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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Moore truth

Give Michael Moore credit: He tells truths about Obamacare that few others have seen fit to recognize.
Now that the individual mandate is officially here, let me begin with an admission: Obamacare is awful.

That is the dirty little secret many liberals have avoided saying out loud for fear of aiding the president’s enemies, at a time when the ideal of universal health care needed all the support it could get.
I believe Obamacare’s rocky start — clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could — is a result of one fatal flaw: The Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go. When right-wing critics “expose” the fact that President Obama endorsed a single-payer system before 2004, they’re actually telling the truth.

What we now call Obamacare was conceived at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and birthed in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor. The president took Romneycare, a program designed to keep the private insurance industry intact, and just improved some of its provisions. In effect, the president was simply trying to put lipstick on the dog in the carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. And we knew it.

By 2017, we will be funneling over $100 billion annually to private insurance companies. You can be sure they’ll use some of that to try to privatize Medicare.
So how do we deal with this awful system? Republicans and progressive purists will say: Just scrap it. But what will that do to people with pre-existing conditions?

Moore goes on to say:
And yet — I would be remiss if I didn’t say this — Obamacare is a godsend. My friend Donna Smith, who was forced to move into her daughter’s spare room at age 52 because health problems bankrupted her and her husband, Larry, now has cancer again. As she undergoes treatment, at least she won’t be in terror of losing coverage and becoming uninsurable. Under Obamacare, her premium has been cut in half, to $456 per month.
Like it or not, we have to find some way to make this bad system work. And then we have to transform the bad system into a better system. The simplest way to do that, as Moore points out, is to push for a public option on a state-by-state basis.

The competition provided by a public option will force the private insurance companies to tighten their belts and provide better coverage for better prices. If the private sector can do that, great. If the private sector cannot compete, then we glide toward single-payer.
A breath of fresh air. It's stuff like this that reminds me of why I continue to visit this (your) blog. Kudos on this excellent material you share. And as for Michael Moore, he is dead on target, kudos to him for telling the truth in the age of lies (and money is its King).
No surprise here, Joe. The fact that Republicans are foaming at the mouth over a Heritage Foundation answer to Hillarycare and/or that Obamacare is a Romneycare redux has been out there all along. The GOP has savaged their own brainchild, jumped up and down and were willing to close the government over the 'socialist' takeover of the healthcare industry. It would be funny. Except it's not.

Is Obamacare doomed for failure? If the program cannot be improved, amended, revised to bend the cost curve down significantly then yes, it is doomed. But for Republican/Libertarians to suggest that what we had previously was 'the best system in the world' is ludicrous. I know the Republicans hate statistics [unless they make them up] but the stats are what they are--we've been paying more than any country in the world and getting very little in quality. Our healthcare record is miserable.

We've made the insurance industry filthy rich on backs of the sick and disabled. Actually, on the backs of the healthy because the insurance companies want to send the sick and disabled to the recycling center.

Outrageous? Yes. Should Michael Moore be given a medal? Not really though we live in an era where telling the truth is considered an unusual and staggering virtue.

POTUS caved on single-payer, caved to the interests of the insurance companies, Big Pharma and hospital administrators around the country. I never believed POTUS had a true passion for healthcare reform. He wanted to get the package through because as Joey Biden pointed out it was "a big f**king deal."

So, here we are. I'm glad those with preexisting conditions will no longer be turned away. I'm glad kids get to stay on their parents' policies until they're 26 [I've paid out on COBRA--not a deal]. I'm glad the financially strapped will be subsidized for healthcare for the first time ever. Having thousands of Americans line up for free health and dental evaluations over the last few summers is reminiscent of a Third World country. We should hang our heads in absolute shame. And get the pitchforks out for the pols and their lobbyists.

But if the Affordable Care Act collapses under it's own weight and seemingly endless sabotage then we've gained nothing.

But another empty promise.

Here's hoping 2014 is better than 2013. Best to you and yours.

Jeebus, Obama didn't cave on single payer. The Senate couldn't even pass the weaker public option, since it was vetoed by Joe Lieberman (IND-Aetna), although all three House bills included a public option.

There were not enough votes for the public option, and a still larger lack of votes for single payer. The blame isn't Obama's, but the power and money of the various health care lobby groups slung around the Congress.

