8 thoughts on “A Stern Letter

  1. Here’s a link for you lbd:

    The administration cannot close the loophole. Congress must. Why let facts get in the way of bashing the administration though? While there is certainly a lot of issues to bash them with, this is not one of them.

    As to the practice of investigating the history of breast cancer patients: Though wrong and throughly distasteful, insurance companies can drop policy holders for fraudulent statements and applications. They will continue to do so until the rules are changed by Congress though dropping people for fraud will never be ruled out until we have a single-payer system.

  2. Which is another reason we needed Medicare for All (Improved!). True universal care with private delivery of services.

    What good do the insuranc companies do? Except suck off profit from health CARE dollars?

    That we can well and truly blame the administration and Obama for doing to us.

  3. jawbone — Obama didn’t write the draft of the health care bill. You can blame him for not leading the direction of the process more and for throwing single payer under the bus at the beginning but, and you may have missed this, insurance companies have been leeching money out of the process since long before Obama came along. Perhaps you should look at the bought-and-paid-for conservadems and Republicans that fought for the status quo.

  4. During the primaries and general elections, Obama had to be dragged into supporting health CARE. I vividly recall a debate where he was pushed by the questioner as to whether he thought health care was a right — he kept dancing around the answer and, then, on the third or fourth question, admitted in almost a mumble that it was. His body language screamed he did not believe this. It was painful to watch.

    Obama announced that single payer was off the table from the beginning of his presidency, and he then systematically ensured single payer views were not officially allowed at any of his “town halls” and other public meetings about health insurance reform fiasco. His official blogger did not include questions from single payer supporters in one appearance in Iowa — had to eliminate quite a bit of coverage.

    He did indeed engineer what happened. He even would not allow his private physician from Chicago to appear in support of single payer.

    He accepted (or asked for?) Max Baucus’s chief of staff, who had strong ties with the health insurance industry, to become one of his asst chiefs of staff, with emphasis on health insurance reform. Nice, neat, private channels of communication, eh? And, of course, in Feb. of 2008, Max Baucus brought back Liz Fowler, one of his staffers who went on a two year sabbatical to WellPoint as a VP of government relations and PR. She came back to head up the writing of Baucus’s (and Obama’s ) version of RomneyCare.

    Oh, and, painfully, he did not bring anyone from Ted Kennedy’s staff onto his staff to work health CARE. Which makes eminent sense, since he was working to improve the long term profitability and viability of the private for-profit health insurance industry. They needed a mandate for all to purchase their expensive, non-value adding policies — and they got that.

    Obama then held several secret, albeit eventually leaked, closed door negotiations with Big Health Industry Players (BHIP), and set the direction of what would and could be in the “reform’ bill. He also continually said he was leaving matters to Congress! But, in both houses, he and his staff pulled strings and pushed agendas. And we got bascially what a good corporatist president would hand to the BHIPpers.

    Obama is a corporatist, probably more that than a Democrat, and he works to reward his corporate supporters (overlords?).

    No, I have never missed the fact that insurance companies contribute essentially nothing to the provision of health CARE. That’s why I have been for single payer since I’ve been old enough to think about such things.

    My take on the Clinton health legislation failure is that they pre-negotiated, pre-compromised in trying to bring Repubs and BHIPpers on board for their health CARE plan. Had they begun with single payer, they might have been able to have actual compromises.

    Obama seems predisposed on almost all issues to “pre-compromise” and get nothing for it. Hence, his announcement of nuclear plant building support and off-shore drilling with no strings attached, just a suggestion Repubs might want to be agreeable. Heh.

    I think that’s a feature, not a bug, not a rookie mistake. It’s what Obama wants, to move rightward.

  5. I agree with you on some of your points though I place most of the blame for the health care bill on the Congress. I primarily fault Obama for the poor starting position (no single payer) and leaving the details to Congress until the final run towards passage. He let Baucus and Grassley dance all summer with zero results.

    I don’t agree that this was entirely Obama’s aim — expanded corporate health care. I still believe that no matter what was passed, it will take several more bills to get us to better overall health care.

    I also don’t think that Obama is any more of a “corporatist” than Clinton was, especially during his second term. Big business owns DC and the President is no exception.

    As for his support of nuclear energy, Obama was open to exploring it on the campaign trail, so no surprise there. See it here:


    The offshore drilling areas that were opened up are not the giveaway that you think. Some projects were already planned and most of the areas up for drilling are not terribly desirable. I believe that he is playing chess in this instance to the Republicans’ checkers. He has taken away this issue from them as a talking point.

    Are you aware of the funds allocated to alternative energy under Obama? Obama and the Congress have allocated billions of dollars for various alternative energy projects, with most of the money in the stimulus bill. See here:


    These efforts will take time and we should explore all reasonable efforts to produce more domestic energy while alternative energy capacity comes on line. I would prefer a rebuilt electrical grid and heavy investment into solar energy. There have been some serious advances in the technology in the last few years.

    Lastly, I don’t agree with your assertion that Obama wants to move rightward. He is and was a centrist; a pragmatic politician. While that can be infuriating, it’s who he is. He was never the champion of the left that some thought him to be.

  6. In our current political climate, anyone who’s aiming for the political center is by definition moving to the right.

  7. I guess it depends upon your frame of reference. After eight years of W, I would say that we’ve moved leftward.

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