Congressional accountability: NASCAR-style

Posted on December 28, 2009


It’s time to put aside all the partisan rhetoric and rah-rah flag waving nonsense about which party are “real Americans,” and think for a minute about exactly what’s actually going on in the development of “health care overhaul” in America right now.

Just look at the short list of health care concerns that the *VAST* majority of American taxpayers have amply said they want that the House and Senate legislators have blindly ignored in favor of more glad-handing to the insurance lobby and Big Pharma:

  • Public Option to level the insurance company monopoly
  • Prescription drugs from Canada and Mexico
  • Regulation or caps on insurance premiums
  • Stabilization of Medicare-Advantage
  • Less bureaucratic claims paperwork
  • Elimination of loopholes such as “pre-existing condition” and “insurer’s discretion”
  • Advocacy and improvement in the Medicare, MedicAid and Medicare-Advantage programs.

All of these issues have been arbitrarily removed from both the House and Senate health care reform bills – shamelessly and desperately traded away for partisan votes in exchange for lucrative pork deals – and in direct conflict with that the people have openly said they want.

Ask yourself four questions:

  1. What is the only reason, besides advocacy of pure capitalism and partisan politics, would there be for anyone to be against a public option that forces insurance companies to lower their ridiculously exorbitant premiums and fees?
  2. Why would insurance companies NOT want lower-priced competition that eliminates their monopoly on the provision of health coverage?
  3. Who benefits (and profits) if there is no moderation or controls on insurance costs?
  4. How much ADDITIONAL profit (over the estimated $300 BILLION they make now) will insurance companies make when they are guaranteed upwards of 30 million new customers who have no choice but to take whatever loophole-laden plan the insurance companies feel like offering?

When New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez says, “If we are going to have a final law, it will look a lot more like the Senate version than the House version.” You can already see the flagstones being laid down to create the garden path to more backroom deals and multi-billion-dollar pork boondoggles — about NONE of which the American people get to have a say.

NASCAR CongressI’m calling on everyone to get behind a premise that my friend Lewis Black has proposed: Every member of Congress should be forced to wear a jumpsuit every day like NASCAR drivers do, complete with a wide array of patches sewn in plain view so we can see exactly which corporation or lobbyist has bought each politician. It’s painfully clear that there will be no “American Taxpayers” patch to be found.

And there’s one requirement you don’t see ANYONE in Washington even daring to discuss, let alone include in a bill going forward.  How about making it mandatory that whatever health insurance program Congress agrees to and puts into law – that Congress must be subject to it just like you and I are.

Somewhere in 20th Century, Americans somehow were swindled into agreeing that Congress should be exempt from any and all laws that they themselves pass.  Well where is the required (and simply logical) reciprocity in that?  Why should any elected official vote in favor of a profitless venture when A) they won’t be affected by it in any way, shape or form; and B) they can make a fortune in kickbacks, bribes and other “honoraria” from the corporations and lobbyists don’t want it to happen?

Every day, we see the entire body of Congress, one by one, posturing and preening and pontificating about how *THEY* represent the will of the people – waiving that giant foam finger and claiming “Number One” status.

Well, I have a different giant finger I want to show Congress because I’m tired of them treating me and my country like Number Two.