Posts Tagged ‘health insurance’

In my Email: Tell the Senate Democratic caucus: Don’t give in!


CREDO Action | more than a network. a movement.

Tell the Senate Democratic caucus: Don’t give in!

At what point does compromise turn into capitulation?

Your message to the Senate Democratic caucus:

We want a true public option that is available nationwide on day one and run by an entity that’s accountable to Congress and the voters. For those of us who support single-payer health care, the strong public option was the compromise. Any deal you cut with your anti-reform members to undermine a true public option is not a compromise, it’s a capitulation.

Clicking here will add your name to the petition.

Dear Dale,

It looks like Democrats in the Senate might be preparing to give up on the public option. As negotiations continue behind closed doors, word has come out above various deals that might be cut.

None of the proposals that have been floated ensure private insurance companies will face meaningful competitive pressure. Even the most attractive of these proposals won’t stop private insurance companies from ripping us off. So while they may call whatever emerges a “compromise,” it will substantively signal a total capitulation.

Tell the Democratic caucus in the Senate that any public option that is not available nationwide on day one and is not run by a government entity accountable to Congress and the voters is not a true public option. Click here to automatically add your name to our petition.

The American public strongly supports the idea of creating a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurance companies. So instead of admitting that some in the nominally left-of-center Democratic caucus have more fidelity to the economic interests of the insurance companies than the will of the American people, they are instead trying to come up with something that they can call a “public option” that might fool people into thinking something meaningful was achieved.

It’s time to call out this farce for what it is, and it’s time for progressive Senators to take a stand.

Tell the Democratic caucus in the Senate that any public option that is not available nationwide on day one and is not run by a government entity accountable to Congress and the voters is not a true public option. Click here to automatically add your name to our petition.

We shouldn’t expect much from the likes of Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln or Ben Nelson. But for the sake of compromise many progressive Senators have been strangely silent about the importance of a meaningful public option.

Let’s remember, a strong public option was the compromise. The Senators who care about meaningful health care reform need to speak out now to make sure that nobody can gut the public option while maintaining the public posture that its essential core was preserved in a compromise.

We need to be realistic. While it is likely we will disapprove of the legislation that passes the Senate on the first go-round, the real battle over the public option will come when the Senate version is combined with the House version in the conference committee. The harder progressive Senators fight now, the better chance we’ll have in conference.

In order to be in the best possible position in the next stage, the Democratic caucus should not give cover to the notion that a bill without a meaningful public option is an acceptable compromise.

Tell the Democratic caucus in the Senate to stand up and fight. Any public option that is not available nationwide on day one and is not run by a government entity accountable to Congress and the voters is not a true public option. Click here to automatically add your name to our petition.

Thank you for working to secure real health care reform.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. There have been rumors that there will not be a conference committee to merge the House bill and the Senate bill, and that instead House Democrats will be strong-armed into rubber-stamping whatever passes the Senate. It’s not clear that this is what will happen, but we are in a better position to fight against this if it’s clear that a bill that passes the Senate without a strong public option is unacceptable. Click here to add your name to our petition telling the Senate Democratic Caucus not to give in.

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In my email:A fair vote


Dear DALE:

We’ve been asking you for a lot lately. So today, we want to give you an update on what’s happening with reform in the Senate, where we are going, and how we’re going to win quality, affordable health care for all.

Yesterday, Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled the health care bill he’s going to bring to the Senate floor for debate. The bill makes health care more affordable for middle-income families. It would end insurance industry abuses. And it gives us the choice of a public health insurance option to keep the insurance companies honest.1

To be sure, the bill is not perfect – health care should be more affordable for everyone, employers should be asked to pitch in their fair share, and while this bill is more fairly financed than previous proposals, it could be paid for entirely by asking those who can most afford it to pitch in their fair share.

As Loretta Johnson of Virginia said yesterday as the bill was unveiled, “Now, in my opinion, there’s probably some room for improvement. But I know, Senator Reid and the Senators standing here today are as committed as we are to making sure people can afford the care they need.”2

The bill is a great step forward and one that deserves debate and a fair, majority vote in the U.S. Senate.

