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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

March 10, 2010


SAM SMITH - Obama, along with other Democratic supporters, claim the individual healthcare mandate is simply another version of required automobile insurance. This is a dishonest metaphor since you don't have to drive on a public road, but you do have to live. If the government can order this, it can determine your entire insurance bill, make you send your kids to private charter schools, and buy cable television to insure that you are properly informed - on the grounds that it, too, would be in "the general welfare."

The mandatory requirement is also a leading cause of the opposition to healthcare reform. To many, it reeks of intolerable government interference in citizens' lives and causes them to ignore the good aspects of the healthcare legislation. It is the killer virus in the legislation.

Should the bill pass, it would make sense for progressives to join with conservatives against the extremist center in a case on the issue before the Supreme Court.

And what if the Supreme Court declares it acceptable? The best solution would be to create insurance cooperatives - perhaps established by states. It will be one more case where politics has failed us and we'll have to look elsewhere.


Blogger Paul Burke said...

Health Care Reform is Easy

The republicans have used reconciliation on health care before plenty of times - heck they created the whole CHIP program - via reconciliation. Dear lord stop swallowing the kool-aid - this isn't a sporting event my side versus your side (do you think the status quo might be aware of the concept of divide and conquer - don't be such dupes)

People, people, people - this is about getting our dollars back from the richest 1% that hoard them at the top (there is no such thing as trickle down) or For Profit insurance wouldn't be killing the middle class, driving people with health insurance into bankruptcy, and tying a dead weight around small business and even the bigger national corporations - this has to get done - our politicians are playing games to get elected....

They are not "governing" but manipulating voter sentiment to whip up turn out to try and win elections - not based on any specific philosophy of governing but for plain old self interest.

Actual governing takes a huge back seat to "will I get re-elected" - the easiest way to solve the health care debacle of for profit health care is simple - but handing a success to the other party - isn't how the political "game" is played.

Unfortunately our lives are caught in the cross fire of their STUPID GAME. And because of game playing we deregulated everything and created the global financial meltdown - ooppps - maybe proper management would have prevented that - but politics has never been about properly managing our resources - its about GETTING RE-ELECTED.

Healthcare is easy - here's how -

“Use Senate reconciliation and expand Medicare via the Senate’s buy-in provisions. The CBO has already signed off on this as a means of saving money.

More importantly, if more Americans can do a buy-in with Medicare, it creates more cost control (because there’s a genuine competitor to for-profit healthcare).

It also helps to solve the problems of pre-existing conditions, because Medicare does not deny coverage on this basis.

Allowing a Medicare buy-in to Americans under 65 would give people a genuine alternative to private insurance and thereby render the pre-existing question moot.

It would also lower Medicare costs by expanding the risk pool of patients (the great bulk of medical expenses are accounted for by a small number of people, mostly the elderly, requiring very expensive treatment).

And it would substantially enhance the global competitiveness of American corporations. After all, in what other country in the world is health care a marginal cost of production for business?” - Roosevelt Institute Marshall Auerback

Now get out there tell your neighbors, your friends, pick up the phone and email your representatives - because whether you like it or not we are all in this together - and it's us versus the politicians - not each other.

Paul Burke
Author Journey Home
Democracy For America

March 10, 2010 12:01 PM  
Anonymous What good aspects? said...

Kill Bill

When Obama came to my neighborhood this week to press for public support for his health “reform” bill, he wasn’t just greeted by teaparty hecklers. Speaking to a large group of mostly supportive students and local residents at Arcadia University in Glenside, the president at one point mentioned that “people on the left” want “single-payer.” But before he could add that that approach wasn’t going to happen, he found himself drowned out by cheers calling for Medicare for all and single-payer.

That kind of says it all.

I’m with Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. The Obama plan for health care “reform”, as well as the two versions passed by the House and the Senate, are all devious disasters that do nothing to solve the nation’s burgeoning health care crisis, and in fact, will make it worse.

The only thing to do at this point is to take the whole stinking pile of paper and put it in the compost heap. Kill it.

This whole effort was never about reform from the day last March when the new president called on Congress to begin deliberations on health care reform. It was about catering to the wishes of the big players in the Medical Industrial Complex--the big pharmaceutical multinationals, the hospital companies, the physicians and, most of all, the insurance industry. People and their health care needs had little or nothing to do with this.

That’s why we’ve ended up with proposals that would do nothing to control costs, that would force health young people to buy unregulated, high-cost and high-profit plans that would be money in the bank for the insurance industry, and that would finance any subsidies for the poor by cutting back on benefits for the only group of Americans who currently have a form of single-payer insurance--the elderly with their Medicare.

President Obama began this whole obscene nightmare with a lie, when he said that even though single-payer systems clearly work to open access to all and keep costs down while providing better overall health results in places like Canada and some European countries, they cannot be applied in America “because that would mean starting over from scratch.” He knew when he said it that this was a lie. America already has a well-run and successful single-payer healthcare program in place that is bigger than the entire Canadian health care system, and that’s Medicare, which was established in 1965, and which currently finances the care of 45 million Americans. You just have to be 65 or disabled to be eligible for it.

As Dr. Angell pointed out on a recent Bill Moyers Journal segment, the simplest way to solve America’s health care crisis would be to just start a gradual expansion of Medicare, say by lowering the age of coverage to 55, and then 45, and then 35, until everyone was covered and the insurance industry was pushed out of the health sector. The right-wing couldn’t use their scare tactics about a “government takeover of your medical care,” because the elderly love Medicare, and besides, far from “inserting a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor,” Medicare gives the elderly a freer choice of physician and treatment than any but the most gold-plated private insurance executive health care plan.

March 10, 2010 1:21 PM  

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