Friday, July 24, 2009

Unselling single-payer

Helen Redmond writes at Counterpunch:

... There’s been virtually no stories about labor’s support for HR 676 [Representative John Conyers' single-payer legislation], despite the fact it’s been endorsed by 554 union organizations in 49 states and by 130 Central Labor Councils. But we heard plenty when Andy Stern, the president of the SEIU sat down with Lee Scott, the CEO of Wal-mart to discuss solutions to the nation’s health care crisis. Those two are experts on providing health care to workers? What about the nurses and doctors who support single-payer and got dragged out of, and arrested in Max Baucus’s senate hearings in Washington, DC? If doctors and nurses had been arrested for any other political issue it would have been the lead story in every newspaper and online edition. Doctors and nurses never deliberately get arrested -- that’s news!

The sea change in the public’s attitude toward government financed health care, however, has gotten press. A New York Times poll in June found that 72 percent supported a government-administered insurance plan – like Medicare for everyone under the age of 65. That poll also reported 64 percent believed the federal government should guarantee coverage to the entire population, i.e. health care should be a human right. Another interesting number: 85 percent of respondents said the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt. This is in stark contrast to President Obama’s position of tepid, incremental reform. Obama asserts if he was starting from scratch he might favor SP, but we aren’t so he can’t. He wants to build on the existing system and not “disrupt” the employment-based provision of health care. As if employment-based health coverage isn’t being massively “disrupted” by the economic depression that has laid off millions of workers and forced them down into the ranks of the 50 million uninsured.

But what is truly disgusting is how the “progressive” left has caved so quickly and cravenly, given up the fight for single-payer and support for HR 676. They have become the indignant foot soldiers, apologists and spinmeisters for Obama’s piece of shit legislation. They are betraying what they absolutely know to be true: the private insurance industry must be evicted in order to provide health care to everyone and end the fiscal crisis the multiple-payer system creates.

Even the insurance companies know that, according to revelations by Cigna whistleblower Wendell Potter. He reports the implementation of a single-payer health care system is what keeps the billionaire CEO’s of insurance companies and Karen Ignagni, the high priestess of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), awake at night cowering in fear and forced to spend 1.4 million dollars a day to make sure it doesn’t happen. They don’t fear a public option despite their protestations; they accept that due to the depth of the crisis, a few token compromises are in order to stay in business. It’s chump change and in exchange for perhaps losing a little market share, they’re going to get a mandate that legally obligates every person to buy their priced-to-make-profits “insurance products” or be financially penalized. If the Obama bill subsidizes the uninsured going into private plans, that’s millions of new customers to extract profits from and a transfer of taxpayer dollars into insurance industry coffers. The Massachusetts mandate madness gone nationwide. ...

human rights, anarchosyndicalism