Only in America -- or, "I Told You So!"
On PBS News last night, Mr. The-Strangest-Name-Outside-of-Porn-Business Axelrod (and doesn't he look the part, too?) waxed semi-poetic on the virtues of the health care reform bill that is going to be (i.e., may be) voted on before Christmas. Axelrod assured us so.
And he added, causing a massive jaw drop in yours truly, that this is the most progressive piece of legislation -- I'm not sure if he said in a long time, or ever, because at that very moment the downward pull of my jaw created an unbearable pressure in my ears, which resulted in a deafening POP! Thus I missed the Axelrod's qualifer for his self-serving assertion.
As I was picking my jaw off the floor and trying to jump on one foot to restore my hearing (an old Polish folk remedy), I pondered, as it's customary during such complex acrobatics, the sad absurdity of his statement.
Only in America this colossal transfer of the poor, huddled masses to the greedy paws of the private insurance cartel could be called the most progressive piece of legislation, whether in the recent years, or ever.
Only in this world, where rabid capitalism defines who we are and how we treat each other, we can have a presidential adviser state with a straight face that this is something we should all look forward to and be proud of.
Only in this strange country of ours, up is down and black is white. I thought I've seen everything under the communism, where the propagandist double-speak ruled the day and we learned early on to make fun of anything coming out of the politicians' mouths (because whatever it was, it had zero resemblance to reality). That was before I moved to USA where the wonders of absurdity never cease to amaze me. Commies had nothing on the corporatist propaganda -- the pinkos' attempts at shaping the minds and hearts, that was a child's play. This, here, in the US, this is the real mind-boggling (literally) deal.
But back to the miracle at hand, a.k.a. this most progressive piece of propag... I mean, legislation. Let's take a quick stroll down the memory lane.
First, Barack Obama said that a single-payer health care is the best solution to our health care woes. He was right, of course, but that was years ago, before he ran for President and he could afford to both say the truth and be right. Then, as the candidate-Obama, he insisted that a robust public option and drug price controls would be necessary to introduce any meaningful changes to this broken system.
Next, he started to remind us not to get our panties in a bunch over such an insignificant sliver of the health care reform as the public option, and he struck a quiet, behind the closed doors deal with PhRMA promising them not to touch their God-given right to super duper sweet profits garnered from the Americans' suffering. That was when he was already President. At the same time, he and his people told us that things will be just fine, not to worry. He said that we will have a uniquely American health care system.
Little we knew then what he meant, but, as I (and others) frantically kept pointing out, the signs of things to come were already there, for all to see (should all wanted to keep their eyes open). One of the sure giveaways about the real scope of this "reform" was the change of language: some time in the summer, the White House talk switched from discussing health care reform to health insurance reform. Yes, we've noticed and we told you so. (I told you so is the phrase my husband uses with abandon when I rant about the "reform." I'm just passing it on, is all. Call it the giving spirit of Christmas, or something.)
(BTW, if you'd like to take a moment to bang your head against the wall at any time, please feel free to do so. It is the only thing any rational person would be expected to do in these circumstances.)
As of today, there is no public option, the Medicare expansion plan was killed (thanks, pouty Joe), no drug price controls in sight, no cost controls to speak of, and, of course, no competition for the private insurance companies who are also exempt from antitrust laws. And as if that was not enough, there is an extra slap in the progressive faces coming in the form of the scrapped abortion provision in the bill. So is this the most progressive piece of legislation or what?
Sorry, Mr. Axelrod, it's not even close -- unless you redefine progressive ASAP (preferably while jumping on one foot and banging your head against the wall; harder, please).
But not all is grim news. There is a bright side: Christmas arrived early for the medical-insurance cartel this year. Can you hear the bells ringing? It's Santa Claus coming to Cigna, Wellpoint, United Healthcare and all the naughty boys and girls from The Outfit, bearing things glittery and nice -- and lots of them, too, something like 30+ million. Oh, and the insurance stocks are soaring.
So rejoice, all ye faithful -- joyful and triumphant, The Outfit will show us the way, first to servitude, and then to bankruptcy, or maybe the other way around, not that it matters.
But, hey, at least we can laugh (and you know what they say, laughter is the best medicine -- pretty soon it'll be the only medicine, if it isn't already -- so enjoy):
Cross-posted at The Middle of Nowhere.