Friday, June 12, 2009

"Robert Reich on Bill Moyers' Journal: Healthcare will be determining fight of Obama's presidency" (with video)

jawbone (Corrente), with video (24:27):
What Obama does for healthcare will show whether he has the strength and desire to take on vested interests, to stand for the people against the powerful.
Reich said the next 2-4 weeks will determine the healthcare battle, that the trade associations of BHIP* will be getting out their big guns and Obama must get involved to achieve what he wants.
Moyers asked if Obama's desire was for a strong plan for the people, which would mean fighting instead of finessing, or did he want to have a bipartisan plan with Repubs on board. Reich said Obama must go to Congress and individual members, state clearly what he wants accomplished. He'll have to go to Baucus and tell him to do what Obama wants done--or Baucus will find that in the future he won't get Obama's buy in on much that Baucus wants.

[Problem: Does Obama want what the people want? Or does he want what BHIP wants? Does he know what he wants? Digital medical records and repeating "fraud, waste, and abuse" are not going to cut it.]

Obama's second big battle will be to take on Wall Street and get good regulations and new laws passed. So far, Obama has followed Bush's lead with bailouts, plenty of lemon socialism (aka corporate welfare), but has done next to nothing for the people, nothing to help with mortgage problems.

So, the two big tests will be 1) a good public option and 2) regulation of Wall Street.

Capitalism, left to its own devices reverts to law of the jungle, and that brought us to the top 1% owning 21% of the national wealth. The middle class has not participated in the growth of the economy from 2000 to now; this was hidden by home equity loans, etc., living on credit, which is no longer viable. Obama must balance the might of money with laws and regulations to protect the people, which also protects the nation's economy.

Obama must fight to establish fairness in the economy, not give lip service to it. Reich thinks Obama and the WH understand this.

Reich said single payer is the best solution for healthcare, but it is politically impossible. Asked by Moyers if a public option would lead to single payer, Reich said if the public option has no subsidies, must pay for itself, then it will not be that much competition for the for-profit Big Insurers, but might force the Big Insurers to take somewhat less in profits.

A workable public plan would be like Medicare [Medicare for All in my words], with low administrative costs, economy of scale, critical mass permitting bargaining leverage. That takes substantial numbers in the plan.
Obama's stand on healthcare and willingness to fight for a good public option will be a clear indications of his toughness and willingness to put the public interest foremost. Is he able to do this? Will he? To be determined, but Reich has...hope.

Wish us all luck.

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