A Blessing in Disguise?

The death of a feeble public option may be a blessing in disguise. If a public option existed and Republicans were back in power, how long do you think it would take before they used the program to pursue their anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-sex education, anti-birth control and anti-immigration policies?

As progressives, we know that the best way to reform health care is to expand Medicare -- a single payer system -- so that it covers every person in America.

Unfortunately, single payer was immediately taken “off the table” even before the Senate and House began debating and negotiating health care reform.

The rationale for abandoning single-payer was that any bill with a single payer option would not pass in the House and especially not in the Senate.

Thus, necessity being the mother of invention, House and Senate progressives invented a new plan they called the “Public Option” as an alternative to a single payer system.

And, despite our misgivings about the benefit and value of a (robust or watered-down) public option, we immediately got behind it and began calling and writing to our Senators and members of Congress, urging them to support the plan.

By fall, as the so-called public option continued to morph into a give-away to the health insurance industry, we began to question its worth.

Now we believe we are not only better off without a public option (as it was being crafted by Congress) we foresee a potentially disastrous future – especially for the LGBT Community – if a public option were to become law.

The Democrats may be in the majority right now, but catastrophic events could easily spur a frightened electorate to look for another Bush-like strict daddy (or mommy) to “protect” them.

Remember September 11? We all know from experience that fear can drive elected officials ever rightward.

If war, climate change and economic upheaval continue unabated, some day soon Congress and the Presidency might be controlled by fundamentalist, homophobic tea-baggers!

Recent national and international news offers a glimpse into the evil intentions of the anti-gay movement. It also illustrates why it is dangerous to entrust government officials with the power to dictate health care policy.

Harper's Magazine reporter, Jeff Sharlet, describes a secretive fundamentalist cult known as “The Family” (he also wrote a book with the same title), whose membership includes ultra-conservative members of Congress.

Members of the Family are powerful men (and a few women) from all over the world who use their influence and authority to shape US and foreign policy to fit their cult’s anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro-free-philosophy.

Rachel Maddow interviewed Jeff Sharlet a few days ago after he exposed the Family’s ties to Ugandan leaders who are behind a “kill the gays” (or at least imprison them and their supporters) bill which is expected to be approved by the Ugandan Parliament.

Republicans who are members of the Family include Oklahoma Senator’s Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, Representative Zach Wamp of Tennessee, Representative Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, and Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia. The cult includes several Conserva-Dems as well, most notably Representative Bart Stupak -- infamous for adding language to the House Health Care reform bill that would further restrict a woman’s right to choose.

Imagine what would happen if these folks were in the majority?

These are some of the same Congressmen who tried to interfere in Michael Schaivo’s decision to disconnect his wife Terri from life support.

They consistently try to de-fund social safety nets like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

If a public option existed and they were in power, how long would it take before they used the program to pursue their anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-sex education, anti-birth control and anti-immigration policies?

Why settle for changing the law in Uganda when you could change it right here in the good old US of A?

Do you think it can’t happen here?
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