Skip to main content

With all of the din around health care reform I think its important we remember why corporate interests are vehemently against it.

Its the politics stupid!

crossposted at Smooth Like Remy

With all of the din around health care reform I think its important we remember why corporate interests are against it. Greg Sargent has a post up about the Chamber of Commerce purchasing ad buys in key states to oppose the Democratic plans for health care reform.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is perhaps the most powerful and well-funded foe of much of President Obama’s governing agenda, just announced that it’s running a "multi-million-dollar" national ad campaign attacking the Dems’ health care reform proposals as "expanded government control of health care".

I’ve obtained a detailed state-by-state breakdown of the first round of the Chamber’s ad spending from an ad buyer for labor unions, and it provides an interesting glimpse into this well-armed business group’s view of the health care battleground:

Indiana $429,105
Maine $156,345
Tennessee $89,985
Colorado $494,630
Arkansas $218,390
Kentucky $127,220
South Carolina $55,495
North Carolina $745,215
Ohio $20,000


We spend so much time on soundbites about health care reform that sometimes we may lose focus on what is at stake here. Or at least what the opponents envision as what is at stake. But its important to keep what they are thinking in mind to understand their opposition. Many people will ponder why the Chamber of Commerce would be so against health care reform. After all, if done right, wouldn't reform reduce the burden on most business in terms of health care costs?

Of course it would.

But that isn't what the Chamber of Commerce is worried about right now. They are looking big picture and in their world health care reform is little picture. So what exactly is their concern? Well lets go back to the now infamous memo penned by Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard.

Here is the relevant passage.

"Health care will prove to be an enormously healthy project for Clinton... and for the Democratic Party." So predicts Stanley Greenberg, the president's strategist and pollster. If a Clinton health care plan succeeds without principled Republican opposition, Mr. Greenberg will be right. Because the initiative's inevitably destructive effect on American medical services will not be practically apparent for several years--no Carter-like gas lines, in other words--its passage in the short run will do nothing to hurt (and everything to help) Democratic electoral prospects in 1996. But the long-term political effects of a successful Clinton health care bill will be even worse--much worse. It will relegitimize middle-class dependence for "security" on government spending and regulation. It will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.

When you set aside the bullshit free market rhetoric, this memo gets at the heart of why big business is, for the most part, opposed to Democratic health care reform. Notice that I keep injecting "Democratic" in there. Its because should a Republican ever offer up health care reform, its likely they wouldn't be opposed by big business. I mean does anybody remember any ads being run against President Bush's Medicare prescription drug "reform" boondoggle that ended up being a big give away to the drug companies? Of course not. Its because the reform isn't what scares them. Its the prospect of the benefits the Democratic Party would get from such reform that makes them lose sleep at night.

Don't get me wrong here, I am a Democrat but the truth is our party has its share of problems too. Our leaders aren't immune from corruption and personal failings. But historically Democrats are the party that makes sure big business is regulated. On the one hand it is great for regular citizens because most regulations help to protect the consumers, on the other hand its not so great for big businesses that would rather take more risks with other people's money and lives to increase their profit margins. That is why it shouldn't be a surprise at all that groups like the Chamber of Commerce are so staunchly opposed to health care reform. They simply do not want to see Democrats in power for an extended period of time and they know that health care reform may actually usher that in.

Now what can we do with this knowledge? The truth is not a hell of a lot. As true as it is that big business is motivated by the politics of the situation at least as much if not more than the practical implications, its a hard sell to explain that to someone who is already skeptical. Even writing this I know that right wingers would explain this away as paranoia. But all you have to do is go back and read that Kristol memo in full or try googling information on the health care fight from 1993 and you will see that even though our world and our country has changed tremendously since then, the arguments against health care haven't. Still, its going to be next to impossible to convince a person who is railing against "government run health care" while several of their family members are benefiting greatly from MediCare, that this is the true motivation of big business.

More than anything else what we should do is keep this in the back of our mind as we press for reform. These people are highly motivated to kill health care reform and for them its not about people recieving substandard care, its not about people going bankrupt trying to pay their medical bills, and its definitely not about trying to reduce our deficit either. Their arguments are not in good faith, and as long as we realize then that can govern how we push back. We will never be able to convince them to get on board for health care reform as long as Democrats are in charge. So we recognize them as irreconcilables and keep it moving.

It is what it is.

Originally posted to sgwhiteinfla on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 07:44 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  This is pretty central (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EthrDemon, QuestionAuthority

    When you look at history, you see mixed precedent.

    So, do we look at civilization in terms of those examples that show that allowing the weak and less capable and less healthy to just die creates more strength for the fortunate and the healthy?

    Or do we look at civilization as taking the option to assure that everyone possible is provided for in some way by the common pool of resources?

    It would seem that the harsher conservatives are thinking the former is more realistic, and Calvinism would seem derived from that.  The religious doctrine that says "God helps those who help themselves" and that those who are less fortunate are suffering because they deserve to and the only help others should give them is to talk them into Salvation.  

    Liberalism comes from the Sermon on the Mount sort of interpretation that sees mercy for those who are suffering as a better path to an improved mankind.  

    So, yes, it would seem that this dichotomy fuels the debate, although a lot of people don't actually know where the philosophical basis for yelling at a Congressman comes from.  

    Kristol's assertions about smaller government, echoed by a lot of people, are a way of saying that Calvinism should rule.  I wonder how many of these shouters at town halls are evangelicals.  

  •  Why they'll never allow health care reform (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EthrDemon, QuestionAuthority

    The nature of US capitalism has changed. Once, when we were a manufacturing nation, the primary source of capital accumulation was cheap labor-- keeping wages well below profits. That's no longer possible here, so capital has disinvested in manufacturing or moved manufacturing overseas to even cheaper labor pools.

    That leaves two other sources of capital accumulation: for the banks, high interest rates on credit card debt; for the insurance companies, forced tribute through high health insurance premiums that buy no actual coverage of health costs.

    These are the the two primary forms of exploitation under postindustrial US capitalism now. Those who benefit from them will fight to the death to prevent any loss of profit from them.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site