More private insurers to hop on Obamacare gravy train

by Kate Randall, from the WSWS

A number of private insurance companies that have not yet sold policies on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges plan to do so in the coming year. The reason is simple: the health care overhaul popularly known as Obamacare offers a virtually risk-free opportunity for insurers to increase their profits.

Insurance giants such as UnitedHealth Group and Cigna, as well as smaller companies, plan to enter the Obamacare market in 2015 and beyond. “Insurers continue to see this as a good business opportunity,” Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation told the New York Times. “They see it as an attractive market, with enrollment expected to ramp up in the second year.”

The ACA was designed from the start as a pro-corporate piece of legislation, boosting the bottom line of the insurance industry. The law’s core component, the so-called individual mandate, requires those without insurance from a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid to purchase coverage from a private insurer in the Obamacare “marketplace” or pay a penalty.

New changes to the legislation by the Obama administration virtually guarantee the insurance companies that any dent in their profits will be offset by a complex system of government funds. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has assured the private insurers that ACA mechanisms already in place will be made fully available to them, if need be at taxpayer expense.

The tweaks were buried in ACA regulations issued late last month and reported May 21 by the Los Angeles Times. Adjustments to key provisions of the legislation, largely unreported in the press, will potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance companies if they lose money on the exchanges.

[read more here]

Real Danger of “Obamacare”: Insurance Company Takeover of Health Care

by Naomi Pins

Election rhetoric shuns the big picture in favor of the bigger platitude. Now that The Show is over, we are left with the equivalent of a Sunday morning hangover following a binge of promises and lies. We leave the theatre of political spectacle on steroids for the real world of unstable economy, a globally and publicly subsidized financial sector, and increased costs of living on everything from food to education to health-care; outpacing declining median incomes. The average cost for health insurance for a family is $15,745 per year vs. a median income of $50,502, or about half post-tax take-home pay.

“Obamacare” is the name commonly used for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010. The very moniker is indicative of how name-and-image-centric our world has become; Medicare was never called “Johnsoncare” when President Johnson signed it into law in 1965 and Johnson was not exactly a man of small-personality. At any rate, Obamacare or the PPACA ranks as one of the most misrepresented issues from the campaign, by both sides of the ever-slimming aisle.

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Supreme Follies

by Scott Creighton

Just a quick note: In a few hours the Supreme Court is going to release it’s decision on the Obamacare (aka the ironically named “Affordable” Care Act) lawsuits brought by 26 different states. I won’t be here when the verdict is released so I will go out on a limb and make a little prediction… the court will support the mandate as “constitutional” but will strike several aspects of the bill as unconstitutional, namely the part that mandates corporations offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and the part that keeps them from charging more from elderly MANDATED “customers” (are we really “customers” if we are forced to purchase their deeply flawed insurance scams?). They will do this because to them it is constitutional to force human citizens to buy a flawed product from a corporation but it is unconstitutional to force corporate persons to treat human citizens in a just manner. Plus, there is just WAAAAAY too much money at stake (for those of you who don’t know… MOST of the industrialized Western nations have a single payer type healthcare system and the big insurance companies have EVERY INTENTION of exporting our system and thus striking this down not only hurts their profits here but also in the future all across the world. Just think about those payment premium profit margins for a second. think about it… think about it…. good. now move on)

The fake left is inundated with dire warnings of life without Obamacare (first suggested by the Heritage Foundation don’t ya know) and the right is being bombarded with renewed threats of the evil soooooocialism (and when I say soooooocialism, Fox News style,  I mean Nazi Germany, Satan himself, and the dreaded social justice… cus that all means the same thing to Fox News viewers and “freedom” loving libertarians who pledge their support daily to the “freedom” of corporations to rip off their customers, pay no taxes for the services they enjoy, and poison our food supply) of single payer healthcare if the court rules in favor of the constitution. The stage has been set. The actors are on their marks. Everyone is ready. Are you?

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SCOTUS About to Disappoint Many Conservatives – Will Uphold Unconstitutional Mandate

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE: Go here to watch Jon Stewart shill for fascist legislation as he claims the insurance companies would go bankrupt if the mandate provision is taken out of the law. What a tragedy that would be huh? Anyone here have a nightmare story about a loved one trying to get coverage for a condition? Anyone here lost a home to a greedy insurance company charging way too much for there protection racket? