Is the Obama Health Care Plan Really Better Than Nothing?

another healthcare montageBy BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Candidate Barack Obama told us to judge his first term by whether he delivers quality affordable health care for all Americans, including nearly fifty million uninsured. So why does his proposal not cover the uninsured till 2013, after the next presidential election when Medicare took only 11 months to cover its first 40million seniors? Why are corporate media pretending that no opinions exist to Obama's left? And why has the public option part of the Obama health care plan shrunk from covering 130 million to only 10 million, with 16 million left uninsured altogether?

Is the Obama Health Care Plan Really Better Than Nothing?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The health care debate inside and outside the matrix

Like just about everything else, your take on the national health care debate depends on whether you're inside or outside the matrix.

Within the bubble of fake reality blown by corporate media and bipartisan political establishment, the health care news is that the Obama Plan is at last making its way through Congress. It's being fought by greedy private insurance companies, by chambers of commerce, by Republican and some Democratic lawmakers.

Under the Obama plan, we're told, employers will have to insure their employees or pay into a fund that does it for them. Individuals will be required under penalty of law to buy private insurance policies and for those that can't afford it or prefer not to use a private insurer there will be something called a “public option.” This “public option, the story goes, is bitterly fought by the bad guys because it will make private insurers accountable by competing with them, forcing them to lower their costs. Both the president's backers and opponents agree that the whole thing will be fantastically expensive, and the president proposes to fund it with cuts in existing programs like Medicaid which pay for the care of the poorest Americans and a tax on those making more than $300,000, later raised to $1 million a year.

The “public option” has that magic word “public” in it, and that's reassuring to progressives and to most of the American people. Taxing the rich is a popular idea too. So if you rely on corporate media, the administration, or some of the so-called progressive blogs to identify the players and keep the score, it seems a pretty clear case of President Obama on the side of the angels, battling the greedy insurance companies, Republicans and blue dog Democrats to bring us universal, affordable health care.

That whole picture has about as much reality as the ones the same corporate media and most of the same politicians drew for us about Iraq, 9-11, weapons of mass destruction and some people over there who wanted us to free them. Iraq and the White House were and remain actual places, and there really is a problem called health care. But the places, problems and solutions are very different from the bubble of fake reality blown around them.

What sustains this fake reality is the diligent suppression from public space of any viewpoints, observations or proposals to Obama's left. As long as the illusion that nobody has a better idea, that the only choice we have is Obama's way or the Republicans' way can be maintained, the crooked game can go on.

But bubbles are delicate things. Keeping this one intact requires so many vital topics to be avoided, so many inquiring eyes to be averted, so many fruitful conversations to be squelched that it's hard to see how the president, the bipartisan establishment and the corporate media can pull it all off.

The real Obama Plan: doesn't cover the uninsured till 2013, if then.

The first clue that something is deeply wrong with the Obama health care proposal is its timeline. According to a copyrighted July 21 AP story by Ricardo Alfonso-Zaldivar,

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare law on July 30, 1965, and 11 months later seniors were receiving coverage. But if President Barack Obama gets to sign a health care overhaul this fall, the uninsured won't be covered until 2013 — after the next presidential election.

In fact, a timeline of the 1,000-page health care bill crafted by House Democrats shows it would take the better part of a decade — from 2010-2018 — to get all the components of the far-reaching proposal up and running.”

According to a peer reviewed 2009 study in the American Journal of Medicine, 62% of the nation's 727,167 non-business bankruptcies were triggered by unpayable medical bills in 2007. Most of these had health insurance when they fell ill or were injured, but with loopholes, exclusions, high deductibles and co-payments, or were simply dropped when they got sick. In 2008 that figure was 66% of 934,000 personal bankruptcies and in 2009 it could approach 70% of 1.1 million bankruptcies. And 18,000 Americans die each year because medical care is unaffordable or unavailable. Waiting till 2013 means millions of families will be financially ruined and tens of thousands will die unnecessarily.

If the Johnson administration with no computers back in the sixties could implement Medicare for 45 million seniors in under a year, why does it take three and a half years in the 21st century to cover some, but not all, of America's fifty million uninsured? And why does the Obama Plan make us wait till after the next presidential election? Politicians usually do popular things and run for election on the resulting wave of approval. Delaying what ought to be the good news of universal and affordable health care for all Americans till two elections down the road is a strong indication that they know the good news really ain't all that good. And it's not.

Inside the matrix of TV, the corporate media and on much of the internet, discussion of the Obama plan's timeline, the human cost of another three years delay, and the comparison with Medicare’s 11 month rollout back in the days before computers are almost impossible to find. We can only wonder why.