That is what we’re fighting for – a fair, majority vote on this bill, nothing less.

Tomorrow, the Senate will decide if it wants to move forward with debate on the health care bill. 60 Senators will be needed to simply start the debate. Next, the bill will be discussed and put up for amendments. Then, it will be voted on, all within the next few weeks.

As the process moves forward, we will be working to improve the Senate bill where possible and make sure it does not get weakened. Along the way, we’ll be asking you for your help to make sure your Senators allow the fair vote on this health care bill that this country deserves.

Here are a few ways you can get up-to-date information on the debate in Congress:

And check our blog on Saturday for updates on the Senate.

Winning this fight will take energy, enthusiasm, and dedication. But we’re confident that if we work together towards our shared goal of quality, affordable health care for all, we can make history.

Thank you for all that you’ve done. We would not be here today without you.

 

To your health,

Levana Layendecker
Health Care for America Now



1. The Senate has a health care bill. What’s in it?NOW! blog
2.
U.S. Senators, meet home care worker Loretta Johnson – SEIU blog

From: Joe Lieberman’s Endless Hypocrisy By Cliff Schecter, AlterNet. Posted October 30, 2006.


From: Joe Lieberman’s Endless Hypocrisy By Cliff Schecter, AlterNet. Posted October 30, 2006.

“More recently, Lieberman skipped town to avoid having to commit himself to President Bush’s “Medicare Reform” bill, which is perhaps the stupidest law ever passed by Congress. It bans the importation of drugs from Canada, and prohibits the government from negotiating bulk discounts with prescription drug companies, all of which ensures that prices will stay artificially high so Pfizer executives can afford that extra trip to Bora Bora.

Why wouldn’t a “Democrat” oppose such a giveaway? In Lieberman’s case, perhaps it’s because he’s been a top recipient of health care and pharmaceutical money since his election to Congress. Just to look at his numbers from 2006, Lieberman’s received $611,500 from “health professionals,” $457,019 from “insurance” interests and $240,740 from “pharmaceuticals/health products,” according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Lieberman’s No. 3 and No. 4 supporters, respectively, are Purdue Pharma and Aetna.

But Joe himself hasn’t been the only one in the Lieberman clan to benefit from the largesse of these bloated behemoths. In a move that no doubt had no ulterior motives, his wife, Hadassah Lieberman, was hired in early 2005 by the health and pharmaceuticals division of public relations giant Hill & Knowlton. She was given the ambiguous title of “senior counselor,” and Lieberman’s staff adamantly denied she was a lobbyist (she technically did not have to register as one). Yet, due to the controversy, she quit earlier this year.

According to Joe Conason, however, in a column titled “In Bed With Big Pharma,” Hadassah was paid $77,000 while employed there without any evidence of her actually having done anything. And of course by pure coincidence, a client of Hill & Knowlton’s, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, benefited a month after she was hired.

In April of 2005, her husband introduced a bill into the Senate to offer billions of dollars of new “incentives” to GlaxoSmithKline and other pharmaceutical companies, to “persuade them to make more new vaccines” (apparently billions of dollars in profit don’t provide quite the incentive they used to).

In other words: It’s good to be a Lieberman”

More on Senator Joe Lieberman:

Orthodox Democrat: The fall of Joe Lieberman
Nazi Joe Lieberman ups censorship play
Olympia Snowe is boss, Joe Lieberman plunges the dagger, Obama claims victory through retreat, the great liberal revolt begins
Democratic leaders: No deal reached on auto bailout.

To All Those Would-be Constitutional Scholars of Health Care Reform


An honest reading of the preamble of our constitution says all that needs to be said about our right to health care in this country.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People of the United States?  This is an expression that all the people as one voice declare what is to follow. In Order to form a more perfect Union?  This expresses the intention to come together as a single community.  Establish Justice?  To equitably do what is right for all. Insure domestic Tranquility?  To keep the peace amongst ourselves. Provide for the common defence?  To defend ourselves against common enemies. To promote the general Welfare?  To see to the needs of the citizenry that which they cannot do themselves. To secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity? To ensure that our freedoms are not taken away from us or our descendants. Do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America?  What is ordained and established in these words is the intent of all that follows.

