Senate Finance Committee chair- the insurance industry-friendly Democrat who grabbed the lead in the collaboration between Congress and the Obama administration on healthcare reform – has come up with a novel way to express his commitment to provide care for the nearly 50 million Americans who have no health insurance and the roughly equal number who have inadequate coverage. Baucus is having doctors and nurses arrested. Medical practitioners who have shown up at Baucus-chaired “roundtable discussions” to propose a cure — a single-payer plan designed to ensure that all Americans have access to healthcare while at the same time holding down costs — were taken into custody and removed from the hearing rooms.
At the first Finance Committee session on May 5, Dr. Margaret Flowers and seven others were arrested when they urged Baucus to include witnesses who support single-payer. A week later, at the opening of the committee’s second hearing, five more members of Physicians for a National Health Care Program and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee were taken into custody when they objected to the narrow character of the deliberations. Single-payer advocates went the civil disobedience route only after their repeated requests for a place at the table had been rejected by Baucus. “They just don’t want to hear from single-payer,” explains Dr. Flowers, a pediatrician from Maryland. “We’ve been trying for months now, meeting with members of Congress, to be included in the hearings and the events that they are holding, and they keep excluding us.”
So much for health care. Φ
Source: John Nichols, The Nation, June 1, 2009.