Friday, December 11, 2009

Goodbye Public Option, We Hardly Knew Ye

With Pelosi's backing down on the public option came the official death (something I've been saying for a bit now) of the measure for the health care "reform" bill currently being debated in Washington. Pelosi was one of the strongest backers of the measure since the inception of the clusterfuck that is the healthcare debate. That all changed yesterday when Pelosi began the first step in the "I know that's what I said, but it's not what I meant" process.

Pelosi has in the past stated unequivocally that the healthcare bill cannot pass the House without some sort of a public option. When reminded of her statements by a reporter in light of Senate negotiations that create a convoluted system that allows those between the ages of 50 and 64 to buy into Medicare, Pelosi stated that she would have to see the Senate bill and declined to repeat her ultimatum of a public option or no House bill.

What's sad is that Congress was willing to spend almost $1 trillion to bail out Wall Street and significantly add to this country's deficit, but when it comes to healthcare we're not supposed to be spending any extra money to make sure people have access to affordable, decent plans. President Obama has said, "I have pledged that I will not sign health insurance reform that adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade." Pelosi said, "But our standards are that we have affordability for the middle class, security for our seniors, closing the doughnut hole and sustaining the solvency of Medicare, responsibility to our children, so we're not one dime added to the deficit." I'll throw my hat into the ring here with absurd statements, "I would like a Manhattan townhouse, a house in the Hamptons, and a Maybach, all without adding one dime to my deficit." This is America, things cost money, including insuring millions of people.

Wall Street will reap massive bonuses - some in the form of stock with longer vestments (at least until the dust settles and people forget about how they screwed all of us) - and the fact remains: those employed in the bailed-out industries will be getting very large paychecks while those people laid off because of horribly misguided and, at times, downright deceitful tactics in our nation's financial industry will go through the end of this year without affordable healthcare. $700,000,000,000 to bail out Wall Street, $707,851,000,000 for the Iraq War, $0 for healthcare reform. Really?

Is the Medicare buy-in plan an improvement? Sure, for people between the ages of 50 and 64. Are you 25 and just getting off of your parents' plans (if they even have insurance plans provided they haven't seen their benefits cut back or been fired) and can't find a job in this miserable market? Good news! Only 25 more years and you'll be able to buy into Medicare! Until then, however, no Hoveround for you. Peace.

Photo - Pelosi (NPR)

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