"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
Obama could have signed a law - that passed both the congress and senate - that would have ended the health insurance industries legalized monopoly but instead Obama stripped the amendment from the bill.
ObamaCare Recommended Reading: “Griftopia” by Matt Taibbi, chapter titled “The Trillion Dollar Band-Aid”
Page 193 – 194:
“...a real, almost full-blown repeal of McCarran-Ferguson was attached to the bill, and it passed. In other words, an actual repeal of the antitrust exemption went before before the full Congress and was approved by democratically elected representatives of the people.”
“ In the Senate, Leahy pushed for this much weaker amendment throughout the autumn, with the support of Majority Leader Harry Reid, who incidentally had been a cosponsor of an earlier Leahy bill that was much more aggressive in its attempt to repeal the exemption. And after much prodding Reid finally allowed Leahy on December 1 to file the amendment and tack it on to an early version of the Senate health bill that had been voted on over the Thanksgiving holiday. And then…”
“ ‘Well, that’s sort of the end of the story,’ Says Chabot.”
“It was the end because somewhere between Reid giving Leahy the okay to file his amendment on December 1 and the Christmas holiday, when the Senate actually voted on the final version of the health care bill, the Leahy amendment was stripped from the whole effort. And since it was known all along that the Senate version of health care was the one that actually mattered, that really meant the antitrust exemption had survived, again.”
“What happened? At least three members of Congress I spoke to said that a deal had been cut – that the White House bought the vote of Nebraska senator Ben Nelson, a former CEO of the Central National Insurance Group, by agreeing to drop even a modest cutback of the antitrust exemption. And Nelson is one of the all-time leaders in insurance company largesse – no other industry has given him more money in his career, a total that currently stands at over $1,259,000.”
“Nelson goes way back with the insurance industry,” said one House member. ‘He was the insurance commissioner for Nebraska, remember. So this was part of his price.”
“Remember also, this wasn’t the only bribe that Nelson extracted for his vote. The Democratic leadership also gave Nelson $100 million and allowed Nebraska to have its Medicaid payments subsidized almost entirely by other states.”
“But more importantly, this was a White House deal, a Democratic Party deal all the way. The whole style of Obama’s health care “initiative” was to try to smooth the bill’s passage by neutralizing the opposition of the relevant industries by giving way on key issues. With the health insurance industry, the White House was clearly willing to give way on the antitrust exemption at the outset, in exchange for the health insurance industry not beating up on Obama with an add blitz…”
“This was a deal,” says Kucinich, “They promised PhRMA” – the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America – “they wouldn’t back reimportation and bulk negotiating for Medicare purchases of drugs. And this is what they gave the health insurance industry. They backed off the antitrust exemption.”
[And that is how the health insurance industry retained its legally authorized monopoly to this day.]
“The reason the Democrats pursued the strategy they did was based almost entirely on the perception of the political playing field. This was a party leadership that was not really interested in actually fixing the health care problem; what they were much more concerned with was passing something they could call “health care reform” while at the same time doing it in a way that kept campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries away from the Republicans.”
“This was Rahm Emanuel’s political unified field theory: score a monster political wing with the electorate and a massive takeaway of campaign funds at the same time, a great interconnected loop of deals that would keep them in office for two terms at the least.”