The Obama plan is about health insurance, not health care.

As BAR has been reporting since January 2007, the Obama plan is not a health care plan at all, it is a health insurance plan. Based largely upon the failed model in place in Massachusetts since 2006, the Obama plan will require employers to provide coverage or pay a special tax. Everybody not covered by an employer will be required to purchase insurance under penalty of law, in much the same manner as you're currently required to buy car insurance.

In my state,” testified Dr. Steffie Woolhandler of the Harvard Medical School last month before Congress, “beating your wife, communicating a terrorist threat and being uninsured all carry $1,000 fines.”

As in Massachusetts, the health insurance plans people are forced to buy will cost a lot and won't cover much. In a July 20 National Journal article Dr. David Himmelstein says,

Nearly every day that he is in the clinic, Himmelstein says, he sees a patient who has problems paying for care "despite this reform.' Some of them had free care before the 2006 law took effect but are now expected to handle co-payments. If you're not poor enough to get a subsidy, say you're making $30,000 a year, you're required to buy a policy that costs about $5,000 a year for the premium and has a $2,000 deductible before it pays for anything. For substantial numbers of people, it's effectively not coverage,' Himmelstein said. The policy he described is about the cheapest Massachusetts plan available, according to the Physicians for a National Health Program report, which Himmelstein co-wrote.”

A family of four making under $24,000 a year in Massachusetts gets its insurance premium free, but is still expected to cough up deductibles and co-payments and live with loopholes and exclusions that often deny care to those who need it. And in both the Massachusetts and Obama plans, funds to pay those premiums come out of the budgets of programs like Medicaid that already pay for care for the poorest Ameicans.

The Obama plan's “public option” is a bait-and-switch scam

A July 21 article titled “Bait and Switch: How the Public Option Was Sold” outlines how the public option is neither public, nor an option.

Public option” refers to a proposal... that Congress create an enormous “Medicare-like” program that would sell health insurance to the non-elderly in competition with the 1,000 to 1,500 health insurance companies that sell insurance today...

Hacker (its author) claimed the program, which he called “Medicare Plus” in 2001 and “Health Care for America Plan” in 2007, would enjoy the advantages that make Medicare so efficient – large size, low provider payment rates and low overhead...

Hacker predicted that his proposed public program would so closely resemble Medicare that it would be able to set its premiums far below those of other insurance companies and enroll at least half the non-elderly population.”

The White House is committed to twisting arms in the both houses of Congress and reconciling the two versions of Democratic bills to emerge from the House and Senate. What emerges will be the Obama plan. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate version of the Democrats' pending health care legislation leaves 33 million uninsured and omits the public option altogether. The House version includes a “public option” estimated to cover only 10-12 million people, a number far too small for it to create price pressure on private insurance companies, while leaving 16 or 17 million uninsured. Instead of setting prices for health care, it will be forced to pay whatever tthe private insurers already pay, and perhaps more.

As private insurers use their marketing muscle to recruit younger, healthier people who'll pay for but not use their benefits, the public option will be a dumping ground for the customers they don't want... the middle-aged, the poor, those with pre-existing conditions. And of course the Obama plan's “public option' will be managed by contractors from the private insurance industry.

Private insurers spend a third of every health care dollar on non-health related things like bonuses, denial machinery, advertising, lobbying and bad investments. Medicare spends 2 or 3% on administrative overhead. Bush's “enhanced Medicare” administered by private insurance contractors, spends about 11% on overhead. That's about what we should expect from the Obama public option. So much for change.

So far, discipline is holding. Nobody in corporate media, the administration, or among Democrats in Washington has gotten round to telling us that the public option has been eviscerated. But its powerful appeal and the awesome power of the word “public” are offered by Obama supporters as the central reasons to shut up, clap harder, and get behind the president on this.

Taxing the rich, paying for health care. How the Obama Plan stacks up against single payer.

Along with being funded by cuts in Medicaid, the Obama plan is supposed to be funded by taxing those who make $300,000 or more per year. That's not a bad thing. The wealthy don't pay nearly enough taxes. But the US already spends more on health care than anyplace else on the planet while leaving a greater portion of its population uninsured than anybody.

The Obama plan will not contain costs. It will subsidize the insurance vampires well into the next decade. On the other hand, single payer would eliminate the private insurance industry altogether. In many advanced industrial countries, most of the practices private insurers follow here, such as cherry picking healthy patients while dumping and denying sick ones, are illegal. Why can we do that?

Single payer, according to a study by the California Nurses Association would eliminate 550,000 jobs in private insurance while creating 3.2 million new ones in actual health care. It would be responsible for $100 billion in wages annually and a source of immense tax revenues for local governments.

