Thursday, August 13, 2009

OPINION: We Can Only Hope ‘Reform’ Is On The Ropes

The Right Side
By Rick Coddington
According to Bingaman, health-care reform is “on the ropes.” We can only hope …
This was a very close call, if it is in fact going to go away. Last week a friend of mine asked me if I thought it would pass and I said “absolutely.” My reasoning was that since the big corporations had signed on to the disastrous plan, the politicians (who are bought and paid for by the corporations) would pass it regardless of the will of the people.
In my cynical view of Washington, the politicians are terminally out of touch and completely uncaring about the lives of us peons. I went on to say the only reason there was any delay in the passage was because the big special interests were throwing suitcases full of money around and the politicians wanted the extra time to cash in as much as possible.
I still believe that, by the way, whether it passes or not. Of course, they don’t really pay off with cash anymore. They do it with VIP loans (See Dodd’s latest scandal) and with cushy positions on the boards of the corporations for the politicians’ wives (again, see Dodd, and don’t forget Dodd is the second in command in the Senate Committee on Health, behind Kennedy, who has brain cancer).
The way Washington works is by greasing the wheels. I don’t care if the Senate’s supposed ethics hearings say it is OK to get sweetheart deals, it’s not right. The whole bunch is rotten to the core. The things they permit, like the time-honored tradition of hiring Senators’ spouses on corporate boards, is just plain conflict of interest.
We share in the blame for all this, because we don’t make election reform a critical issue in elections. It is an unchangeable fact that as long as politicians have to run for re-election on short cycles that cost millions of dollars, they have no choice but to prostitute themselves. “Fundraising,” they call it.
Back to the chance that health-care reform will die, even though the corporations have thrown buckets of money at it. How could that happen? How could I possibly be wrong? Well, in my cynicism, I lost sight of the fact that the politicians need all that money so they can stay in office, so the money is not the object, it is the means.
So folks, there may be one way to trump the big corporations’ money. And that is to make the politicians fear that they will get booted out of office no matter how much money they have to campaign with.
They are feeling already the pressure. Witness the near riot that Rep. Dingell got in Michigan. He set up a “town meeting,” expecting 100 to 200, and more than 1,000 angry folks showed up. To make a long story as short as possible, the AARP emcee opened the meeting and immediately got shouted down as a “liar” and a “traitor.” Very appropriate, I’d say, since AARP is supposed to represent the people who will be hurt the most by Obama’s “health care.”
Rep. Dingell caught it too. With his meeting ending in what I would consider a personal disgrace, when he had the police remove protestors, like a man who demanded to know what the outcome would be for his wheelchair-ridden son suffering from cerebral palsy. Anyway, the meeting was a disaster. Hey, it’s a start … Now, if you are one of those who care about the Medicare recipients that will suffer from this disgraceful plan, or if you have thought about the fact that, whatever your age, you will eventually be one of those unfortunates … Start screaming at these guys who are supposed to be representing us!
Call Udall at 505-346-6791, Teague at 835-8919 and Bingaman at 1-800-443-8658. Speaking of Bingaman, I have to say that he must be very confident in his health-care package or he would not have the courage to risk choking on the term “public option” he used to describe “the plan,” since it is not optional at all.
I’m dead sure that he knows about the provisions to force people to take their “option” whether they like it or not. If, for instance, they are (like me) one of the ne’er-do-wells who chooses to not have health insurance.
Speaking of Bingaman’s own little slice of health-care heaven, why are we common folks not able to get in on the plan that the politicians enjoy? Or, better yet, why are they not forced to join whatever plan they come up with for us? I bet that would forever settle the question of old people getting thrown off of Medicare to die more cost-effectively! Yep, if those gray-haired lawmakers were facing the same system they are trying to force on us, I bet it would get fixed muy pronto.

Rick Coddington is a third-generation native New Mexican. He attended UNM and studied political science. He has lived in Socorro since 1974. His opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.


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