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Top Ten Ways To Tell Your President & His Party Aren't Fighting For Health Care For Everybody

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    obama on health careby BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

    With the corporate media relentlessly distorting the public discussion around health care reform, it time for some clear, bright lines to help us tell who is doing what to whom, and whether any of it leads to health care for all of us.  Here are ten of them.

    Top Ten Ways To Tell Your President & His Party Aren't Fighting For Health Care For Everybody

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate were swept into office on a promise they would deliver affordable and accessible health care for all Americans. But the corporate media journalism limits the national health care conversation to what insurance companies, drug companies, for-profit health care professionals, their executives, lobbyists and politicians of both parties and other hirelings have to say. So it isn't as easy as it ought to be to tell what the politicians are doing about accomplishing health care for everybody. Hence we offer these ten points. This is how you can tell whether your president and his party are fighting for the health care you deserve.

    1. Their plan doesn't cover the uninsured till at least 2013.

      2013 isn't “day one.” It's not even after the midterm election. It's clear after the president's second term, if he gets one. Congress passed Medicare in 1965 and president Lyndon Johnson rolled out coverage for millions of seniors in eleven months, back in the days before they even had computers.

      22,000 Americans now perish each year because they can't get or can't afford medical care, and this year three quarter million personal bankruptcies will be triggered by unpayable medical bills. Why this president and these Democrats are in such a hurry to pass health care now that doesn't take effect till two elections down the road doesn't make sense in any kind of good way.

    2. Their “public option” isn't Medicare, won't bring costs down and will only cover about 10 million people.

      The “public option” was sold to the American people as Medicare-scale plan open to anybody who wants in that would compete with the private insurers and drive their costs downward. But in their haste not to bite the hands that feed them millions in campaign contributions each hear, the president and his party have scaled the public option back from a Medicare-sized 130 million to a maximum of 10 million, too small to put cost pressure in private insurers. Worse still, the president and his party are playing bait-and-witch, not telling the public they have reduced the public option, to nearly nothing.

      This remnant of a public option is not Medicare, as Howard Dean insists, and it will not lead to the sort of everybody-in-nobody-out health care system that most Americans, whenever they are surveyed say they want.

      Some Senate and House Democrats want to ditch even the pretense of a “public option” in favor of something they're calling a private insurance “co-op”, which as near as anybody can tell has the same relationship to an actual cooperative that clean coal has to actual coal.

    3. The president and his party have already caved in to the drug companies on reimporting Canadian drugs, on negotiating drug prices downward and on generics.

      This explains why Big Pharma, the same people who ran the devastatin g series of anti-reform “Harry and Louise” ads to spike the Clinton-era drive to fix health care are spending $100 million to run Obama ads using the president's language about “bipartisan” solutions to health care reform.

    4. The president and his party have received more money from private insurers and the for-profit health care industry than even Republicans, with the president alone taking $19 million in the 2008 election cycle alone, more than all his Repubican, Democratic and independent rivals combined.

      Democratic senator Max Bacaus got $1.1 million in 2008. Democratic senators Harkin, Landreau and Rockerfeller each got over half a million, and Senator Durbin got just under half a million. Other Democratic senators got a little less. Four Democrats in the House, Rangel, Dinglell, Udall and Hoyer got over half a million apiece in 2008, with other Democrats not far behind.

      Is there any wonder that the insurance companies, like the drug companies are also running “bipartisan health care reform” commercials using the president's exact language?

    5. The president's plan, and those of Republicans and Democratic blue dogs too, will require families to purchase health insurance policies from private insurers.

      This is something the policy wonks call an 'individual mandate”, under which Individuals will be “mandated” to purchase affordable insurance, though companies would not be required to offer it. In Massachusetts, the prototype state for the Obama plan, a family with an income of $33,000 can be required to spend $9,000 in deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses before the insurance company is obligated to pay a dime. As in Massachusetts, public money is used to purchase private insurance for the very poorest citizens. With the revenues of insurance companies on the decline, individual mandate programs are a welcome bailout for the private insurance industry.

