Remember those Health Insurance Association of America “Harry and Louise” TV ads that were instrumental in scuttling Hillary Clinton’s health reform efforts in 1993? Well, Harry and Louise are back! This time, however, they support health reform. “A little more cooperation, a little less politics, and we can get the job done this time,” says Louise as a halo swirls around her head and eventually forms the URL: HarryandLouise.org. Seems to me we could have gotten the job done in 1993 with a little less Harry and Louise!
Here’s the ad that started running this weekend:
But the real irony here is not that proponents of healthcare reform are using the same characters who effectively opposed it in 1993. It’s that while the 1993 ads were predictably funded by the Big Insurance lobby, the new ads are funded by Big Insurance’s longtime partner in crime — the Big Pharma lobby, PhRMA.
So, whose body has actually been snatched here? Harry’s? Louise’s? Or PhRMA’s?
Alas, PhRMA hasn’t turned over a new leaf and suddenly become a populist organization committed to ensuring healthcare justice for all. The fact is, because the Obama Administration knows the president’s reelection probably depends on swift passage of healthcare reform, it has given away the farm to corporate interests — including giving Big Pharma everything it wants.
If anybody has turned into a pod person, in fact, it’s Obama.
What does it say about corporate power in the United States when even a president whose party has 60 seats in the Senate and a huge majority in the House can’t oppose it?
When all is said and done, will Obama’s healthcare reform legislation be much different than a bigger, more bloated version of President Bush’s Medicare Part D boondoggle?
Just cross your fingers, close your eyes, and keep telling yourself, “It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.”37