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The Choice Ahead: A Private Health-Insurance Monopoly or a Single Payer


#1

The Choice Ahead: A Private Health-Insurance Monopoly or a Single Payer

Robert Reich

The Supreme Court’s recent blessing of Obamacare has precipitated a rush among the nation’s biggest health insurers to consolidate into two or three behemoths.

The result will be good for their shareholders and executives, but bad for the rest of us – who will pay through the nose for the health insurance we need.

We have another choice, but before I get to it let me give you some background.


#2

As I look around at the privatization of education, infrastructure, military, etc., I do not have much optimism that single payer is in the cards; the corporations are too addicted to big government's money.


#3

So let's count up all the Democrats in DC who've promoted Single Payer as a solution to this madness since the ACA came online.

None. Not. One.


#4

Bernie Sanders' advocacy of single payer goes back decades, and he is the only candidate running to do so. Yesterday over 8,ooo showed up to hear Bernie in Maine. As the saying goes, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation."


#5

Insurance companies are shysters taking money from everyone and producing nothing but higher medical costs.


#6

"The result will be good for shareholders and executives, but bad for the rest of us" is nothing new. During his push to deliver the ACA for his corporate paymasters, Obama (on national TV on September 9, 2009) told us that "healthcare reform must preserve insurance company profits".

The ACA is insurance reform, not healthcare reform. Insurance is a financial product, not a healthcare product.


#7

"It also has enough dough to bestow huge pay packages on its top executives. The CEOs of the five largest for-profit health insurance companies each raked in $10 to $15 million last year."

Tough to say which CEOS will have a higher karmic price to pay: those who profited from the design, use, and foreign sales/distribution of high-tech weaponry: the stuff that IS killing civilians (as well as designated "enemy combatants" = persons trying to defend their own turf against foreign invaders) all over the Middle East and into parts of Asia; or those who work for insurance companies that make their profits by REJECTING health care services to those whose infirmities will cost too much. Then, too, there are the bankster hustlers...the ones who dreamt up all those ways to print huge sums of money out of thin air and use it to buy themselves yachts while sending mineral wrecking crews into 3rd world nations.

The stuff that's underway today SHOULD BE sci-fi... or the subject matter of a dystopian novel that no sane society would ever have to witness in "real life."


#8

Wise Owl ... I disagree!!! smile

I don't think it is (solely) that corporations are addicted to the government's money...

I think it is more that the government is addicted to corporate money!


#9

"Which is why, ultimately, Americans will have to make a choice."

Ha! Ha! Ha!

The choice is to pay a punitive fee for not having insurance OR subject one's self to these ridiculous usurious plans.

There is ZERO need for insurance companies in the health CAREGIVING field. Zero.

That punks with their palms out demand "protection money" while standing between the ill individual and a doctor is itself SICK or as Michael Moore put it, "Sicko."

There is ZERO justification for this.

In the same way that plans to destroy numerous Middle East nations were underway before the necessary false trigger--to use as pretext (Project for the New American Century), this President-Fraud made deals with the bankers and deals with the Insurance companies. How else could he gather over a billion bucks in his campaign "war chest"?

In either case, it's all about blood money with human beings turned into collateral damage. Meanwhile, the fake streams of hot-off-the-presses paper money continue to buy access, policy, and programs that are designed to destroy the benefits preferred by citizens, everywhere.

Was there any choice regarding the secrecy of TPP or TIPP or the rush to get these fixtures into law via Fast Track?

Was there transparency, or any advocate FOR the People and FOR universal health care invited to the table when the Insurance companies WROTE the Obama "care" bill?

A very complicated census just came to my address and demanded to know how much money I made, what kind of Internet service I used, and what kind of health insurance. According to "Anonymous" these census questions will be used to designate which citizens are dangerous and require being disappeared, which citizens will be sent to any one of the hundreds of FEMA camps being built (or already built); and which are obedient sheep and useful labor... for the time being.

Whatever the HELL is going on, it's so far from "choice" and Democracy and freedom as to turn those words into dark satire.


#10

Yay Bernie!


#11

It's not "big government's" money. It's using the infrastructure of government--given its tools of enforcement via the courts and all sorts of uniformed militias--to take the public's money.

Would you rather shell out $800 a month to some insurer who then gets to determine IF your family member is eligible for health care? Or would you rather give half that $ to a universal account that had everyone in and left out the parasitic insurance companies that take 30-35% out of all that money to pay for their advertising, CEO salaries, and other graft.

It is OUR money. In theory, Democracy makes for a government for, of, and BY the People. What we have is a merger where corporate power has used its fiscal magic to essentially take over all of the gears of government. It does much of its work in the dark and uses Trade Secrets and Business Proprietary laws the way the military monsters make use of National Security.

