. Simultaneously, the over two thousand page dossier prepared by again the lobbyists’ loyalists in the finance committee, became the bone of contention for the opposition minority comparing the voluminous content to a forklift item.

    Besides, the legislation is made effective a year later in the Senate bill i.e. 2014 allowing the industry to prosper with the status quo in the interim. Without effective and robust competition like the public option and the cost reduction schemes from the health care industry, the lobbyists are comfortable with the mandatory insurance on 30 million people and safety net from the federal subsidies to purchase the private insurance in the weak market place.

    Having been satisfied with the Senate bill, the lobbyists win irrespective of the pace and it’s not surprising to note the pre-emptive adoption of the Senate bill against the House bill.

    Are they being indifferent in any way?

    Politics is only concerned about personal salvation. A few democrats’ and an independent’s (as a democrat ‘loyalist’) overt action to promote the special interests’ profit oriented plan over the general population plight only legitimize the minority power against the majority.

    What’s being ignored in the undemocratic and dangerous precedence having become a tradition is that, honoring the minority’s calculated shenanigans simply boosts the special interests’ status to railroad forthcoming legislations already evident in the pending climate change and other bills.

    All that matters right now is a bill to showcase on the D-Day, the “State of the Union” address and the people always expected to remain content with the politics and business “as usual” from Washington and Wall Street.

    Any dissent in this respect is characterized as the die-hard liberalism’s refusal to view the big picture. Contrary to the belief, it’s the progressives who have compromised from the single payer system to the public option and other factors like Medicare buy-ins tossed out of the bill, notwithstanding the infringement on women’s rights, essentially all and any components benefiting the people and the national interest.

    The irony being if not for the progressives’ iron will to stand up against the ‘Tea Party’ movement and similar grandstanding, the health care bill would be history rather than historic.

    The frustration among the progressives is reaching the point of creating a third party entirely on public campaign financing to reflect the true meaning of democracy and challenge the nay Sayers once and for all that ‘Change is inevitable’ through action from the bottom up, exemplified in the 2008 Presidential election.

    Although, the spiritual message emphasized on the human requirement to overcome the negative vices, it’s poignant to elaborate the qualities viz. greed, ego, envy, rage (anger) and hatred are the human beings’ vulnerabilities and centuries have gone by without the lessons being learned regardless of the human spirit’s degradation.

    Contemporary practice scorns the interjection of ethics and morals in the discussions as naïve and unpragmatic. The reason being it’s inconvenient for those indulging in the activities producing short-term gains while neglecting the long-term crisis witnessed in all major national issues such as housing market, energy, health care and environment not excluding the military interventions.

    Therefore, there is no bar on human conduct normally qualifying as“unconscionable.”

    I respond to the requests from the honorable members of Congress Patrick Kennedy, Senator John Kerry, Senator Al Franken and the speaker Nancy Pelosi to stand by President Barack Obama in legislative matter. To them I reiterate the earlier statement that,

    I extend my unwavering support to the Presidency of Barack Obama provided the White House is committed to implement the “Change” promised on the campaign trail in both domestic and foreign policy issues yielding ‘realistic’ change the people can believe and thrive in.

    Unfortunately, with minor exceptions the majority decisions thus far favor the special interests i.e. the oligarchs in the financial, health and energy sectors not to mention the ongoing warfare and general foreign policy signifying the continuation of Bush-Cheney doctrine. The haphazard attempt during the climate summit in Copenhagen was quite disheartening and appropriately admitted by the President.

    Regrettably, the campaign donations to the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC are invested to elect the conservatives and the moderates posing major problems in the legislative matter. It may not be a deterrent factor in fund raising as they have the special interests financing the campaigns.

    However, a monumental task awaits in the coming elections convincing the betrayed electorate justified in their reluctance to support the party or the candidacy that fails to honor the democratic will.

    The recent gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia serve as good examples in this regard. In addition, the mayoral race in New York with a narrow margin victory to Mayor Mike Bloomberg having outspent his opponent is yet another reminder that performance benefiting the people ultimately delivers the desirable results in the polls.

    Since the political structure in Washington is laid on the Wall Street foundation through campaign financing and deal exchanges, the burden is on the people to join the movement in reclaiming democracy subverted by the power in politics and profits.

    Corruption and Cronyism cannot be eradicated unless there is a concerted campaign finance reform strictly enforcing public financing and rejecting swift boating from the candidacy and/or party in the coming elections. Private financing floats to assist candidates from both parties to survive the mild and vicious campaign attacks through advertisements.

    It’s noteworthy that Goldman Sachs, AIG…invested in both Senator John McCain and the then Senator Barack Obama’s candidacies. Obviously, the contributions rose sharply as one candidate’s winning prospects exceeded another along with the donors’ expectations to return the favor. Politics is amazingly trustworthy in the transfer of power from the people to the actual authorities, the corporations via the legislators. It’s visible in the health care issue and several others.

    Given the prevalent system in politics, it’s imperative for the progressives to run in the coming elections with the public blessings to prevail against the special interests and the greed driven politics. I have been requesting the DNC to transform the Democratic Party with the progressives on whom the nation and the rest of the world can rely upon for the long overdue peace, progress and prosperity.

    Money can buy love, trust and integrity but not truth and rationality. For rationality enables the human mind to recognize the truth behind illusion and reality. Those who are committed to the virtues decline to be a sellout at any costs. Sadly, the honorable principles of many are undermined by the dishonorable deeds of the few.

    Often people who care is mistaken for rivals, the real opponent in disguise trusted to be genuine due to the veil blinding the vision, and it largely stems from fear and personal insecurity that obstructs the human intellect to accept situations with clarity.

    People must rise and ensure their needs are adequately addressed from now on as the health care reform could be the beginning of the end to the self-interest dominance in Washington and Wall Street guided by the maxim “All for me and none for you.”

    Thank you.

    Padmini Arhant



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