with Chris Hedges and Margaret Flowers
RT America on Feb 18, 2017
On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses how the dysfunctional U.S. health care system can be fixed with Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician and leading advocate for a single-payer system. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the soaring cost of health care.
Republicans Lead In Obamacare Replacement, Act Now
by Margaret Flowers
Guest Writer, Dandelion Salad
February 17, 2017
Roll Call reports that the Republicans introduced legislation, the Obamacare Replacement Act, in both the House and the Senate. The plan, known as the Sanford-Paul Plan for its lead sponsors, has the support of the strongest Republican caucus, the Freedom Caucus.
Summaries of the legislation are not yet available. According to Roll Call, the legislation would “de-link insurance coverage from employment and remove minimum coverage mandates, allowing consumers to purchase plans that fit their individual needs.” It appears that people would purchase health insurance on the private market and receive a non-refundable tax credit to subsidize the purchase. The plan also includes Health Savings Accounts.
Tax-credits and health savings accounts benefit people who have money, but will be of little use to most people in the United States. And rather than raising taxes on the wealthy to cover funds needed for the tax credit, Senator Rand Paul, the lead sponsor of the legislation in the senate, is calling for cuts to other government programs, otherwise known as austerity measures.
Leaving insurance plans up to the market to determine means that low cost plans will cover very little and the fact will remain that people in the US will only be able to receive health care if they can afford it.
The United States is an outlier among industrialized nations for being the only country that relies in large part on a private market for health insurance. Private insurers are financial institutions designed to create profit for shareholders. They are nothing like private insurers in the European Union, such as in Germany or Switzerland, which were designed as mutual insurances that have the mission to pay for health care.
Reliance on the market for health care means rising prices and greater inequality and health disparities. The best way to create health security and health equity is through a universal, comprehensive publicly-financed health system. This is why we advocate for a National Improved Medicare for All.
Right now the Republicans have the upper hand, not only because they are the majority but also because they have legislation in both bodies of Congress. The Democrats, who do not have single payer health care in their party platform, are largely focused on preserving the failing Affordable Care Act. The legislation that we support, HR 676: the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, has been introduced in the House, but not in the Senate.
In order to make progress in the demand for National Improved Medicare for All, we need a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate. Senator Sanders, a long-time advocate for single payer health care, is the most obvious senator to be the lead sponsor but he has refused to make a commitment to introducing single payer legislation.
We must push Senator Sanders to introduce a senate companion bill to HR 676 quickly so that people can build support for it by their senators.
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From the archives:
Lessons of the Harvard Dining Hall Strike Victory by Ed Childs
Chris Hedges and Margaret Flowers: Confronting Corporate Power’s Influence in the U.S. Two-Party System
Paying for Single Payer Health Care with a Financial Tax by Jack Rasmus
21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare by Ralph Nader
Inequality and Poverty America Style–In Richness and in Health by Graham Peebles
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I really appreciate this cogent explanation of a ‘sick’ system that was so utterly incomprehensible to me. I did not realize that Margaret Flowers was a p(a)ediatrician. No wonder she and Dr Stein made such a very strong team.
A sick society needs good doctors. A healthy education system needs to educate ‘for health’ about health in a healthy way. Our Western cult of totally (totalitarian) ‘privatized’ ownership is a deadly (terminal) disease. It renders government irrelevant, and subordinates all services to plutocratic dictatorship.
It seems to me, that the entire USA is a hyper-sophisticated scam; to maximise redundancy and extract every last ounce of benefit to accrue to the advantage of the few, at the expense of our biospheric, planetary integrity. It is staggeringly primitive and downright criminal. Motivated by sheer ignorance and malice.
Health Over Profit for Everyone yes HOPE, sounds right; as health should be the basic ingredient of our political intelligence and the fundamental component of all right action. Health is not just about ‘medicine,’ it is about not needing medicine. A healthy society, by definition, should need minimal health care.
Probably the finest model for such necessary ‘economic’ medicine is Cuba. So far as physical well-being is concerned, it starts with a good birth (ie enlightened, empathetic midwifery) and thereafter ~ forever ~ wholesome, honest, nourishing food and a decent livelihood!
Data is obligatory and responsible science….inclusive of indigenous science(s)….is the sine qua non of all advanced societies. Intelligent research and applied (initiated) knowledge are essential; only, we can dissect and analyse cellular life to our heart’s content ~ but it will never be enough.
Until we understand how to cleanse our hearts and minds of corrupting influences either from within or without, nothing can thrive, develop or exist well. Biophobia is inculcated by hereditary habit; whereas biophilia is spiritually innate. Nature IS Sacred Intelligence.
Humanity can redeem itself only because our purest instinct is the Sublime. That is what true religion is, reconnection. Without that experience we can never be whole & hale.