BILL MOYERS: MONEY-DRIVEN MEDICINE, a film produced by Alex Gibney, Peter Bull and Chris Matonti; directed by Andy Fredericks; and based on Maggie Mahar's book of the same name.
Log on to pbs.org and click on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL - Maggie Mahar will be there to answer your questions online. We'll link you to the Money-Driven Medicine website where there's more info about the book and the film. We'll also link you to some analysis of what advocates of reform are up against in taking on the health insurance industry, the drug lobby, and the Wall Street equity firms.
Take a look at this recent cover of BUSINESS WEEK. Reporters Chad Terhune and Keith Epsteinwrite that the CEO's of the giant insurance companies should be smiling - their lobbyists have already won. Quote: "no matter what specifics emerge in the voluminous bill Congress may send to President Obama this fall, the insurance industry will emerge more profitable."
And remember that television ad Barack Obama made as a candidate for president?
BARACK OBAMA: The pharmaceutical industry wrote into the prescription drug plan that Medicare could not negotiate with drug companies. And you know what, the chairman of the committee who pushed the law through went to work for the pharmaceutical industry making $2 million a year. Imagine that. That's an example of the same old game-playing in Washington. I don't want to learn how to play the game better. I want to put an end to the game-playing.
BILL MOYERS: Now look at this recent story in the LOS ANGELES TIMES. Lo and behold, since the election, the pharmaceutical industry's $2 million dollars a year superstar lobbyist Billy Tauzin has morphed into President Obama's pal. Tauzin says the President has promised not to pressure the drug companies to negotiate with the government for lower drug prices and has agreed not to allow cheaper drugs to be imported from Canada or Europe - contrary to the position taken by candidate Obama…
Each of these stories illuminates the scarlet thread that runs through Maggie Mahar's book - the story of how today's market-driven medical system gives Wall Street investors life and death control over our health care, turning medicine into a profit machine instead of a social service to meet human need. That's the conflict at the heart of next month's showdown in Washington.
I'm Bill Moyers. See you next time.
I am so thoroughly disgusted by what I'm watching now and the deals that are being cut on this sorry excuse for what is supposed to be health care reform that I am past the point of being fed up. Howard Dean had it right.
My advocacy would be for this. If you're not going to have a public option, then don't call it health reform. Strip all the money out of the bill and just do something we did here in Vermont about fifteen years ago, guaranteed issue and community rating. Require insurance companies to insure everybody. Stop them from kicking people off and don't let them charge huge amounts of money for sicker patients.
That's not health reform. It's insurance reform. You won't do much for the uninsured but you will make the health insurance market work better for the people it does work for. And you know, that's an incremental step and I wouldn't want to throw that out, but I'd strip the money out of the bill because this is going to be and expensive bill and if you're not going to get reform then you shouldn't bother with the expense.