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Bill Clinton Turns ‘Politicizing’ Charge On Its Head, As He Turns His Back On The Uninsured

by on Monday, November 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

Bill ClintonFormer President Bill Clinton disclosed to Firedoglake last Thursday that he would not attend a free medical clinic in Arkansas organized by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann — an event which would be attended by well over 1,000 uninsured Arkansans needing medical attention — because he claims that Olbermann had “politicized the event.”

The event went on to save many lives:

Saturday’s free health clinic at the Statehouse Convention Center treated more than 1,000 uninsured Arkansas residents with a variety of health problems, many of them serious. More than 90 percent were diagnosed with three or more life-threatening conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and pulmonary disease.

Seven people had such serious conditions that physicians decided they should be taken immediately by ambulances to local hospital emergency departments. Of those, five were admitted to hospitals for cardiac reasons, and two of them had had recent hearts attacks of which they were unaware.

Clinton revealed to Eve Gittelson (of Firedoglake) that he considered the free clinic to be sort of a kick-off primary against Blanche Lincoln — the Blue Dog AR Senator who opposes the public option, and who had threatened to filibuster the Senate health care reform bill with the Republicans to keep the legislation from getting an up or down vote (Note:  she did ultimately vote for cloture on Saturday, allowing the bill to be debated on the floor).

Bill Clinton effectively turned his back on helping to bring attention to the uninsured (the clinic exposed the sheer number of uninsured — who they are — and the severity of their untreated medical conditions) as a display of political solidarity with Blue Dog Democrat Blanche Lincoln; this Blanche Lincoln:

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Lincoln has received $325,350 in contributions from the health industry, as of June 30. […]

One of Lincoln�s biggest contributors this cycle is the insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield. The company�s political action committee and employees have combined to give the senator $29,500 this year alone. Blue Cross Blue Shield and their parent company Wellpoint are vocal opponents of the inclusion of a public option plan in any health care reform bill. Blue Cross Blue Shield is the dominant insurer in Arkansas holding a 75 percent market share.

So Bill Clinton puts the interests of a bribed political crony above the best interests of 836,000 uninsured Arkansans, and as his excuse he charges those who organized the free life-saving health care clinics as having politicized the event?  Sure, in addition to saving American lives, they politicized the event — only as far as helping to pressure obstructionists, like Blanche Lincoln, from ensuring these 836,000 Arkansans remain uninsured. Only as far as shining a light on how American citizens are being left untreated for life-threatening conditions while corrupt politicians get bribed by the very industry reaping obscene profits from such a system.

Politicians, like Bill Clinton, are so political — so corrupted — that I’m convinced that in his narcissistic, partisan, elitist world he and others like him probably actually believe that his shunning the event was somehow a principled stance against ‘politics as usual’.