Trudy Lieberman, a long-time health care and consumer journalist, is a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review and has blogged about health care for cjr.org since the beginning of the presidential campaign. The views expressed are her own.
A few year’s back, a joke on the cocktail circuit went like this: you know the world is topsy-turvy when the best rapper is white; the best golfer is black, and the Germans don’t want to go to war. Tuesday’s vote in Massachusetts that sent Republican Scott Brown to the Senate taking over the seat held by Edward Kennedy for nearly fifty years produced a new twist to the old joke.
Things are indeed upside down when the advocates for a single-payer, national health insurance system supported a Republican. On Sunday, one of those advocates, Diane Cooper Bridges, sent a letter to the president and to his adviser David Axelrod saying:
“Democrats are voting for Scott Brown b/c MA residents know for sure how regressive and oppressive life is under the failed MA plan, especially in this recession that is not getting any better unless you are a banker or a broker on Wall Street or a member of the U.S. Congress. And we know that the national bills are worse than the MA plan.”
For months a small band of single-payer supporters have tried to get the attention of their elected officials, telling them that their state’s much hailed health reform law, which became the model for the national bill Congress is crafting, was not working according to the official version that sometimes appeared in the nation’s news media. For the most part, those people were dismissed.