by Ellen Brown
Author, “Web of Debt“
The story goes that Churchill offered a woman 5 million pounds to sleep with him. She hedged and said they would have to discuss terms. Then he offered her 5 pounds. “Sir!” she said. “What sort of woman do you think I am?” “Madam,” he replied, “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling over the price.”
The same might be said of President Obama’s health care bill, which was sold out to corporate interests early on. The insurance lobby had its way with the bill; after that they were just haggling over the price. The “public option” was so watered down in congressional deal-making that it finally disappeared altogether.
However, the bill passed both Houses by razor-thin margins, and the stunning loss on January 19 of the late Ted Kennedy’s Democratic seat to a Republican may force Obama to start over with his agenda. The good news is that this means there is still a chance of getting legislation that includes what Obama’s supporters thought they were getting when they elected him – a universal health care plan on the model of Medicare.
That still leaves the question of price, but all industrialized countries except the United States have managed to foot the bill for universal health care. How is it that they can afford it when we can’t? Do they have some secret funding source that we don’t have?
In the case of our nearest neighbor Canada, the answer is actually that they do. At least, they did for the first two decades of their national health service — long enough to get it up and running. Now the Canadian government, too, is struggling with a mounting debt to private banks at compound interest; and its national health service is suffering along with other public programs. But when Canada first launched its national health service, the funding came from money created by its own central bank. Canada’s innovative funding model is one that could still be followed by a President committed to deliver on his promises.