Health Care Reform's Biggest Hurdle

In this update: 1. Big campaign donors stand in the way of health care reform 2. Justice delayed . . . and delayed . . . and delayed 3. Some signs of progress 4. A different type of porn Health Care Reform’s Biggest Hurdle

Email date: 7/23/07

In this update:
1. Big campaign donors stand in the way of health care reform
2. Justice delayed . . . and delayed . . . and delayed
3. Some signs of progress
4. A different type of porn

Joe Leean served in the state Senate – as a Republican – for more than a decade before joining Tommy Thompson’s cabinet. He’s having a hard time understanding why his fellow Republicans are blocking health care reform.

Follow the money, Joe.

A new Democracy Campaign analysis shows Republicans who control the state Assembly have gotten nearly two-thirds of their campaign contributions from special interests that oppose health care reform legislation. And Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, who has responded cooly to the Senate-approved Healthy Wisconsin plan – saying "I live in the real world" – has received almost half of his campaign money from opponents of health care reform.

The "real world" for state politicians is a reality alien to most Wisconsin citizens. They enjoy health benefits most state residents have never known. And their job security depends on serving cash constituents even when it means doing exactly the opposite of what the general public is clamoring for.

A quote from a health industry analyst in a recent Reuters news service story sums up the political hurdle health care reform faces: "If the American voter absolutely wants health reform, politicians will overcome their fear of special interests in the industry and make it happen. Right now, they fear special interests more than they fear the electorate."

All the more reason to address the issue behind the health care issue – the corrupt campaign money game. A good place to start would be passing Assembly Bill 61 banning campaign fundraising during the state budget process, as the Wisconsin State Journal recently suggested.

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About a week and a half ago, we posted a blog pointing out it’s been almost a year and a half since Scott Jensen was convicted of three felonies and he’s still not serving his sentence. It had been 487 days when we posted that blog. It’s now closing in on 500 days that justice has been delayed. What gives?

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A few hopeful signs.... Small donors are making some serious noise in the presidential race. And while TV has in the past delivered candidates’ messages to the living rooms of voters, it is now starting to turn the tables and allow voters to reach from their living rooms all the way to the doorsteps of the candidates.

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What CNN and YouTube are doing to transform presidential debates notwithstanding, TV continues to do much more harm than good when it comes to the health of our democracy. A USA Today columnist finds it downright pornographic.