No Longer an Option
To pass health reform, the Obama administration will have to ditch its goal of a public plan.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
MAYBE THE White House meant to signal that it was backing away from its commitment to a “public option” as part of new health insurance exchanges. Or maybe the hedging words of administration officials were over-interpreted on an otherwise sleepy Sunday morning in August. It doesn’t much matter, because, either way, the reality is that, if the Obama administration wants to get health reform done, it’s going to have to back away from the public option sooner or later — and it’s getting awfully late.
Awfully late, or just awfully reported?
The Washington Post, caught between 1st and 2nd with a plan to sell access to its staff to paid lobbyist ‘salons‘ at its publishers home, has (instead) sold itself and its readers directly to the . . . what shall we call them? . . . paid subscribers? Panderers? The big guys who dictate editorial content?
Their comments section for this article tells most of the story from the soon-to-flee readership of a sinking newspaper industry. They sniff the sell-out, most of them offended by the odor. Where is investigative journalism hiding?
- Medical industry payoffs (what else can a ‘contribution’ be called?). Not a whisper of concern, even though tens of millions are–legally–paid to our legislative representatives to control their votes.
- Swift-Boat tactics by the same old Swift-Boaters screaming at town-hall meetings? Nary an investigative whisper.
- TV flooded with Harry and Louise ads . . . again? Silence.
- AK-47 and handgun (all of them fully loaded) toting crowds outside meeting where our President is in attendance? Perfectly OK with the Washington Post–just a news item.
So now, the nations premier el-foldo newspaper concedes victory to the screaming, paying, fright-mongering right. Like a ship held by pirates off the Somalian coast, the right to honest, decent, cost-effective health insurance is drifting at sea.
The nation cheered Navy Seals, who shot the pirates threatening an American sea captain. Our toothless and bribed newspaper industry hasn’t the courage or ethical integrity even to point its shaky finger.
Until we have lost national health care again, as every president since Hoover has lost it. Until we have another president lost to gunfire. Then there will be time for wringing hands and wondering who dropped the ball–a time of national mourning and regret. All too late, all worthless.
“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”
–Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787
That was then, this is now.