A funny thing happened to me the other day. I walked into a conversation at work about the health care reform bill, and without any provocation from me i got to hear an interesting view on the matter from a thoughtful, intelligent man who’s every bit a capitalist. He attends church regularly and describes himself as a right-leaning libertarian. He’s from a staunchly Republican family. He likes Rush Limbaugh. In other words, he’s a far cry from a bleeding heart, dirty-fucking-hippie liberal as you’re likely to find. You know what this man said? He said that he’s in favor of universal coverage, but that the bill being voted on looks like hell and that he can’t see how it will fix any of our health care problems.

Now tell me that this bill is the best we can hope for, and do it without blaming what we’re getting on evil conservatives. This bill is not the best we can get, but it is exactly what Obama and the DLC types wanted…because they’re not on your side.

This is a bill that the insurance industry, for-profit hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will accept. They’re willing to accept it because without the sorts of "reforms" contained in this bill they will experience catastrophic failure and massive amounts of popular ill will in the not too distant future. That’s why it’s accurate to call this a preemptive bailout rather than reform.

At this point, the bill does not regulate insurance rates. It stipulates that you can’t be denied coverage or limited in your use of insurance, but it does not regulate how much you’ll pay for that coverage. It only says that you’re required to purchase coverage. The end effect then is to entrench the current system so deeply that further reforms are unlikely to be successful…actual reform that is. Politicians may fiddle around the edges, but the system that delivers sub-optimal care at great cost is here to stay.

Theoretically, the federal government will subsidize those who cannot afford the insurance they’re mandated to purchase, but note that these subsidies will have a fair amount skimmed off the top before they pay for any actual health care.

Never mind the happy talk about how people without coverage will soon be transported to a magical land of possessing health insurance. This bill privatizes the profits and socializes the losses, funneling tax dollars to insurance companies rather than using them to provide health care.

Mr. Obama and his party have found a way to subsidize a value subtracting industry and do so on your dime, all while telling you that this is the best they can do and that it all comes from their great love for you, the peasants.

They’re liars, and they’ll continue putting the screws to you for as long as you keep believing their lies.

It takes a great deal of gullibility to swallow the idea that this is the very best possible. It requires willful ignorance of the proceedings. Did they mobilize the activist base to push hard for the best possible options with the knowledge that some compromise would be necessary? Nope. They took all that off the table before beginning negotiations. Did they look around the world for all the different ways to address this issue and present them to the American people for debate? Nope. They held secret meetings with the industry they’re supposedly reforming before the process started. (Shades of the Bush-Cheney energy policy, but we don’t want to draw those types of comparisons, do we?)

Did a new president with a strong mandate, a deep pool of eager activists and fine oratorical skills ever make a pitch to convince the majority of Americans – of all political affiliations – that we can…and we must…do something about this issue that will put us on a strong social and economic future for the long term. Nope. He pretty much crafted this bill behind the curtain and then pretends that his hands are tied by recalcitrant Congresspeople from the GOP and the necessity of bipartisan warm fuzzies. And please note that when it comes down to the actual action, he’s now willing to pass the bill on party lines…after twisting the arms of all the dissenters in his party, but only his party.

As my opening, anecdotal evidence suggests, Obama could have end run the GOP and appealed directly to the American people. With a good plan he probably could have gotten the support necessary for real reform. He didn’t because he never wanted anything that resembles real reform. He’d rather sell us a ramshackle "starter home" sitting on an unsound foundation with an APR mortgage that will probably be underwater before we can even make a dent in the principal. That’s right, the "richest country in the world" can only afford a shithole house in a crappy neighborhood. Be happy with it, America, because it’s the best we can get.

Originally posted at Scholars & Rogues