After President Obama addressed Congress about healthcare reform (that would be the You Lie! speech), a live Q & A was hosted by White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn. Demonstrating the Administration’s technological savvy as well as my own, a question I submitted live, via Facebook, was put to Ms. Dunn. No, she replied, America would not look to Europe for a healthcare model.
But now that the Senate Finance Committee has rejected two different proposals for a public option, just where is America looking for its healthcare ideas? Apparently not to the public, a filibuster-beating 65% of whom support a public healthcare option according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
My American-living-in-Europe ears get hot when I hear a public healthcare debate centered on economic issues like “choice and competition”. Why doesn’t the Congress prefer the health care legislation which would ensure the greatest healthcare for the greatest number of people? Economic ideology does not precede people on The List of Things We Hold Dear.
It seems the Republic party is completely out to lunch on healthcare reform, so let’s look at the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee who voted against a public option today. Let’s look, too, at how much money they’ve received from health insurers, HMOs and the pharmaceutical industry in the last 20 years (all data is from the Center for Responsive Politics):
Max Baucus, Montana $1,774,954
Tom Carper, Delaware $598,974
Kent Conrad, North Dakota $630, 930
Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas $650,724
Bill Nelson, Florida $276, 911
These numbers are not the only reason these Senators voted against a public option. John Kerry, who voted in favor of both public options proposed today, accepted much, much more money from the “healthcare” lobby during his run for the presidency.
For other first reactions to today’s public option disgrace, you can check out the Atlantic Wire.