So is the Obama plan really better than nothing?

The Obama plan seems calculated to buy time for private insurers, to end the health care discussion for a decade or more without solving the health care problem, do so in a way that discredits the very idea of everybody in- nobody out health care. It will leave tens of millions uninsured, a hundred million or more underinsured, and the same parasitic private interests in charge of the American health care system that run it now.

The Obama plan as it now stands requires us to let another 18,000 die for each of the next three years and allow more than a million additional families to be bankrupted by medical expenses before we can judge whether or not the plan is working. It's easy to imagine Obama partisans telling us in mid 2013 that it's still too early to be sure.

The Kucinich amendment, which allows the few states wealthy enough to try it the liberty to fashion their own single payer regimes is intended to attract progressives and single payer votes in Congress without breaking the bubble. By itself, it should not be a reason to support this bill.. The wealthiest state in the union is probably California, and it's handing out IOUs instead of salaries this month. It's hard to see what would be lost if this health care bill went down in flames, and we started over again next year.

Can he get away with it?

Maybe. Maybe not. If the corporate media and the president can keep discussion of the devilish details to a minimum, if they can silence, co-opt and intimidate the forces to Obama's left --- if they can keep most of the public inside their bubble of fake reality, Barack Obama may achieve his goal of thwarting the reform that most of the American people want --- an everybody in, nobody out single payer health care system on the model of Canada or Australia, or Medicare for All. It won't be close, it won't be easy, and with nothing to be gained, progressives shouldn't make it any easier.

Since the president's success depends mostly on keeping people silent and in the dark, he will probably be unable to mobilize the 13 million phone numbers and email addresses collected during the recent presidential campaign, and now held by OFA, his campaign arm. If an organizing call went out to them, too many would try to read the bill and discuss the options, and such a discussion could easily get out of hand. When OFA called house meetings on health care last December, the most frequently advanced question was why we couldn't or shouldn't get a single payer health care system.

Single payer isn't dead yet. It's very much alive among Barack Obama's own supporters. To succeed, he has to bury it alive, to keep them in the bubble, in the dark and quiet, or clapping so loudly they cannot hear themselves or each other think. It's not over.

Bruce Dixon is managing editor at BAR, and can be reached at [email protected]


Great. A couple of minor adds -

I went thru personal bankruptcy due to illness in the
last decade, before the new bankruptcy bill.  I was too
ill to continue to work the "outside" jobs that supported
my art career (rent, food, etc).  I had health insurance.
It took me a long long time to get SSD (social security
disability: folks, if you are self-employed, be sure to
pay into social security - you never know...).  I lived on
plastic and then couldn't keep up = bankruptcy.  At
that time, it was 50% of bankruptcy were due to
illness.   I don't have a credit card. 
  The consultant to Physicians for National Health Care
Program, who teaches at Queens College (CUNY)
said last Thurs. on Doug Henwood's WBAI show
"Behind the News" (2nd half of show), that the Public
Option is MA plan going national.   B. Dixon outlined
it all well, but I want to add the small point the guest
on Henwood's show made: the poor in MA with the
state plan still have $4000. to spend in medical
expenses before they get coverage in the year - and
I think he said $10,000. for the family, before the
coverage "kicks" in.  That's on top of co-pay.
    Getting passage is more for politics: making
Obama look "successful" if he passes a bill, even
a rotten one - has been suggested by  many.
Disclosure: I mentioned WBAI.  I am opposed to the
coup at the radio station.  I support the "fired and
banned", such as Don DeBar who produces the
new home of the WBAI-in-Exile
    Thanks B. Dixon.  I find the whole subject of
the medical care bill confusing.  The corporate media
is making it about money, etc.  Yesterday, I heard
that the Congress changed the threshhold for
tax on rich to now be people earning $1million a
year - up from the original figure of those earning
$300,000.  I recall hearing in the past that wages
get taxed but a lot of the income of the rich is not

not sure i agree

But I have a sincere respect for different points of view--even though your take on Obama is rather harsh, and almost comes across as over the top, it still makes me re-examine my own biases and beliefs, and check if I'm not simply going with the flow as opposed to coming up with original ideas.
Thanks for being an independent and aggressive source of news!
Brazil Butt Lift

I agree with you

as well as affordable healthcarec system. President Obama believed that there is an unsustainable increase with the healthcare cost that's why he is doing everything he can to  provide economic and health security to every americam families. People are up in arms over HR 3200, and maybe they should be. 
Seattle search engine optimization
 HR 3200 is a health care bill, and what it does is that it will provide affordable health care for all, and curtail medical costs.


