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Health Care Reform and the Fight for American Democracy

March 24th, 2010 · No Comments · Culture, Health Care, Politics

So…we did it. We passed health care reform. It is simple and basic stuff. The Neocons would like to make it more complicated than it is. Here is what you get and when you get it.

This year–

Young adults will stay on parents’ medical plan if they wish to age 26.
Insurers cannot cancel policies of people who get sick.
Insurers cannot deny policies to children with medical problems.
Insurers cannot put lifetime limits on policies.
Government will offer coverage to those who cannot get insurance because of major medical problems.
The plan will begin to close the prescription drug “donut hole” but it will be gradual.

By 2014— (in 3 years or perhaps sooner)

Insurers will be required to take all applicants, regardless of health status, or pre-existing conditions and they will not be able to discriminate by charging more.
States (or probably intra-state) exchanges will offer options for better plans, lower rates
Everyone will have health insurance. Poor & middle class will have subsidies.
Many people will be added to a new and improved version of Medicaid. People with incomes of up to $88,000 for a family of four will be included.

So that is the health care plan. The idea is simple. Get everyone covered. Make everyone have at least some insurance but make it as easy as possible. Most people…80% will have lower-cost, hopefully, private policies. The poorer people will be on Medicaid.

The elderly will be on a hopefully enhanced and improved Medicare. Small businesses, which means those with over 50 employees, will buy insurance but it will not cost more than $80 of every $1,000 dollars of revenue. So a company with sales of $1,000,000 would pay $80,000 if it decided not to purchase health care. But, as you’ll see, for employers the plan will be much better than that. The Republicans know it, but they are still fighting the plan.

Here’s how this will probably go, which will show why it is so important. That company above might have insurance that cost $5,000 per employee per year under the new exchange policies. If the employer paid something like 60%, so the cost would be $3,000 per employee which would be reduced by the government subsidy. Even if the subsidy were only 20%, it would still mean that the employer would pay only about $200 per month per employee. But it is good to recall that, in addition, this would be vastly improved health care coverage over what is available today.

So, in summary…people are guaranteed to be able to buy health care for a reasonable price, not lose it if they get sick. It helps business owners and lower income individuals with some subsidies, lowers the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and improves Medicare delivery and the structure of the medical relationships. Streamlines the system; takes health care to even the most remote areas of the country, adds about 100,000 more doctors and insures that every family has access to good, affordable health care.

Costs are going to come down. Some wealthy people will lose some tax breaks. Some companies will lose big contracts to delivery the same thing Medicare delivers for 17-30% less. And drug companies will eventually have to start negotiating drug prices.

So is everyone happy? Absolutely not. The lobbyist-paid Neoconservative Republicans are still on the attack. Thirteen Republican attorneys general from mostly Southern States are going to challenge it on the grounds that it is a “mandate,” i.e. everyone must have health insurance. This will probably not even get past the dismissal stage.

But that’s not the point. The Republicans and their international corporate backers, who are raping this country and its citizens, want to keep the country in a state of uproar. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and the myriad of other Right Wing radio and television propagandists are still ranting and barking like the little mascots they are for the huge health care industry corporations they represent.

But it is worse than that. An article from the Kansas City Star outlines the real danger to the structure of our society. The Republican propaganda machine, combined with their support of guns and militarism, has finally encouraged the White Supremacist militia to take the kind of action that should cause us to take legislative action now, before we edge back into the era of the KKK and Fascist mobs.
“Authorities in Wichita and some other cities across the country are investigating vandalism against Democratic offices, apparently in response to health care reform.
And on Monday, a former Alabama militia leader took credit for instigating the actions.
Mike Vanderboegh of Pinson, Ala., former leader of the Alabama Constitutional Militia, put out a call on Friday for modern “Sons of Liberty” to break the windows of Democratic Party offices nationwide in opposition to health care reform. Since then, vandals have struck several offices, including the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita….
…Vanderboegh posted the call for action Friday on his blog, “Sipsey Street Irregulars.” Referring to the health care reform bill as “Nancy Pelosi’s Intolerable Act,” he told followers to send a message to Democrats.
“We can break their windows,” he said. “Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”
So the Neoconservatives, the rich, Right Wing bigots have now brought thugs and cretins into the Republican Party, the former Party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
We have again returned to the era where an irresponsible Republican Party, encouraging their Right Wing hate-filled propagandists, like Rush Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Ingraham, Malkin, Savage (banned from even entering Great Britain) and others must be held legally responsible for hate-speech. Laws must be strengthened.

