We'll start with our friend Barb and this artice discussing the "principled" (as in "principal plus interest") opposition of the American Medical Association to the "public option" being discussed with regard to healh care overhaul. Barb notes that the AMA, which acts not in the overall interest of physicians (most physicians, for example, are no longer even members), but of the economic interests of some stereotype of physicians; like the Chamber of Commerce, AMA is a classic special interest. Barb notes that the AMA has been opposing anything approaching "socialized medicine" since the Truman Administration (though I wrote to her to note that, in fact, AMA was right there making sure the New Deal didn't include health care reform... so its opposition to bringing affordable health care to the masses is even longer standing).
Significance? I did hear a most interesting piece on National Palestine Radio ("NPR") and its "Weekend Edition" program as host Scott Simon asked a representative of the association of health insurers whether she (and her association) opposed the public option... after a few minutes' double-talk about balancing quality and cost, when Simon asked point blank "are you for or against the public option?" responded against... because the lower costs will eventually lead to single-payer, without any discussion of downside other than that her own
incarnations of evil member health insurers would lose business (or better-- for the rest of us-- go out of business).
So... given the classic clash of "care for all" at lower cost vs. the parochial special interests of an "industry" devoted to profiting by denying you and I medical care that by rights should really go the way of commercial whaling... guess which direction Harry Reid, Max Baucus and the feckless Senate Democrats are interested in "compromising" ... as if you even had to guess how a party who decided its principal interest (!) was selling out to get corporate campaign money because the Republicans had a natural advantage in reaching out to big business... would lean.
In short, this once-in-a-generation opportunity to try to reform health care once and for all so that we evolve beyond a system that combines the highest health care costs in the world with one of the worst scopes of delivery of service and obscene waste, fraud and abuse rate (which would include the entire cost of managed care) and we won't even metion overall health measures like infant mortality or life-spans... by replacing it with a simple expansion of the Medicare system to include everyone, which even the health insurance industry doesn't seem to dispute would lower costs-- and dramatically so-- won't happen because a few Democratic
prostitutes Senators won't wean themselves from managed care and insurance lobbyists' campaign contributions and bribes gifts and emoluments.
While most things involving government and public policy are "complicated," this one isn't. While regular readers know my differences with the Obama Administration on areas where it insists on continuity with the Bush Administration, on this one, it appears the Administration actually means real reform in health care, based on the dread "single payer" model... and as in bygone times, it appears the President's own party may be the main obstacle, because their personal interest in campaign fundraising will always, everytime, outweigh any public policy advantage to their constituency, even on a so-called signature issue like health care.
And so are chaotic system combining the worst aspects of everything... will likely go on, damnitall... Deep sigh. This has been.... managed chaos.