The trouble is mounting on something already too twisted and cold to grasp without gloves. Much like yanking thick ivy off a wrought iron fence on a cold morning, finding any trace of actual public service under the hack and filth of the new health care bill will be a job no American will want to take. Truth is, even before the votes are all in it’ll be just as heavy. Chances are, of course, that it won’t fall on you, and you’ll be able to safely ignore the damn thing without looking odd and out of place like a sexless jack rabbit in spring. Soon enough the congress will round up to vote on the health care bill they’ve been talking incessantly about and we’ll answer once again that old question: if a politician votes no on a necessary piece of legislation and no one from his state has been paying attention, will the affair make any noise at all?
Despite the activists, despite the motions, the small contributing calls to action here and there that might have been producing some sort of momentum, when the vote comes down we will hear very little about it, and not because of the mainstream media’s usual complicit tactics with the men on the hill. No, we won’t hear about it because it will no longer be news; there will no longer be any story worth telling as we’ve all known for some time now that this is and has always been the same story we’ve heard before, just with a different illustrator. And in the world of 24-hour news, grief is a very expensive line item.
Of course, it’s not really a vote for or against anything we wanted in the first place, which is the right to not worry about how we, as human beings, will pay for our health. What they’ll be voting on won’t even bother trying to offer single-payer health care. It will feign to be reform in the sense that it will offer a weak and unenforceable version of a mandate that everyone be insured, but all this will really do is provide many new unwitting clients to an industry rolling with the fat of peoples’ suffering.
It will not regulate the prices those fat cats can charge, allowing insurance companies to inflate them as much as they can get away with. And when you’re lying on an operating table with a lump the size of a golf ball in your breast, or a grown man’s finger up your rectum saying, “uh-oh, mister Johnson, it looks like things are about to get uncomfortable for you,” you’ll consider just about any price they start throwing in your direction.
Assuming they’re willing to pay for it at all. Shit, in the light of this mess it’s come out that insurance companies won’t even promise to cover their own emlployees…what chance do you think YOU have?
Instead, the new plan might offer the states the Right to offer a state-level option for health care as a token of show, a shiny hood ornament, or something just as functional. It will be ravaged by the insurance company executives and lobbyists in the much weaker state legislatures which — conveniently — is where the whole process will become easier to ignore, because who the hell is paying attention to state legislatures? Not to mention creating the potential for fifty different health care organizations, all doing more or less the same thing and doubling up on all of the same administrative tasks, wasting more money than necessary and dooming the projects to the critics years before it’s even time to bury the thing.
And when the impotent thing passes — which it will…no politician today can afford the political capital of not passing SOMETHING — we will hear all kinds of applause for a few days before the whole thing vanishes under cloaks of appeals and unsexy subcommittee talks. Nothing for the national press, I’m afraid. Unless I’m much mistaken — and I’ve never wished so badly that I was — we will hear President Obama laud it as his success at bipartisan health reform, just like Clinton did for his own inadequate failure. Democrats will pat each other’s backs and shuffle out the door to discuss “Don’t ask don’t tell”, while Republicans grumble behind the camera and shout on the radio about repealing what the democrats shove through.
And who cares? They’re not going to repeal anything any more than you’d notice if they did. Health care as a topic will fizzle, probably until the next time a “hope and change” candidate runs and we’ll go through the whole futile exercise again. Maybe we’ll still have journalists like Maddow and Olbermann, and we’ll still have lunatics, pimps and jackasses like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck. And we’ll fuck that up too, and move on to the next juicy topic, be it Afghanistan, or gays in the military, or Rush Limbaugh’s failed attempt at buying the St. Louis Rams. Whatever. It’s all been done before.
And in 2010, with Obama’s new Nobel Peace Prize for…something, and the Democrats’ most epic failure since George McGovern’s loss in ‘72, Republicans will slowly gain more and more seats again, until finally, when they’ve found a voice sober enough to silence idiots like Sara Palin and Bobby Jindal, someone with more temporal coherence than Michael Steele to stay on point and lead their party in some kind of direction, the vicious cycle will return us to a Republican President again.
Don’t mistake my anger for pessimism. It’s just that…well, I hope to be halfway to Mars by then.