The intent is clear. The intent is that all the people unite as a community in a just, peaceful manner under a government that would protect them, their freedoms and promote their welfare.  This is why we still have a country.  On the one hand you could say that the federal government is only there to promote these ideas and it is up to the states to carry them out, but then if it can’t or won’t do so, then what is a federal government to do? On the other hand the federal government is to establish justice? Is it just to let the helpless die? It is to insure domestic tranquility?  Is it insured if we allow inequities to fester to the point of domestic violence? It is to provide for the common defense? Not all our enemies carry a gun from without.  Some live in gated communities and have a sense that they are more entitled than others. It is to promote the general welfare?  This is a clear statement of providing those things that states and individuals cannot. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?  Is there anything that endangers your liberty and your posterity more than illness or threat of illness? Among the many things that it has been decided appropriate that the federal government needed to intervene to provide, the provision of health insurance (read care) will go down in history as the one that made the most sense.  The one that had the most documented need.  The one that was covered in every phrase of the preamble of our constitution.

It is only a twisted libertarianism that would suggest that we should let people die that cannot provide for themselves. It is only a self-absorbed selfishness that cannot see beyond their own strength to what others might take as weakness.  It is only a perverse sense of entitlement that suggests the fruits of your labor should not be shared with the community even though it was the community that allowed you to reap those fruits. No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent. No one does it alone.

We don’t succeed by ourselves, but also we don’t fail by ourselves either. If the public option fails, then we all fail as a country.  The fiscal conservative Representatives have failed this country. They have failed on moral and economic grounds.  They are oath breakers, liars and have sold out their constituency.  A little math will suffice to show you the degree of the lie. Between fourteen to twenty percent of this country works in government depending on how you count.  Most have taxpayer provided insurance.  To expand the public option would lower that cost to the taxpayer of this insurance adding to the bottom line  every cash strapped state.  If all government employees were added to public option ( or asked to pay extra cost for private insurance) that could  save $600,000, 000.  This could end stalled union contracts across the country by taking health insurance off the table.  What might this do for other sectors of the economy? What might this do put people back to work? What could this do to end the recession? When are we going to see the conservatives for what they are, fascists?

Oh wait, maybe it is unconstitutional because the government can’t force you to pay for insurance.  Their is nothing in the constitution that allows that to happen and the Supreme Court would never let it stand.  OK, suspend all social security deductions and programs. Or maybe, pass the law and take it to court, if you are so sure.

The way I see it, this health care debate will become a moot point in the coming years.  I see two-thirds of the States passing a form of universal health care of necessity.  When that happens, it will be a short step to making it a federal constitutional amendment beyond the reach of the Supreme Court, even though the Court would never have overturned a universal health insurance law anyway.  Sometimes you just have to say stick a sock in it.

The Obsession of the Right with Fascism?


The back story on this post is that it started in response to a post on another site that began, “The left is obsessed with the public option…”  I am not sure any more if this is exactly what it said since it appears the right wing rant was removed by the writer, but it served its inspirational purpose. I would have liked to have it remain as counterpoint to my piece, but here is the link to my less thoughtful original version.

The defeat of the public option is an obsession of the right even though it is clearly needed to ensure that everyone gets health insurance coverage and that skyrocketing costs are brought down to manageable levels.

The the reason that the right is so obsessed is due corporate influence. That influence has created a situation just the reverse of what the right claims to honor.  The free market which they claim to be preserving, no longer exists. The hegemony of the corporation has left free market competition as no more than a propaganda slogan existing only in the mouths of right wing lobby machines. The right insists on the public option defeat by any means and at all costs, even the furtherance of our economic decline, loss of any of our remaining freedoms and the smashing of our moral compass. They see the left as encroaching on their Godly profit motive, seeing the public option as a Trojan horse to all sorts of left-wing socialist agendas, something they see the left as being in love with, and a real threat to their profit-without-product.