    6. The president's plan, and those of Republicans and Democratic blue dogs too, could force you to buy junk insurance.

      Think about an insurance policy that costs a lot, but is full of loopholes, exceptions and steep deductibles and co-payments. That's junk insurance, and for many it's the only insurance companies offer. Even more pernicious is the widespread practice among insurance companies of “recission” in which claimants are routinely investigated and disqualified in the event that they finally make a claim. Insurance companies admit they do this to half of one percent of policies per year. That means if you hold a health insurance policy twenty years, you don;t have insurance – you have a ninety percent chance of having insurance.

    7. The president's plan, as well as those of Democratic “blue dogs” and Republicans, are to be funded in part with cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.

      Private insurance companies have always hated Medicare because it is far more efficient than they are. Medicare's administrative expenses are under five percent, as compared with the one third of every health care dollar taken by the for-profit insurance companies for their advertising, bad investments, billing and denial machinery, executive salaries and bonuses. Private insurers have, over the years, purchased enough influence in Congress and previous White Houses to restrict Medicare's payment rates and partially privatize it. But president Obama's plan, perhaps the most friendly to Medicare and Medicaid, calls for over $300 billion in cuts to the programs that now provide medical care to those with the fewest options, while failing to guarantee that care will come from elsewhere. In Massachusetts right now, hospitals are turning away poor people they used to be able to provide care for because funding that used to go to those institutions is now plowed into the state's “individual mandate” system.

    8. The president, with the cooperation of corporate media and the Republicans is trying to make the argument about himself instead of a discussion on the merits of his policy.

      The president and his critics are happy to talk about whether this will be “his Waterloo”, or his Dien Bien Phu, as if that matters more than the 22,000 Americans who die each year from lack of medical care, or the three quarter million who will go bankrupt because of unpayable medical bills. The concentration on whether the president looks good or bad takes up air, ink, and coverage time that might otherwise be spent explaining what is and isn't in the various proposals, and why.

      If the president were not afraid of his own supporters publicly examining the merits and demerits of his proposals, he would mobilize those 13 million emails and phone numbers collected during the campaign. The reason he has not sone so already is that most of his own supporters favor a Medicare-For-All single payer health care system, HR 676.

    9. The president and his party, and the corporate media have spent more time and energy silencing and excluded the advocates of single payer health care, mostly the president's own supporters, than they have fighting blue dogs and Republicans.

      But no matter how diligently the spokespeople for single payer are excluded from media coverage and invitations to Obama's policy forums and round tables, no matter how many times the White House cuts their questions from transcripts and video of public events, the calls, emails and letters keep pouring into Congress and the White House demanding the creation of a publicly funded, everybody-in-nobody-out system, a Medicare-for-All kind of single payer health care plan.

    10. Despite the president's own admission that only a single payer health care system will deliver what Americans want, he and the leaders of his party insist that Medicare For All, HR 676, us utterly off the table.

      Before he became a presidential candidate, Barack Obama identified himself as a proponent of a single payer health care system. All we had to do, he told us, was elect a Democratic congress and senate, and a different president. Now that this has been done, he insists that “change” is just not possible, and we have to settle for less. The president continues to admit that only a single payer health care system will cover everybody, but insists that America just can't handle that much change.

      The truth is that Barack Obama campaigned as the candidate of change, and a health care system that covers everybody from day one with no exceptions is what people imagined they voted for when they swept him and an overwhelming number of Democrats into office.

      A single payer Medicare-For-All system will eliminate 500,000 insurance company jobs and replace them with 3.2 million new jobs in health care for a net gain of 2.6 million new jobs according to a study by the National Nurses Organization. That's as many jobs as the US economy lost in all of 2007. Single payer will create hundreds of billions in annual wages and local and state tax revenues for cash strapped cities and towns. It will lift the shadow of bankruptcy for medical reasons from two thirds of a million American families yearly. It's what we deserve.

