Some money quotes:
“Real health care reform—not more corporate welfare for the insurance and drug industries—is possible. The evidence lies in the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, a key legacy of the civil rights movement–or Canada’s dismantling of the private insurance industry in the early 1970s to establish a universal, government-administered program.”
and later: (links are added)
“Winning this kind of reform won’t happen by writing to our representatives in Congress, as [Dr. Marcia] Angell recommends at the end of The Truth About the Drug Companies. Republicans and Democrats alike are the architects and beneficiaries of the current system–from Republican Bill Frist, who became a millionaire thanks to his father’s for-profit hospital chain; to Democrats Birch Bayh and Henry Waxman, who co-authored the major legislation creating huge public subsidies and near-monopoly rights for the big pharmaceutical companies.
Democrats as much as Republicans are beholden to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries that reward them with generous campaign contributions–and that money has been on the rise. In the 2004 election, for example, the health care industry gave nearly four times more in donations to candidates than it did in 1990. And 44 percent of total contributions went to candidates of the Democratic Party.
No wonder, then, that when he geared up to “reform” health care, Bill Clinton didn’t look to the proposals of, say, Physicians for a National Health Program. Instead, he turned to the insurance industry-funded Jackson Hole Group, with its plan for rationing care and boosting profits. “Clinton didn’t try and fail,” say Harvard Medical School’s Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein. “He refused to try.”