The right says that the pubic option is the road to Barack Obama forming a one world government that they have already achieved via the transnational corporations. The right thinks that once a public option is in place, then there will be a domino effect of reinstating government regulations they worked so hard to dismantle , and that their New World Order (NWO) idea reserved for business interests will be usurped by the left. Though there is no leftist plan for a NWO, the public option will allow the government to undercut the private insurance industry’s monopolistic price gouging and will ultimately move on to other business cartels. They will actually regulate the private insurance, making it possible to force them to charge  fair market based premiums that produce only just profits in real competition with the public option. The private insurance monopoly will be forced to do business with the government instead of the reverse. How this might be socialism I am not sure, but that is what the health insurance industry would have you believe.

I do see the current state of affairs as akin the fascism, however.  The public option could indeed morph into single payer universal health care, but only if the health insurance industry refuses to comply with these more just policies. I cannot see health insurance industry actually complying.  So one can only hope that when the private insurance industry refuses to comply that the government will have the sense to see this and rescue our democracy and our economy before we go completely bankrupt; economically, politically and morally. If not, single payer universal health care will become just one more moral imperative ignored by America and our country will slip into an even more openly fascist state and our private insurance industry will continue ration health care to feed their out-of-control profits, with the elderly and disabled being those who are most left out in the cold. How do I know that the right would allow this?  Because they already do. Unfortunately, I am having less and less trust in the left as well, thinking that the smoke and mirrors in this debate is all about maintaining corporate control with the best public face.

I begin to look forward to the rise of a new Progressive party.

Opt Out of Nationhood?


The idea that a state has the option to opt out of anything for which there is a legitimate interest to enact federal legislation is an oxymoron.  The federal government should for the most part only be enacting legislation in which it has an overriding federal interest to enact. The idea that the federal government has an interest in the public health and welfare of the citizenry of this country is well established. Yet, much of the existing legislation enforcement is predicated on federal funding, not on a federal interest per se. So any state can opt out of most federal programs by refusing federal money and so this is what the health care reform opt out option will entail.  The problem with this is that people move and sick people with no insurance move quickly.  Any opt out provision should include a state charge for all applicants for insurance for those moving from a state without public option to one with a public option. This is still the public option on the cheap for those states that opt out removing the “dogs” from the risk pool of any local insurance plans.  It will cost the rest of the country more money for the opted out states’ decision. When individuals opt out of a group plan they are often assessed a percent of the contribution they would have paid had they opted in. If this is sound private insurance philosophy, then maybe it should be incorporated into the public insurance philosophy.  Not just for this bill, but also for Medicaid in all it’s incarnations which has weak unenforced versions of this idea in place now.

This opt out option is only an issue because the single payer option was all but rejected sight unseen so early.  The opt out option could ensure that many people will go without and others pay more just because they live in an opt out state if the federal law allows the state to decide how to opt out. States should not be allowed to opt out without a state constitutional amendment or referendum requiring the people of the state to vote on it. It would also be more ethical if they provided a local option of their own. I don’t agree with Paul Krugman that the opt out option will be mostly benign for most of us and maybe even be needed by some small states, and that these states will be under pressure to opt in if it works.  There are states that haven’t bought into federal programs for years and there are no signs of change any time soon. How is it that the federal welfare reform law had no opt out? It is not moral to allow large segments of the population to die just because we can. I believe in everyone’s right to suicide when such a choice is individual and informed.  This is not the choice of most of those that happen to live in these potential opt out states.  They have been unable to enjoy many other federal programs available to date due to the failure of their state to opt in. Why would it happen now, on this issue?  If you don’t think this is deeply rooted in the history of this country from the beginning, you are misinformed.