      It's what we voted for, and we won't stop demanding it.

    Bruce Dixon is based in Atlanta GA and is managing editor at Black Agenda Report.  He can be reached at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

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    You can have regulations in place so that insurance companies can’t commit robbery- with out it being mandatory to purchase insurance or to choose a public option… – which will raise our taxes and we will end up with worse care than we already have. So even if you aren’t denied for preexisting conditions- you will be on a ridiculous wait list for each appointment- you may or may not be able to get the best care for your condition- and who are you going to complain to when you feel that the system isn’t working, the government? There is a way to achieve the good without settling for the bad… they could regulate without mandating. All this push for National Health “Reform” is a pitiful and desperate attempt to ensure that we the people will be bound to paying ridiculously high taxes, so that Obama can look back on his presidency and say i helped save the economy... reverse email

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    Ask them to score hr 676

    Right wingers, justifiably angry at the massive middle-class decline, are protesting health care reform lately. It is a triumph of corporate media that they are opposing their own self-interest, and arguing that the corporate market is a better form of organization than democratically elected government.  
     
    U.S. healthcare is the most expensive in the world, outcomes are only slightly better than Cuba's, a large fraction of the population is not covered. It is a major cause of personal and corporate bankruptcies. It is important for the economy and the well being of everyone. Since few jobs are secure now, no one should have to question the need for change.
     
    The insurance industry runs healthcare with obscene CEO compensation, profligate lobbying, massive political payoffs, and a large expensive bureaucracy. You have no way to know if your coverage is adequate until you make a claim.  They can drop you.
     
    What does the insurance industry do? It rations, but not in a good way. It excludes sick people (with pre-existing conditions), cherrypicks the healthiest, and caps payments.  It is in conflict of interest because its goal is profit, not healthcare efficacy. Other than irrational rationing and bureaucracy, the insurance industry contributes nothing to actual healthcare except high premiums.
     
    If you are an individual or small business, coverage now costs you plenty and is likely to increase rapidly. The wingers would rather pay high premiums to insurers than taxes to a more cost effective public program.
     
    Shut down the health insurers. Retrain the insurance bureaucracy for jobs in actual health care because if everyone is covered there will be a need to expand facilities. Expand Medicare, which works well and is more cost effective, to cover everyone. Urge Congress to direct the CBO to score HR 676 and publish the results. http://www.seconnecticut.com/healthcare_letter.htm
     

    2nd try at putting comment re BAR on truthout under Jeff Cohen's

    silly article title on www.truthout.org (No idea why
    first comment yesterday isn't posted by
    moderator. I'll give benefit of doubt and blame
    my e-skills.)   Article gets good in 2nd half.  My initial
    heat/humidity reaction was inaccurate.
    The article by B.A.
    Dixon is good, really good.

    Ten ways to bankrupt America -- Why healthcare never changes

    1.  Over 90% of illness in the U.S. is caused by a high fat diet void of nutrition.  So let us tell people, “Eat nothing processed by man or animal.” And then let us TAX the tobacco, alcohol and process food industries so high that they go bankrupt. For no company should be allowed to enrich itself upon the misery of their customers.
     
    2. Medical schools do not require doctors to take one course in nutrition, and your family doctor gets a 40% referral fee (kick back) from each specialist he refers you to. So we dare not stop this, or half of all doctors and specialists would go bankrupt.
     
    3. So unregulated is the hospital industry that over half of all operations (half of all hospitals) are totally unnecessary.  And so, if we did nothing but create good regulation half of hospitals would become vacant buildings.
     
    4. Health insurance companies keep 30% of all the trillions consumed by the medical industry. So if we eliminated health insurance, our gross national product would decrease by  6%. Imagine the impact, 6% of all the goods and services produced in America would no longer be consumed, would no longer be produced and about 10% of people would be driven into bankruptcy.  Trillions and trillions, as if they never were.
     
