As I was watching the Democratic party candidates’ discussion last Sunday night, I almost fell off my comfortable sofa when Bernie Sanders pointed his finger at Hillary Clinton and said to her with his trademark scowl on the flushed face of an infuriated septuagenarian, topped by a crown of receding white hair: “The leader of Goldman Sachs is a billionaire who comes to Congress and tells us we should cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Secretary Clinton, and you’re not the only one, I don’t mean to just point the finger at you, you’ve received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year. I find it very strange that at a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the law, not one of their executives is prosecuted, while kids who smoke marijuana get jail time.”
Jim O’Malley managed to make a noise that sounded like he was either agreeing with Bernie or clearing his throat. Which kind of made it an unfair fight for Hillary. She had enough on her plate as it was, trying to defend her “progressive” creds while fending off mad Bernie all by her lonesome. There are supposed to be only two parties to a fight in a fair duel.
I turned on my TV about 30 minutes prior to the debate to get a taste of what the various assorted pundits would be saying about Hillary and Bernie. And there they were, our beloved pundits were going at it tooth and nail and pontificating on four or five channels on my TV – including CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox and other channels.
But at 8 PM when the debate started, they were showing taped programs on all of these channels on my TV instead of the debate. Why did my teevee behave like a teenage girl that at first starts kissing and embracing a teenage boy to build up the sexual tension only to then run away from him when he needs a release? I think it was because the people who own our TV channels had a pretty good idea that Bernie would be Bernie again, and we aren’t supposed to be able to be exposed to Bernie virus and hear what he dares to say on our TV. It’s safe to allow us only to hear what the pundits have to say about what he said.
Otherwise, how could the owners of our TV channels control what we think? After the debate, the pundits came out of the woodwork again on all channels to do the job that they are so well paid to do. But during the debate, which was held on a Sunday night while the debate was televised only on one channel in a time slot carefully selected by the Democratic party, a time slot when the female half the country would be watching Downtown Abbey, while the male part of the country would be watching a football game.
It took me a few minutes to establish where the debate was allowed to be televised: it was on only one channel on my TV, the NBC channel, which I normally never watch. But I did find the channel and Bernie gave me my money’s worth.
Although nobody is allowed to talk about it publicly on our carefully controlled mass media, everybody knows that Wall Street has bought and paid for the Democrats, just like the Republicans. The bankers did not give 600,000 dollars to Hillary Clinton for three short speeches for nothing. They know that she will pay it back with a lot of interest if she becomes president.
Wall Street also knows that its investment in mighty Big Pharma and private insurance companies will be as safe with Hillary Clinton as president as it has been under Barak Obama’s presidency. It’s not for nothing that Wall Street, Big Pharma and private insurance companies continue giving through lobbyists hundreds of millions of dollars to the Democrats in Congress, and just as generously as to the Republicans. This money, which should be called what it is, namely an illegal, dirty bribe, is a very wise investment on the part of Wall Street.
Healthcare was another big topic for Democratic Party presidential candidates last Sunday. Bernie’s proposal for an expanded Medicare system, or a Single Payer System that would guarantee access to healthcare as a right of citizenship to every American, the way it has been a guaranteed right of citizenship in “socialist” countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, or Australia for many decades.
Barak Obama touted a Single Payer System too when he was a candidate in 2008, which was the main reason why I voted for him in the Virginia primary.
I remember that one of the things he said was that we had to learn from the mistakes that the Clintons made in 1993 when both Bill Clinton, for whom I voted twice, and Hillary Clinton, for whom I would never vote, were trying to fix the broken healthcare system in this country all those years ago.
One of the things that candidate Obama said in 2008 that really resonated with me was that the biggest mistake that he thought that Clintons made in 1993 was that their proposal for a new healthcare system was designed by a few Democratic consultants behind closed doors. That’s not how democracy works, said candidate Obama. When I am president, discussions about the new healthcare system will be held in public and they will be televised on C-Span, said candidate Obama. (C-Span is a public news and information system financed by a small tax paid by all cable subscribers. I prefer to watch C-Span instead of the alphabet soup “news channels).
But that wasn’t what happened when Barak Obama did become president. Instead, the discussions were conducted again secretly, behind closed doors, among a few carefully selected Democratic functionaries and representatives of private insurance companies.
When a group of doctors and nurses campaigning for a Single Payer System that would finally get rid of the parasitic private insurance companies tried to join the discussions, the Democrats had them promptly thrown out and arrested.
Despite candidate Obama’s rhetoric during his campaign, once he appointed Senator Max Baccus to be the Democratic Party Committee’s Chair in charge of crafting a new healthcare bill, the results were easily predictable. Senator Max Baccus received more money during his political career from Big Pharma and private insurance companies than any other member of Congress. The architect of the new healthcare legislation, Elisabeth Fowler, the chief healthcare policy counsel of Senator Max Baccus, was doing her job so well that she was later given a cushy job with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.
That was how the ironically named Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Insurance Act became law. Unlike candidate Obama, president Obama never mentioned the Single Payer System again. The discussion was steered instead by Democratic politicians and pundits to a weird creature called “a public option”, which was something that was supposed to compete with private insurance companies “to keep them honest” as candidate Obama originally put it before he changed his mind when he became president.
After the election, president Obama and Democrats changed their minds and decided to kill even the tiniest “public option” alternative, which never made it into the absurdly named “Patient Protection Affordable Healthcare Insurance Act”.