Obama would have had to go to war against Democrats in addition to the war the GOP has engaged him in from literally day one of his administration. (The GOP leadership met the afternoon of the first inauguration and determined a strategy of pure obstruction.) And it would not have worked, in my view.


There's a fair amount of truth in what you say, XI. Still, Obama never put single payer on the table -- and this was at a time when more than half the country wanted it. What would have happened if he had started from that position and then compromised his way to a public option?
Yes XI, Obama could have gone to war, thumped heads and twisted arms when 70% of the electorate was crying for healthcare reform. He had both Houses of Congress and the hearts and minds of the Nation. He blew it. And yes, Republicans are crazed obstructionists. That's why bipartisan BS is just that--BS. But what have we heard? Bipartisan is the way to go. When people shriek about 'reform' to Medicare who is dangling 'entitlements' in front of the GOP? POTUS, that's who.

Would I like a Republican in office? No , No and No. But the President has lost traction not only through Republican intransigence but by folding at the wrong moment. He's done some good things. But I fear healthcare reform written by the insurance company collective wasn't one of them. I fear not for myself but for the millions of fellow Americans who have been treated like dog meat by a healthcare industry that doesn't give a damn about health. Only profits.

Maybe POTUS will prove me wrong. Maybe Obamacare will succeed. I sure hope so. Because an empty promise is just that--Empty.

Obama never put *anything* on the table. He was pretty much uninvolved in the writing and passage of the ACA (as Krugman noted during the 2008 campaign, he was the only Democrat who *didn't* have a healthcare plan). The bill itself is the creation of Liz Fowler (then "healthcare advisor" to Max Baucus and former VP and head lobbyist for Wellpoint, now chief lobbyist for PHARMA).

He just tried to claim "credit" for it after it was passed. I'm betting he wishes he'd taken the time to read it beforehand.
In what other 'advanced' country is it a step forward that a state-supported health system doesn't turn people away who suffer from pre-existing conditions? The very term 'pre-existing conditions' is an insurance industry propaganda concept, on a par with 'ambulance chasers'.

In health provision the US lags Cuba, a country with a ninth of its per capita GDP. And the US spends at least 18% of its GDP on health, whereas Cuba spends 10%.

All insurance is a racket, including car insurance and house and contents insurance. In Britain I can't walk into a supermarket or post office without getting smacked in the face, whenever I stand still, with advertisements for pet insurance, travel insurance and house insurance. Moneylenders are even pushing debt-repayment insurance. Car insurers try to sell insurance against loss of no-claims bonuses. In many stores where the customers belong mainly to poorer demographics, the sales-clerks try to add on worthless charges for 'accidental breakage insurance'. That's what it's like in Britain. I could go on, at length. Filth have got the country by its goolies, and they're twisting.

But the chattering classes have been moved on from their knowing discourse of 5 years ago about 'subprime lending', so I must be talking shit.

The position isn't static. It's been conducive to the rise of 'payday loan' companies which charge hundreds and thousands of percent interest on loans taken out by people who can't otherwise afford to eat. Christian religious leaders stand idly by, making the occasional mildly critical remark but mostly fiddling with themselves. It can't be long before the collapse of Lehmans seems like a vicar's tea party and the big issue for most of the population becomes getting enough to eat.

The word 'anti-social' means nothing unless it applies to the bastards who get fat with wealth on the backs of the sick, the poor, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the low-paid and the insecure.

This is way way beyond a joke. Go to war against the enemy. Congress is useless. Consider that to be a demonstrated fact. It's full of paid-for crooks. Tear the fucking holy 'constitution' up. It was written by slave-owners anyway. On the lawful-action front, go for nationalising the moneylending, insurance and Big Pharma bastards' assets; taxing them until the fucking pips squeak; and imposing a 100% tax on profits from insurance and moneylending. Apply punitive measures retrospectively. Bring back the army from unwinnable foreign wars and seize private hospitals with it. Send in the tanks to Washington DC. Print newspapers to expose the insurers and moneylenders and the hold they've got over the country.

If Obama had stood up to the GOP, to the Tea Party, to elected shithouse crooked representatives - if he'd done even 5% of the above, that would have been leadership. It would have been popular too. If he'd tried to get the people actively roused, he could have been the greatest president in the history of the US.

Nobody admires insurers and moneylenders except the bastards themselves and those they've brainwashed or bribed.

Alyona Ivanovna deserved it.

Happy New Year!
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