“Anyone who says we need to be bipartisan should bear in mind that for the last several weeks Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader had been trying to stop reform with possibly the most dishonest argument ever made in the history of politics, which is the claim that having regulation of the banks actually bailing out the banks and that basically the argument boiled down to saying what we really need to do to deal with fires is abolish the fire department, because then people will know that they can’t let their buildings burn in the first place, right. It’s an incredible… so anyone who says bipartisan doesn’t include the Senate Minority Leader.”
– Paul Krugman on ABC this morning.
Or do they care?
“So it seems that we aren’t going to have a second Great Depression after all. What saved us? The answer, basically, is Big Government.”
It’s time to realize that the government is both capable and likely to lead us out of disaster, and the Repiglicans are wallowing in their past mistakes.
Krugman’s last piece in the NY Times yesterday makes a crucial point concerning the Insurance Industry’s push for a free market solution for health care.
An edited quote (I recommend reading the whole thing in its original format):
There are two strongly distinctive aspects of health care. One is that you don’t know when or whether you’ll need care — but if you do, the care can be extremely expensive. The big bucks are in triple coronary bypass surgery, not routine visits to the doctor’s office; and very, very few people can afford to pay major medical costs out of pocket.
This tells you right away that health care can’t be sold like bread. It must be largely paid for by some kind of insurance. And this in turn means that someone other than the patient ends up making decisions about what to buy. Consumer choice is nonsense when it comes to health care. And you can’t just trust insurance companies either — they’re not in business for their health, or yours.
The second thing about health care is that it’s complicated, and you can’t rely on experience or comparison shopping. (”I hear they’ve got a real deal on stents over at St. Mary’s!”) That’s why doctors are supposed to follow an ethical code, why we expect more from them than from bakers or grocery store owners.
Between those two factors, health care just doesn’t work as a standard market story.
Krugman points out that this doesn’t mean “socialized medicine” is the solution. Nor is “single-payer” the only way to go. But,
…(t)here are, however, no examples of successful health care based on the principles of the free market, for one simple reason: in health care, the free market just doesn’t work.
There are, however, obscenely profitable Insurance Companies based on the free market, and it would seem that they will do anything to stay that way.
.. and I agree.
In an article in Salon, Sirota takes ideas like the support for Health Care and shows why the 1% of folks at the top of the economic pile will squash the 99% of us below if they can.
With 22,000 Americans dying each year because they lack health insurance, Congress is considering universal healthcare legislation financed by a surcharge on income above $280,000 — that is, a levy almost exclusively on 1-percenters. This surtax would graze just 5 percent of small businesses and would recoup only part of the $700 billion the 1-percenters received from the Bush tax cuts. In fact, it is so minuscule, those making $1 million annually would pay just $9,000 more in taxes every year — or nine-tenths of 1 percent of their 12-month haul.
Nonetheless, the 1-percenters have deployed an army to destroy the initiative before it makes progress.
We are living in an era when greed surpasses good. We live where politicians, by election, get on the inside track to join the 1-percenters, and when the vast majority of Americans all believe that they can be part of the 1% as well, eventually, hopefully… why do we believe this in the face of reality?
Indeed, Obama recognizes this and is campaigning to get the whole country to realize that it wouldn’t even be a dent in the rich folks’ stunning protective skin to take some of it back.
In the face of the “Millionaire Media”, the “Land Rover Liberals” and the “Corrupt Cowboys” (read the article to find out who’s who), the President makes a simple point:
“If I can afford to do a little bit more so that a whole bunch of families out there have a little more security, when I already have security, that’s part of being a community.”
Of course, Congress is taking its August break in time to avoid changing anything.
“It is time for Americans to realize that things are not going to improve until they get involved. It will take time. But the economy is not going to improve until we straighten out our corrupt system. Do you have anything more important that you are working on than this? The survival of liberal democratic society in the world.”
– John Talbott, Economist, in Salon
From Yale Economist John Roeper:
“Suppose, for example, that America succeeds in implementing universal health insurance; that is, that voters in their majority demand it. A more pleasant society will then evolve: people will be under less from the fear of losing their health insurance when unemployed, or because they contract a major disease; emergency rooms will be less clogged with poor, uninsured persons; insurers will have incentives to urge people to undertake more healthy life styles (to keep costs down), and so on. There is a good chance that citizens generally will like these changes — not only because of their own increased financial security, but because civility will increase, and poverty will be, at least along one dimension, less glaring. Citizens may come to value equality of condition more than they previously did. This change in preferences may well render politically feasible other insurance innovations and increased financing of public goods — more support for the unemployed with job training, perhaps more direct income support for the unemployed, and more support for intensive education for the disadvantaged.”
This makes me wonder what the Repignicans want from our society. More conflict? Fewer jobs? Ongoing frustration?