I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Recognize the good guys by their enemies
I’m sitting in the ICU, at the bedside of an old friend, as caring doctors and nurses help him fight for his life – his life! – against a virulent infection, a gift from the hospital. He’s sedated, so I sit, read about and ponder the House health care reform bill.
I recognize good guys by their enemies. Policies, too. Among the sworn opponents to the House bill are the extremist-driven Republican Party, corporate Democrats, tea party and other anti-government protesters, libertarians, insurers, the Fox fantasists and rightist talk radio. Also, newspapers devoted to partisan journalism, like our own Albuquerque Journal.
Logically, then, the bill must be a great step forward. But I’m not so sure.
True, it covers 36 million people who now lack insurance, creates a (sickly) government health insurance option and would end repugnant insurance company practices like not covering pre-existing conditions or dropping people when they become ill.
(These policies make good business sense, of course, even as they are flagrantly unjust. Can the inanity of “market” health insurance be any clearer?)
The bill has other virtues, like forcing drug makers to rebate billions in ill-gotten gains. (Don’t cry for them, America; they have other sources of plunder.)
But it also reaffirms corporate health care (with its piecework pay system) and creates new markets and new revenues for the industry. Perhaps as much as $70 billion will fly from your pocket and mine to industry nests – some directly, some via Washington.
It’s the Haves’ dream – redistributing wealth upwards!
No wonder the American Medical Association and AARP now back it.
(Didn’t know? It’s true. The Albuquerque Journal reported it twice Nov. 6, on A3. First came an aside in an AP story, with photo, on anti-reform protests at the Capitol. A second AP story led with the endorsements, though neither the Journal’s headline nor sub-head reflected the news.)
So, with the very conservative AMA and AARP (pusher of drugs and insurance to seniors) in favor, how come the GOP still opposes the bill? I’ll provide an answer below.
I find the endorsements suspicious; they make me wonder who will benefit from this so-called reform. The mandated coverage is bothersome, too. Why compulsion? Why isn’t health insurance an American birthright?
Perhaps the Mammon worshippers outnumber (or outspend) those of us with corny values, like community, kindness and justice.
By perpetuating the for-profit health industry, the bill makes it tough to cap medical inflation, for insurance companies must balloon profits and administrative spending. And that last forces doctors to hire their own clerks in self-defense.
Administration accounts for almost a third of every health care dollar.
Great results might justify this waste, but we don’t get them. Meanwhile, health expenditures burden major businesses including autos, aerospace and export.
So the House bill impedes the only solution. End (or marginalize) private insurance. Create one national insurance plan for all. Pay for it with (fair, progressive) income taxes.
Yet, that being said, there’s one big reason to support whatever stunted measure hobbles into the Oval Office. Passage will strengthen the President against the forces of cynicism, paranoia and power for its own sake.
In July, Republican Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolinian, explained why health reform should be crushed. “If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him,” he said.
All hail an honest villain!
As I was finishing this, my friend called from the hospital. He’s out of danger. I wish I could say the same for the US, but the poisons in our national bloodstream are lots more ugly.