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We’ve Been Double-Crossed ByThe Senate

By James Donahue

The great Obama health care plan has been twisted into a sham by a gang of crafty senators who have sold out to the insurance industry. If this bill gets passed in its present form, the health insurance companies will get richer and the American public will discover they have been ripped off again.

The bill forces insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions all right. But tucked neatly inside those volumes of pages of fine print is a free ticket that allows insurance companies to charge a percentage of working family wages, and if there is a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer, the price goes up. And there appears to be no limit to what that price might be.

There will be no competition because the new version has erased the key solution to the American health care crisis . . . competition among insurance providers. They stripped away the public option and even a plan to allow people 55 and older to buy into the Medicare program.

In short, after months of time wasted giving speeches, holding committee meetings, arguing over what will go into this plan, the Senate has just destroyed a workable plan approved earlier this year by Congress.

Television commentator Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean both went on record this week suggesting that the bill be scrapped if not repaired by Congress before it gets to the president’s desk.

And if the public option and all of the other key components are not replaced in the final compromise bill, Olbermann urged President Obama to veto it. He said in his special editorial commentary December 16 that if the bill passes in its present form, he personally would take a public stand, refuse to buy the insurance that would be required by law and risk going to jail. Olbermann said he believed many Americans might be forced to do the same or face bankruptcy because they will not be able to add the high cost of this insurance tax to their already stretched cost of living..

Filmmaker Michael Moore called for a boycott of the State of Connecticut if voters there don’t launch a campaign to impeach or at least unseat Senator Joe Lieberman, one of the key instigators of the raping of the health care bill.

Arianna Huffington, editor of the Huffington Post, said she views the bill as nothing more than a “bailout for the health insurance industry” paid for by a malicious tax on the general public.

Richard Trumka, president of the nation’s largest union, the AFL-CIO, said the organization cannot support the bill without substantial changes. He said without a public option for insurance coverage the legislation fails to meet the needs of union members and their families.

And Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union, has called upon the membership to “stand as one and say enough.” Stern urged Congress and the White House to make major improvements to the Senate version of the health care bill because the labor community cannot support this legislation as it has been written.

A Reuters News story said that Dean is leading what appears to be a growing insurrection among left wing Democrats who are angry over the loss of the public option and/or the plan to expand Medicare to allow people 55 and older to buy into it.

Dean argues that the Senate bill does not permit competition with medical insurance companies that would provide competitive prices so instead of fixing the current health care crisis, would expand private insurers grip on health care. He said that does not amount to reform.

Olbermann directed his most severe criticism at President Obama this week when he warned that his efforts to gain bipartisanship has merely opened the door for the Republicans to snafu the long awaited health care plan and threaten the President’s ability to lead and the Democratic Party’s prospects for remaining in power.

Speaking of the mandate that requires every working American to purchase health insurance Olbermann told the president: “This provision must go. It is, above all else, immoral and a betrayal of the people who elected you. You must now announce that you will veto any bill lacking an option or buy-in, but containing a mandate.”

Olbermann urged Senator Reid to “put the public option back in, or the Medicare buy-in, or both; or single-payer. Let Lieberman and Ben Nelson and Baucus and the Republicans vote their lack-of-conscience and preclude 60 ‘ayes.’ Let them commit political suicide instead of you.

“Let Mr. Lieberman kill the bill – then turn to his Republican friends only to find out they hate him more than the Democrats do. Let him stagger off the public stage to go to work for the insurance industry. As if he is not doing that now,” Olbermann said.