    5. If we did nothing but enact Single Payer national healthcare, we would drive an additional 10% into unemployment and bankruptcy.  At least, for one in every ten income earners is employed in the medical industry.
     
    6. If we did nothing but give a $2,000 tax refund to those who ate healthy and stayed healthy, over 25% of both the processed food and medical industries would go bankrupt.
     
    7. If we did nothing but allow everyone under age 60 to purchase Medicare, at a price that would not increase our taxes, in one year a third of those employed in the medical industry would be bankrupt and looking for work.
     
    8. If we did nothing but require all hospitals to operate the same as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, a third of hospitals would be yours to buy at five cents on the dollar.
     
    9. Many research studies show that Hunzaland in the Himalaya Mountains has the healthiest people on earth, and all because they eat a diet that is 10% fat, 10% protean and 80% complex carbohydrates. Not a vegetarian diet but a lean meat and low fat diet.  
     
    10. Comes now the average American diet to be 50% fat, 40% protean and 10% complex carbohydrates, and we to be the most unhealthy people of all. Meat, dairy products, processed foods and about everything you buy in a fast food restaurant contains no complex carbohydrates. Complex things like all the vitamins, minerals, bulk and fiber a body needs to stay healthy.

    100,000 DEATHS IN US HOSPITALS EVERY YEAR

    When I was very young, I used to think those older folks who
    were afraid of going to hospitals were silly.  Years later...and
    not so young, I read that over 100,000 die in hospitals in the
    USA every year..from PREVENTABLE ERRORS.  I am sorry
    about the number of 22,000 who reportedly die for lack of
    health insurance..but why is there not more done to help
    keep alive those who do have health insurance and go to
    hospitals for healing..and end up dying instead.
     
     

    To keep rereading until it is "fixed" :

    (no pun intended, but it's not a bad one).
    I get Medicare, which works fairly well. (more in a minute)
    That the bad new plan(s), which keep morphing to less
    from a bad beginning (good =single payer, battle for) is
    going to drain medicare and medicaid is beyond insult.
    Big injury.
    Medicare takes a big chunk of my social security check.
    I have to  pay round $2200. a year for Medigap - that is,
    an insurance plan to cover the 20% medicare doesn't
    cover.  Not sure how long I can continue to pay it.
    I won't go into an HMO, which medicare wants to push
    us all into.  My mother died a couple of years ago, at
    93, refusing to get off Medicare for an HMO.  There
    were two of us as senior citizens at the same time.
    Odd and funny, in a way.
       Important point, as a disabled person and as a senior:
    there is a bias toward nursing homes rather than for
    (cheaper) attendant care while living in one's own home.
    It's better explained on www.adapt.org which is working
    hard, including civil disobedience, to get CCA -
    Community Choice Act passed in Congress which
    would give people with disabilities and seniors a choice
    of where we/they would like to live.  How interesting
    that the new name, euphemism for nursing homes is
    Long Term Care Facilities - "facilities" -  that's the same
    word as used for Correctional Facilities in NYS.
    A Correctional Facility is a prison.  Yes.
         I would not like to have to live in a nursing home,
    or Long Term Care Facility.  Cheaper at home, but
    the nursing home lobby has big bucks and lobbyists.
    I visited a friend in a nursing home.  She was only 44,
    her mother nor her adult daughter wanted to have her
    at home, supervising her attendant care (had insurance
    from spouse who left her when she got MS).  I had
    known her since she was a little girl.  Very upsetting to
    see someone young suffer.  She wanted to be at home.
    I think she had ALS, Lou Gherig's disease.  So, I had
    my spouse take me, wheelchair, taxi to nursing home
    not far from my apartment.  People of all ages sat
    doing nothing - staring at space, bored.  There was
    someone showing people around a table how to put
    plants into a small pot with soil.  As I left, a guard
    stopped us and demanded to know if I was a resident.
    It shook me up to have to prove I was not "escaping".
     
