The Way It’s Done In Washington

Hillary’s big healthcare con: The cynical myth she keeps repeating about Bernie Sanders and single-payer
by Chris Brooks, Salon
Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 06:30 AM EST

There is little doubt that Clinton and the entrenched Democratic Party establishment have little appetite for taking on the medical insurance and pharmaceutical corporate cartel. The call to “build on” the ACA and “make it work” is a campaign promise to the health industry, signaling that under a Clinton administration, business will continue as usual.

The official reason given by the administration was that the public option simply did not have enough Congressional support. Even though the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the Obama administration argued that the public option had to be taken off the table, citing the 60 votes in the Senate needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. The ruse was up after the Democrats decided to pass the final bill through reconciliation — a process that required only a simple majority of 51 votes, the number of public option supporters the Democrats had continually asserted they had. Reconciliation effectively bypassed the Republican threat of filibuster, and even though a clear majority of voters in the Congressional districts of progressive Democrats supported using the reconciliation process to ensure passage of the public option, Congress still refused to include the measure in the final legislation due to the pressure being placed on them by the Obama administration to exclude it.

Why did Obama and the Democrats purposely kill the public option? Because they made a quid pro quo backroom deal with industry lobbyists, promising that no government alternative to private health insurance would be in the final bill if the industry would provide their support.

The public option, expanding Medicare coverage to people beginning at the age of 55, importation of drugs from Canada and bulk price negotiations were all traded away by the Obama administration, and in their place Democrats offered $450 billion in taxpayer money to publicly subsidize the mandated purchase of private health insurance, effectively expanding and entrenching the corporate monopoly over the collective health of millions of people while still managing to leave 27 million people uninsured by 2025. And all of this was done with industry lobbyists behind closed doors, in total disregard for Obama’s campaign pledge to negotiate with the companies on C-SPAN and put an end to “the same old game playing in Washington.”

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