Good Progressive Perspective on the Health Care Debate

Good piece from a site that I belong to, The Pen, which is basically the left wing of the Democratic Party. They are quite radical by US standards, and they are often extremely critical of both Congressional Dems and Obama. In general, I find their analyses to be right on. This critique of Obama’s health care plan is spot on. I don’t understand what they mean when they say that the public option won’t save us any money. You mean we have to buy it, and it will be as expensive as private insurance?
What good is that? Anyway, even the public option is probably going to be killed off. The only decent plan really is Single Payer, but that was DOA before this debate even got started. I would support Single Payer, then all the morons who love their private insurance so much can go ahead and fork over half their salary or whatever it costs for that precious coverage. If it’s so great, everyone should bail on Single Payer and buy that wonderful private insurance.
The reality is that Obama and the Congressional Dems are really just trying to preserve the profits of the insurance industry. They suck up 30% of every health care dollar for their overhead and profits. What do we get in return? Basically nothing. Or actually, shitty coverage, and if we ever get really sick, we get dropped and we have to spend ourselves into poverty to get government health care. That usually means selling your house. What good is this?
The Republicans, in contrast, are ideologically opposed. I really think that what they fear is the “threat of a good example.” They are terrified that public health insurance might actually work for a lot of Americans and solve a lot of their health care issues and worries. The last thing they want is a government that works. That will make people like government, and they want people to hate government. Of course, they are also in bed with the health insurance industry too, but they also have ideological stuff going on.
I’ve heard that most every country on Earth has some kind of government health care, no matter how meager. I think the US is only one of maybe three countries on Earth who doesn’t have one. And that doesn’t include Medical or Medicare.
The problem in most of the world of course is that public health care is so horrible that if you have any money at all, you avoid public hospitals. My friends in India tell me that if you send a very ill relative to a public hospital, they will probably just die. They are “death hospitals.”
Also, all of the docs at the public hospitals are on the take, and they all want bribes. If you don’t bribe them, the patient gets little to no care and probably dies. If you do bribe them, at least they have some chance. That’s simply sickening, but it’s indicative of the total failure of Indian “socialism” and the reason why I support the armed Maoist revolution in India. Other countries have public health care, but you have to pay.
In China, the public hospitals cost money, and a lot of people die because they are too poor to go. This is part of Deng’s wonderful capitalist “reforms” that the Western media has cheered on so much. Oh that evil Mao! He tried to save the lives of seriously ill Chinese! For that, he’s the greatest murderer of all time!
The Chinese state now offers health insurance coverage that covers the costs of 85% of your health care expenditures. This is a step in the right direction, but most Chinese still can’t afford it. Mao was right about the reactionaries in the party and need for constant revolution to keep them out.
Anyway, we don’t even have any of that. We don’t have any public system available to the average person that I’m aware of.

Obama’s New “Improved” Leech Therapy

The sheer sappiness, even from progressives, of most of the commentary we’ve heard in the aftermath of President Obama’s address to Congress this week on health care is truly breathtaking. Now we are going to tell you what really happened last Wednesday night.
The first thing we need to understand is that Obama HAS NO PLAN, at least not one that he will publicly disclose, otherwise he would put forward a particular bill and say, “This is what I want Congress to pass.” Instead, what he did the other night was embrace a hodgepodge of half-baked congressional proposals, all of which have ONE purpose and singular directive…to NOT curtail in any way the usurious profit margins of the existing health care industry.
Worse yet, he went out of his way to SMEAR the one proposal that would actually make a meaningful difference, to institute a single payer system, like any of the ones which have been so successful in every other major industrial country.
Indeed, what was so incredibly conspicuous by its absence was the fact that, while he dedicated a large part of his speech to debunking the lies being told about health care reform, there was not a word about the heinous and slanderous lies being told about single payer, namely that it is not working in all these other countries or that people there are not happy with their single payer systems.
Instead he stabbed single payer in the back by trying to characterize it as “radical change”. This is EXACTLY the same tactic that right wing propagandists have deployed against any proposal Obama himself might make that would be even slightly worthwhile. Remember last month when every right wing Republican magically had the same expression, “risky experiment”, coming out of their mouths all at the same moment.
Same tactic from Obama, same dishonestly slanted demagoguery, and you’d have to be a serious hardcore Obama Moonie not to see it. Obama literally played single payer advocates in the Congressional audience for suckers.
There was a mini uproar when a lunatic fringe Republican house member committed the offense of being in contempt for yelling out, “You lie,” when Obama asserted that bills in consideration would exclude illegal aliens, even though that part was probably true. But what about when Obama said that they would consider the best ideas for reform?
What kind of a lie was that, when the best idea of all, single payer, the approach favored by a majority of the American people when they are asked, the only change that would make an actual meaningful difference, has been pushed so far off the table that it is not even to be given serious consideration?
Funding of the health care system in America is the 21st century counterpart of leech therapy. We have a massive medical insurance “industry”, the function of which is to “manufacture” senseless and unnecessary paperwork to generate outrageous profits for itself, in excess of 30 percent of every health care dollar, sucking the very life blood out of our economy. THAT is the problem, and yet all Obama wants to talk about is building on “what works”.
NOTHING about the way we pay for our health care today works, except maybe for medical mega-corporation CEO’s reaping their obscene salaries and bonuses. For THEM it works just fine, and they want to keep it just like it is. For the rest of us it is an unmitigated disaster, a veritable Katrina for our whole economy, and nothing Obama said the other night was intended to change anything of substance about it.
Remember in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina when George Bush got up on TV with the misleading rap Karl Rove put in his mouth, talking about how they were going to study “What went wrong, and what went right”, complete with cute synchronized hand gestures, as if ANYTHING went right. Nothing went right about the federal response to that cataclysm. And there is nothing worth building on top of the way insurance companies are currently gouging the American people.
So when Obama talks about the government creating an “insurance market”, all he is really talking about is making the government the COERCIVE SALES AGENT for the medical insurance leeches. What is the need for creating such a thing? Don’t we already have a market where people can shop for the plan they like? Isn’t it called the “free” market?
So the only difference they are talking about is creating a compulsive mandate, backed by fines if you don’t buy one of the provided choices, to FORCE you to buy essentially the same overpriced insurance you couldn’t afford last week, or to have taxpayers subsidize the difference.
Sure, the hideously egregious insurance industry practices of denying coverage in every possible unjustified way needs to be outlawed. This should have been done decades ago. But what Obama is talking about is trading the one dollar we would get back in our pockets that way, for license for the same corporate greed heads to take TWO dollars back out with their other hand, by hooking up a catheter direct to the U.S. public treasury, for hardship cases who cannot possibly cough up the required insurance ransom. Net result, even more outrageous profits, not less, for the same culprits we have now, and at taxpayer expense!!
The reason why the Congressional Budget office predicts that only 5% would participate in the so-called “public option” they are talking about is because it would not save us any actual money, so it would have minimal participation. This is even assuming it would ever kick in at all, with them trying to trick it up with triggers and such, so it would NOT provide any real “competition” day one or day 730. It is being conceived of as the weakest possible alternative, a kind of welfare option for those who can prove they are totally destitute already, just the way the insurance industry wants us all to be eventually.
A real single payer system would give we the people, we who need and have a RIGHT as citizens to the health care we deserve, real power to negotiate favorable prices for our health care services. And THAT is the LAST thing those exploiting us now would ever voluntarily allow.
And Obama and too many members of Congress are in league with the medical industry devils, bought off, paid off, or just naively backing off, making deals behind our backs and then announcing them as “done” deals, and giving speeches to try to bamboozle the American people into thinking they are getting real substantive reform when in fact they are not.
What Obama did more than anything else last Wednesday night was throw down the gauntlet to US, standing in the way of real single payer reform. He said as bluntly as possible, for those with ears to hear, that if you want single payer you will have to fight HIM, to go through HIM. For his real constituents in this are NOT YOU, they are the medical industry special interests, in that way just like George Bush served only the upper class, and we might as well face up to it now.
Because for him to even suggest that a silly new insurance “market” would give you as a medical care consumer any negotiating leverage comparable to single payer, with each of us out there still forced to bargain all alone by ourselves, is absurdity on steroids.
Moreover, as weak as Obama’s proposals are, taken all together, the medical mega-corporations are still on full press offense trying to kill off anything that would help cure any part of the real problem, which is THEM of course, at all. It is not enough that they have their own people literally writing these bills word for word, like ex-Wellpoint VP Liz Fowler, to ensure that the outrageous bottom line profit margins of medical mafia are in no way threatened.
They won’t be satisfied until even the “public option” is literally killed off. In short, the plan is to do nothing to remove the leeches sucking the economic life blood out of our medical care system.
We agree with Brent Budowsky, with his longterm perspective and insight into Capitol hill deal making, that Obama has absolutely NO intention of letting a truly viable public option of any kind survive. When Obama intimates that a public option is not a mandatory provision, this is not “change we can believe in”, this is not even “change we’d kinda like”, this is “maybe we won’t bother”. The only reason even the words “public option” are being allowed to hang around on the table is so they can be pushed off later.
And THAT is Obama’s REAL plan, the one he won’t talk about in a public speech, to let the weakest possible “public option” hang around for a little while as an illusory sop for the terminally gullible, only to bleed it to death before it can actually go into effect. Yes, THIS is Obama’s new “improved” leech therapy.
We would not have written all this if we were not also going to point the way to the path of salvation. It’s just what it has always been. You must speak out now, you must keep speaking out, and you must never stop speaking out. There was a story the other day about how certain special interest lobby groups were forging letters to members of Congress as if they came from the public.
Now, ask yourself, WHY would they even BOTHER to do such a thing if writing letters, sending emails, and making phone calls to members of Congress did NOT constitute compelling pressure, and they KNEW it? Why would they do such a thing if real activism did not work?

