This afternoon, there were two attempts in the Senate Finance Committee to repair some of the damage done to health care reform by Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat who has received a great deal of campaign finance from executives in the medical industry, and has accordingly crafted health care legislation designed in order to protect insurance companies. Two amendments attempted to reinsert a public option of government-established health care coverage, but both amendments were defeated by a coalition of Republicans and pro-industry Democrats.
Blanche Lincoln, senator from Arkansas, was among those Democrats who joined the Republicans to defeat meaningful health care reform. She voted against both amendments.
Physicist John Gray, one of Senator Lincoln’s constituents, says that he’s come to expect this kind of anti-progressive behavior from her. “I’m not at all surprised. She has a rather large campaign chest, almost half of which is from the medical industries,” Gray said this afternoon, responding to Lincoln’s votes against the public option. “The fact that she is loyal to her sponsors is not at all surprising.”
Unlike many Arkansas voters, who have learned to accept that they have little choice between the right wing Arkansas Republicans and the right wing Arkansas Democrats, Gray is taking action to ensure that, when Blanche Lincoln runs for re-election in 2010, voters will have the chance to vote for something different. Gray is running for the nomination of the Green Party of Arkansas to challenge Lincoln for her seat in Congress.
Gray says that he favors strong single payer health care reform, which would eliminate the waste that is inherent to the delivery of health care through insurance brokers. “Eliminate the health care insurance industry… and you would save enough money to cover every man woman and child in the United States,” Gray points out. “Nobody blinks an eyelash if we lay off 40,000 autoworkers, who actually produce something. These health insurance brokers, it’s hard to say what they produce.”
Look to hear more from Gray soon. His campaign web site is expected to be online within the week.
• America needs Medicare For All/Single-Payer, not a life-support system for insurance companies and HMOs
• Whether Obamacare passes or the GOP blocks health care reform, insurance companies will win and American people will lose
• Attention paid to Obamacare vs. town hall hecklers eclipses the fact that most Americans want national health care, according to polls
The following is a Green Party (http://www.gp.org) response to President Obama’s address to Congress on September 9, 2009
President Obama was correct when he said, quoting the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, that health care was fundamentally a moral issue and a matter of “social justice and the character of our country.” President Obama understands that we’re in a national crisis — that’s why he wants to lead on health care reform.
But the President stopped short of asserting that health care should be made a right for all Americans. He said he has “no interest in putting insurance companies out of business.” He did not admit the fact that the insurance industry’s very existence depends on the power to restrict coverage, deny claims to those with coverage, cancel coverage for people when they need medical care most, and reject people who are high-risk because of low income, age, and prior medical condition. (President Obama related several accounts of such outrages in his speech.) The insurance business plays a middle-man role, exacting huge fees for its profits, administrative costs, overhead, and high CEO salaries, while providing no medical services.
As long as for-profit insurance continues to exist, access to health care remains secondary to corporate middle-man profits. Replacing private insurance and HMO coverage with a plan to make Medicare universal is the only solution.
n the U.S., 22,000 people die every year due to lack of health care. Congressman Dennis Kucinich supports HR 676, the United States National Health Insurance Bill because it will control costs, create jobs and boost the economy, and provide more choice for every American. Joining Kucinich will be several health care experts and advocates. Recently added to the lineup are two Green Party candidates outspoken on the health care issue: candidate for governor Rich Whitney (www.whitneyforgov.org) and 5th congressional district candidate Matt Reichel (www.mattreichel.us). The DuPage County Green Party is one of the co-sponsors of the event.
Green Party politician Tony Palmeri appeared on the Wisconsin Public Radio show Week in Review on Friday, and spoke with host Joy Cardin on a variety of topics, ranging from economic stimulus in Wisconsin to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States.
On the issue of health care reform, Palmeri warned about the influence of lobbyists from the health insurance industry upon the legislative process in Washington D.C. “I would be shocked if something were passed before the August recess, mostly because the private insurance industry is putting about 1.4 million dollars a day in lobbying in Washington, and sad to say, until something comes out of those committees that the industry is happy with, we probably won’t get a bill signed,” he said. “If these folks are putting in a million or more dollars a day in lobbying, they’re not doing it so that they’re going to be put out of business. We might be creating a kind of monstrosity here.”