I like this essay a lot,

I like this essay a lot, thanks very much Mr Dixon.
I agree with NYCArtist.
I also want to add a clarifier for those of us who want to see real changes in health care. 
It's not enough to simply talk about "single-payer" because it's possible to set up a single-payer system that continues to reward the intermediaries (insurance companies, HMOs, hospitals, other service providers) in the same manner our current system rewards those people. 
In other words, we haven't helped anything if we switch to "single-payer" but those who are reimbursed by the Fed Govt continue to drive prices into the stratosphere.  All that will do is further bankrupt America and further put more $$$ in the hands of those who haven't actually earned it.
Fundamental changes need to be made before we can have some economic parity on health care.  I suggest these changes:
1) No more intermediaries.  MDs treat, MDs get paid.
2) No more pass-through by MDs.  Pass-through is how MDs reward intermediaries without the intermediaries being defined or shown to the patient.  For example, Joe Smith goes to see Biff Blowhard MD and Dr Blowhard sends Joe's blood out to the Vampire Laboratories for analysis.  Dr Blowhard knows Vampire Labs charges astronomical sums for its bloodwork, well beyond what the blood analysis actually requires in the way of real work.  But Dr Blowhard simply charges Joe whatever Vampire Labs charges him.  Dr Blowhard doesn't shop for a cheap, fair-priced lab -- he just passes the cost onto Joe.  This sort of thing must end.
3) No more insurance.  Insurance is the great price-inflator in America.  Once a thing is funded at least partly by insurance, the cost for that thing begins to skyrocket because someone else is footing the bill.  To keep people honest we must have direct responsibility and obligation between treating MD and patient.  Insurance lets the MD charge ridiculous fees because the MD can say, "well it may be expensive, but insurance will cover it."  This is how medical care has gone so expensive in America.
There are probably other changes that must be implemented, but these 3 are the ones that seem most needed, from my perspective.  Abolition of insurance is a needed step for sure.


3) No more insurance.  Insurance is the great price-inflator in America.  Once a thing is funded at least partly by insurance, the cost for that thing begins to skyrocket because someone else is footing the bill.
I registered here just so I could tell you, I think you hit the nail right on the head.  And for the proof of it, just look at how the cost of dental procedures tracks with the availability of dental insurance.  It's not the cost of insurance that's the problem - it's the insurance itself. 

Barack On Health Care

If corporate interest are not nullified by advocates of the single payer healthcare plan, then true health reform will be a long time coming.
Cornel West was on Democracy Now today, urging Obama to truely serve the interest of the working people.
More and more people are becoming tired of Obamas half-assness when it comes to his policies. The grassroots are building momentum and more people seem to be willing to put Obama on blast (Onyx Powers puts out some serious Tweets under Barack_On_Blast).
Hopefully Obama will come to realize that the people are singing a much different tune than he is, With the name of that tune being: "This is not the change we asked for".

Fake president, phony intellectuals...

We would not be where we are if these so-called intellectuals had discarded their opportunism for the truth. Who can trust them now and for what reason if they were so duped by someone who would not be seen in their company; someone who told them we were free and they nodded in agreement.
Granted, Obama is a liar, but he never promised us anything and we never demanded that he address our issues. These intellectuals and "civil rights leaders" just wanted a black president for posterity's sake; not someone who would speak truth to power and fight for his people for their rights as human beings. I truly wish they could spare us their crocodile tears. We have our own tears to shed and a battle to join for the freedom of our people in these United States and on the motherland!
I say this with the full knowledge that some will argue that since they have seen the error of their ways, we would be better served by allowing them back into the fold! I don't believe they were ever in the fold! Moreover, why would Obama listen to his puppets? The puppeteer directs and instructs the puppet. Why would he pay attention to those whose gullibility he did not even have to earn? Why would he take them seriously knowing that he is their god and supreme leader. I don't see the Ayatollah Obama deciding to share power with his underlings and those who worship the ground he walks on, on his way to oblivion and history's wrath and revenge!

