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This Isn’t Health Reform; It’s Extortion for a Protection Racket

Watching Sherrod Brown, Ron Wyden and Harry Reid try to explain why the Senate’s emasculated health reform bill was still worth voting for was painful. These men know they’ve been defeated and humiliated by an unprincipled extortionist fronting for what amounts to a deadly protection racket.

Whatever Joe Lieberman’s motives, the reality is that he just performed a moral crime on national television. He’s essentially said that if Democrats want to provide even poor health insurance to 30 million uninsured Americans, the federal government and those citizens will have to pay blood money to an industry protection racket that will have the economic and political power to set the terms of that protection, shield itself from oversight and competition, and raise prices at will.

So you see, this isn’t about Joe getting even with Jane or me or any other “liberals.” This is about organized crime. The victims aren’t “progressives” or other Democrats.

No, the victims are ordinary people, like the thousands, lovingly filmed by Eve Gitteleson, who showed up at the free clinics because they’d lost their jobs or their insurance and hadn’t seen a doctor or dentist in years, and the victims are those who will continue to go bankrupt, struggle to survive, or suffer and die. These are the people that Joe Lieberman is holding hostage and from whom the health industry would extort trillions of dollars in protection money.

This is a terrorist act. There are 15 times more deaths per year being perpetrated now, and threatend again by Lieberman’s demands — and those of every Republican from Snowe to McConnell — than were killed on 9/11.

So when the Washington Post’s idiotic Anne Kornblut praises Joe for his “courage,” all you can do is wonder — and cancel your subscription.

Ezra Klein on Countdown made the argument many will now make: it may be unconscionable for Joe Lieberman to threaten to leave 30 million people uninsured, but that also means it would be unconscionable for Democrats to kill the bill and leave 30 million uninsured. A brutally divisive debate will rage and split everyone who actually cares about the 30 million.

Because that’s what extortion and protection rackets that threaten peoples’ lives do. We are arguing about paying extortion ransom money. Justice demands the perpetrators of these monstrous crimes be brought to justice, but justice also requires we protect the victims.

The health reform debate is no longer about “reform.” It has now become a hostage rescue effort for more than 30 million innocent victims. Every decision from here on must put the victims’ interests first, and whether we pay the extortionists’ ransom demands or not depends how that serves the victims’ safety.

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This Isn’t Health Reform; It’s Extortion for a Protection Racket

Watching Sherrod Brown, Ron Wyden and Harry Reid try to explain why the Senate’s emasculated health reform bill was still worth voting for was painful. These men know they’ve been defeated and humiliated by an unprincipled extortionist fronting for what amounts to a deadly protection racket.

Whatever Joe Lieberman’s motives, the reality is that he just performed a moral crime on national television. He’s essentially said that if Democrats want to provide even poor health insurance to 30 million uninsured Americans, the federal government and those citizens will have to pay blood money to an industry protection racket that will have the economic and political power to set the terms of that protection, shield itself from oversight and competition, and raise prices at will.

So you see, this isn’t about Joe getting even with Jane or me or any other "liberals." This is about organized crime. The victims aren’t "progressives" or other Democrats.

No, the victims are ordinary people, like the thousands, lovingly filmed by Eve Gitteleson, who showed up at the free clinics because they’d lost their jobs or their insurance and hadn’t seen a doctor or dentist in years, and the victims are those who will continue to go bankrupt, struggle to survive, or suffer and die. These are the people that Joe Lieberman is holding hostage and from whom the health industry would extort trillions of dollars in protection money.

This is a terrorist act. There are 15 times more deaths per year being perpetrated now, and threatened again by Lieberman’s demands — and those of every Republican from Snowe to McConnell — than were killed on 9/11.

So when the Washington Post’s idiotic Anne Kornblut praises Joe for his "courage," all you can do is wonder — and cancel your subscription.

Ezra Klein on Countdown made the argument many will now make: it may be unconscionable for Joe Lieberman to threaten to leave 30 million people uninsured, but that also means it would be unconscionable for Democrats to kill the bill and leave 30 million uninsured. A brutally divisive debate will rage and split everyone who actually cares about the 30 million.

Because that’s what extortion and protection rackets that threaten peoples’ lives do. We are arguing about paying extortion ransom money. Justice demands the perpetrators of these monstrous crimes be brought to justice, but justice and our common humanity also require we protect the victims.

The health reform debate is no longer about "reform." It has now become a hostage rescue effort for more than 30 million innocent victims. Every decision from here on must put the victims’ interests first, and whether we pay the extortionists’ ransom demands or not depends how that serves the victims’ safety.

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Scarecrow

John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley