"Regulate the health insurance giants," chanted the reformers. "Stop denying coverage to sick people," they demanded. "Health coverage for all," they bellowed.
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown

“Regulate the health insurance giants,” chanted the reformers. “Stop denying coverage to sick people,” they demanded. “Health coverage for all,” they bellowed.

The amazing thing about this recent cry for health care reform is that those doing the chanting, demanding, and bellowing were not aggrieved outsiders, but the ultimate insiders – the health insurance industry itself!

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When the dogs begin demanding leashes, you know that something unusual is afoot.

What’s going on here is that the top dogs of this industry now realize that they can no longer stiff the people’s demand for an overhaul of America’s avaricious and arrogant, insurance-controlled health care system. Obama has moved this reform to the front burner, and his legislative package includes a proposal that has panicked insurance corporations, for it could truly stop their gouging.

Rather than leave us consumers at the mercy of the profit-driven, private insurance giants, his proposal would give us the choice of buying into a new, public health insurance plan. This public alternative would provide real competition, lower our costs, and bring some honesty into a system that presently let’s corporate insurers freely profiteer on sick people.

So, industry lobbyists are swarming Congress to try to kill the public option in exchange for accepting new regulations. Please, they implore, harness us with regulations – but don’t make us compete in an honest system.

Of course, they know that down the road their lawyers and lobbyists will be able to weaken any regulatory harnesses, letting them slip away and continue gouging us for fun and profit. By so loudly demanding regulation and opposing real competition, these profiteers are admitting that its the competition that is needed if we’re ever to put “care” back in America’s health care system. We must insist that Obama stand firm on including the public insurance option.

“Health Insurers offer to cut rates to prevent public plan,” www.statesman.com, May 6, 2009,

“Harry, Louise and Barack,” www.nytimes.com, May 11, 2009,

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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