Bill Moyers on our health-care ‘debate’
Let’s get on with it, Mr. President. We’re up the proverbial creek with spaghetti as our paddle. This healthcare thing could have been the crossing of the Delaware, the turning point in the next American Revolution — the moment we put the mercenaries to rout, as Gen. Washington did the Hessians at Trenton. We could have stamped our victory “Made in the USA.” We could have said to the world, “Look what we did!” And we could have turned to each other and said, “Thank you.”
As it is, we’re about to get healthcare reform that measures human beings only in corporate terms of a cost-benefit analysis. I mean, this is topsy-turvy — we should be treating health as a condition, not a commodity.
As we speak, Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, has been fined a record $2.3 billion as a civil and criminal — yes, that’s criminal, as in fraud — penalty for promoting prescription drugs with the subtlety of the Russian mafia. It’s the fourth time in a decade Pfizer’s been called on the carpet. And these are the people into whose tender mercies Congress and the White House would deliver us?
Come on, Mr. President. Show us America is more than a circus or a market. Remind us of our greatness as a democracy. When you speak to Congress next week, just come out and say it. We thought we heard you say during the campaign last year that you want a government-run insurance plan alongside private insurance — mostly premium-based, with subsidies for low-and-moderate income people. Open to all individuals and employees who want to join and with everyone free to choose the doctors we want. We thought you said Uncle Sam would sign on as our tough, cost-minded negotiator standing up to the cartel of drug and insurance companies and Wall Street investors whose only interest is a company’s share price and profits.