Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Health Care Reform Officially Dead...The Country May As Well Be...This Will Be A Good Thing, Eventually

Piss in the Cheerios. Just heard it from the suspiciously glazed lips of Senator Max Baucus, the Senate Finance Committee Chair who has taken $2.9 million from the health care industry this year alone, and whose version of the health care bill is the one which will pass: it won't contain a real public insurance option. (My previous post on a windfall for the insurance industry under a self-servingly sabotaged public option was, in its way, the optimistic outcome.) The way Baucus sounded, it may not even contain a fake one, but might stop at expanding Medicare to some undetermined number of po' folk the states will have to pick up some indeterminable percentage of the tab for.

This would really hang a double-toilet seat around the Democratic Party's neck. It would ignite the Metamucil Swillers' full wrath once they calculate how much their pie slices must shrink, and state guvmints will get shafted at a time when more than half of them are facing budget crises and some have already begun curtailing Medicaid services. The only certain things about the Baucus bill is it will contain a large number of ass-rams for US citizens and more sops to the sacred oxen in the industry.

To me or any cynic with a half-functioning brain, this phenotypically congressional eventuality was obvious in a foregone sense as soon as I realized Obama had wired his trap shut about comparisons to single-payer systems, which was along about March. Why didn't I tell you about it between then and now? Three reasons. 1: Pity. 2: Depression. 3: Chance of a miracle.

Rolling Stone editors foresaw the same and unmuzzled investigative rottie Matt Taibbi, who enumerates what fresh hells will be visited upon us to the benefits of the health "care" industry in the article below. He's in rare form and uncorks a must-read, in that he correctly identifies this summer as the when Americans, progressive, wing-nut, libertarian, democrat, depublican, middle, and independent Americans, realize it's all over:

Just as we have a medical system that is not really designed to care for the sick, we have a government that is not equipped to fix actual crises. What our government is good at is something else entirely: effecting the appearance of action, while leaving the actual reform behind in a diabolical labyrinth of ingenious legislative maneuvers.

Over the course of this summer, those two failed systems have collided in a spectacular crossroads moment in American history. We have an urgent national emergency on the one hand, and on the other, a comfortable majority of ostensibly simpatico Democrats who were elected by an angry population, in large part, specifically to reform health care. When they all sat down in Washington to tackle the problem, it amounted to a referendum on whether or not we actually have a functioning government.

That's right, I said it's all over. Not just as an empire. We're finished as a real country. Right now, America is about as real as the town in Blazing Saddles that Hedley LaMarr ran. Seriously, other than to glide bombs onto mud huts with great precision, exactly what is the Federal government capable of accomplishing? Can it do something good? For I say unto thee, ye shall know the tree by its fruit. The United States no longer has a philosophical or practical primum mobile, or at least not one which makes any sense for humans and humanity. It's all become a mechanical and surreal exercise for enriching elites. In fact, if we are to be honest with ourselves, that's exactly what this Land of Opportunity has always been.

Ask yourself: if an 8.5 Richter Scale earthquake happened tomorrow and flattened your domicile, how long do you think it would be before the Federal government, or anyone, got around to helping you rebuild? (Where we live, no one will sell earthquake insurance, unless they determine you don't need it.) I'm not saying it's going to be bread lines in St. Petersburg with starving grandmas burning Social Security checks for warmth, although there will be elements of that and there already are, I'm saying that the public structures we have are no longer very useful, are becoming observably less so, and are irredeemable in practical and legal senses. Could it be any more obvious that Congress, a thing the Founders made to run the country, no longer runs the country? And the Founders? Please. Those bastards are responsible for this mess.

It's gone, people, it's out of control, and this health care debacle is the final proof. Obama had his chance, and it is definitively blown. It's not him-- although to fumble the ball, it must be said, you at least have to try running with the fucking thing in the first place--it's the entire system. It's hollowed out. It's the Privatized States of America. It's time to start thinking of new solutions, new structures and philosophies that actually have sustaining logic to them. Revolutions have to succeed in the mind and on the page before they succeed in the streets. (Hint: the slogan should neither be "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of property," nor "Get rich or die tryin.') It will change. And it will start with health care. Read the Taibbi. It's clear. It's prophetic. And I don't even like the guy.


Vincent said...

Thanks for this, Marc, you are my news provider. I knew something was to be announced, but got the analysis from you.

Was eagerly awaiting delivery of the silver lining promised in your heading "This will be a good thing, eventually", but didn't find it in the text. the only solution hinted at is revolution, but as you say they have to succeed in the mind and on the page before they succeed in the streets.

To me, from this great distance, seeing things in very broad-brush terms, the first question would be to get people to think, by asking every American, "What does unamerican mean?" Just to see if the brain is jogged by that.

Deep down in the psyche American seems to mean "standing on your own two feet" as if every alternative is traitorous.

Bruce said...

good post. I don't like Taibbi either.

Unknown said...

You can't lay all the blame on Obama. Part of it goes to those who made him sit down and watch the Magruder film multiple times. :)

Davoh said...

Ah. But can the lion control the Wildebest

MarcLord said...


Hello! Not dwelling enough on the positive outcomes here, true, but there aren't many yet. One that we plan on using: some doctors have banded together into co-ops that you can pay $100 per month to, and go to for unlimited office visits, completely outside the insurance system. You have to pay for prescriptions out-of-pocket, but at least you have ready access to cheap and emphasized preventive care, which is the biggest weakness of the current set-up.

MarcLord said...

Bro Tim,

not laying all the blame at Obama's feet, but it was his decision to give up on single payer a priori. That is the benchmark system used by all but two other industrialized countries (Switz, Holland) because it works the best. By abandoning that as a threat, he effectively guaranteed that we would not get a meaningful public option. At best, 10 of the 50 million uninsured are going to get health insurance as a result, and that figure may also prove optimistic.

MarcLord said...


The lion firmly believes it is the rancher who owns the entire herd of wildebeests, yes, but this time it is getting in range of the horns.

Unknown said...

Agreed!!!!!! Wholeheartedly.