Obama's "Half-Assedness" = No Single Payor

Single payor won't occur, not now if ever.  Corporate interests have always run this country, and they have never been a better position to flex.  They understand that campaign donations and public relations are what bends the will of this country.
The World Socialist Website has a great article on the Obama "oakey doak."  The highlights include:
No reporter, in line with the general media coverage of the health care issue, raised the simple fact that it is impossible to combine expanded benefits and drastically reduced spending, or improve health care for masses of people on the basis of a plan supported by the giant pharmaceutical and insurance companies. In fact, Obama’s drive to restructure health care represents a frontal assault on the social conditions of the working class.
His talk about eliminating “inefficiencies” and cutting the “quantity but not the quality” of health care can only mean, within the framework of a for-profit health care system based on the capitalist market, an attack on both the quantity and quality of health care for broad masses of people.
The dimensions of the coming assault are suggested by two figures cited by Obama. He pointed to the projected $7.1 trillion in federal deficits over the next decade, declaring that his health care plan was an essential part of cutting that deficit. And he noted that the annual average cost of health care in the United States was $6,500 more per person than in other industrialized countries—a gap that puts American corporations at a disadvantage against their international rivals.
The class character of Obama health care plan is demonstrated by the process through which the plan has been put together.
The last few days have seen extensive press reporting on the millions in campaign contributions from the health profiteers to leading congressional Democrats like Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. At the same time, the Obama administration has refused to release the names of top health care company CEOs and lobbyists who have been visiting the White House to ensure the legislation is drafted to their satisfaction.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, health care companies gave a staggering $170 million to congressional candidates in 2007 and 2008 combined, 54 percent of that total to Democrats. This spending spree is accelerating. According to the Washington Post, “The industry already set records from January to March, when health care firms and their lobbyists spent money at the rate of $1.4 million a day.”
As a master of the compromise,-- a trait that seems muted in his DNA--, Obama's "half-assedness" is his signature.  Anyone who listens to Obama easily discerns his "concern" for assuaging the anxieties of the right and corporate America.  Obama has never been uncompromising when it comes to the need of the working class.  Though slightly off-topic, take a look at Jeffrey St. Cair's great piece on at Counterpunch: "AIG and the System" 
and finish with the podcast of Chris Hedges on NRP discussing his new book, "Empire of Illusion":  After reading St. Clair and observing or "feeling" the lack of the results of the bailout it's hard to disagree with his last sentence that "a mighty leveling looms."  The constriction of health care will no doubt play a role in this "leveling."  That is the frustration born out of the disappointment in this plan, it's final product.
"In his new book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Chris Hedges describes the polarities of the two societies he says we are now living in: One side is based in reality and able to separate illusion from truth; the other side is rooted in fantasy. The latter, Hedges says, is the growing majority. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist talks about Empire of Illusion and what he views as the erosion of American culture.
Face it folks, we're screwed.  Maybe we should spend more time working on getting visas for Cuban doctors and mending fences with the Castro Bros.  than wasting our breath thinking, dreaming, and agitating (with a whimper) for real health care reform.

Single Player Insurance

Kenneth J. Saltman writes in Capitalizing on Disaster:
"The ‘ownership society’ in matters of public policy, is a narrowly re-imagined and redefined public space, cannibalizing everything from health care to retirement benefits, criminal justice, waste management, elections, public safety, and water rights. Any area that has traditionally been part of the common good and publicly administered is now up for grabs, ... . Public space is being divided into sectors to be sold off or privatelty managed."
Barack Obama is an accomplice in the plan. He’s been bought and paid for by the insurance companies, Goldman Sachs, and Big Pharma.
Enlightened Cynic is right. The bad news is that we’re all screwed.
The good news is:
1. We can read all about every aspect of Michael Jackson’s life in the corporate press.
2. When Obama leaves his present job, he will have a position with a seven figure salary at Goldman and Sachs or some insurance company waiting for him.


The Cannibalizing of "Public Good"

