In the book of Revelation, Chapter 13, verses 17-18 we have:
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Throughout the years since this was written, the number 666 has been invoked to represent various evils. I was struck this weekend by how frequently the number six came up in relation to the debate over health care reform.
SIX: Bloomberg reports that there are six lobbyists in Washington working on health care reform per legislator:
If there is any doubt that President Barack Obama’s plan to overhaul U.S. health care is the hottest topic in Congress, just ask the 3,300 lobbyists who have lined up to work on the issue.
That’s six lobbyists for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate, according to Senate records, and three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense.
SIX: The most relevant negotiations on the health care reform bill are being carried out by only six Senators from small states, as reported in the Washington Post:
Snowe and her two Republican and three Democratic colleagues on the Finance Committee held a final bargaining session Thursday, although the group plans to continue negotiations this month. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) set a Sept. 15 deadline for his panel to produce a bill, which may be the most viable bipartisan deal on the table as Congress seeks to deliver a final measure to Obama by Christmas.
In addition to Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Max Baucus (D-MT), we also have Kent Conrad (D-ND), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Those states are really representative of the US, aren’t they?
SIXTY-SIX: Despite President Obama’s apparent eagerness to abandon the public option, a full 66% of the public still favor it. From CBS News:
"Our most recent poll found that more than eight out of 10 Americans think the U.S. health care system either needs fundamental change or needs to be completely rebuilt," said Sarah Dutton, the head of surveys at CBS News. "Even 70 percent of Republicans feel that way."
A poll at the end of July showed nearly two-thirds of Americans supporting some sort of public option – 66 percent exactly, although fewer Republicans, 49 percent, than Democrats, 85 percent.
So, in the rush to abandon the public option and real reform, Obama has added an extra "six" to the number of the beast. It is now 6666. What is being sold by this beast is the health of every American who is not wealthy enough to have the very best health plan. The health insurance industry is being protected at the cost of the health of the nation.
The wingnuts and fundies have been calling Obama the antichrist since early in the primaries. In the case of health care reform, he has given the beast an extra number.
[h/t to Retired Military Patriot for reminding me of the "Gang of Six".]