Is it too late for progressives and the Tea Party movement to unite against the Obamacare monstrosity?
Short answer, Yes. But please keep reading, anyway.
I have pointed out many times that we should not be fooled into siding with large corporations just because the left claims to hate them. The enemy of our enemy is not always our friend.
We saw that in the passage of Obamacare, where large health care companies were early backers and monied non-profits like AARP and Consumer Federation (Consumer Reports) did much of the public relations.
Differing end goals kept true progressives (as opposed to “liberal” Democratic Party shills) from uniting with the Tea Pary movement in opposing Obamacare. From the progressive point of view Obamacare was a corporate giveaway of historic proportions, essentially providing a captive subscriber base. One of the best expositions of the negative side of Obamacare came from Firedoglake prior to passage.
Nothing has changed about Obamacare; if anything, as we learn what was in the bill, it is clear that progressives’ worst nightmares will come true, though they are so deep in they cannot admit that.
From the Tea Party point of view Obamacare was and is a massive infringement of individual liberty. We would have welcomed support in our opposition, but it was not forthcoming because most progressives chose Party over policy.
As we move from legislation to implementation, and the fight moves to state exchanges and other aspects of the control mechanisms needed to keep Obamacare alive, keep all this in mind.
Although Glenn Greenwald and I could not be farther apart on the Middle East and the “Israel Lobby,” he has made some good points about the corporatist side of Obamacare, including a column today, Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job:
When the legislation that became known as “Obamacare” was first drafted, the key legislator was the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, whose committee took the lead in drafting the legislation. As Baucus himself repeatedly boasted, the architect of that legislation was Elizabeth Folwer, his chief health policy counsel; indeed, as Marcy Wheeler discovered, it was Fowler who actually drafted it. As Politico put it at the time: “If you drew an organizational chart of major players in the Senate health care negotiations, Fowler would be the chief operating officer.”
What was most amazing about all of that was that, before joining Baucus’ office as the point person for the health care bill, Fowler was the Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs (i.e. informal lobbying) at WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance provider….
Whatever one’s views on Obamacare were and are: the bill’s mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry….
Now, as Politico’s “Influence” column briefly noted on Tuesday, Fowler is once again passing through the deeply corrupting revolving door as she leaves the Obama administration to return to the loving and lucrative arms of the private health care industry:
“Elizabeth Fowler is leaving the White House for a senior-level position leading ‘global health policy’ at Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group.”
The pharmaceutical giant that just hired Fowler actively supported the passage of Obamacare through its membership in the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobby. Indeed, PhRMA was one of the most aggressive supporters – and most lavish beneficiaries – of the health care bill drafted by Fowler…
This is precisely the behavior which, quite rationally, makes the citizenry so jaded about Washington. It’s what ensures that the interests of the same permanent power factions are served regardless of election outcomes. It’s what makes a complete mockery out claims of democracy. And it’s what demonstrates that corporatism and oligarchy are the dominant forms of government in the US….
Spoken like a true, er, Tea Partier.