To listen to Obama double-talk and stumble his way through
his proposed no-plan for healthcare reform, including a boast that Big Pharma
was putting $80 billion on the table to reduce the donut hole by half in
Medicare Part D for drugs, was the icing on the no-cake.
He didn�t even know the Part-D RX numbers. Here they are. If
you should be so unlucky as to reach $2,700 spent on prescriptions during a
yearly coverage period, the next $4,350 comes out of your pocket. That�s the
donut hole, like the rabbit hole. Any costs beyond that, if you�re still alive
in that period, are all taken care of. Bully, bully for Big Pharma. How about
no donut hole, boys, especially since Medicare was not allowed by Bush to
bargain with you on drug prices, unlike Medicaid or the Veterans�
Administration? Your feeding frenzy should be over, period.
Then we had Obama boasting about the Medicare Payment
Advisory Commission (MedPac) to determine cuts and changes to Medicare. This
was the very rich Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller�s proposal, as Lyndon
LaRouche pointed out in Nero Obama
Personally Pushes Fascist T-4 Policy. He writes, �What Obama is proposing,
as now included in the House legislation, is a five-member council, which would
make two annual reports dictating updated rates for Medicare providers.
Congress could block the recommendations only if lawmakers agreed within 30
days on a resolution. As envisioned under the White House draft, the new
council would be appointed by the president, personally, with the consent of
the Senate; those confirmed would serve terms of five years.
�The council would be authorized to make broad recommendations
for reform in Medicare, but its chief role would be to help set payment rates
for Part A and Part B services for the elderly. By Dec. 31 each year, it would
submit a package for Part B, covering physicians, home health, and durable
medical equipment. By Oct. 1, a package would be due for Part A, covering
hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
�The recommendations would go to the White House, and within
30 days, the president would be required to send a message to Congress
reflecting his approval or disapproval. The president�s discretion would be
limited, in that he would have to give an up-or-down on the entire package, not
pieces of it. But he would have an effective veto and more leeway than
Congress, which would have 30 days to obtain majorities in both houses and
overcome a potential Senate filibuster.
�But of course, since the president is appointing the
council to carry out his agenda, there is little chance that he would
disapprove of the recommendations from people serving at his discretion. In
reality, the proposal would make Obama fascist dictator over what categories of
elderly American citizens would be allowed to live and which to die . . .
�The Obama plan is modeled on the order personally written
and signed by Hitler in 1939, which set up the Tiergarten 4 board which Hitler
mandated to cut health costs by denying health care to those whose lives Hitler
and the board determined were not worth living.� Love that Lyndon. He calls it
like it is.
Apart from the undemocratic nature of this notion, who are
the five appointees going to be? Insurance folks, HMO consultants, doctors,
lobbyists, left- and right-wing elites who have no great affection for the
poor, the average man, the down-on-their-luck?
Beyond that, Obama was still toying with his Mandated Plan
for Insurance (like car insurance), which would cover 97 percent of our
citizens (with the government paying for the rest). The hitch is if you can
afford a car, generally (but not always) people can afford insurance. If you
can barely afford to make ends meet, where is the money going to come for to
pay for ever-rising insurance fees, if not from the government, via emergency
rooms and the like? It is also going to keep the burden on middle-class
families to pay the big insurance companies their rising fees for lowering
Of course, the saving grace he offers up is the Public
Option, that is, a government-sponsored healthcare plan. In fact, this is a
watered down version of single-payer healthcare, which he originally dabbled with,
and that he lost the will to fight for. Single-payer healthcare is really the
way to go. See my Online Journal article, The enemies
of America�s real healthcare reform. I believe the article argues fairly,
cogently and factually for single-payer healthcare. Perhaps, that is its fault.
It�s reasonable and real, unfit for the surreal halls of DC power.
The advantage that single-payer healthcare has over The
Public Option is that it would oblige all working people and their employers to
pay into it as well as employers, like Social Security does, which subsequently
provides Medicare. By definition, single-payer healthcare widens the net of
participants, thereby affording efficiencies of buying-power, service, cost and
administration. It functions like Medicare and/or the Veterans Administration,
and Medicaid, that is, it has a single payer that serves large numbers of
The Public Option, as Obama explained it, would co-exist in
free-market competition with all the bells, whistles and gimmickry of
traditional insurance company health plans, including their HMOs, PPOs, and
general money-sucking greed. The Public Option will get lost in the field,
given the advertising, PR, and lobbying clout of the big insurance companies.
