July 27, 2009

Eleanor Clift and Clarence Page (two actual liberals for once) beat back host John McLaughlin and pundits Rich Lowry and Monica Crowley's patented GOP talking points on health care reform on The McLaughlin Group. Clift gets in the best line of the day when Lowry tried to claim that a private option would put the insurance companies out of business. Lo and behold, Lowry and Co. seemed to be reading right off of this list of health care reform myths.

Lowry: That's the entire point. Unless this is stripped down radically, that's what will happen, and that's what the liberals want.

McLaughlin: Eleanor.

Clift: There will be 40 to 50 million new customers and a lot of those customers are customers that the private market doesn't even want, and there's plenty to go around that you can coexist with add-ons, and the government is providing, is going to provide a subsidy, a very basic plan and people will buy extras. The insurance industry will flourish but, I'm with Clarence. Since when is this about protecting the insurance industry? This is about protecting people's health care. They're making a ton of money. [..]

Lowry: Do you want your insurer to go out of business, Clarence? Do you want your insurer to go out of business? You want to get dropped from your employer coverage?

Page: My coverage has been going down, Rich, and so have a lot of other people's and I'm not in bad shape....

It was pretty amusing watching Clift and Page basically get Lowry and Crowley to admit the truth: The GOP only wants to protect the private insurance companies. Even if it led to something close to single payer as Clift notes, it would not mean the insurance companies are out of business. To the horror of conservatives and the conserva-Dems who are in the pockets of the insurance industries, it only would mean they'd be making a hell of a lot less money for basic health care and offering supplemental plans to those who could afford it instead.

It was also nice to see someone take one of these talking heads to task when they bring up the Lewin Group and let them know that "non-partisan" doesn't mean "unbiased". I noticed Lowry didn't have much of a response when Clift called him on that nonsense other than to try to keep talking and pretend he didn't hear her.

I'd personally prefer that Congress focused their energies on Single Payer (as we all know, including The Lewin Group, that makes the most sense)--as would everyone who contributes at this site--but that unfortunately is not the political climate we're living in right now. Until we clean up the legalized bribery going on with corporations and lobbyists buying and selling our members of Congress, this is going to be a huge uphill battle. Until that reform happens, if ever, we need to hold their feet to the fire to do the right thing.

No major political change in this country has come because politicians did the right thing out of the goodness of their heart. They've happened because people took to the streets, they marched, they stood up and they demanded that our elected officials do the right thing.

When you look at the history of the labor movement--which has been glossed over or completely ignored by our educational system--every single major change in the United States has happened because people were imprisoned, men, women and children were battered and killed and public outrage finally grew so high that the political class felt compelled to finally act.

The same can be said for the civil rights movement, the women's movement and every aspect of our history that led to the United States even having a middle class instead of just the ultra rich and the poor.

We've been moving backwards for way too long now, and too many have either forgotten or never learned in the first place just how many lives were lost, how much blood was shed, and how long and hard the struggles were to get to a point where everyone could be complacent and feel like what they have could not be taken away, and take that there is a middle class in this country for granted.

More people need to take the responsibility to let our government know that we're tired of the status quo in Washington. This is not business as usual. Let's not allow the Lowrys and Crowleys of the world to dominate this conversation.

I was happy to see Eleanor Clift not allow it on this week's McLaughlin Group.

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