"Any area that has traditionally been part of the common good and publicly administered is now up for grabs, ... . Public space is being divided into sectors to be sold off or privatelty (sic) managed."
"Amen" or "Bullseye" like Micah said.  Sadly, we won't hear this debate or discussion, in large part because of what you said about "public policy." Your perspective applies to education also, as some of us remark in the blog below regarding Obama's community college funding plan. 
As someone who works in local government I can tell you, despite what you read and hear from "public policy" mavens, whether, the American Planning Association, Planetizen or whomever, the majority of the "conversation" about streamlining government, removing inefficiencies and being more service oriented are pure bullshit.  Not because they lack merit or substance but because they are nice theories hardly ever implemented.  Our political and decision-making systems are managed, operated, controlled and situated with individuals who don't give a damn about the "public good."  The chattering class loves to use Chicago as an example of corruption, and New Orleans corruption is so notorious it's now "quaint."  But come on, is't corruption synonymous with New Jersey as well?
What we ignore, despite daily evidence in the web/papers, or at is that we have a entire class of leadership in this country or (mis)leadership to borrow one of Beverly's favorite terms that is either too ignorant, spineless, incompetent, or just damn greedy and self serving to fix our problems.  I would say 1/3 of each week is spent with people (working for ostensibily the same goals) and their bullshit attitudes, eccentrities, egos, pettiness, cowardice, or scheming. Couple weeks ago had story about Board Members of City of Detroit Pension fund taking multiple trips overseas to places like Doha, and Dubai, the travel expendictures for the fiscal year reached 6 figures.  And it's no secret that for decades the GOP has desired to kill health care legislation, more so to "win elections" that any other reason at all.  It's not a white or black or hispanic or asian problem, it's a distinct and uniquely American Problem.
Coolbreeze, is it not true that Europeans respect the concept of "public good" way more?
This is why I cited Hedge's;  I totally agree with him.  We've experienced the "illusions" posted here from Obama supporters pre-election.  About what Obama was going to do when he was in office, and some of us countered the collective censorship efforts mounted to ensure that result.  On the bright side(?) we see fewer and fewer Obama apologists posting here now, defending him.  Maybe some do differentiate illusion from reality?, or maybe (as many have written) they are satisfied that "we" (Dems) won or "we" (Blacks) have "our" man in office?  I don't know anymore.  What I do "know" or believe is that..
IT'S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE.  The Skip Gates controversy is another case in point.  When is the last time a 50 something Black man on a cane broke into a home in an exclusive community?  How many cops does it take to arrest a guy 150 dripping wet on a cane? And of course police never lie in their reports.  Henry Gates worldwide scholar, but "Invisible Man."  Wonder if they'd treat Alan Dershowitz the same?  But I digress. 
This is why Coolbreeze, I take issue with your "leavening bread" anology/concept and defend my it's more like "chitlins" anology/concept.  Not only because of the rot of public discourse that Hedges cites (and all critical thinkers can discern from our mass media onslaught) but because the fiscal crises at local, state, and federal levels I don't see abating anytime soon.  In fact, isn't there a strucutral transformation taking place, be it less jobs in the future or more long term unemployment?  And yes Coolbreeze we will, won't have any choice but to demand more from Black middle or management class (in addition to whites/others).  That's a given, the question I'm cynical about is can they, (any of them) or will they deliver??

"Public Policy Rot"

And think about this.  Why are we debating "climate change" and "cap and trade" versus PEAK OIL??
Even the most hard-core illusionist can get their minds around peak oil, its addition and subtraction versus the complexities of the planet warming or cooling over eons.  They (illusionsits) can't refute that there's no endless supply even as they argue "we have plenty."  Even they are not so crazy to think oil is being regenerated.
Think about an energy debate based upon a finite resource or improving quality of life versus "global warming" or "cap and trade."  That ought to tell you something about our "public policy mavens."

Single payer talking points

These were posted by lambert over at the Mighty Corrente Building the Friday before I wrote this article, but I didn't see them till after publication.  If I had, I would have incorporated them, and hopefully written a better article.  Repost them any and everyplace, the author says, but do include a link back to corrente here.


Ten talking points:

1. 10 million people will not be covered. That's not universal coverage.

2. Only 9 million people will be in public option by 2019. That's not enough to keep the insurance companies honest (if that were even possible).

3. Public option does not begin until 2013. That's not "from Day One."

4. Public option is means-tested and fire-walled, so even if you don't like your insurance, you could still be forced to keep it.

5. The bills now have HMO-style care controls, supposedly as a cost control device. These were tried in the 80s, and didn't work. Remember Helen Hunt in "As Good As It Gets"? The audiences cheered. And for good reason.

6. There is no effective appeals mechanism. The three ombudsmen in the House bill do not have conflict resolution authority, as ombudsmen typically do.

7. You could be forced to buy junk insurance. If the minimum standards for coverage are set too low (which the insurance companies will do everything they can to make happen) and the subsidies for public option are chipped away at (and since they're framed as welfare, they will be), you could end up paying for insurance and still not getting care. Right now, you pay nothing and get nothing. That's better than paying, and still getting nothing.

8. The entire plan is complex, untested, and unproven. In fact, the Democrats are performing a large experiment on the health of the American people without their informed consent. In medicine, that's unethical.

9. Contrary to the assertions of some advocates, the public option will not evolve into single payer. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has said that the legislation will be crafted to avoid this; Obama now agrees (as opposed to the Obama of 2003, of course).

10. All these factors taken together might explain why Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi calls her own plan the "next best" solution for health care reform after single payer.

Don't the American people deserve the best health care system, and not the second best one? Not only will single payer save 18,000 lives a year, it will save $350 billion a year, at least.

NOTE Here's a helpful graphic that shows the operation of the public plan in detail.


