I think Wednesday is going to be a make it or break it day for President Obama's presidency ~ Thom Hartmann on his radio program (9/3/2009)
Obama will address a joint session of Congress on health care reform in prime time today (Wednesday, Sept. 9th). If the public option, which President Obama has previously described as a "must" is indeed dead (as proclaimed by Glenn Beck and other right wing news sites/pundits), we will probably find out then. An 8/17/2009 article on "The Daily Kos" by Jed Lewison says, "If the White House does end up letting the public option disappear without a major fight, many of President Obama's most ardent supporters, inspired by his Yes we can attitude, will withdraw from politics, their previous cynicism once again affirmed by a broken system".
In my previous post titled "Who Opposes Healthcare Insurance Reform", I addressed the right's assertion that it is average Americans who are opposing healthcare insurance reform. In said post I clearly illustrated that those against reform are "billionaires posing as grassroots groups to oppose anything that isn't in the billionaires' interests" - to reiterate the quote I concluded that post with.
Average Americans are, in fact, largely in favor of reform. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll, "72 percent [of Americans] support a government-sponsored health care plan to compete with private insurers ... [and] think the government would do a better job than private industry at keeping down costs".
I linked to this poll on a conservative website, and of course a Con chimed in disputing the figures. Because CBS News is "liberal". If "liberal" equates to "no conflict of interest", then I suppose CBS News is liberal. Actually, it is because CBS News - as reported by FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) - is one of the few news organization without a conflict of interest, I believe their figures to be the most trustworthy.
So, what is the conflict of interest? FAIR explains that, "when a director from one company sits on the board of directors of another company, that's known as an interlocking directorate"; and, "save for CBS, every media corporation has board connections to either an insurance or pharmaceutical company".
Wow, every one? Yes, read the article. A Con faced with that fact would probably next attack FAIR, because they are "a progressive media criticism organization", but the facts, and the conflict of interest remain. The proprietor of a conservative blog I recently visited, and was quickly banned from posting on, argued that an organization having a conflict of interest does not preclude their information from being correct. So, billions of dollars are on the table, but polls produced by news organizations on whose boards health insurance executives sit - polls that tell us a majority of Americans are against a "government takeover" of healthcare - they might not be rigged.
I think common sense should indicate clearly which side in this debate is telling the truth - fake grassroots organizations backed by health insurance industry money and news organizations with health insurance industry executives on their board of directors - or polls from non-biased sources that tell us that a large majority of Americans want a public option?
Also supporting a single-payer system or a public option are a number of physician and medical professional organizations (see the list below). It is an impressive list, but there is one notable exception. The American Medical Association (representing approximately 20 percent of practicing physicians) has, historically, always opposed the public option.
Because they're worried about mandatory participation and reimbursement rates - they're whining that government run insurance programs aren't paying them enough. I'm in favor of paying doctors fairly, but I'm not convinced that this isn't about greed as opposed to fair pay. Otherwise you'd think that argument could stand on it's own.
In the past the AMA has referred to the public option as "socialized medicine" and made the Sarah Palin-ish claim that a government-sponsored system would be a gateway to totalitarianism. This go-round they're alleging a public option would lead to "an explosion of costs that would need to be absorbed by taxpayers". If this were really about adequate compensation why trot out these obvious lies? Insulting my intelligence doesn't help your case, AMA.
As with my previous post, again we can follow the money and discover whom, in actuality, the AMA is concerned about. Is the AMA all about protecting taxpayers from "an explosion of costs" and totalitarianism, or their own bottom line? An article by Matthew Yglesias on "Think Progress" reveals that at least 20 percent of the AMA's budget comes from the pharmaceutical lobby.
The AMA was willing to whore itself out for money in the past when it accepted money from the tobacco industry (see the Think Progress article), and, in my opinion, the same thing is going on now. Which may be why a recent survey by Sermo (an online community for physicians) found that 91 percent of physicians feel that the AMA does not accurately reflect their opinion as physicians. Which could explain why membership in the AMA has been declining in recent years.
In any case, I didn't intend for this post to be about the AMA, but about who supports the public option (the American people), and speculation regarding whether President Obama will, or will not, stand up and fight for what the American people want. If he does not I fear for the future of his agenda and for the future of the Democratic Party. If President Obama is of the opinion - and from what I've heard he may very well be - that any bill is a win, I think he is mistaken.
No public option is a win for the Republicans, and could very well render the rest of Mr. Obama's presidency ineffectual. Does this leave a lot of Democrats wondering, as a blogger on Atlanta's Examiner.com put it, "is Obama's presidency about to self-destruct over health care?".
Physician and Medical Professional Organizations Supporting Healthcare Reform
 The National Physicians Alliance with a membership of approximately 20,000 physicians.
 Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) representing aproximately 14,000 American physicians, medical students, and health professionals.
 Mad as Hell Doctors representing Oregon physicians.
 Health Care Reform vs. Single Payer Like HR676 (8/17/2009) Reason to read: Lays out how a public option would lead to tremendous savings and other benefits.
 The Pharmaceutical Payoffs? by Candice Lane, M.D. (blog post from Wellsphere's General Medical Community, 4/16/2008). Reason to read: Reveals how drug companies are paying off doctors to hawk their products.