However, as imperfect as the health care reform process is, Palmeri noted that local governments are struggling to keep up with the increasing burden of health care costs, even as the overall economic crisis reduces the money that’s available for their budgets. He explained, “As a member of the Oshkosh City Council, we’re going into our budget period right now, and as most cities, we’re facing huge health care increases for our city employees, so we really need some help from the feds, and if whatever they pass in Washington passes the cities, at least it’s some positive reform.”
Palmeri is an Associate Professor of Communications at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He was re-elected to the Oshkosh Common Council this year and named Deputy Mayor.
In the March edition of YC Magazine, York County (SC) Green Party writer Liz Smith-Anderson addresses our nation’s healthcare system and plans to change it.
This past year has been a trying one for many people. Losing your job means losing your health insurance, if you were lucky enough to work for a company that still provided health insurance as a benefit. During the past 12 years, health insurance policies were pared down to the minimum while the premiums escalated. Only God could help you if you had a pre-existing condition.
Green Party Media Coordinator Scott McLarty writes an editorial about single payer healthcare, comparing our modern health insurance based health care system to the way we once approached fire protection.
Imagine that you needed a special insurance policy before calling the fire department in an emergency, or you’d have to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for the firefighters to put out the fire.
So why do we tolerate a health care system that’s run the same way?
McLarty goes on to explain exactly where the savings in single payer healthcare comes from, the profits and overhead of corporate for-profit systems that add cost, but no value.
The overhead for Medicare, based on administrative costs but without the demand for profit, is about 3%. Why not convert to a public system, expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, perhaps saving us a third of the cost by eliminating the insurance and HMO middlemen — a system comparable to our public fire departments?
McLarty goes on to ask why we don’t have single payer healthcare today, and answers
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the amount of such (political) contributions (from HMOs and Insurance interests) was over $46 million in 2008
Do yourself a favor and read the article and Digg it a bit higher if you enjoy the article.
Thanks to Lou Novak for Digging this article first.
A set of proposals will be voted on soon in California. The propositions will be decided in a May 19th ballot, and the Green Party in California is panning them all.
NewsBlaze.com reports that the California Nurses Association, which supported Ralph Nader in his Green Party backed 2000 run, has also voted to recommend against voters passing the proposals.
From the article:
The Green Party of California today – after polling its members and county councils statewide for the past month – strongly urged state voters to vote “no” on all propositions on the May 19 special ballot, calling the plan a “rotten deal.”
Published in the Times-Standard
I am Dr. Carol Wolman and I’m running for Congress in Northern California’s District 1. As a licensed psychiatrist and professional heath care provider, I’d like to explain why I think the incumbent Representative Mike Thompson is not representing our interests and not pushing for a single payer universal health care system.
Fewer American have access to health care each year. While the quality of health care deteriorates the cost of medical care continues to increase substantially. As of the end of 2007, 42 percent of adults (75 million) were either uninsured or seriously underinsured, an increase from 35 percent just four years earlier. While we spend far more for health care than any other industrialized nation, much of this is wasted on administrative costs, or flows as profits into the pockets of the insurance companies that control our medical services. In Canada and Western Europe, where universal single payer health care is the norm, medical costs amounts to between only 9 to 10 percent of GDP, while we spend more than 16 percent.
I have been asked to contribute to Green Party Watch in the form of posts that link to Utah Greens and Green Party Politics and issues. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation and hope to contribute constructively to this new project!
Thanks to the folks who are getting this off the ground!
Now on to my post which is a big thorn in my side…..
Recently my employer decided to explore other options for health insurance for its employees. To do this, every employee had to complete an insurance application.
Now, this application wasn’t short and sweet. In fact, it was the same type of application that one has to complete when signing up for an already established insurer of a company. I was so annoyed by the prospect of having to fill out my entire health history, and that of each family member, just for a quote, that I refused to complete the 2nd part of the application where I had to supply dates and the current status of certain items. Continue Reading