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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

watch it: the 12/19/09 weekly address from President Barack Obama

And here’s another reason I’ve been mega depressed this week: the health care “reform” in Washington has entirely collapsed (not that it ever really had a chance in hell of achieving any true reform), and we’re ending up with something that’s worse than if nothing had been done. We’re all going to be forced to buy expensive but crappy insurance that we cannot afford, and without any genuine restraints being placed on the insurance companies.

Obama here makes it plain what’s really been going on: health insurance reform, not health care reform. Health insurance is the problem, not the answer, and the “reform” we’re supposedly going to get — along with that preposterous mandate — will do nothing to curb the crimes of the health insurance companies. There is no word of any way to enforce the supposed restrictions on the insurance companies, no mention of how they’d be punished for breaking the rules, and still no way for people to get out from under the bootheel of these bloodsuckers. There’s no competition. You don’t like the way your insurance company treats you? Tough shit. But don’t try to drop your insurance, because you’ll be fined for doing so. And you’ll still be up shit’s creek is you get sick or injured.

It may well be true that these bullshit bills “represent the toughest measures we’ve ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable”… but that’s only because the insurance companies have never truly been held accountable. For anything.

It’s ridiculous to suggest that what’s going on in Washington right now is a smack in the face to the “special interests” and the “corporate lobbyists.” This “reform” is a huge gift to the health insurance companies, mandating a direct transfer of wealth from working people to those very companies. A smack in the face to the health insurance assholes would be to remove them entirely from the equation because they are the fucking problem.

As Avedon Carol — an American who lives in the U.K. — notes at her wonderfully rageful blog Sideshow:

   Total spending on health care, per person, 2007:
   United States: $7290
   Switzerland: $4417
   France: $3601
   United Kingdom: $2992
   Average of OECD developed nations: $2964
   Italy: $2686
   Japan: $2581

And you are paying more in taxes to maintain our commercialized health care system than Brits pay for a fully socialized health care system that is free at the point of use.

That is, I pay less in taxes, and no one sends me a bill.

Full coverage for necessary treatment.

No pleading with insurance companies.

No denial of claims.

No co-pays.

No bill.

Oh, and you know what else? A pre-existing condition doesn’t mean I get less coverage, it means I get more.

What is Obama offering in exchange for not getting any of that?

Obama is offering nothing, of course. He’s hoping we’re all ignorant of how much better the health care situation is in every industrialized nation all over the fucking planet. And we must be ignorant. Because otherwise we the people would be demanding it. Loudly.

What’s more, in a world that was even only halfway sane, the Republicans would be out there screaming for NHS-style health care reform, because of all the money it would save. In a world that was even only halfway sane, Democrats would be out there screaming for NHS-style health care reform, because of all the people it would help.

But no one is screaming for this at all. All the rich miserable bastards in Washington this week made it perfectly plain — in case it wasn’t already plain — that they do not give a shit about anyone but themselves, and about the other rich miserable bastards who put money directly into their pockets.

You and I, ordinary Americans who work hard? We are less than nothing to these people. They simply do not care about us at all.

Why aren’t people rioting in the streets? I don’t understand this at all.

I think I have very good reason to be massively depressed.

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