So, will Democrats do anything to smash the government-created shelters that protect these companies from market forces? Will they create a government insurer to compete against private insurers? Will they significantly cut Medicare payments to private insurers?
Or, will they follow the model of Obama's first nine months in office?
Think about Obama's accomplishments so far. After assailing lobbyists, Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus bill supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and every other major business lobby in the country.
Obama added a fourth bailout for AIG, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner created new Wall Street bailouts. Obama signed a tobacco regulation written in part by Philip Morris while claiming he was battling Big Tobacco. Cash for Clunkers was corporate welfare for automakers.
Obama has talked about battling special interests, but he's backed away from every proposal that would actually harm well-connected corporations. Card Check? Tabled. A climate bill without corporate giveaways? That was nice in theory, but we're not going to see it. Medicare negotiating down drug prices? Tossed out in a deal with the drug lobby.
Obama's mode of operation has been to rattle sabers at corporate America and then give them what they want.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Tough talk at HMOs will give way to corporatism
Insurers are the "villains," we're told, and Obama promises to battle them. In my column today, I predict there will be no such battle.