Defeat the Democratic Party’s Health Bills!

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.

What happened?

  1. 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.
  2. They negotiated with the big hospital and pharmaceutical firms as well as the insurance industry, to craft ‘acceptable’ health care language.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. They limited the expected cost of these bills, which raised fears of healthcare rationing.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

“Reject this Insurance Industry Bailout! Defeat the Democrats’ Health Care Bills”


2 responses to “Defeat the Democratic Party’s Health Bills!”

  1. George Fish Avatar
    George Fish

    I am a dual member of both Solidarity and CCDS. I recently posted the following on the CCDS members’ listserve:

    The healthcare “reform” bill before the Senate is a disaster, an open giveaway to the insurance companies. We who are for single-payer (or at least a real public option) must totally oppose this bill, because no “reform” is better than what’s being offered! Realize, what passes or doesn’t is what we could well be stuck with for decades. New initiatives will be hard to come by politically for a long period of time. Let’s send Obama a clear message: real reform or nothing! The Senate bill is a disaster, the House version is unacceptably weak, let’s follow the advice of the great Eugene Debs: “Better to vote for what you want & not to get it than to vote for what you don’t want & to get it.” Let’s launch a campaign that says NO!!! to the phony “reforms” advocated. Yes, we’ll be accused of “standing with the Republicans,” but what’s being offered is just more chicken ‘liberalism” from appeasing Democrats.

  2. re Avatar

    Great job! The Obama/Democratic plan will inevitably fail to deliver better health care to most at lower cost. If the single-payer forces fold their tents– stop educating activists in a REAL alternative to the Obama plan– then only the alternative will be the crazed Republican right!