Posted December 5, 2009
This was released as a leaflet by the Oakland branch of Solidarity.
The Democratic health care bills are a massive bailout of the private health insurance industry. They are convoluted and complicated. They should be DEFEATED.
- They took single-payer completely off the table. ( Senator Baucus sought testimony from 41 ‘experts’ , not one of whom was a single-payer advocate.) Then they strung single-payer advocates along by allowing the Kucinich amendment (for state single-payer plans) and the Weiner amendment (for a complete replacement of the bill with a single-payer proposal) to linger in Congress until Kucinich and Weiner were pressured to drop their amendments.
- They negotiated with the big hospital and pharmaceutical firms as well as the insurance industry, to craft ‘acceptable’ health care language.
- They contually weakened the bills while seeking to appease the Republicans, in order to create a ‘bipartisan’ proposal. But they never got any Republican support.
- The 2000 page bill is beyond comprehension and feeds paranoia about the governmental role in health insurance. HR 676, the main single-payer proposal, is about 30 pages-it is simple and it covers EVERYONE.
- Proposing taxation of higher-cost (and more comprehensive) coverage has also helped feed the right populist frenzy and now even leads some pro-Obama unioins to oppose key features of the bill.
- They limited the expected cost of these bills, which raised fears of healthcare rationing.
- The core proposal is to make it mandatory for larger employers to offer health insurance and for people to buy health insurance (with some subsidies for lower-income people). This approach has already failed in Massachusetts.
- They capitulated to anti-choice forces, both within and outside the Democratic Party, with language that would be the most restrictive ever regarding access to abortion services. In addition, non-citizens would be excluded, furthere undermining universality.
To summarize, the Democratic party leadership created a proposal which will further empower and enrich the insurance corporations and make a future fight for quality, equitable, universal health care that much harder.
As Dr.Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, has stated: “Is the House bill better than nothing? I don’t think so. It simply throws more money into a dysfunctional and unsustainable system, with only a few improvements on the edges, and it augments the central role of the investor-owned insurance industry. The danger is that as costs continue to rise and coverage becomes less comprehensive, people will conclude that we’ve tried health care reform and it didn’t work. But the real problem will be that we didn’t try it. I would rather see us do nothing now, and have a better chance of trying again later and then doing it right.”
We must contact not only our Congressional representatives, but other political, labor, community and faith-based organizations and leaders, as well as the press, and send a clear message.