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Chelsea Green Blog

Therapy for Obama, and Health Care for the Rest of Us

President Barack Obama appears to be demoralized, deflated, and fenced in, observes Dr. Bruce E. Levine, author of Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy. All because the powerful insurance industry is fighting what’s right to preserve what’s profitable.

But like his predecessor and personal hero Abraham Lincoln, President Obama must find the courage and strength to do the right thing.

From The Huffington Post:

President Obama appears to have a serious case of demoralization induced by the financial power of the insurance industry. Obama has trapped himself with the same kind of thinking that initially demoralized his hero Abraham Lincoln, who ultimately rejected that kind of thinking, regained his morale, and fought against what was morally wrong.

The sad fact is that Obama is now embracing a bill that gives the insurance industry far more than it gives the American public. With this bill, the insurance industry, via mandates and government subsides, gains tens of millions of new “dream” customers — those who will least likely use their benefits; and insurance companies can charge exorbitant rates to older people, as well as dump completely undesirable customers on to the taxpayer. This is the sober analysis of Marcia Angell, physician and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, who concludes: “Yes, more people will have insurance, but it will cover less and less, and be more expensive to use.”

Earlier in 2009 Obama said, “If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense.” Obama knows that in those industrialized nations which have some kind of guaranteed coverage for all citizens, there are lower health costs with far better health outcomes. He knows that it is right for U.S. citizens to have Medicare for all, single payer guaranteed health coverage for all, yet he has allowed the intimidation by the insurance industry to derail him from fighting for the right thing.

Even as Obama professed an inclination for a single-payer system, he allowed an illusory realism to deflate him, adding, “The only problem is that we’re not starting from scratch. We don’t want a huge disruption as we go into health care reform where suddenly we’re trying to completely reinvent one-sixth of the economy.”

Read the whole article here.


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