BILL MOYERS: So, what are you up against? Where is the balance of power in
this fight in Washington right now?
DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: What we're up against, essentially, is the
health insurance industry. They pick who sits at the table. They pick who votes.
And so forth. I mean, we have a real absence of leadership. John Conyers, to his
credit, has introduced HR676, which is a single-payer bill. Bernie Sanders has
introduced a single-payer bill in the Senate. But the people who are on top, who
could have an enormous amount of influence are too afraid of the insurance
industry, the health insurance industry. And in some serious ways, they are as
in bed with them as Wall Street and the banks were in bed with the Congress and
have gotten their way, with their kind of bailout.
BILL MOYERS: What do the politicians have to fear from the
industry? Does it come down just to the power of to the power of money? To the
fact that campaign contributions really determine how elections go in this
DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, I think there are going to be campaign
contributions. There are going to be massive TV advertising campaigns. There is
going to be an avalanche of resources put into the field to try and protect the
billions of dollars of profits they make each year. So, I think the politicians
really are afraid that they're going to lose their elections. And lose the pot
of gold at the end of their political careers.
DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Money buys Washington, as you know. So I think we
need a whole new culture there, we need a culture of courage, as opposed to a
culture of cowardice. We need people who feel the pain of families who lose 20
thousand, 18 thousand people a year. And those are probably conservative
estimates, which are probably much higher right now. This is a serious thing. It
is a war on the American public being conducted, orchestrated, and thus far won
by the health insurance industry.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Culture of Courage
Why won't single-payer health care get through Washington?