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Countdown Special Comment: Public Support On The Public Option

Keith's Special Comment on support for the public option, August 19, 2009. As Keith notes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and
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Keith's Special Comment on support for the public option, August 19, 2009. As Keith notes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Let me take a moment here to help the advisor understand with a quick comment. There are two health crises in this country right now, Mr. Advisor. The obvious one -- 46 million uninsured; not merely a crisis but a blight on our standing as a civilized nation and a reflection not of the unparalleled generosity of our people but of the few, the powerful, and the greedy who manipulate so much of this nation.

But I guess the second health care crisis would not be as urgent as burning as shameful as obvious if you've been in government with government supplied care for years or decades. The insured of this nation are also getting hosed. Premiums jump annually or even more often. Deductibles continue to rise. Reimbursements continue to drop.

The insurance companies steer you to the doctors with whom they have deals. Many of the best doctors won't take insurance of any kind anymore. Rationing exists today-rationing decided by influence and cash.

And the Senate Finance Committee is currently considering another kind of reform that would let the insurance companies rape their customers at nearly twice the current percentage.

This is not waterloo, Mr. Advisor-closer to Armageddon. Get your head out of the district and back into the country where as a wiser fellow just said the other day from the presidential seal, "We are being held hostage by the insurance companies."

As for how the White House plans to respond to the mess it has created, possibly with more of the same, on the one hand, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel seeming to indicate to "The New York Times" that Democrats now see little chance of Republican cooperation on health care reform.

On the other, White House Press Secretary Gibbs is still insisting in today's briefing that bipartisanship is the only way forward, that there is no Plan B.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIBBS: We are focused on a process that continues in the Senate with both parties. The president, again, met with Senator Baucus on Friday in Montana and they discussed the progress that was being made among Democrats and Republicans on the finance committee. That's our focus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No Plan B?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN: As we've mentioned on this newshour before, the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. Speaking of which, fresh town hall insanity:

That one health care giant is no longer even bothering to pretend he is Astroturf. United Health Group is now directly urging its employees to attend anti-reform rallies, mass-mailing a letter, and setting up a hotline to direct its own callers, its own people to local events. Quoting from the letter, "It is critical we, as leaders in the health care industry, are communicating with our members of Congress to ensure that they understand our story and views."

Isn't that what lobbyists and truck loads worth of campaign donations and bribes are for?

Outside a town hall event in Bozeman, Montana, Democrat Max Baucus shouted down with chants of "No, no, no" and getting a little confused about those crazy things called video cameras, describing the protestors to "The New York Times" as, quote, "'agitators whose sole goal was to intimidate, disrupt, and not let any meaningful conversation go on. There were a couple of people in the crowd with YouTubes,' Mr. Baucus added-meaning cameras-and he posited the agitators were paid and probably from out of state. 'I could just sense it,' he said."

First hint that some of the senator's instincts might be admirable but it is wrapped inside the caustic reminder this is the brain trust now running health care for Democrats in the Senate.

Meanwhile, in another town hall event in Dartmouth, Mass, last night, Congressman Barney Frank dismissing a Nazi comparison as all such comparisons should be dismissed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say we need to limit Medicare expenditures in order to do that, in order to reduce the deficit. That's the origin of this policy. This is the T4 policy of the Hitler, of a Hitler policy in 1939 -- where he said certain lives are not worth living, certain people we should not spend the money to keep them alive.

My question to you is, why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama has expressly supported the policy. Why are you supporting it?

FRANK: I'm going to revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question. On what planet do you spend most of your time?

(LAUGHTER)

FRANK: It is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN: Amen.

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