Once Again The Government Puts Itself At The Center

When the government and a few chosen special interests are the only ones allowed in the room and they look to each other for the solution – is it any wonder that the solution to come out of the room puts those who were in the room at the center?

 The President was elected in part based on what he said he would do – that things would be different and although I did not vote for him, I like many others thought much of what he said on the campaign trail made sense and once elected, I wanted him to succeed.  At various times he spoke of how the health care reform PROCESS would go. 

 Here’s some of what the President said:  “we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN ”, “we have to enlist the American people in this PROCESS”, “the public will be part of the conversation”, “…so if a member of Congress is carrying water for the drug companies…we will have a discussion right there – in front of the American people… that builds in accountability into the system…I would not underestimate the degree to which shame is a healthy emotion and that you can shame Congress into doing the right thing – if people know what’s going on”.

 He also said,

 “I respect what the Clintons tried to do in 1993 in moving health reform forward but they made really one big mistake and that is they took all their people and all their experts into a room and then they closed the door and they tried to design the plan in isolation from the American people. And we will work on this PROCESS publicly, it will be on C-SPAN, it will be streaming over the Net…”

 So I guess the fact that the President is now in the White House and there’s a majority in the Congress and the Senate that means “the game” has changed, what was said in the past doesn’t mean anything today and it’s ok to once again lock the American people out of the PROCESS. 

 I’m waiting for the words: “Well, logistically we couldn’t do what I thought we could do because… or “What do you think we are doing? We are including the voice of the American people by conducting all these town halls, Congress is listening to their constituents during their summer recess, drafts are being rewritten to incorporate the voice of the American people” and so on.

 The press secretary has said in essence – he didn’t think it was ever said that ALL the negotiations would be public. True and he also didn’t say that NONE of the negotiations would be public either.

 As the President and others well know – including the public through town halls or in any other way after the fact or while the behind the scenes negotiations or rewrites are going on will never replace what was missing in 1993 or what is still missing today.

 Being part of the PROCESS means the public is involved from the beginning, not as an afterthought or as an exercise to revise or modify the things the public objects to most and then push the rest through.

 The New York Times has reported that deals already have been made. The deal made with the pharmaceutical industry is in essence to “cap their costs” and to keep Congress from passing on any more health reform costs to the industry. This is a huge deal since a lot of the actual costs won’t be known until the Plan is implemented – the industry will be exempt from the cost over-runs and other Americans will have to make up the difference. Also the deal they made must be a pretty good deal since they’re funding a $12 Million ad campaign in support of the Plan.  The public doesn’t know what other deals were or are yet to be made – since the negotiation doors are still locked.

 I would say this to the President, “On the campaign trail, I too was caught up in your eloquent words and went along with you as you painted those pictures of how it could be. But now matching your past words with your present actions has my picture of you changing. Your words are becoming like those of a  “slick salesman” trying to get the people to buy something that has you, the government and a select few at the center.

 You had the opportunity and you still have the opportunity to do this in the right way.  You described how the PROCESS should be conducted on behalf of the American people. There is still time to begin the conversation and the PROCESS anew and please do this soon because we don’t want to wait another 16 years for health care reform.” 



 CBSNews.com – Transparency Lacking in Health Care Reform Battle


 NY Times – White House Affirms Deal On Drug Cost

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