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Ralph Nader > In the Public Interest > Health Care Hypocrisy

About the only lesson Barack Obama has learned from the Hillary and Bill health insurance debacle of 1993-1994 is to leave Michelle Obama out of his current drive to get something—anything—through the Congress labeled “reform”.

Otherwise, he is making the same mistakes of blurring his proposal, catering to right-wing Democrats and corporatist Republicans, who want an even mushier “reform” scam, and cutting deals with the drug, hospital, and health insurance industries.

His political opponents become bolder with each day as they see his party base in Congress weakening, his polls dropping, and a confused public being saturated with unrebutted propaganda by the insatiable profiteering, subsidized health care giants.

Their campaign-money-greased minions on Capitol Hill and the corporatist Think Tanks and columnists are seizing on President Obama’s aversion to conflict and repeated willingness to water down what he will fight for.

The loud and cruel baying pack comes in the form of William Kristol (“This is not time to pull punches. Go for the kill.”), Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) (“If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”), and Charles Krauthammer yammering wildly about medical malpractice and tort law. Krauthammer does not substantiate his claims or mention the many victims of malpractice as he gleefully predicts “Obamacare sinking.”

All these critics have gold-plated health insurance, of course.

Hillary tried to appease the drug and hospital companies. Obama invites them to the White House, where they presumably pledged to give up nearly $300 billion dollars over ten years without any specifics about how this complex assurance can be policed.

No matter, in return Obama and his aides agreed not to press Congress to authorize the federal government to negotiate drug prices with the drug industry. Don’t worry: the taxpayers will pay the bill.

At a meeting on July 7 at the White House between drug company executives, Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), the industry, according to The New York Times, was promised that the final legislative package would not allow the reimportation of cheaper medicines from Canada or other countries even if they meet our drug safety standards.

Since these industry meetings at the White House are private, no one knows how many other concessions were made. What is known is that Barack Obama knows better. A former supporter of single payer health insurance (often described as full Medicare for all with free choice of physician and hospital and the elimination of hundreds of billions of dollars of corporate administrative costs and billing fraud), then-Illinois state senator Barack Obama predicted, in 2003, that it would be enacted once Congress and the White House were controlled by Democrats. Well, that is now the situation, but, as President, he believes single payer is not “practical”.

Single payer health insurance is supported by a majority of the American people, majority of physicians and nurses, and nearly ninety members of the House of Representatives. (See for more information.)