The healthcare bill and corporate rule: our readers write

Our April Exit Poll was: “Is the new healthcare bill a small step for social justice, or big one towards corporate totalitarianism?” We received the following two rather diametrically opposed responses:

From JG in New York City:

A small step for social justice, and every journey begins with a first step. As an aside, don’t you think that “totalitarianism” in regards to a middle of the road health insurance reform is over the top and mimicking the not rational talking points of the far right? As this is a well researched website you are aware that, while the individual mandate is implemented in a couple of years, if it is implemented as planned, it has no enforcement mechanism? Which can be corrected, of course, but taming many of the most egregious excesses of the health insurance racketeers is now law and would have to be repealed. As long as you accept that the bill is a work in progress, like Social Security and Medicaid in the past, then you have to applaud getting a foot in the door.

From Joseph Wetmore of Autumn Leaves Used Books, Ithaca, NY:

The “health-care reform bill” requires us to go out and buy a specific product from a cartel of private, for-profit, corporations. ALL the cost protection elements of the bill were removed, so there is nothing that prevents the insurance industry from charging what they want, nor on the other end, paying doctors what they want. The insurance industry is still free to decide that they will not cover any procedures they choose not to cover. So we will be required to purchase a product, but there is no restriction on what that product is, nor on the price charged for it.

It is interesting to note that enforcement provisions were only written to insure that we buy the insurance not that the industry actually follow the minor requirements placed in them. So we will be fined by the IRS if we don’t buy insurance, and the specific amounts are in the bill. But there are no penalties if the insurance industry chooses to ignore, say, the provision that they have to cover children with pre-existing conditions. Which they have already done. [See Kaiser Health News, March 24]

In essence, Congress just voted to give the insurance industry the power to tax the population. This is another step in the privatization of all public functions.

See our last Exit Poll results.

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  1. Late Exit Poll response
    From Donovan, somewhere in Canada:

    From up here on my free health care Canadian high-horse, I was critical from the

    get-go that a single-payer option was not even on the table. Once the public
    option was dropped, I lost interest in the “debate” altogether…

    I know that the religious right is strong down there and all, but why is it that
    rationality never seems to become a part of the political discourse? The
    equation at its simplest could boil down to this: (a) look North (b) see
    universal health care (c) see lower (albeit rising) overall costs (d) emulate


    Donovan (in the Great White Socialist North)

  2. Socialist Party on “Obamacare” decision
    About the only thing I’ve read on the Supremes’ decision that I agree with, tho I wish the statement were stronger in rejecting the “individual mandate” as an unjust burden on the working class. From Socialist Webzine, June 28:

    Socialist Party Candidate Calls Obamacare Another Corporate Giveaway
    Socialist Party USA Presidential candidate Stewart Alexander condemned the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the provisions of the President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Calling it a “corporate restructuring of the healthcare system in America,” Alexander pointed to the many inequities that are built into to the new system. He highlighted the need for a fully socialized healthcare system that guarantees access to high quality healthcare as a human right.

    “The private health insurance companies always had two ideas in mind when it came to healthcare reform—either to avoid all reforms or stick the American people with a bad reform,” Alexander stated, “Today, the Supreme Court upheld the bad healthcare reform that will insure the profits of private healthcare companies at the expense of American’s access to healthcare.”

    “Obama’s policy was based on the original sin of allowing the pharmaceutical companies off the hook. He then followed this up by pledging public funds to subsidize junk healthcare plans, coercing Americans into purchasing these plans and silencing the voices of single-payer healthcare advocates. This is no reform; it is just another corporate giveaway by the Obama administration.”

    Alexander pointed to the fact that an estimated 26 million people will remain outside the healthcare system and that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act still leaves millions of Americans vulnerable to bankruptcy because of medical bills.

    Alexander and his running mate Alex Mendoza advocate for a single-payer healthcare system that will abolish the private health insurance companies. They see this measure as an important first step in the direction of a fully socialized healthcare system. The pair will challenge the Patient Protection and Affordable Care on the campaign trail, including the Swing States of Ohio, Colorado, Louisiana, New Jersey and Florida.

    The Socialist Party USA is America’s voice for democratic socialism. The SP-USA supports the creation of a radical democracy where regular people have a direct voice on issues related to public budgets, how their work sites operate and in their community. We believe that things like housing, healthcare, a clean environment and a good job are human rights and should be guaranteed.