Health Insurance Bonanza
By JOHN V. WALSH
Let there be no doubt about it. The health care "reform" bill voted into law Sunday in the House is a capitulation which will leave 30 million more Americans at the cruel mercies of the insurance companies – precisely what the single-payer movement had been battling against.
In the end the defenders of the legislation and those who signed on to it putting loyalty to themselves and their careers in the Democrat Party above principle, like the narcissistic twerp Dennis Kucinich, were left with only one real argument. How could anyone turn his/her back on the 30 million who would "benefit" from being brought under the control of the private insurers? The most succinct answer was given by Ralph Nader in a joint interview with him and the traitor Kucinich, who caved when his vote and a few others might have halted this legislative atrocity, conducted by Amy Goodman.
"First of all, that (the legislation) won't even begin until 2014, 180,000 dead Americans later (The number of unnecessary deaths over a three year period due to a lack of any insurance - jw). Second, there's no guarantee of that. The insurance companies can game this system. The 2,500 pages is full of opportunities and ambiguities for the insurance companies to game the system and to make it even worse.
"And let's say there are more people covered, right? Well, they're being forced to buy junk insurance policies. There's no regulation of insurance prices. There's no regulation of the antitrust laws on this. Everything went down that Dennis was fighting for. There's no regulation that prevents the insurance companies from taking this papier-mâché bill and lighting a fire to it and making a mockery of it. There's no shift of power. There's no facility to create a national consumer health organization, which we proposed and the Democrats ignored years ago, in order to give people a voice so they can have their own non-profit consumer lobby on Washington. …
"This is really a disaster."
This bill is a bonanza for the Insurance Industry, which has therefore been uncharacteristically quiet during this so-called debate on health care. Or as Obama, ever the lackey for vested interests especially the ever expanding finance sectors of the economy, put it, the bill extends "our system of private insurance" to more people. Put another way, some more people may be covered with lousy policies with lots of fine print, but even to do that the insurance companies must be guaranteed their take. And to do that, the taxpayers along with the purchasers of the "insurance" will be billed.
There are three essential features of private, for-profit health insurance that make it despicable and inhumane. First, the insurers use their premiums "to enforce inequality in health care," as Dr. David Himmelstein likes to put it. That is the system is fundamentally non-egalitarian, so that one's health is not a right but depends ever more on one's wealth. Second, the insurers work to maximize their profits and so that the Insurance bosses can live like kings. Thus these parasites refer to minimizing the dreaded "loss ratio," as they call it, which is the fraction of the premiums given over to actual care. To them that is just a "loss"! And finally, the law basically caves in to what is a protection racket or a blackmailing racket by the insurers. That is, if you want health care you must pay off the insurers for doing nothing but denying you some care. That is "our system" of private insurance as Obama calls it. And it is increasingly characteristic of our economy where the ever growing giant parasite which is finance capital demands a take for essential needs – whether it be health care or pensions or education or housing or a decent life for our dependents should our life be suddenly terminated. Thus a nation like ours which such wealth leaves so many without essentials for a decent life.
And not only did Obama foist this on us, but those supposed "crusaders" for single payer succumbed in to pressure from their Party. And thus did Dennis Kucinich cave to another atrocity just as he did when he backed the prowar Kerry in 2004 and the prowar Obama in 2008. There can be no more powerful evidence that the Democratic Party is a worthless vehicle for change than the performance of Obama, the dream candidate of the progressives, and his Congress on the issue of health care. And when push comes to shove the Kuciniches, there to make the Party look like it has a sliver of decency, always cave in. After all what could be more important than the careers of these narcissists? To adapt a slogan from the 70s, Insurers and Congressmen live high while sick Americans die.
John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com. The exchange between Nader and Kucinich can be found at: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/18/dennis_kucinich_and_ralph_nader_a