The intellectual history of the thugarchy driving the opt out option may actually flow from the middle ages where chivalry was the protection of the aristocracy.  That moneyed aristocracy has always existed in this country and their values have been grafted onto our political system via a corporatism, the warnings of which go back to Andrew Jackson and even further.  Today the corporate elite can make money from anything without the burden of actually having to produce a product and that money is being bundled into ever larger spheres of control.  The danger in this is a centralizing power (i.e., money) that is clearly what  Andrew Jackson had in mind when he warned of allowing the monopolistic control of capital to manipulate the real sources of wealth in this country. He said we would be giving up our freedom to the corporation. So the fair and equitable distribution of anything that such a monopoly as the health insurance industry has taken away would be a restoration of freedom and a move away from the existing fascism.

 

Are Health Insurance Companies Committing Genocide?


To all the philosophers out there I have a question.  What is the difference in essence between true pure democracy and true pure communism or true pure capitalism and true pure socialism given that there is no true or pure anything? The question may be moot given the notion of essence is chockfull of fallacies.  Even so, my answer is that there is little difference between them to the masses out there three paychecks away from having nothing.

The only use those political and economic buzzwords like communism and capitalism have achieved is to foster the same hate, cruelty, manipulation and inequity in the marketplace of ideas as organized religion has done.  When we all truly have a vote, then any system of politics, economics and religion will do.  We will all remain slaves to the marketplace of ideas as long as we rely on others to do our critical thinking for us.  No predigested half-baked ideas can serve a truly free society.

When you openly discuss an idea all the information must be laid bare.  What is the source of the information? Does big tobacco really care about your freedom or just your money?  Who sponsors the speaker and the sources? Does big business really care about the quality of your life? What is in it for them and me?  Can we really change the course of big government or of big business? We vote for government officials and vote with our dollars for the businesses we frequent. What if they are lying?  Do we have a choice of civil disobedience or boycott? How much discomfort will you take to be free?  If what they say is true, then what really is the worst that can happen? Will the world really end if we clean up the unethical decisions made by big business and big government?  These questions are just as valid in all systems.  You always vote by your actions.  If your action is to fail to act, then you deserve what you get because you have made your choice.

As soon as you hear the word unpatriotic watch out for your wallet and your freedom, because what the patriotic buzzwords mean is that they have no good rational reason for what they are saying. Buy American is one of those ideas.  What happened to free market capitalism and buying the best product for the money? We must support our government at all costs.  All costs?  Even at the cost of our freedoms? The rule of law is supreme.  What if we want to change or interpret the law to make it fair for all? States have rights reserved to themselves.  Even when they use those rights to enslave large segments of its population under a Orwellian ‘right to work’ law to support business interests? Don’t let the government touch my health insurance.  If the government never touched your health insurance, then you would never have insurance when you needed it. If you think this is all just semantics, then consider the word Medicare.

The interesting point in this line of thought is that the most abusive language that conservative’s slur liberals with, such as unpatriotic communist and socialist positions, are those positions held by our health insurance industry. They put people in communistic risk pools and through cost benefit analysis are allowed to commit genocide (i.e., on the sick and feeble) on large segments of the population. The government protects them in making these decisions that the government is not allowed to make.  Even if they are no longer allowed to do this as a protected monopoly, they will now compete to see whom they can kill in the most cost-effective manner.  This sounds a lot like the worst abuses of communism and socialism.

If this sounds a bit too strong a characterization of health insurance industry, then why would they be fighting so hard this clear attempt to help people? Why would they be pushing so hard to have an opt out option? They are an ethical business are they not?  They believe in a fair profit, right? They believe in the ideals of free choice, right? If abortion can be considered genocide, then surely the actions of our health insurers are as well. So what rational reason would the health insurance industry oppose the public option? Maybe they think it is unpatriotic or communistic? Clearly it is a conspiracy. I am sure this is the view of the true believers in our fascist state occasioned by the Republican administrations dismantling of the checks and balances which held corporatism at bay, but wait, the thugarchy of the right will spin this effectively into a liberal projection strategy.

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