Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Health Care Is A Right


I heard about single-payer advocates being arrested at a Senate Finance Committee meeting on the Ed Schultz show today.  What happened?  The Senate Finance Committee was holding a “roundtable discussion” on healthcare access and coverage.  What interest group didn’t get a formal invitation?  Single-payer advocates.  Not one person who could argue in favor of a healthcare system that a majority of Americans want was invited.  Tragically, yet unsurprisingly, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries hold sway over Sen. Max Baucus (bought-MT) and his fellow committee members.

A group of single-payer advocates came to the meeting and had the temerity to ask why it wasn’t being discussed. It was shocking to hear that they were arrested. It was even more shocking to hear that Sen. Baucus and some of his preferred guests were joking about the situation as the arrestees were being taken away. It is disturbing, to say the least, to see how the powerful and elite (with excellent health care plans!) so easily treat the rest of us in so callous a manner.

I’m going to make my opinion on this subject as crystal clear as possible: I don’t think the populist energy that propelled Barack Obama and Democrats at all levels of government across the U.S. in 2008 was about Cons vs. Dems.  It was about carrying out the will of the American people, regardless of who is “in charge”.  That populist energy can be directed just as easily at Democrats as it was at Republicans.  I prefer Democrats to Republicans in most instances.  But I will refuse to support anybody who stands in the way of protecting the American middle- and lower-class, regardless of the letter after their name.

Sen. Max Baucus is now firmly on that list.  Democrats in the Colorado legislature who refused to suport single-payer health care are on that list.  I’m close to putting Gov. Ritter on that list.  Politicians have stood in the way of single-payer despite campaigning on reforming healthcare in Colorado in 2006 and 2008.  Politicians have killed single-payer bills despite launching a Commission to “listen” to Coloradans’ opinions on what they wanted out of a reformed system – and receiving overwhelming response for single-payer plans.  Their response (actions) is in direct contradiction to the opinions and solutions offered by the citizenry and in direct contradiction to what they told us during campaigns (words).  The limited actions taken so far in Colorado do not go far enough.  The system is not being reformed – it is being tinkered with at the edges.

I am fed up with “listening tours” regarding health care.  Elected officials at all levels know what the people want.  The tours act as props to show citizens that they “care” about the issue.  Enough is enough: no more “listening tours” – only action will be acceptable at this point.  If elected officials can’t publicly, proudly support the creation of a single-payer system, whether it’s in Colorado or in the entire U.S., I can not and will not support them any longer.  I will not listen to the excuse-of-the-day that politician after politician come up with and try to offer to us as the “reason” single-payer cannot be enacted, as though the politicians were actually serious about representing our interests.  It is clear too many of the current crop are not.

Pro-industry syncophants are about the only ones who continue to support our broken healthcare system.

It is immorally disgraceful that millions of Americans are unable to receive the care they deserve because of the greed locked into the healthcare management apparatus.

It is immorally disgraceful that for-profit corporations get to decide who gets covered for what procedure, despite health care costs that have risen faster than inflation for over a decade, despite the number of people who have died from lack of proper care.

It is obscene that the system wants to push expensive, unneeded technologies and treatments at consumers.  It only maintains their increasing profit margins.

It is an embarrassment that this great nation refuses to officially treat healthcare as a right, and not a privilege.

It is sickening to hear that Sen. Baucus won’t allow a single-payer proponent at a roundtable discussion in one sentence, then hear about the pittance that he has received from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries in campaign contributions.  Money may go further in Montana than other places in this country, but a few tens of thousands of dollars is a joke of a haul to take while preventing the healthcare reform that Montanans and Americans have clearly indicated they want.

2000 through and 2006 was about more Democrats for me.  After the 2006 elections, it became clear than quality is more important than quantity.  Leading up to the 2008 election, I started to focus more on better Democrats.  2010 and beyond will be all about better Democrats.  They’ve been given control of running this state and this country.  They campaigned on issues.  They promised supporters they would deliver on any number of things.  It’s time to deliver or find a new job.  Populist energy isn’t blinded by party loyalty.  Democrats would do well to remember that.

Cross-posted at SquareState.


2 thoughts on “Health Care Is A Right

  1. Where exactly did you see the “right” to healthcare in the Constitution?

  2. Are you kidding?

    Where exactly did you see that corporations have the “right” to profit while living people are denied care and die as a result?

    Rights are defined by the people and derived from the people. A majority of Americans want the right to health care.

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