Democracy is based on the consent of the governed; and any "consent" that's based on hiding info, evidence, policy, motives, etc. cannot qualify AS consent. It's a hit job on the public's collective consciousness and it's been underway since mass media became deregulated allowing in moral sharks like Rupert Murdoch to push the case FOR war, frequently sans evidence. In lieu of what's true come pricey-packaged P.R. false narratives and lies told often.

There IS a war on citizens underway. And there IS a war on nature. And wars against people all over the Middle East. The amount of bombing as chronicled in yesterday's article by J.S Davies is astounding.


#12

The info center are already in called fusion threat centers

"There are 72 Threat Fusion Centers. 50 state based and 22 urban centers set up during the Bush presidency in cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. They collect information from all 16 US intelligence agencies, the CIA, FBI, the military, state and local police agencies and privately owned corporations and organizations like the ADL and SPLC which some say should be registered as agents of a foreign power Israel." These were used to track and deal with occupy.


#13

I've seen film footage that shows acres full of military tanks, thousands of coffins ordered, and FEMA camps. The pretext is that these items exist if America gets attacked or if there is a giant storm or some such, but given the motives that are only gradually emerging (NDAA, TPP, TIPP) what "conspiracy theorists" say about these things has more than a grain of truth to it.

If the individuals BENT on creating a 3rd world war Armageddon manage to finally light a spark (Syria? Yemen? Iran? Ukraine? Pakistan? North Korea?) that "takes off," they will have a pretext for implementing martial law. It looks like that is the intention... at least on the part of some.

This clip explains something that is seldom spoken about--and it's the influence of Christian Dominionists and their view of Holy War--that is quite pervasive in and throughout the U.S. military. This is a GREAT danger.

Here it is:


#14
Reich states, "The problem isn't Obamacare." The problem is, indeed, ObamaCare® in that it reinforces and codifies in law the priority of profit over patient outcomes and the rationing of healthcare based on economic class. Obamacare®, even with its token benefits, is essentially Business As Usual...the same business model that has continually resulted in public outcry for change.
Can we ever see this country coming around to universal access to health care based on medical need, not ability to pay? The record shows that we never can, or will, as long as we permit corporate stakeholders in our medical-industrial complex to call the shots, and as long as they succeed in perpetuating our exploitive for-profit system.
John Geyman MD/PNHP

Reich also reveals, again, his convenient ignorance of the single-payer healthcare model:
First, there are many paths to universal healthcare, as other "advanced" economies have shown. Not all are single-payer.
Second, in a single-payer system, there are no health insurance consumers paying premiums, deductibles and co-pays. In a single-payer model, taxpayers contribute their share of funding through progressive taxation, based on income, through payroll deduction. Healthcare is rationed based on need and availability. The first question asked of patients in a single-payer system is not, "What insurance do you have?"

Professor Reich does his readers a disservice by not mentioning...not once...the economic benefits of a single-payer system. He spends the bulk of his time illustrating the benefits Obamacare® bestows upon the medical-industrial complex, (but remember...Obamacare® isn't the problem), but says absolutely nothing about how a single-payer model could control...and even exploit...consolidation through a dedication to public service instead of allowing it to be used as a tool by private profiteers to maximize market shares.

These failures, coming from a public policy expert, would seem to indicate Reich's connection to Single Payer is based more in a desire to sustain his own market share in progressive media than any real support for a change in policy.


#15

We're in basic concert here, just using terminology. Big government includes the mandated insurance (a tax), the more easily identified subsidies of ACA, and the preexisting insurance provided for government workers.


#16

The government has no money apart from what it extracts from public resources and/or taxes. Do you get the distinction? This idea (you posited) of "government money" is a frame that would suit the Libertarian mind.


#17

Studies have shown that for every dollar that corporations "contribute" to politicians' campaign war chests, politicians return $10 to $20 in corporate welfare and other forms of political favors.

Damn good return on investment, eh ?


#18

The other issue Reich ignores is the insurance company mergers creating too-big-to-fail insurance companies that will require huge taxpayer funded bailouts (just like the too-big-to-fail banks) when they run into a financial crunch, real or contrived.


#19

An excellent point. Too big to fail ...what a way to get around anti-trust laws... become mega-trusts instead.


#20

Vegans have fewer health problems than vegetarians and vegetarians have far fewer health problems than meat eaters. You will never learn those important facts from any health insurance company. A few companies will grant a discount to non smokers but they grant none to vegans or vegetarians even though smoking kills 200,000 people in the U.S. per year and heart attacks kill 600,000 per year. The meat industry is the largest industry in the U.S., slaughtering ten billion animals per year in the U.S. alone and that industry is the industry that has caused the enormous growth of so-called health care companies. None of them give a damn about your health and that is why they remain silent on the dangers of eating animal flesh. A vegetarian nation would have low health care costs because there would be little demand for health care services.