        As I looked at the sign in front of the President in
    the photo with Bruce A. Dixon's article, I thought:
    lots of folks are unemployed and some can't work.
     
        
     
       

    Healthy at 69 -- Why should I pay $1200 a year for Medicare

    When brother Chuck and I returned from the Vietnam War he went up to 275 pounds, I stayed at 160, and until ten years ago our health stayed about the same.
     
    And so, he being in a wheel chair and diabetic for ten years now, and he geting all the free healthcare allowed by county, state, federal and the VA, with a smile on his face he harasses the hell out of me for not signing on to Medicare.
     
    Moral of the story, he who smiles last smiles best.  For my mom, dad, and younger sister did likewise smile when I said cute things like, "Eat nothing processed by man or animal."  But bless their darling hearts they smile no more, not in this life for sure.

    Re: Viet Nam vets and overweight diabetes caused by Agent Orange

    might be a factor. I have no way of knowing about your brother, so forgive me if this is invasive of your privacy.
    A friend of mine who served in Viet Nam as a helicopter evacuation pilot, shot down and injured two times, is now on total disability. Agent Orange and diabetes.  His incredible fight to lose weight has been going on ever since his service.
    But, I agree with you that the cost of Medicare is not cheap as a percentage of what seniors earn.
    Dr. David Himmelstein of Harvard and PNHP states that having everyone on single payer would save at least $350 B per year, and latest reports say $400 B per year. That's $350 Trillion to $400 Trillion over 10 years, which would cover everyone from Day One, Dollar One--comprehensive, no deductibles, no co-pays, no rescissions. Oh, prescriptions included.
    What's not to like? Oh, yeah, the Big Insurance Parasites lose their ability to suck wealth out of the populace. Some pols lose big contributors.
    Long term objective for pols would be that if they pass Medicare for All, Dems are set for the next few decades. They could concentrate on other needs of the nation. Business could concentrate on their business plans, not their insurance plans.
    Of course, Americans seems to lack long term planning and vision lately.
    Oh, where are the FDRs and LBJs of yesteryear? Pols with feet of clay, perhaps, but hearts of caring for the little people.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    PNHP -yes. "Things happen", people get sick, they have

    car accidents, illnesses associated with aging.
    The  medical system is a mess, yes, lots of mistakes.
    But people need health care.  Single payer.
    Medicare is expensive if you live on Social Security,
    but it works.  Could work better, but it works.
    Single payer. We want single payer.

    Health insurance companies

    Health insurance companies keep 30% of all the trillions consumed by the medical industry. So if we eliminated health insurance, our gross national product would decrease by 6%. Imagine the impact, 6% of all the goods and services produced in America would no longer be consumed, would no longer be produced and about 10% of people would be driven into bankruptcy. Trillions and trillions, as if they never were. web bot

    Health insurance companies

    Health insurance companies keep 30% of all the trillions consumed by the medical industry. So if we eliminated health insurance, our gross national product would decrease by 6%. Imagine the impact, 6% of all the goods and services produced in America would no longer be consumed, would no longer be produced and about 10% of people would be driven into bankruptcy. Trillions and trillions, as if they never were.642-642 | 70-647 | 642-165

    Health insurance companies

    They would definitely shrink, but they would still be around. Look at Medicare, they have supplement polices which the individual has to pay. If you think the government is going to pay for Heart surgery, Cancer treatment, you're in for a rude awakening.

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    labels

    Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate were swept into office on a promise they would deliver affordable and accessible health care for all Americans. But the corporate media journalism limits the national health care conversation to what insurance companies, drug companies, for-profit health care professionals, their executives, lobbyists and politicians of both parties and other hirelings have to say. So it isn't as easy as it ought to be to tell what the politicians are doing about accomplishing health care for everybody. Hence we offer these ten points. This is how you can tell whether your president and his party are fighting for the health care you deserve.

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