Down the Stretch on the Health Care Bill

You may have noticed that I've become pretty quiet about developments on the health care reform front. I've made it pretty clear that major health care reform is likely the top policy issue that drives my interest in public policy and government. I have been absolutely floored by the corruption, lies and lack of human decency that come from health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Instead of helping the people they "serve," they actually make their lives worse. If you want my stories on this front, I'll be happy to share them in time. But right now, let's focus on this bill, a bill that I no longer even seem to care about.

First and foremost, where has our president been on this bill? He is the President of the United States and he hasn't taken a position on the public option? I mean, really? Is he that ingrained and in bed with big insurance and pharma that they've muzzled him on this issue? I mean, this is the guy who called for sweeping change? It's almost beyond understanding. My feelings regarding Barack Obama as a person and human being are pretty clear: I think he's a very decent, thoughtful, curious individual and one who deserves to be a role model, but I'm really starting to question his ability to lead.

Next, let's take a look at a recent quote regarding the re-importation of drugs. Anyone who pays for medication regularly knows that, even with insurance, the costs can be staggering, especially when considering the absurd windows (what is it 10 or 15 years or something?) on big brands maintaining a hold and preventing generics. And then this, from today's New York Times:

"Debating an overhaul of the health care system, the Senate found itself tied in knots on Thursday over a bipartisan proposal to allow people to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and certain other countries." The vote was delayed, in part, because Democratic leaders "feared that the proposal would be approved, potentially blowing apart a deal negotiated by the White House and the pharmaceutical industry."

We all know that Obama locked in a deal with the drug industry, but look at how it's now impacting the overall bill. Nice forethought, Mr. President.

And yesterday we hear that the public option is essentially dead. Reid, Pelosi, et al caved to Joseph Lieberman. Now that's just beyond comprehension. Alright, it's the democratic Congress; it's actually far from beyond comprehension.

All told, if this crap bill passes, I hope it does help some average Americans. We know for sure that it will help big business. That said, if I were a United States Senator (shooting for 2018), I would vote against the bill as it's now unfolding. My hope, and this has been my only way of making sense of Obama and the Dems, is that they have a strategy here. Maybe this is just a lot of back and forth and internal deals, etc., and that, in the end, they will deliver the American public a solid overall package. If that's not their strategy and they truly are constructing a bill that, as usual, favors big business over hundreds of millions of Americans, well, what a sad day that will be.