Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
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ObamaCare: A Non-Existent Health Plan That Begins with Cuts

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford

There is no Obama healthcare plan, “just mouthfuls of generalized rhetoric that changes with the moment, as Obama constantly woos the insurance, drug and hospital corporations.” However, Obama's proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will take on lives of their own. That's what Republicans have “been clamoring for for generations,” and Obama offered it to them, upfront. “In his rush to mollify the private healthcare profiteers, Obama has given away the pubic store.”

ObamaCare: A Non-Existent Health Plan That Begins with Cuts

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford

To protect the profiteers, Obama turned on the progressive wing of his own party.”

Just as Barack Obama went from ostensible peace candidate to a president that greatly expanded the American theater of war in Asia, so has he been transformed, in front of our eyes, from self-proclaimed healthcare reformer to Medicare and Medicaid budget cutter. Along the way, he has used his White House bully pulpit to silence advocates of genuine healthcare reform, and to make common cause with the profit-gougers that have made healthcare in the United States the most expensive, and least generally accessible, in the developed world. While putting forward no defined plan of his own, Obama has encouraged the political allies of the insurance, pharmaceuticals and hospital industries to present their own plans in the guise of “reform.”

From the day he took office, President Obama has pursued a two-part healthcare strategy. First, he would categorically reject a single-payer solution to the healthcare crisis, one that would treat healthcare as a right, and would pay for it by breaking the stranglehold of the private sector. To protect the profiteers, Obama turned on the progressive wing of his own party, ruthlessly eliminating them from White House-sponsored healthcare events, to give the impression that the Obama plan was the only option. But in fact, there was – and still is - no Obama plan, just mouthfuls of generalized rhetoric that changes with the moment, as Obama constantly woos the insurance, drug and hospital corporations.

Congressman John Conyers, the Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, has gathered 79 co-sponsors for his House version of a single payer healthcare bill, HR 676. President Obama tried to make Conyers a non-person, and encouraged committee chairmen to keep Conyers and other single payer advocates out of their healthcare hearings. Conyers, who entered Congress when Obama was only four years old, lambasted the President for taking single payer “off the table before we start, without a hearing.” As long as “the corporate healthcare people” dominate the discussion, said Conyers, “you are going to have some sad version of the same crap you were supposed to be fixing in the first place.”

The White House is engaged in an assault on the main public healthcare plan in existence, while as yet there is nothing to replace it.”

In the end, it may be worse than Conyers fears, because the second part of Obama's healthcare strategy was to start off the discussion by announcing his intention to make big cuts – trillions of dollars worth - in Medicare and Medicaid. Amazingly, he gave the Republicans what they've been clamoring for for generations, upfront! Now the White House is engaged in an assault on the main public healthcare plan in existence, while as yet there is nothing to replace it. In his rush to mollify the private healthcare profiteers, Obama has given away the pubic store.

Obama continues to insist that he will hold out for some kind of public healthcare plan. In the end, it will likely be quite modest, a scheme that will only wind up extending coverage to a portion of the 45-plus million currently uninsured. Most of the rest of the public will remain with the private insurers. Single payer, whose time had come, will have been buried for at least the remainder of Obama's term in office. But the cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will take their course through the Congress, with Obama's blessing. Like Congressman Conyers said, we'll wind up with “some sad version of the same crap” that we started out with. Or maybe worse. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.


Direct download: 20090617-gf_ObamaCare.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm EDT