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Miles Mogulescu | Huff Post | March 16, 2010

For months I’ve been reporting in The Huffington Post that President Obama made a backroom deal last summer with the for-profit hospital lobby that he would make sure there would be no national public option in the final health reform legislation. (See here, here and here). I’ve been increasingly frustrated that except for an initial story last August in the New York Times, no major media outlet has picked up this important story and investigated further.

Hopefully, that’s changing. On Monday, Ed Shultz interviewed New York Times Washington reporter David Kirkpatrick on his MSNBC TV show, and Kirkpatrick confirmed the existence of the deal. Shultz quoted Chip Kahn, chief lobbyist for the for-profit hospital industry on Kahn’s confidence that the White House would honor the no public option deal, and Kirkpatrick responded:

“That’s a lobbyist for the hospital industry and he’s talking about the hospital industry’s specific deal with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee and, yeah, I think the hospital industry’s got a deal here. There really were only two deals, meaning quid pro quo handshake deals on both sides, one with the hospitals and the other with the drug industry. And I think what you’re interested in is that in the background of these deals was the presumption, shared on behalf of the lobbyists on the one side and the White House on the other, that the public option was not going to be in the final product.”

Kirkpatrick also acknowledged that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina had confirmed the existence of the deal to him.

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If President Obama is truly serious about changing the way Washington operates, he’d begin to aggressively hector the entourage of lawmakers that I’ve not-so-affectionately nicknamed the “Coalition of the Corrupt and Spineless” (COCS) — the Democratic Senators who have very obviously been bought off by the healthcare lobby, along with other almost-as-awful Democrats whose cowardice is only matched by their weakness of will.

Throw down, Mr. President.

Maybe even do one of those big Hollywood movie style presidential speeches, like the one at the end of The Contender in which President Jeff Bridges calls out that slippery douche Congressman Gary Oldman in front of a joint session:

“I am not free of blame. Right from the start, I should have come down here, pointed a finger your way — pointed a finger your way and asked you, “Have you no decency, sir?” Yesterday, I met — Mr. Runyon, you may walk out on me, you may walk out on this body, but you cannot walk out on the will of the American people.”

There can be no denying that the COCS are flagrantly and unapologetically legislating against — what’s the word? — overwhelming super-majority popular support for the public health insurance option. And why is that? I can’t recall another example in recent memory when the collusion of lobbyists, corporate PACs and members of the United States Senate has been this obvious. We can only conclude that the COCS are entirely ignoring the will of the American people because they’re hiking the Appalachian Trail with the healthcare industrial complex.

What other excuse might they have? To date, not a single senator in the COCS has explained this disparity, chiefly because it’s such an awkward and transparent illustration of the very worst side of Washington — the side that President Obama pledged to help mitigate.

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by Geezer Power


Mr. Obama mentions “The Department of Agriculture will close a loophole to prevent diseased cows from entering the food supply And, the government will invest in the FDA to substantially increase the number of food inspectors and modernize food safety labs”. He also mentions “Americans can trust that there is a strong system in place to ensure that the medications we give our children will help them get better, not make them sick; and that a family dinner won’t end in a trip to the doctor’s office”. Also worthy of mention is “In 2006, it was contaminated spinach. In 2008, it was salmonella in peppers and possibly tomatoes. And just this year, bad peanut products led to hundreds of illnesses and cost nine people their lives”.

In keeping with the open and transparent objectives of our new administration, “Change We Can Believe In”, we would be remiss if we didn’t question the viability of the large agricultural corportions and their detrimental effects on our food supply. The use of genetically engineered crops, the use of hormones in animal food supplies, along with the use of antibiotics is reaching proportions that will effectively put the worlds food supply in peril. Recent legislation that is now before congress will stifle any efforts to promote natural and organic methods of food production.

For you senior readers, out there on the tubes, you probably remember that the government promoted the Victory Garden” to help the war effort. We didn’t have any genes, hormones, or herbicides, at that time and home gardens produced one third of the food for the country at that time. I might mention that water didn’t cost much in those days, and was pretty much taken for granted, like…if you were thirsty you drank from the garden hose.

Keep in mind folks, that HR875, which if passed means that organic gardening methods and crops will be controlled by the Food Police. This legislation, now before congress, heavily influenced by lobbyists from huge food producers is so broad based that technically someone with a little backyard garden could get fined and have their property siezed.

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