An Independent View: Healthcare Reform
In the 1940's, as a way of saying 'Thank you' to the returning veterans of World War II - Great Britain passed its National Healthcare Reforms and to this day they remain a popular and longstanding government program that largely takes care of itself.
America, meanwhile - was still recovering from the political calculus and fallout of unprecedented prosperity. Our country remained largely unscathed from the War - nobody recognized what the lobbyists were doing because they were too busy shining the tailfins of their new car. (how many times can I use the word 'new' in a car commercial. watch me.)
In 1974 Nixon - working as a republican, and under the flag and shield of lobbyism efforts by Kaiser Permante - tried to pass healthcare reform and was stopped in his tracks. The modern HMO came into being as a result of these efforts. I was discussing with my daughter on the way to school - what 'half measures' mean in terms of , say - a software key or license to unlock the features of a program. If you have half a key - will the software unlock?
And so on, and so on - the Federal government took our tax money - then turned around and took money from big corporate America even as far back as the turn of the 20th century - ultimately creating a monopolistic, skewed system in which 30 days stay at a hospital can cost you well over 500,000.00 - pregnancy is a condition that is commonly not covered, and America ended up paying six hundred percent more, per capita - for the same healthcare that is received all over the world. Some of them even got re-elected for this although Teddy Roosevelt went down in history as the 'Trust Buster' - he was weakened by the effort and the lobbyists picked their teeth with him. He was in fact defeated in his next bid for office despite being a very good president and a very good republican.
And then along comes Barack Obama.
The reason that I voted for him is that I was able to dig up a signature issue he worked on - in his tenure in the Illinois state senate. It was a bill he introduced to allow the videotaping of police interrogation. It was opposed by republicans. It was opposed by democrats. The governor didn't like it. And the policeman's union didn't like it. But Chicago was a dirty town - and it needed to be cleaned up. And paradoxically enough - even the so called progressives were against videotaping testimony because they were seeing so many false convictions coming out of the police brutality that passed for an interrogation - that they were using Chicago as their poster child to turn back the death penalty. They didn't even have to hire Spacek to star in the lead role - they would just let the Chicago police do their magic - this is a fact of life - that even the so called 'progressives' don't always 'get it'.
Obama went to work. He played basketball with them. He wined and dined the Governor. The progressives hopped in his camp when they saw he was headed in the right direction. The republicans soon jumped aboard, as did the dems. Finally the policeman's union - being the recipient of a full court press on both the real court and in the senate - found their better half - and the legislation passed. This one act alone - as a state senator - told me more than anyone - that he could get the job done.
So today, thanks to President Obama - we have something to be proud of. But this independents view isn't just that we should be proud of the Federal Government actually doing its job. The fact that the House of Representatives seems to be listening now more than ever - to the American people and doing their will (a staggering 72% of the American people supported reform).
After this humiliating defeat - to the lobbyists - and with the upcoming legislation introduced by Alan Grayson that will fix the biggest problem with the reform - and at the same time, strengthen Medicare - the "Cash into Medicare" bill - the lobbyists , like the Republican party (if it does not correct itself - and it seems, it will not) - will go the way of the travel agent. Sure, there are travel agencies still out there. But you buy your airline tickets online now, don't you?
And with four page legislation from Alan Grayson - now on the loading dock - that says simply - if you want to buy into Medicare with cash- you can. And remove the age restriction. The legislation that follows from this point - is the type of legislation - and the type of transparency that goes along with the kind of government that can really do more, with less money - and hassle.
The lobbyists were spending more than 2.2 Million dollars a day. And lately - they were spending more on Democrats, than republicans. These process mangling men have been at the hard work of trying to spend all this cash - since January of last year. Can you imagine what it would be like, to try to spend 1.4 million dollars a day? After having spent nearly 700 million dollars trying to block this reform they damn near succeeded. They sent senators and congressmen into a Healthcare Summit meeting - holding little political props up in front of the camera. They sent democrats to the house floor working to fight for 'pro life' efforts by trying to block healthcare for unwed moms. And best of all, they bought off failed presidential candidates and committee members. The senate bill that was written as a result - was scarred by the ability they still hold to distort the operation of the US Senate.
What they didn't count on was that anything would pass. And the GOP was loud and long about how Obama will fail. But the bill hammered into them like a sherman tank driving into a toyota. It hit them like ecommerce and online ticketing hit the airline travel agency industry. And now the game is permanently changed. Who knows. The lobbyists might just now abandon the GOP and let that flesh-eaten meat puppet zombie they were operating as a grotesque marionette - fall to the ground. What they are, of course - afraid of is that the bones of the party will fertilize the springing forth of a new party that will represent the conservative interest in America. And not just a party that works to get all the rules removed so that people can cheat.
Now. If a new party would arise from this country - that supports fiscal discipline, doesn't care if you're gay, situates themselves as a fully transparent operation that can get their legislation posted online - and take their money from an online donation engine. The blowout victory of the Democratic party finally makes sense - their sweep in 2008 of the house, senate and presidency was only a precursor to their electoral victories ahead.
Which is not to say that the Democratic party is necessarily - this party. It seems to be . However. We would want to watch what happens regarding Florida Democrat Alan Grayon and the 'Medicare for Everyman' bill he has sponsored. Primary voters are people who can get energized - and go to the polls and vote to throw out the turkeys. And right now, there are some serious turkeys still left in DC. Grayson's bill would be a signature piece of legislation for transparency, and effecient government. Check out his bill - it's here. Oh, and by the way - the dude is raising major amounts of cash. Guess being from a largely republican district isn't such a bad thing, is it?
But the Republican goose is cooked. Lobbyism was their poison issue - just as slavery had been for the party that went before. Getting on the right side of the slavery issue was an imperative for all political parties after Lincoln. There simply wasn't any room for the dog and pony show - after America crossed the rubicon. Healthcare reform, and their silly posturing that even now they're trying to attempt - has become the signature end of an American political party.
And right now the key word is. Party. Yay!