Activists are blinded by ideology, when cash works better.
By Jack E. Lohman
We are losing the health care issue not because we failed to mobilize, but because we fought with logic rather than bribery.
We gave good arguments while the medical-industrial complex gave cash dollars. Over $125 million from insurance, hospital, pharma, and medical device manufacturers in 2008 alone. We were smart, they were smarter. We are now on the outside looking in, and no amount of head-scratching will alter the fact that we were simply outspent.
In this situation we were better off with no bill rather than a bad bill, but we didn’t give the cash to make that happen. Politicians prefer bribes, so the insurance CEOs give cash instead.
Logic is so “yesterday,” and the medical-complex bribes will now keep coming in as long as reform does not happen. Future cash motivates politicians better than historical cash, and that’s why they also prefer private over public services.
There are three critical messages to take from this:
- Don’t stop here. We must mobilize to throw the bastards out. Forced term limits is our next “public option.” Politicians must see an immediate response to their favoring money over matter; of selling the country to the highest bidder against the best interests of the nation. All politicians who vote for the current health care bill must be unelected in 2010!
- That doesn’t free the Republicans of blame, because they will vote against single-payer when it comes to the table. They are as corrupt; they just allowed the D’s to take this hit. But the R’s must also be replaced. We must rid our system of all miscreants.
- Recognize that this enemy — bribery — is deeply imbedded in our political culture. Over 80% of congressional decisions will favor money over people. It is behind the recent spiral of the nation’s economy. It will remain behind the massive transfer of wealth that eclipses our democracy and capitalism. Our country can no longer sustain political corruption or the massive wealth inequality that has resulted.
If activists can be faulted for anything it is for their naivety. There is only one solution to this quagmire, and that’s to get the private campaign dollars out of the public electoral system. Though in its extreme (forced) it does not pass Constitutional muster, a reasonable solution is available: Optional public funding of campaigns.
CALL TO ACTION: All activists and organizations must ask their congressional members to support the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752 and H.R. 1826). Healthcare activists must immediately take on this second issue, because it affects all others. We can no longer afford to lose issues because of bribery.
This bill provides for optional public funding of campaigns for any politician who prefers not to take private or special interest money. A politician who prefers private money can remain on the current system. It is funded by a surcharge on federal contracts. A candidate needs only to acquire a preset number of community signatures to qualify. In Arizona and Maine 70% of their legislators ran and won under public funding, and that included R’s and D’s and Libertarians alike. And it passes constitutional muster, so don’t accept otherwise from your congressman.
— The healthcare bill that passes will almost surely include individual mandates, which drives the insurance market from 85% to 100% of the people. Subsidies will go to the unemployed and low-wage workers, which provides a massive windfall for the insurance industry at taxpayer expense.
— The proposed “public option” will cover only 10% of the people and promises to serve as a massive dumping ground for those people the industry does not want.
— The best solution would have been a single-payer Medicare-for-all system, but cash dollars from the insurance industry kept it entirely off the table. Had it been considered, with 70% public support, the pressure would have won the day. But the industry’s hogs opposed, and they help fund the elections.
— Had we had public funding of campaigns, solid healthcare reform would have occurred years ago.
— It simply doesn’t matter what political party you support, solid nation-oriented political decisions will occur if money is not changing hands.