They�ll make it look like a sad third cousin to �real insurance.�
Again, single-payer, universal healthcare would spread a
wider net, as it does in Canada, Australia, and France, to mention a few
countries in which single-payer healthcare works like gangbusters. It�s not
socialism, it�s just good sense. So don�t let people scare you with those
boogeyman words. In fact, let me borrow some simple healthcare statistics from
my earlier piece. . . .
�As Wikepedia tells
us, �In 2005, Americans spent an estimated US$6,401 per capita on health
care, while Canadians spent US$3,326. This amounted to 15.3 percent of U.S GDP
in that year, while Canada
spent 9.8 percent of GDP on health care.�
You might ask yourself �where did nearly half of the US per capita
dollars go?� Was it in superior health care? I think not.
�A 2007 review of all studies comparing health outcomes in Canada and the U.S.
found that health outcomes may be superior in patients cared for in Canada versus the United States, but differences are
not consistent.� Even with that questionable caveat, if the Canadian medical
outcomes tend to be superior, why are they paying half the per capita dollars
we are while we�re paying double for inferior healthcare?
In fact Wiki says, �The U.S. ranks 42nd in the world for low
infant mortality, 46th in life expectancy, between Cyprus
and Denmark, and 37th in
health system performance, between Costa Rica
Abominable, isn�t it? But how could this be? Read on . . .
�Advocates say that a U.S. single-payer health care
system would provide universal coverage, give patients free choice of providers
and hospitals, and guarantee comprehensive coverage and equal access for all
medically necessary procedures, without increasing overall spending. Shifting
to a single-payer system would eliminate oversight by managed care reviewers,
restoring the traditional doctor-patient relationship.� Alas, at last a breath
of fresh air and hope.�
Okay, so what are we waiting for? The politics to go away,
the Blue Dog Democrats to slink under their seats, the lobbyists for Big
Insurance, Big Pharma, the AMA, to back off? If Obama was the man we elected
thinking him to be; if he exercised the will and intelligence we thought he
had; if he had the guts we thought he had to put his political cash where his
mouth was, he would go for what his first instincts led him to: Single-payer
As to the economics of it, take another look at those above statistics.
The Canadians are spending half the per capita healthcare dollars we do and are
getting considerably better healthcare. For those Canadian elitists, who must
have the nose-job they want when they want it, there are some private health
plans, hospitals and doctors available. Nevertheless, the majority of Canadians
are very happy with their single-payer, universal health coverage. And that�s a
fact, not opinion.
Also, with single-payer healthcare, doctors can be paid
through fee-schedules, or they can be salaried, as they are in many countries.
So if economics were really the focus here, this decision
would be a no-brainer. In fact, Obama would not have pulled back on a
healthcare tax surcharge on families that earned $350,000 or more, certainly a
tidy sum for most families to live on. He wouldn�t have succumbed to Nancy
Pelosi�s request to change that surcharge figure only to families earning $1
million or more. I mean, Madame Speaker, why not push it back to families like
you and the hubby, who have seven or eight figure incomes, or like Warren
Buffet�s, with a string of zeros like a strand of pearls.
So, get wise folks. What you saw last night (and should be
congratulated for watching) was the Wizard of Oz performing at what passed for a
press conference on a healthcare plan. Not that his Republican friends are any
better; they�re still ranting about cutting Social Security, Medicare,
Medicaid, and benefits for the soldiers who get busted up bravely fighting our
dirty wars; the same Repugs who are so eager to wave the flag, send troops
hither and thither, and pillage, along with many Dems like Senator Baucus, the
donations from health care lobbyists, insurance companies, Big Pharma, et al.
If you take one thing from this review, and only one thing,
it�s that we have to take the profit-makers out of healthcare. Healthcare is a
calling. It provides good to excellent incomes for doctors, nurses, hospital
personnel. It doesn�t have to fatten the bottom lines of already over-bloated
insurance companies, so they can make their Wall Street buddies richer than
rich. That�s blood money, our blood. Just remember that. Single-payer health
care is a nation working together to keep costs down and quality healthcare up!
Go for it. Your deserve it. You�re beautiful people.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York
City. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book, �State Of
Shock: Poems from 9/11 on� is available at
www.jerrymazza.com, Amazon or Barnesandnoble.com.