In his post, “The six deadly hypocrites,” Paul Krugman notes that “the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 . . . denied Medicare the right to bargain for lower drug prices. . . .” Where are the proposals to overturn this aspect of the Act in the debate? Easing restrictions on imports? True reform, taking away the pharmaceutical and insurance industry’s absolute monopoly (or, at least, not forcing us further into their hands)? Moreover, with any outcomes of the health care legislation carrying such essential importance (weight) for all of us, why the mad push/rush to get the bills passed before an August recess? Is that a primary focus on our (long-term) well-being? Or, is it mainly politics – as usual? While passing a “Public Option” would be progress, terms at the heart of the measures include mandates (requirements) for everyone to get/buy an insurance policy – without considering the impact (enough) on those between the poverty and median income level. Especially during these times (a Second Depression), forcing a new monthly bill/burden (of even $100) on our people is both outrageous and wholly regressive. Congress should be making changes in the proposals – where, since they (obviously) aren’t brave enough to stand up for Single-Payer, then, in the least, they could offer/champion subsidized coverage of all costs for those under a certain point ($40,000?) of the median income. (In relation, my Congressman informed me of (unacceptable) 92% subsidy provision possibilities). After being sold out to corporate powers during Clinton’s administration, and having our entire structure/system (purposely) finished off (ENRON-style) during Bush II’s, the common people have peaked out in “personal responsibility” – and absolutely cannot afford, or find, additional “Bootstraps.”
“By a 25-19 vote, the House Committee on Education and Labor on Friday approved an amendment to the House’s health-care reform bill allowing states to create single-payer health care systems if they so choose. Congressman Dennis Kucinich . . . proposed the amendment.” “Rose Ann DeMoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association . . . , said ‘This is a historic moment for patients, for American families, and for the tens of thousands of nurses and other single-payer activists from coast to coast who can now work in state capitols to pass single-payer bills, the strongest, most effective solution of all to our healthcare crisis.'”
(Bills would require coverage, but uninsured may struggle to pay)
“Under the House bill and a similar measure approved by the Senate health committee, premium subsidies would be available to families with incomes up to four times the poverty level. . . . But lawmakers said that federal aid for low-income families could be pared back as Congress struggles to hold down the overall cost of the legislation.”
Bill Moyers: Dangerous Alliance of Health Industry and Right-Wingers “The big drug companies are already so pleased . . . that they’ve brought back Harry and Louise — the make-believe couple who starred in TV ads that helped torpedo the Clinton health care plan — but this time they’re in favor of reform.”
Update: Harry Reid promises committee bill by recess
“The Finance Committee remains hung up on how to pay for the package, but the panel negotiators have been moving toward dropping the public option for insurance. Reid today was vague on whether he supported the public option. . . .” Without a Public Option – the purported line in the sand, where nothing would be passed if it was not included. Remember? Does that mean the Mandate to get a policy also disappears? If not, wouldn’t that be the same as “solving” the health care crisis by forcing all of us right into the private insurers’ hands – since everyone will have to buy some version of their collusively-priced product? Not even a Public Option, in order for commoners to at least have a sense of a way out (of their traps). No 100% subsidies for those under the median income level. No new prescription bargaining power. Nothing to compete with the status quo. Nothing reformed. The majority gives, gives in, and gives away – until there’s nothing left. Then, once again, they (the corporate powers) win it all. And, the lower classes suffer deeper and deeper wounds (which will never heal) under the ever-increasing weight of “shared” and “personal responsibilities.”
Update: Deal with ‘Blue Dogs’ sets up health care vote
“The House changes, which drew immediate opposition from liberals in the chamber, would reduce the federal subsidies designed to help lower-income families afford insurance. . . . ” Medicaid: $10,830 ($5.21 hr.) x133% = 14,404 ($6.90 hr.) (does not even equal new minimum wage). Subsidies: (What percentage?) $32,490 ($15.62 hr.) and below. “Close to 86 percent of small businesses — those with an annual payroll of $500,000 or less — will be exempt from the mandate to provide employees with health insurance, according to the terms of the compromise.” So, businesses (up to the elite level) will be EXEMPT from most of the new burdens? Correct. What about REGULAR people? Not a chance.
Update: “The deal also slightly reduced the cost of premiums for the uninsured, from 12 percent of a household’s annual income to 11 percent.” Make $21,000? Does that mean your new (forced) bill, a bill you did not have before, will be at least $2,300 per year? A person making $21,000 does not qualify for Medicaid, and would be lucky in most areas of this country to be able to even afford an apartment. How much of an impact would he or she feel? A new $200-a-month bill might just impact that person – right into the streets. Consider the soon-to-arrive 11% of Annual Income – TAX – a Tax Burden you did not have before – with this: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” With these types of “solutions,” one could swear to God that we are the middle of the last administration (and former majority).