I happen to know from personal experience that the “Patient Protection Affordable Healthcare Insurance Act” is a completely absurd, unashamedly propagandistic name for the law because when I tried to figure out whether it would make sense for me two and half years ago when it became law, I saw that I would have to pay 17,650 dollars to the private insurance companies in monthly premiums, copayments and deductibles first before the private insurance companies would chip in to cover any healthcare expense whatsoever. Even after that, only 80% of expenses over that amount would be covered, as I wrote in this blog post when “Obamacare” became law.
I might or might not be able to receive some assistance under Obamacare in the form of a tax refund amounting to perhaps 200 dollars of the 500 dollar monthly premium for “the bronze plan”, which kind of makes it seem affordable. But that is only an optical illusion because no assistance is provided for the rest of the amount of at least 17,650 dollars, which was the cheapest plan that I could find on the government website as you can seen in my post from 2013.
The “Patient Protection Affordable Healthcare Insurance Act” was clearly designed to maximize profits of private insurance companies. It may provide some help to people who have no money because even private health insurance companies can’t figure out how to get money from people like that, but even this help is probably only temporary. At some point, the healthcare “industry” will figure out how to get rid of these people. It’s not personal for them, it’s business.
It makes much more sense for 39,000,000 Americans to risk facing sudden bankruptcy if they become sick rather than a slow but certain bankruptcy over time whether they get sick or not if they buy “the bronze plan”, the only Obamacare option that most people can afford. The problem with Obama’s “bronze plan” is that the people who pay for it, and it’s not cheap, can’t afford to use this “insurance” due to the high deductibles and copayments. There are no numbers in mass media, but most people among the 8,000,000 people who have newly gained health insurance probably have “the bronze plan”. Moreover, 39,000,000 people still have no healthcare insurance whatsoever, not even “the bronze plan”, because they can’t afford even that illusion of health insurance.
I am one of them. Because I can’t afford health insurance, I had to pay a tax penalty last year, which will be doubled next year, and tripled the year after that. Fortunately for me, I’m healthy and will turn 65 in a year and a half, at which point I’ll be eligible for “socialized medicine” for senior citizens, called “Medicare” in this country.
The main purpose of Obamacare was to prevent any meaningful reform of the broken healthcare system in this country by creating an illusion that progress has been made with the “Patient Protection Affordable Healthcare Insurance Act”. The system cannot be fixed without getting rid of private insurance companies and without at the very least giving the government the power to negotiate the prices of pharmaceuticals. Since the government is prevented by law from even negotiating with Big Pharma, compared to other countries, Americans are forced to pay astronomical prices for their medications.
Hillary Clinton vehemently defended the “Patient Protection Affordable Healthcare Insurance Act” as the greatest achievement of Obama’s presidency, and even Bernie Sanders, who voted for it in the end too, is afraid to call Obamacare what it is – the bailout of Big Pharma and private health insurance industry, not that much different from the infamous bailout of the Wall Street for which Obama voted along with enough Democrats to guarantee its passage.
If Hillary Clinton becomes president, some symbolic gestures may be made to curb the power of the Wall Street to appease the voters, not only Democrats, but also Republicans and independents. But almost certainly nothing will be done about the broken healthcare system, which is completely dysfunctional with or without “the Patient Protection Affordable Healthcare Insurance Act”.
That is why it is extremely unlikely that Bernie Sanders will be on the Democratic Party ticket. He is not one of them, and they know it. Unlike Hillary, he actually means what he says, and that is a major problem for the Democratic Party.
I am surprised that the Democratic party establishment hasn’t yet figured out how to kill Bernie’s candidacy. Remember the famous scream of Howard Dean back in 2004 when he was high in the polls because he was the only candidate who was against the invasion of Iraq? The entire scream was completely manufactured by the mass media in order to kill his candidacy, and they kept running it on every alphabet TV news channel for days on end until all the viewers could think about was a madman screaming for no reason when they thought about Howard Dean, who lost the battle and later became an obedient party apparatchik.
The Democratic establishment must be busy now designing ways to kill the candidacy of Bernie Sanders who is very popular even among Republicans. (One of my neighbors told me that he will be voting either for Donald Trump of Bernie Sanders. Everybody is tired of phony candidates, that is why both Bernie Sanders and Trump are so popular). The Democratic establishment understands that discussions between Hillary and somebody who is able to tell the truth – because he is not really a Democrat – are very dangerous. That is why the Democrats try to limit them as much as possible.
I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I am surprised that it is taking the Democrats so long to figure out how to get rid of Bernie. They need to manufacture another scream of a mad Bernie instead of mad Howard this time, or find an illegitimate child or something like that. Wall Street, Big Pharma, big corporations, and the private healthcare insurance companies can’t afford to have Bernie in the White House, they absolutely need Hillary to be on the ticket for the Democrats. It doesn’t matter to them whether Hillary wins, or whether it will be Donald Trump or one of the Republican candidates.
That’s why I’m so surprised that Bernie Sanders is still allowed to talk on TV, even if it’s only very sporadically and only on one channel, and that newspapers sometimes still cover his campaign, although it is usually only a small paragraph among big advertisements on page three or four, where he is given less than 10% of the coverage so generously afforded to Donald Trump.
Needless to say, I will be very happy if it turns out that my prediction was wrong.