This afternoon, there were two attempts in the Senate Finance Committee to repair some of the damage done to health care reform by Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat who has received a great deal of campaign finance from executives in the medical industry, and has accordingly crafted health care legislation designed in order to protect insurance companies. Two amendments attempted to reinsert a public option of government-established health care coverage, but both amendments were defeated by a coalition of Republicans and pro-industry Democrats.
Blanche Lincoln, senator from Arkansas, was among those Democrats who joined the Republicans to defeat meaningful health care reform. She voted against both amendments.
Physicist John Gray, one of Senator Lincoln’s constituents, says that he’s come to expect this kind of anti-progressive behavior from her. “I’m not at all surprised. She has a rather large campaign chest, almost half of which is from the medical industries,” Gray said this afternoon, responding to Lincoln’s votes against the public option. “The fact that she is loyal to her sponsors is not at all surprising.”
Unlike many Arkansas voters, who have learned to accept that they have little choice between the right wing Arkansas Republicans and the right wing Arkansas Democrats, Gray is taking action to ensure that, when Blanche Lincoln runs for re-election in 2010, voters will have the chance to vote for something different. Gray is running for the nomination of the Green Party of Arkansas to challenge Lincoln for her seat in Congress.
Gray says that he favors strong single payer health care reform, which would eliminate the waste that is inherent to the delivery of health care through insurance brokers. “Eliminate the health care insurance industry… and you would save enough money to cover every man woman and child in the United States,” Gray points out. “Nobody blinks an eyelash if we lay off 40,000 autoworkers, who actually produce something. These health insurance brokers, it’s hard to say what they produce.”
Look to hear more from Gray soon. His campaign web site is expected to be online within the week.