If Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius really meant that a public insurance plan is "not the essential element," then what is reform for? Is President Obama really going to choose between abandoning either 17 million people (House bill) or 36 million people (Senate bill)? Given that the president has plainly agreed that a single-payer plan is the only way to cover everyone: why isn't he simply upping the ante and putting that on the table?
Because, for all the huffing and puffing and all the misspent millions by insurance, pharma and "health care providers" (that's a good one!), all the town hall meeting disruptions put together don't amount to a hill of beans. Just because some cranky, ignoramuses let themselves be fooled by the first snake-oil sales pitch the gougers lobby can throw at them, it doesn't mean they've won.
Democracy isn't about who screams the loudest nonsense.
Indeed, the health gougers have been using every anti-democratic tactic in the totalitarian playbook, contrary to the blathering of Big Lie artists on wacko right-wing radio and Fox television. Go back and look at how the dictators of the 1930s climbed to power and you'll see screaming white young men with short haircuts chanting "USA! USA! USA!" (only back then it was "Sieg Heil!").
All right, maybe Sebelius can be excused her weak knees because she was not on the campaign trail with Obama in 2008, when I distinctly remember being promised "change." Maybe she's the "fall guy," to use Chicago Mafioso talk, which seems appropriate given the high level of corruption involved in this whole pseudo-debate.
Let's not weasel out of campaign promises and go for the most expedient route, the one that helps people the least. Let's show some guts here and call the bluff of the Republicans and the health-industrial complex.
Don't want a moderate reform plan? Fine, let's create the U.S. National Health Service. Something modern and serviceable, such as I observed while living in Canada and the United Kingdom, that replaces everything that exists now.