As defined by Wikipedia, a Morton’s Fork is “a choice between two equally unpleasant alternatives.” In the health care debate, this is the choice between government run health care, or corporate run health care.  We progressives like to call this choice — reform or the status quo.
You know, I always laugh at those conservative politicians that decry socialized medicine — while enjoying the benefits of government run health care themselves.  Let them put their health where their mouth is.  Cancel their socialized medicine, and go into the “free” market like everyone else.

As usual, those who oppose reform are using the tried and true fear card.  They tell us that government run health care will lead to socialized medicine, rationing care, and the infamous “death panels”, among other things.

The truth of the matter is: the system that the critics fear is already in place.  It is called corporate health care.  Large insurance companies already ration care by denying claims and coverage.  In California, PacificCare has denied 40% of their claims, while HealthNet has denied 30% of theirs.  Lose necessary tests in a mountain of red tape.  Cancel your policy when you reach a monetary limit.  Never offer insurance at all to those with pre-existing conditions.  Allow the ‘free market’ to raise premiums until a business or individual cannot pay them anymore — and the policy lapses.

For those who have no health insurance, and have a catastrophic illness or injury…aren’t all of these inactions by the corporate insurance companies infamous “death panels?”  Is it easier for the critics to have these death panels consisting of corporate health clerks, rather than government bureaucrats?

Currently, the momentum seems to be away from true reform, and towards reinforcing the corporate health care system.  Proposals such as mandatory health insurance for individuals would only really benefit the corporate insurance market.  It gives them 40 million new customers that must buy their product.  It gives people that are already struggling, another bill.

Any proposed health care system without a public option, a type of Medicare for all, isn’t reform at all.  It is the codification of the status quo, and creation of a windfall comparable to the windfall enjoyed by the oil companies.  This kind of reform doesn’t benefit the majority of American people.  Consider that mother in the news who was trying to feed her family and keep a roof over her head.  She needs real reform, not a Republican congresswoman telling her to “grow up” and get health insurance.

True health care reform doesn’t mean a total government takeover.  Tonight the President needs to return to his original proposal for health care.  If you have health insurance you like, you can keep it.  A strong public option in place for people who cannot afford health care, and foster competition (one of the facets of capitalism I thought).  Outlining pre-existing conditions.  Making the best health care system a right for all American, and not just a privilege for those who can afford it.  While we in America have the greatest health care system in the world – really it’s of limited benefit for people that can’t afford it.

It should be noted that RN in 1971 proposed a similar system of employer mandated health insurance.  The recent book, “The Heart of Power” credits RN with forming the parameters of the future debates of 1994 and 2009 about health care.  The failure of RNs proposal didn’t affect his legacy as president.  There were bigger issues that did.  Watergate.  Vietnam.  China.

In sharp contrast, health care will affect this president’s legacy.  There is also a good chance that it will affect President Obama’s future success and failure as well.  Also the country’s as well…