Kathleen Sebelius head of Health and Human Services for the Obama administration was on John Stewart last night and while she didn’t say anything disagreeable I got this violent and sudden gut feeling that she had been a lobbyist and she was taking the single payer system off the table. That she was selling Obama on another health plan that was going to be good for the insurance companies (at least in the short term – that’s all corporations can think about anyway) and it wasn’t really going to be all that awesome for everyone else.
I got this hit that the government would pick up the health insurance for anyone kicked off their plan. So basically only sick people would be able to get government insurance and anyone who pays for private health insurance will eventually have to be 100% healthy. In essence the insurance companies will slowly kick all the sick people out making it appear that they have higher and higher profits each quarter for a while. Of course eventually the whole thing will come crashing down and the private insurance companies will make themselves obsolete, but in the mean time they will appear to be winning.
Sebelius had a weird vibe as if she was playing bait and switch. I worried at first she was leading Obama down a path that would ruin his political career. But I think she’s tricky and knows that the only way to a single payer system can eventually win is to pretend to play ball with the lobbyists and let them believe it will be good for business. She’s smart enough to know eventually this will collapse and we will have to revamp the system once more, but by then they won’t have any power.
It’s smart but I have to say I don’t see why the Dems have to play ball with big business so much. It’s very annoying. This administration more than any other in a long time was truly elected by the people to curb corporations and robber barons. I wish they would go at it more directly. I fear all the tricky chess moves will confuse most people and allow the Republicans to twist things around again and find a way back.
10 thoughts on “Kathleen Sebelius”
Here is what Wikipedia says about Sebelius’s early career in politics. No mention of being a lobbyist.
“She was first elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1986. In 1994 she left the House to run for state Insurance Commissioner and stunned political forecasters by winning – the first time a Democrat had won in more than 10 years. She refused to take campaign contributions from the insurance industry and blocked the proposed merger of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, the state’s largest health insurer, with an Indiana-based company.”
The Democrats made a tactical error in taking single payer off the table. President Obama also does the same thing which is compromise right at the beginning. imo, they would have been better off as well as the country if they had started with single payer and the public option should have, would have been the compromise. It sure looks like a titanic battle is going on.
My sister is actually neighbors with Kathleen Sebilius back in Topeka. It gives me a little pity for the poor woman for having to put up with my sister. At any rate, my sister thinks Sebilius great. The Republicans sure hated her, so she must be doing something right. For me, the jury is out on Kathleen. We will have to see how well she does. I don’t think she is in the insurance companies’ back pocket though.
Any ideas if Cheney will face criminal prosecution for the things he has done?
Let me preface my comments by saying that I voted for Obama, and would do so again if the election were today.
However, I believe and have always believed that he never planned on even considering single payer healthcare. This was obvious last winter when he wasn’t even going to allow the possibility into a study of possible healthcare systems.
He also avoided addressing the possibility when he was campaigning.
I realize that you have a very high opinion of Obama, but I really feel that he is “owned” by the healthcare special interests. That may be over-simplifying it, though.
He may just have knowledge that no matter what, the insurance industry & large pharmaceuticals will never allow nationalized healthcare. They would throw everything they have at anyone proposing it. It would be political suicide.
Look at what happened to Hillary in early nineties. Think of all of the people that would not have had to die prematurely if her proposal would have been passed.
Denise, do you really believe that Obama is truly that honest? I respect your intuition – that is why I ask.
Thanks again for your wonderful blog!
I am admitted non psychic as I think is everyone. I predict that anyone who works and has employer paid health insurance and pays income taxes and not just payroll taxes will see no benefit from the US government in the form of health benefits. They will only take more of your money and give it away.
At what rate does taxation just become stealing?
Right now after maxing out my 401k contributions I only recieve 47% of my gross pay. As info I have a blue collar labor union job.
Have you even looked at the healthcare proposals written by the Obama administration? Or do you just watch “T.V.”?
Believe me, you will get your way:
There will be more people dying from lack of healthcare. And I am sure that you won’t have to lift a penny! You will keep your own insurance if you would like that.
But all of that smugness that you are implying because you have a job and obviously anyone without a job or the has a job that lacks insurance is “lazy and good-for-nothing.”
What you don’t see however, sir, is your own vulnerability. If you lose your job and watch your COBRA run-out, I am sure that you will be the first in line for a government policy to pay when your wife has cancer…
You need to look at the big picture, sir.
I do not have children, yet I have to pay for others’ tax deductions when they have children, sometimes far too many children in my opinion.
I also have to pay for their children’s schooling. Think about how much money I would save in taxes if I didn’t have to pay that!
Or for that matter, I could take your statement and turn it around and say that I am paying for a fire and police department that I have never had to use! Why should I pay for someone else’s fire? Think about how much more money I would be saving if I didn’t have to pay for that…
Are we a civilized society or a greed factory in the U.S.? We are the only industrialized nation in which people are dying everyday because NO ONE wants to give-up ANYTHING!
Give up you arrogance, sir. You are just as vulnerable as everyone else. Think about it. Catastrophic situations could happen to you too – and if they do, I hope that your memory won’t be selective and forget your selfishness, so that at least you will evolve in this carnation.
I am sorry to be so argumentative, but all I hear is selfishness all day everywhere I go. SOMEONE has to call it for what it is!
Half the population in the united states pay no taxes to the IRS as I understand it. But they want government to do more and more things for them. Why is this not greedy? Why is turning the health care industry into something that resembles the corrupt military industrial complex a good thing, who the primary beneficiaries are the people that buy Washington? The united states government can’t pay for what it wants now. Why destroy the dollar at a faster rate then it has been?
