Howard Dean should know something about health care. He is not only a doctor but also as governor of Vermont he introduced landmark health care programs in his state. And Dean (photo at right) warned on MSNBC last night that a bipartisan compromise, which would omit key Democratic priorities, is “not health care reform.” It’s only health insurance reform, he explained.
The proposal has no provision for a government insurance option, and excludes a requirement that large businesses offer coverage to their workers. In other words, it’s a fake.
I am not surprised that the key architect of this Trojan horse is Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, a Democrat who heads the Finance Committee. He has received more contributions from health industry sources than just about anybody in Congress (see partial list of contributions below).
Baucus (photo below) is one of the best friends Big Business has in Washington. He has voted in favor of big oil companies on 67 percent of important oil-related bills, according to Oil Change International, a research and advocacy group.
With the influence exerted in Congress by health industry lobbyists, I suspect that something like the Baucus “compromise” will show up on President Obama’s desk later this year. If it does, the President should veto it.
I know that Dean said health insurance reform is not to be scoffed at. It’s a step in the right direction, he conceded. But he made no bones about the fact that it’s not health care reform. Americans clearly want health care reform, he said, and they should accept nothing less.
Right on, Dr. Dean! This is no time for baby steps. My hope is that Congress will give the people of America real health care reform or nothing. Sabotage of health care reform would give the electorate a black-and-white issue for 2010. And from the poll numbers I’ve seen, I wouldn’t want to be one of the politicians responsible for that sabotage. Not this time.