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Political news--February & March of 08
No Universal Health Care
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Without getting business out of government there is no chance of a decent and affordable universal health care plan this article shows.  How we compare to the Canadian system and the problems with market forces.  Clinton’s tried in 94, only to have the business forces propose an impractical system ran by the insurance industry.  The same is on the horizon

 

In These Times, article by Joel Bleifuss

http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3528/political_climate_change/

Views > February 19, 2008

Political Climate Change

Paul Krugman, president of the Hillary Clinton fan club, writes in his New York Times column that if Barack Obama gets the nomination, there is no chance “that we will get universal healthcare in the next administration.” He has criticized Obama for not supporting mandates, as Clinton does, that require everyone to buy insurance.

Lost in this debate is one stark fact: Neither Clinton nor Obama are proposing a clean break with our for-profit insurance system.

Both Clinton’s and Obama’s plans allow for the possibility of a public plan replacing private insurance at some point in the future. But given the realities of Washington, it is easy to imagine a scenario in which the public’s money would subsidize a grossly expensive and inefficient private system into the indefinite future. At a time when progressives are starting to dream big again, why settle for a compromise with Corporate America?

Critiquing the Clinton plan in a Times op-ed in December, Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein wrote, “The ‘mandate model’ for reform rests on impeccable political logic: avoid challenging insurance firms’ stranglehold on healthcare. But it is economic nonsense. The reliance on private insurers makes universal coverage unaffordable … [O]nly a single-payer system of national healthcare can save what we estimate is the $350 billion wasted annually on medical bureaucracy, and redirect those funds to expanded coverage.”

There is really nothing to debate. According to Physicians for a National Health Program (pnhp.org), Canadians, who have a single-payer universal system, spend far less per capita on healthcare and have better access to it than Americans.

The point is not that Clinton and Obama should see the light and endorse single-payer universal healthcare. That would be too much to expect, considering that the two candidates have taken $2.8 million and $2.2 million, respectively, from the healthcare sector, according to the Center for Responsive Politics website (opensecrets.org).

Progressives should reject the convoluted public/private hybrid systems championed by Krugman, Clinton and Obama, and say, “No thanks, we can do better.”

But why stop there?

An out-of-control War Department (as it was called until the age of polite euphemisms) will eat up 56 percent of the proposed discretionary budget for 2008, at a time when many urban and rural communities have Third World school systems.

Our criminal injustice industry has created a whole class of separate and unequal citizens: poor young men (and women)—white, black and brown—who cycle in and out of court and prison.

Candidates can’t be—and shouldn’t be—the vehicle for all of our hopes and dreams.

Clinton, Obama and others who aspire to federal office are constrained by the political realities of a system that was bought and paid for long ago.

Fortunately, we the people owe nothing to special interests. It is our job as advocates, activists and agitators to change the political climate in which politicians operate and to make the wrath of the angry multitude more fearsome than the displeasure of the lobbyist.

To quote an old song, “We want no condescending saviors, to rule us from their judgment hall.” Universal, single-payer healthcare? Functioning schools? Well-paying jobs for the dispossessed? We can do it.

 

Joel Bleifuss is the editor of In These Times, where he has worked as an investigative reporter, columnist and editor since 1986. Bleifuss has had more stories on Project Censored's annual list of the “10 Most Censored Stories” than any other journalist

http://skeptically.org/gov/id1.html From an In These Times Article published Feb. 94.  Things haven’t changed.  The Business Roundtable will take the same position, and get essentially the same results. 

 

Once Clinton presented his own health plan last fall, Winters task force recommended that the Roundtable endorse a rival plan drawn up by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN). Coopers bill would eschew government price controls; it would not require that employers buy insurance for their workers; and it would make insured employees pay taxes on benefits that exceed those of a bare-bones plan. Echoing Winters position, Coopers bill would cede direct control of health care to large insurance companies.

After pleas from
Clinton, the Roundtable delayed a final decision on endorsing a health plan until after the State of the Union address. On February 2, in spite of furious lobbying from the administration, the Roundtable came out in favor of the Cooper plan. GM, Southern California Edison and several other corporations had backed the Clinton plan, but its not clear whether they’ll break now from the Roundtables line.

Teddy Roosevelt's advice that, "We must drive the special interests out of politics. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being. There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains."