McClatchy syndicate's Joe Galloway offers a sobering call to disarm on the latest incarnation of health care reform in the United States. Following the appalling display by Connecticut's Joe Liebermann and the jaw-dropping turnabout by the DNC's Howard Dean, it is hard to argue with his sobering, thoroughly depressing critique ("Time to pull the plug on health care 'reform'"). The woefully picked apart 'reform' proposal which has managed to crawl out of the Senate is a sorry example of the inevitable outcome of something beyond legislative gridlock. I'm not even sure we have a word for it in American English. Maybe the Germans or the Czechs can let us borrow something that describes what happens when a gang of out-of-touch plutocrats, gutless wannabe-always-re-electables, know-and-do-nothing obstructionists, and thoroughly corrupt, lobbyist-owned boy-toys get together and pretend to seriously address one of the nation's most critical social needs.
It is inexcusable, incomprehensible that Democrats appear on the verge of blowing this opportunity to reboot the U.S. health care delivery system, and it pains me to admit that President Obama carries the lion share of the blame for this debacle. His "remain above the fray" strategy may have allowed him a dignified distance from the jackels on the House and Senate floors, but it assured that there would be little left worth signing when "negotiations" finished.
Where was Obama over the last few months? Waiting for the lobbyists to finish snarling over the corpse, when he should have been crystal clear on the Hyde Amendment and Public Option from Day 1. There should have been no room for misunderstanding, craven opportunism, and political cowardice. He wanted everyone to be a little happy, and now no one except the status quo-circling vultures among the for-profit insurers and health care providers are getting what they want, which is, of course nothing—except the opportunity to continue to drive the American economy and individual families within it to ruin.
We appear doomed to another decade or so of the industrialized world's most expensive, least comprehensive and effective health care, a system sparkly with hi-tech shiny foil, encumbered by millions of fellow citizens rationed by income out of care, and abandoning thousands of families to bankruptcy because they were unlucky enough to include a loved one who become seriously ill in a profit-not-people driven system. What an utter shame.