I have seen socialized governments in Europe. I would not mind that at all. It works and they get something for their money. In the usa I just get to use the infrastructure everyone else does. That is it. And I am greedy for wanting to keep my money from corrupt governments and people that want to take it aren’t.
Life has a big learning curve.
This old republican sounds like a psychic to me. Anyone here want to say why this is wrong or if he is right when it all might happen?
July 16, 2009
There’s Nothing Left to Recover
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
There is no economy left to recover. The US manufacturing economy was lost to offshoring and free trade ideology. It was replaced by a mythical “New Economy.”
The “New Economy” was based on services. Its artificial life was fed by the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates, which produced a real estate bubble, and by “free market” financial deregulation, which unleashed financial gangsters to new heights of debt leverage and fraudulent financial products.
The real economy was traded away for a make-believe economy. When the make-believe economy collapsed, Americans’ wealth in their real estate, pensions, and savings collapsed dramatically while their jobs disappeared.
The debt economy caused Americans to leverage their assets. They refinanced their homes and spent the equity. They maxed out numerous credit cards. They worked as many jobs as they could find. Debt expansion and multiple family incomes kept the economy going.
And now suddenly Americans can’t borrow in order to spend. They are over their heads in debt. Jobs are disappearing. America’s consumer economy, approximately 70% of GDP, is dead. Those Americans who still have jobs are saving against the prospect of job loss. Millions are homeless. Some have moved in with family and friends; others are living in tent cities.
Meanwhile the US government’s budget deficit has jumped from $455 billion in 2008 to $2,000 billion this year, with another $2,000 billion on the books for 2010. And President Obama has intensified America’s expensive war of aggression in Afghanistan and initiated a new war in Pakistan.
There is no way for these deficits to be financed except by printing money or by further collapse in stock markets that would drive people out of equity into bonds.
The US government’s budget is 50% in the red. That means half of every dollar the federal government spends must be borrowed or printed. Because of the worldwide debacle caused by Wall Street’s financial gangsterism, the world needs its own money and hasn’t $2 trillion annually to lend to Washington.
As dollars are printed, the growing supply adds to the pressure on the dollar’s role as reserve currency. Already America’s largest creditor, China, is admonishing Washington to protect China’s investment in US debt and lobbying for a new reserve currency to replace the dollar before it collapses. According to various reports, China is spending down its holdings of US dollars by acquiring gold and stocks of raw materials and energy.
The price of one ounce gold coins is $1,000 despite efforts of the US government to hold down the gold price. How high will this price jump when the rest of the world decides that the bankruptcy of “the world’s only superpower” is at hand?
And what will happen to America’s ability to import not only oil, but also the manufactured goods on which it is import-dependent?
When the over-supplied US dollar loses the reserve currency role, the US will no longer be able to pay for its massive imports of real goods and services with pieces of paper. Overnight, shortages will appear and Americans will be poorer.
Nothing in Presidents Bush and Obama’s economic policy addresses the real issues. Instead, Goldman Sachs was bailed out, more than once. As Eliot Spitzer said, the banks made a “bloody fortune” with US aid.
It was not the millions of now homeless homeowners who were bailed out. It was not the scant remains of American manufacturing–General Motors and Chrysler–that were bailed out. It was the Wall Street Banks.
According to Bloomberg.com, Goldman Sachs’ current record earnings from their free or low cost capital supplied by broke American taxpayers has led the firm to decide to boost compensation and benefits by 33 percent. On an annual basis, this comes to compensation of $773,000 per employee.
This should tell even the most dimwitted patriot who “their” government represents.
The worst of the economic crisis has not yet hit. I don’t mean the rest of the real estate crisis that is waiting in the wings. Home prices will fall further when the foreclosed properties currently held off the market are dumped. Store and office closings are adversely impacting the ability of owners of shopping malls and office buildings to make their mortgage payments. Commercial real estate loans were also securitized and turned into derivatives.
The real crisis awaits us. It is the crisis of high unemployment, of stagnant and declining real wages confronted with rising prices from the printing of money to pay the government’s bills and from the dollar’s loss of exchange value. Suddenly, Wal-Mart prices will look like Nieman Marcus prices.
Retirees dependent on state pension systems, which cannot print money, might not be paid, or might be paid with IOUs. They will not even have depreciating money with which to try to pay their bills. Desperate tax authorities will squeeze the remaining life out of the middle class.
Nothing in Obama’s economic policy is directed at saving the US dollar as reserve currency or the livelihoods of the American people. Obama’s policy, like Bush’s before him, is keyed to the enrichment of Goldman Sachs and the armament industries.
Matt Taibbi describes Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentless jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Look at the Goldman Sachs representatives in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. This bankster firm controls the economic policy of the United States.
Little wonder that Goldman Sachs has record earnings while the rest of us grow poorer by the day.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
I am sure you complain about your union dues too. If more people were Republican back in the day, you wouldnt have your current benefits package. And that’s really what being a Republican is about, its about individuals looking out for themselves and letting the rest of society falling into the toilet. I am not a socialist, but your job and your benefits are at risk, all jobs are as the economy gets worse or your job is automized by a 22 year old computer whiz kid. I hope you have the same glib attitude when its your a** in the humbling sling. And, I am not a psychic I just play one on this blog. 🙂
No I don’t complain about my union dues. And I have never voted for a republican in my 53 years. So where is the article wrong? The point is that this old republican who use to be called conservative would not be called one today. And you are correct everyones job is always in jeopardy. A more screwed up government health program that will benefit the heartless multi-national corporations that own Washington is not what you want.
Can you run KS’s chart. She seems to be U.S. President material. that is after Obama is done with his second term
Thanks for keeping us informed on important issues I always look forward to reading your posts!