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3 thoughts on “Good Progressive Perspective on the Health Care Debate”

  1. Why A Strong Public Option Is Essential – By jacksmith — Working Class
    Robert Reich explains the pubic option: http://bit.ly/dDYSJ http://robertreich.blogspot.com/
    John Garamendi on the Public Option and the Grassroots: http://bit.ly/TJMty
    It’s not just because more than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.
    It’s not just because according to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!
    It’s not just because it will lower cost. Because a strong public option will dramatically lower cost for everyone. And dramatically improved the quality of care everyone receives in America and around the World. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.
    It’s not just because it will save trillions of dollars and prevent the needless deaths of millions more of YOU, caused by a rush to profit by the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!
    It’s not just because every expert in every field, including economist, and Nobel laureates all agree that free market based healthcare systems don’t work. Never have and never will. The US has the only truly free market based healthcare system in the World. And as you all know now, IT IS A DISASTER!
    It’s not just because providing or denying medically necessary care for profit motivations is wrong. Because it is WRONG! It’s professionally, ethically, and morally REPUGNANT!, Animalistic, VILE and EVIL.
    THE REASON THE PUBLIC OPTION IS ESSENTIAL:
    The public option is ESSENTIAL because over 200 million of you are trapped in the forest of the wolves. Which is the forest of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! With no way out except through needless inhumane suffering, and DEATH. While the wolves tear at your flesh, and rip you limb from lib. Then feast on your lifeless bodies like a dead carcase for transplant parts.
    At the most vulnerable times of your lives (when you were sick and hurting), millions of you have had to fight and loose cruel, but heroic battles. Fighting against the big guns of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! in the forest of the wolves. All because you have no place else to go. You have no other CHOICE!
    But the PUBLIC OPTION will give you someplace safe to go. And it will give us someplace safe to take you. The public option will be your refugium (your refuge). Where the wolves cannot get at you when your down, hurting, and vulnerable. Where everyone who needs it can find rest, security, comfort and the care they need. Protected by the BIG GUNS of We The People Of The United States. THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY ON EARTH.
    This is why it is so critical that we do not lead another 50 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans into the forest of the wolves, without the protections of a Strong Government-run public option. We The People Of The United States MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN to any more of our fellow Americans. If healthcare reform does not contain a strong public option on day one. YOU MUST! KILL IT. Or you will do far more harm than good. And millions more will die needlessly. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.
    To those who would continue to obstruct good and true healthcare reform for the American people, and who seek to trap millions more vulnerable Americans in the forest of the wolves. We will continue to fight you. We are prepared to wage all out war against you, and will eagerly DESTROY! you. Time…is…UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! No Co-op’s! No Triggers! NO INDIVIDUAL MANDATES! without a Strong public option on day one.
    Healthcare reform can be the GREATEST! Accomplishment of our time and century. A time when future generations may say of us, that we were all, AMERICAS GREATEST GENERATIONS.
    BUT WE MUST ACT!
    I therefore call on all my fellow Americans and the peoples of the World. To join us in this fight so that we may finish becoming the better America that we aspire to be for everyone.
    SPREAD THE WORD!
    I have been privileged to be witness as many of you fought, and struggled to take your first breath, and your last breath on this earth. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Life is precious.
    Whatever the cost. WE! MUST SUCCEED.
    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings
    jacksmith — Working Class
    No Triggers! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-rosenbaum/a-trigger-for-the-public_b_277910.html
    Triggers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/weve-seen-these-triggers_b_283583.html
    Krugman on heathcare (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)
    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

  2. I can certainly understand the appeal of universal single payer, and former Senator (and joke of a Presidential nominee) George McGovern wrote an op-ed this week advocating “universal Medicare for all:”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091102406.html
    There are some things that definitely should be universalized. We’re not, as a society, going to turn down necessary childhood vaccinations or emergency treatment for illegal aliens, so we should probably just go ahead and make some minimal level of care a state-paid right.
    After that, though, come some really tough questions without obvious answers:
    1. Since at some point a trade-off has to be made between expense and death, who gets the jurisdiction? Will end-of-life decisions get put into the hands of “Terri Shaivo Preservationists”?
    2. Would we be de-incentivizing healthy living if everyone gets the same rights to benefits regardless of either what they’ve paid in or how healthy they’ve maintained themselves?
    3. How would we motivate medical research if profit incentives were removed?
    4. When (not “if”) decisions have to be made about what kinds of treatments to fund more and what to fund less, what role will politics play in deciding the winners and losers? Would we open ourselves up to elections over more funding for diseases affecting blacks vs. whites or men vs. women?
    In a field with as much room for subjectivity and values-laden decision making, it would be difficult to design a government plan that balances conflicting, legitimate opinions, except in the kinds of cases I mentioned at the start that are slam-dunks.

    1. Hi Randy.
      1. I don’t know.
      2. I do not think so. The other societies that have a single payer system don’t think this is an important subject to discuss, but they are not as individualistic as we are.
      3. Profit motives would *not* be removed. Those who make drugs and medical devices could still patent them and then sell them to the state. This is how it’s done everywhere else. They don’t get the superprofits they get in the US, but they still make plenty of money. Anyway, much medical research nowadays, tbh, is not motivated by profit motives at all. Check out any medical journal (Have you ever read one? I’ve read them many times.) How many of those articles do you think are motivated by profits? Not too many really. Most medical research is funded by the state anyway is my understanding.
      4. I have no idea whatsoever.
      At the moment, there is not going to be any single payer plan going down anyway, so it’s sort of useless talk. We are fighting like wildcats just to keep any kind of public option in the plan.

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