We may not yet comprehend how big a favor Senator Baucus
just did for his 330 million fellow citizens. But from today on, it is my
personal crusade to insure that he gets at least a footnote in the history
To be sure, I think Sen. Baucus� legislation is a load of
crap, but the good senator and his colleagues, doing the insurance industry�s
bidding, saved us from the chance that Obama�s �public option� version -- itself
not quite half a load of crap -- might possibly become law. The decks are now
cleared for a real battle over real health care: the AmericaPlan.
What is the AmericaPlan? Rest easy, dear friends, it�s not
another 40 pounds of draft legislation. It�s already been introduced and it�s
got a respectable number of co-sponsors.
The problem is, it goes by a variety of names -- none of
which are memorable in the least.
Here�s what I mean. The Colgate-Palmolive Corp. marketing
staff sits down with their high-paid consultants and brainstorms something like
�I�ve got it! Let�s call it the �Expanded and Improved Teeth
�No, that�s horrible. I say go with the �National
�You�re both crazy. The American people want something short
and crisp, like �TC 67.��
Stupid? Well, not a whole lot stupider than the names
somebody dreamed up for the only health care legislation that actually does
what�s needed: the �Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,� the �United
States National Health Insurance Act,� �HR 676,� or the remarkably
I�m not kidding you. Except for the last one, those are the
various official names the legislation goes by. �Single-Payer� was somebody�s
idea of a real snappy volksmoniker I guess.
It finally dawned on me how inept �Single-Payer� was, when I
was marching in a local demonstration demanding health care for all recently. �Nobody
out! Everybody in!� You know, the AmericaPlan.
�What do we want?� The guy behind the bullhorn asked.
�When do we want it?�
�What do we want?�
�Single-P . . .� WtF?!!?
Okay. Back to the AmericaPlan.
President Obama was Candidate Obama the last time he
mentioned the AmericaPlan and Sen. Baucus had 13 doctors and nurses arrested in
his hearing room for trying to get it discussed even briefly, so you may not
have heard much about the AmericaPlan.
Suffice it to say there is indeed a single payer -- the
federal government -- which replaces the health insurance companies and their
morbidly obese salaries, bloated bonuses, private jets to private Caribbean
islands and a totally unacceptable 30+ percent overhead.
That is the key.
Medicare -- that socialistic program teabaggers can�t wait
to take advantage of when they hit 65 -- has an overhead one-tenth of
the private insurance companies! That savings nearly pays for an entire program
which brings everybody in; leaves nobody out. But to get there, our political
leaders have to take on the very same insurance companies that make those big,
fat, irresistible campaign contributions.
That�s where you and I come in.
Thanks once again to Sen. Baucus� brilliant bill which,
without the public option fig leaf, is more likely to die a well-deserved
death, we have one more chance to pass the AmericaPlan, HR 676. To do it, we
only have to do two things:
1) Start thinking of health care as a right, not a
2) Get mad. I mean really mad. As in banging pots-and-pans-on-Capitol-Hill-for-as-many-days-as-it-takes
mad. To keep our spirits up we can run Michael Moore�s �Sicko� for the first
few days. When we get sick of that, it will be easy enough to organize an
unending line of people to tell us their tragic stories of ruined families, foreclosed
homes, pain and suffering as a way of life.
Or, we can do what we do really well most of the time:
1) Let our brains turn to mush while the Baucuses, the
Obamas and the corporate news outlets make the AmericaPlan, HR 676, seem just
too complicated for our little heads to deal with.
2) Throw up our hands and let the insurance companies
continue to bury us in paperwork, ration our care, tell us which doctor we can
see, decide who lives and who dies -- which sounds pretty poor in the home of
the brave and land of the free, if you ask me.
That�s pretty much the choice. As the wise sage once said:
�It ain�t brain surgery, folks!� The information is all there. You won�t hear
word one about it on the corporate news, but it�s completely accessible for
anybody who wants to take control of a very important part of their life.
Bring on the pots and pans!
Health Care -- Now!
676 United States National Health
Ferner is a writer from Ohio. You can reach him through mikeferner.org.