Sex, single-payers, and videotape
A diary @ dailykos asks several key questions of Mitch McConell who stated
"the key to a bipartisan bill is not to have a government plan in the bill."
But, before you read The Unmitigated Gall of Mitch 'The Public Option is a Problem' McConnell!, readers should watch a discussion among Bill Moyers and guests Dr. Sidney Wolfe and Dr. David Himmelstein (full transcript here).
Watch the entire interview because, on the whole, it's a mind-blower making bluntly clear why Sen. Max Baucus invited NO single-payer advocates to discuss reform options:
It just cannot pass. We can't squander this opportunity. We can't spend - we can't waste capital on something that's just impossible.
Bill Moyers answers his rhetorical question of why no single-payer advocates testified to Baucus' Roundtable immediately, despite change promised in a clip of State Senator Obama, once we 'take back the White House', Senate and House: "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan."
Moyers is clear:
A quick look at this panel of witnesses appearing before the Senate Finance Committee, it tells you all you need to know. The Business Roundtable. The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce. The conservative Heritage Foundation. Representatives of the insurance industry, including Blue Cross Blue Shield - all in favor, more or less, of the status quo.
After I heard Obama's speech in New Mexico, recently, I accepted in his argument of the difficulty that would result from presumably displacing one-sixth of the economy in moving to become a single-payer nation. But the Moyers' guests tell a very different story, of a nation very much like our own including exactly the same insurance companies, for example, that made the transition to a CHEAPER, more reliable health care system that covers a much greater portion of the population.
Just a few of what I found to be the mind-blowing points in discussion follow.
BILL MOYERS: I've heard you say that several times. I've read you're saying it. We can do away with the health industry.I mean, them's fightin' words, a very powerful part of the economy, and they're a powerful part of the political statute, as David said.
DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: It absolutely is. And in Canada, back in 1970 or so, they were spending the same percentage of their gross national product as we were on health. They had huge numbers of uninsured people. They had the same insurance companies. Blue Cross Blue Shield. They decided to just get rid of the health insurance industry. That it was the only way to go. They had experimented with it in Saskatchewan ten years earlier. It worked so well, they couldn't wait to do it nationally. So, where there's a will, there's a way. There is no way we are ever going to get to having good health insurance for everyone, as long as there's a health insurance industry, in the way, obstructing care.
BILL MOYERS: Let me show you a video of what President Obama said in New Mexico the other day.
BARACK OBAMA: If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That's the kind of system you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we're not starting from scratch. We have historically a tradition of employer based health care and although there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their health care, the truth is that the vast majority of people currently get their health care from their employers, and you've got this system that's already in place. We don't want a huge disruption as we go into health care reform where suddenly we are trying to completely reinvent 1/6th of the economy.
DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: When I hear something like that, you sort of have to say, "What about all the people whose health care is so disrupted that they can't even get in the door at all? What about the people that are underinsured?" It's interesting, because before Medicare passed, which is in 1965, we had older people, either uninsured or going to private insurance. And within a year of the time Medicare passed, the disruption, meaning that they were actually able to disrupt not having health insurance or having under insurance, 90 percent of them were already in Medicare. So, we already have a model in this country of how non disruptive it is. When you hear the word "disruptive" what you're really hearing is code for "it would disrupt the health insurance industry." And that's exactly what needs to be done. So, disruptive is the wrong word.
DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: And for doctors, patients, nurses, it's not disruptive. It actually frees us to do our work. But for the insurance industry, for people making $225 thousand a day as CEOs of insurance companies, yes, it's disruptive for them.
BILL MOYERS: You are both doctors, but are there many doctors like you in support of single-payer? Is there any evidence of their numbers?
DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, we actually started our group, Physicians for a National Health Program with just a few of us. But we now have 16 thousand members. So, there are a lot of doctors who are activists on this issue. But more than that, surveys are showing that most doctors support national health insurance-
DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: ...at this point. Because our lives every day taking care of patients drive us to it. The paperwork, the bureaucracy, the game of mother may I we play with the insurance companies. All of those are not what we went into medicine for. We went into medicine, most of us, 'cause we wanted to take care of people. This system doesn't let us do that. And even my conservative colleagues, our organization has Republicans in it. There, at this point, single-payer supporters, 'cause they say "Let me practice medicine."
In any and all events, I urge you to watch the interview.