What Obama's plan is

What Obama's plan is about:
rewarding insurance companies and big pharma.
Note:  Kathleen Sibelius is a former state insurance commissioner.  That she is now HHS secretary tells us how the Obama/Biden admin will treat health and human services -- as a cash cow for insurance.
The reality is the Rube Goldberg styled contraption for back-scratching, but also the drawing should show that each little piece of the contraption yields profit for a different intermediary in the so-called health care system.
There is only one sane way to handle health care:  socialized care, like in France or Canada.
This is the only acceptable solution.  We should accept nothing less.  All other options should be rejected, angrily and stubbornly.
It's time for Americans to get angry.  Apathy, or feeling helpless, will get us nowhere.

that cartoon sure echoes the great Rube Goldberg, a fave

First, I think your original article was good and the new
points are good adds.  I think the cartoon is so much
like a Rube Goldberg, that I suggest folks google
the late Rube Goldberg for more of those fab machines.
My mother once said my handwritten letters look like
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The government should provide

The government should provide economic security for families and the nation, as well as affordable healthcarec system. President Obama believed that there is an unsustainable increase with the healthcare cost that's why he is doing everything he can to  provide economic and health security to every americam families. People are up in arms over HR 3200, and maybe they should be.  HR 3200 is a health care bill, and what it does is that it will provide affordable health care for all, and curtail medical costs.  It also makes it mandatory for all Americans to have health insurance, but creates a government run (taxpayer funded) alternative to private insurance, prohibits exclusion on basis of pre-existing condition, and then (here's the kicker) places a surtax on all households that earn more than $350,000 to pay for it. (To be fair, they don't need sympathy.)  The bill HR 3200 is likely to be wildly unpopular, even if it might mean fewer people needing emergency cash loans to see a doctor.

if you imagine the president is doing everything he can,

"to  provide economic and health security to every americam families," then you are profoundly mistaken. 
The president and his team are intimately involved in HR 3200 and the Senate version too.
Team Obama is spending a lot more effort deceiving the American public and censoring, excluding and beating down any discussion of single payer than they are fighting Republicans and the blue dogs whom they have so empowered.  

The Obama Eugenics Health Care-Less Reform

Panelists warn of the revival of eugenics under Obamas modern healthcare through the denial of care to millions who would be judged not fit to live, just as in Nazi Germany.

Historian Anton Chaitkin also alleges that Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, in working with Obama, has also called for the Hippocratic oath to be junked.

The Obama Eugenics Health Care-Less Reform

I have heard about eugenics being used in Israel for housing, promotions and other things.  It should be something for people of color to keep track of here in America and overseas. 
Obama is clearly someone's puppet.  The majority of Obama's cabinet, advisors, speech writers, czars are people who believe THEIR country comes first, and America/Americans come second.  With that being said, I have just read that Obama has appointed a lobbyist from Monsanto to a very high position at the FDA.  This is tantamount to the foxes guarding the henhouse.  As a matter of fact, many of Obama's picks have a high stench to themselves.  Yet as the first black president, he doesn't seem to be able to hire those with less of a taint.  He campaigned on no lobbyists, he would read every bill line by line among other things and yet here we are.
Obama's latest appointment is very questionable not only to people of color, but to all Americans.  Whether or not Michael Taylor was Monsanto's counsel when it fought in court not to have milk labled if it contained the growth hormone, or the use of  Agent Orange during the Vietnam war, he stinks!  In future, more and more not-tested, chemcal-based foods will be pushed through as FDA certified.  There will be more sick folk to get rid of and to deny coverage.  Enfamil-- even chewing gum --may be the carrier of the next bioweapon from Monsanto.
I am also dismayed that there were no professional candidates such as dietitician, bioethic, or even chemist considered for the position.  He picks that asshole Taylor! 
When one brings up the subject of health care, you can not dismiss this huge huge elephant in the room. 

Obama's "preaching" signals eugenics is alive and well

On the Edge of Genetic Control in US?
by Justin O'Connell / July 25th, 2009
In February of 2009, Forbes magazine published the article, “John Holdren, Ideological Environmentalist: a most dogmatic member of Obama’s Dream Team.” The article goes on to outline what, in recent days, has lit ablaze the online press: John Holdren, Obama’s “Science Czar”, is a major proponent of hard-line eugenics policies. Forbes’ labels Holdren a “fierce environmentalist.”1
Holdren also proposes “a comprehensive Planetary Regime (that) could control the development, administration and distribution of all natural resources…not only in the atmosphere and the oceans, but in such freshwater bodies as rivers and lakes.”
He states further, the “Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits…The Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits.”
Some syndicated columnists argue the claims made by concerned citizens are moot points, for the tome Ecoscience was written more than thirty years ago. Maybe so, until one learns that some of the suggestions are already utilized by the U.S. government, as over 250 different pharmaceutical chemicals have been found in the drinking supply of the unsuspecting U.S. population. Many of these chemicals are attributed to hyper feminization in women and demasculinization in men. In one example, Holdren states his belief that under the current U.S. Constitution, adding sterilants to the nation’s water supply was probably a good thing:

Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems. No such sterilant exists today, nor does one appear to be under development. To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock.
Obama's constant, insistent "preaching" to African Americans, Africans and less developed nations signals his comfort with the goals and objectives of the Eugenics proponents gracing his administration.  That's why he reminded us at the NAACP convention, "No excuses." (aka "sink or swim niggas").   Barack Obama more dangerous and insidious than GWB.  A patsy and apologist for the most virulent racists in our society.  Hope you choke on your beer tonight as you capitulate to the White Power Structure once again.
If the 911 "caller" didn't identify Gates race, then who did?  The cops, the dispatcher?   Who described 2 black men with back packs?  Hint:  It' was the results of a poll of "disgruntled blacks" you asses.  Everyone knows the cops arrested him because he could.  The police communications shows Gates gave I.D.  We are going to "apologize" ourselves out of existence.

Specifically for eye care

The government, however, would like to bring primary care regulations in line with secondary care ones. If the regulations deny access to free primary care for undocumented migrants like they do for secondary care then refused and failed asylum seekers may be denied access to healthcare. Cataract Advices You may be wondering what the possible side effects or complications might be from this type of ocular surgery.

Will this "cure" help?

I've heard some democrats talking about setting up non-profit statewide plans such as the Puget Sound Health Plan. This could actually be better than getting insurance companies involved in a "public option" scheme.  I agre that anything that involves insurance companies will be more designed to give our money to insurance companies than to provide us with medical care.
I certainly hope something good comes of this health insurance experiment, because it's really the primary good thing I was hoping to get out of a Democratic administration.
Any plan that has the US economy spending MORE on health care instead of less doesn't take into account that other countries get much more coverage for much less money.  For the Obama plan to make it through Congress, there has to be an assurance that everyone who is now profiting from the system will profit just as much or more under the Obama system.  That's the political side of the equation. And that's why the plan seems to make so little in terms of numbers covered, time lines, etc.


Hmm, that is an interesting way to look at it. I just wish that people wouldn't lose sight of what this health care debacle really means, which is making sure everyone has the medical supplies they need to stay alive and well. I will take all these points into consideration, though.

Zombie banks, zombie people in a zombie nation

A Revered President, a Non-Existent Society
by Matt Reichel / July 25th, 2009
"This nation’s prime dysfunction is the lack of a genuine social movement for anything substantive. The last movement died somewhere in 2003-2004: drowned in a sea of Democratic propaganda about changing the Emperor’s clothes."
"According to many sociologists, the Frenchman Alain Touraine prime among them, a society is defined by conflict among social movements. As such, a nation without social movements is also void of society. As in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and other authoritarian systems, society has become thoroughly entrenched by the ruling elite in the Land of the (buy one get one) Free. The uniquely American brand of government is particularly trying and burdensome insofar as a significant portion of the population is convinced that we have a functioning democracy.
I would argue that we are governed by a bureaucratic plutocracy: a system that intentionally drowns the populace in trivial details so as to guard against independent thought. Social interaction is frequently driven by promotion rather than genuine amicability. Since no one in my generation seems to be gainfully employed, everyone is an independent contractor: peddling some sort of pseudo-art or music, or their graphic design or website design “business,” and so on. Even those supposedly working for grassroots political movements operate on a business model of consuming all who stand in their path. To them, you are a name on a list and a potential donor. The message becomes nothing but a tool to procure sustenance for the organization: to the point that the movement gets engulfed in the organization."
It's the dawn of the Living Dead, fellow zombies.  "Lights out," enjoy.

a win-win...

This health care saga has been debated until now. It should have patterned an ideal one basing on the arguments being presented. Why not build a plan that is designed to "meet-in-the-middle" of the issue?  This is a win-win situation and the sick will no longer worry of their early recovery minus the huge cost.  hampers | christmas hampers

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he president and his team are

he president and his team are intimately involved in HR 3200 and the Senate version too.Team Obama is spending a lot more effort deceiving .thanks for sharing informative post Regards,
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As you well said it, this

As you well said it, this discussion varies a lot if you are inside or outside of the matrix called health care. I for one am outside and I really think that it's a good thing if not for anything else, at least for creating a public competition with the private insurers forcing them to lower their prices and thus making health insurance more affordable for more people.

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