George Graham

What Republicans Really Want in Health Care Battle

Don’t be deceived by the “protests” staged at town hall meetings on health care. Those are a diversion concocted to distract the public from the real health care issues in America. PR puppeteers aided and abetted by media propagandists have whipped up age-old fears, resentments and prejudices to create scenarios in which deluded “protesters” beg politicians to give them “their America” care

“Their America” could mean the Eisenhower model in which a white middle class flourished on the backs of invisible black Americans while the CIA and other secret agencies promoted insurgency and funded death squads in other countries to protect the profits of American business interests. Now, black Americans are no longer invisible; they even occupy the White House. And the CIA’s illicit activities have come under scrutiny, hampering their ability to undermine governments that don’t do the bidding of global corporations. Americans can no longer ensure their own prosperity by bullying the rest of the world.

But “their America” could be a lot of other things, too… a rural lifestyle based on small farms, which have all but vanished… cheap gas and the mobility it made possible… hunting deer in the woods behind their homes… and who knows what else? The times they are a-changin’. And a lot of people find the change unbearable. It is this general irritation and uncertainty that the propagandists and “protest” organizers are exploiting.

Obviously, health care reform isn’t the issue to these people. But health care reform is the issue to the Republican Party and the corporations that fund it. They say they want the system changed, and they do – but not for the public’s benefit. They areĀ  not going to accept competition from a “public option” – or any other system that threatens their profits.

The “reform” they want is a system that would yield more profits for the health care industry. Here’s how Robert Creamer describes that scenario in a Huffington Post article yesterday:

(It would) require individuals and businesses to purchase insurance and leave it to private insurance companies to provide that coverage…. Once everyone is required to buy insurance, the companies can have a field day raising prices and profits using the government to guarantee they are paid – either through subsidies or the imposition of fines. You can see why, from an insurance company perspective, this would be a great deal.

Put that simply, such a system would not be likely to get much public support. As Creamer says:

What politician in his right mind would pass a law that requires individuals and businesses to buy products from companies who can then charge whatever the traffic will bear – especially in an industry where premiums have increased three times faster than wages, and profits keep heading skyward even in the worst recession in 60 years?

So Republican politicians are muddying the water in the hope that the resulting confusion will scuttle the Democrats’ proposals and allow the health care industry to achieve its objectives by default. Republicans in Congress declare their support for “reform” and their willingness to “negotiate,” but their plan is to “just say no” until the public runs out of patience and abandons the health care issue in exasperation.

At that point, the Democrats, already squabbling among themselves, could be so deadlocked that no health care bill would be possible. And that would preserve the status quo for health care industry profiteers. In his Huffington Post article, Creamer makes the point that:

Insurance companies are one of only two industries in the United States (Major League Baseball being the other) that are excepted from the anti-trust laws that are aimed at insuring competitive markets. In fact, most major health insurance markets are dominated by two or three companies so there is no real competition – particularly with respect to price.

It would also be an embarrassing defeat for the Obama Administration, giving the Republican Party something to crow about in the 2010 and 2012 elections. So, not wanting to concede defeat, the Democrats could settle for a “bipartisan” proposal so watered down and so convoluted that the public would not recognize its core provision, which would be:

To require individuals and businesses to purchase insurance and leave it to private insurance companies to provide that coverage.

The health care industry would sweeten the pot with concessions such as closing the “doughnut hole” in the Medicare prescription plan, and promises to “control costs” in the future. Some regulatory body might even be established to monitor the industry. But the bottom line would be – to quote Robert Creamer – “like giving the insurance companies a license to take your money – with no regulation – all enforced by government edict.”

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for