In the past three days, American politics has been spun on its axis, again. With the signing of HCR, the era of “calling the era of big government is over” is over. Once again, the federal government will play a role in helping the vulnerable among us, at least in terms of health insurance. For two decades or so, the thought of the federal government playing such a role was verboten. Now, as of Tuesday, it seems back in play, if not in vogue.
The difference between now and the last time the president had such a significant signing ceremony–LBJ signing medicare legislation– is that Obama’s embrace of federal largesse must be seen in terms of public-private partnerships. LBJ’s Great Society established significant partnerships with non-profit community based organizations around the country which were enlisted to help implement social policy. In Obama’s America, Pharma and huge insurance companies are the domestic partners of choice.
Rather than going out of business, insurance and Pharma elites will make out like bandits. Sure they have made some sacrifices, but they also reported a 29% increase in health insurance premiums last fall http://www.huffingtonpost.com/henry-miller/health-insurance-premium_b_273634.html, and during the last quarter, health insurance companies stock value increased (11%.http://www.stocknod.com/Insurance-PIC-industry-stock-prices.aspx) This ain’t socialism folks. Far from it. It’s corporatism: PPP–public-private-partnerships. The government is expanding the net of consumers– by 30 million people– that are now mandated to buy insurance from private companies, yes with some important constraints on those companies.
Such is the Obama era brand of liberalism–his third way: once again, the federal government has a significant role to play in society AND neo-liberal elites continue to make out like bandits.