The alternative is to return to the 1960s. Build strong militant student organizations build alliances with unions, Democratic organizations, and Veterans groups via the Internet and Facebook. Many of them, probably the minority came from the lower classes, exactly the kinds of people whose families need and want some help in coping with the big insurance companies. Former military and unions know how to deal with oppression and the numbers among the average populace are overwhelmingly larger than the white-supremacist-nut population, and far more disciplined.

If anyone deserves their windows smashed and their offices trashed and their buildings burned down, who better than the people funding all of these propagandists and para-military organizations? Certainly people who instigate violence should be taught that violence only produces more violence. But if a large number of those wealthy people who believe that they can fund violent organizations and remain above the fray began to feel some real pain in their families, perhaps they would decide that it is easier to live among society rather than trying to destroy it.

It is simple enough to follow the money. We can easily discover who is funding this hate-speech, the $40 million a year paid to Rush Limbaugh while others have lost everything thanks to his sponsors. The $20 million a year paid to Sean Hannity, while his supporters have tried everything to kill the health care bill and any other legislation for the average middle class citizen. The $23 million that a complete lunatic, Glenn Beck, is paid by Fox News, other Murdoch media and other Right Wing enterprises to talk complete nonsense, merely to create unrest in society, while 15 million people are looking for jobs that are sent to China by the ultimate funders of Beck’s his fifth-column work.

It has crept into our politics with people like Michelle Bachmann who now says whatever she is told to say, assured that she will be given media time on Fox News and other Right Wing media to promote herself. The same with Steven King of Iowa and Louie Gohmert of Texas and others, who now simply spout lies and outrageous claims, knowing that they will always be welcome without any kind of fact check on the Republican media, and in particular, Fox News.

The other day, a Right Wing talk show host commented that the Democrats identify policies that they don’t like with names that are exactly the opposite of what they really do. For example, a program that might be called “The Clear Skies Act” would be one that would allow for more pollution by activating procedures that would either stall or delay or simply allow more pollution. So now the Neoconservatives are not only accusing the Democrats of bad policy whenever it helps the people, but they are using the technique described above to describe the technique. You see, “The Clear Skies Act” was Republican legislation during the Bush Administration. It was legislation that every environmental group said was the worst, most damaging environmental program ever and set back clean air policies by 20 years. Get it? “The Clear Skies Act?” It isn’t meant to be irony. It is meant to fool the vast number of American citizens who do not have the time to investigate policy implications….the Fox News viewers for example.

We live in a society where Sarah Palin, a semi-educated, semi-literate woman from
Alaska, with reasonable good looks and a presentable figure was nominated basically on a whim to run as the Republican candidate for the Vice Presidency. This was done by John McCain, a man who, more than any other since Ronald Reagan, because of his age and physical handicaps was vulnerable to some form of debilitating illness or death…which would make her President. That she was even nominated was a scandal.

This is a woman who would not be able to find France on a map of Western Europe. Yet, because of this celebrity, and her prior governorship (for 2 years of the 4-year term) of a state with a population, remote and isolated, smaller than Omaha or Des Moines, who quickly understood that by becoming an advocate for certain nit-wit causes she could quickly become rich.

She “wrote” and sold 2.2 million books. She became a commentator on national television, gives speeches to Right Wing groups all over the country for five-figure stipends. She has apparently signed a contract to host a reality television series. It is interesting that, in her, we find the current state of our society to be exactly that….the merging of fantasy and reality to provide entertainment…turning our political system finally into some kind of game show.

Normally we fight political battles to determine which segment of society has the majority on a given issue. Normally, it follows political lines, with a few exceptions. This time there were no exceptions. Not one Republican in the end stood up for the American People. And this time they continue to fight against something that is done, and will remain done and they know it. They fight for one reason only.

The longer they fight this lost battle, the longer they will be paid by the health insurance industry and the Rick Scotts, the Dick Armeys and the Newt Gingriches. In other words, those individuals who are working for the lobbyists will never give up on this because it is how they make their living. They are the remnants of a once-proud political party who now work for the enemies of the People. They have safe districts, where their constituents are either very well off or are both ignorant and racist.

The victory in health care reform will be permanent and for that we can be very grateful to the President and Congressional leaders. But there will be, it is now very clear, a serious battle on every meaningful piece of legislation. Democrats must bring Independents into the struggle again. Be aware. Join the struggle to keep a Neocon Party from using the wealth of their huge international corporate backers to create a Fascist Party in this country.

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