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The Progressive Option

While the world has already had the healthcare debate and almost every western nation on the planet has realized that some sort of Universalized Healthcare is best way to go, America still seems to be on the slow side. The plan that most progressive Americans favor is the Medicare4All system which basically is the system that already exists and works so well that even Republicans know it would be political suicide to vote against it for those over 65 years of age.

In July, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner introduced an amendment to HR 3200 which called for the end of Medicare. He then went on the floor of the House and dared Republicans to vote for his amendment.

During the 2008 Presidential primary campaign people told me that Barack Obama was a progressive candidate. One man even compared him to Robert Kennedy. No matter how much I tried to tell people that Obama was not a progressive and was in fact a moderate who believed that he would just sit down and sing kumbaya with the Republicans, no one listened. The fact is that Obama got elected largely because he was able to trick the majority of Democrats that he was a progressive candidate.

When President Obama started the healthcare debate, the very first thing he did was to take the progressive option of Medicare4All off the table in favor of a compromise he called the Public Option. The fact is that now we have 60 Senators in the Senate and we don’t need to compromise America to appease the Republicans. We don’t even need all the Democrats as long as none of the Democrats attempt to filibuster. Obama could just tell the Democrats to vote for whatever plan he wants and if they don’t he won’t campaign for them. He could even threaten to campaign for some other Democrat in a primary if the current Democratic Senator doesn’t play ball.

But no, Obama is not a progressive. He is a kumbaya kind of guy. So he still pushed for his Public Option in the hopes of getting some Republicans to sign on. Well, now no Republicans have signed on and the Health Insurance Industry has bought some of the Democrats. Tomorrow Obama is going to address the full Congress in primetime. He is expected to be giving up on the Public Option in favor of making Health Insurance mandatory for all Americans for the increased profits of the Health Insurance Industry. In other words, he is expected to make the Health Insurance Monopoly/Trust stronger!

Maybe the President will surprise everyone and come into this speech fighting. But that is really unlikely. The fact is that America voted for Obama because they thought he was a progressive. The time has come to draw a line in the sand. If Obama guts the Public Option, we need to gut him politically. We need to send a clear message that if the Public Option goes and America is left with no real reform, we need to put up a real progressive against Obama in the 2012 primary. Personally, I think the best choice politically would be for Howard Dean to run against Obama should Obama abandon the Public Option. While I like Kucinich better, the sad fact is that most Americans will not vote for him. Dean still has a lot of credibility and is progressive enough to make it work.

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