Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nader nags Obama on healthcare

Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor June 30, 2009 11:04 AM

Consumer activist Ralph Nader has a simple message for liberals feeling less warm and fuzzy about President Obama: "I told you so."

"Millions of Americans are feeling betrayed. They thought Obama as President meant change we can believe in. They thought Obama as President meant withdrawal from Iraq. They thought Obama as President meant standing up to Wall Street fat cats. They thought Obama as President meant a living wage," Nader, who ran a presidential campaign last year far less successful than his 2000 bid, said in an email to supporters today,

"But for those of you who stood with us during the 2008 Presidential campaign, you knew the score. You do not feel betrayed. You are immune to Obama Betrayal Syndrome," Nader continues. "Because you knew, as we pointed out repeatedly during the campaign, that Obama was the corporate Democrat. Beholden to large campaign contributors from Wall Street. From the military industrial complex. And from the health insurance pharma complex."

Nader's missive seeks donations for Single Payer Action, a new advocacy group pushing a government-run healthcare plan along the lines of national insurance plans in Canada and Britain.

Supporters of such a plan say it is the only way to cover everyone while cutting costs, but Obama is not among them, saying that while it might make sense if starting from scratch, it makes more sense now to build upon the current system, under which most Americans get their health coverage through their employer.

To combat critics who call his plan socialized medicine, the president reassures that he would not force anyone to change their coverage.

But Nader's new group isn't giving up. Single Payer Action members have confronted members of Congress in their home districts to press them on the issue.

"Let's break through the corporate barriers and make single payer for all a reality," he says in the email. "Together, we can make the difference. Onward to a life-saving, cost-saving single payer."

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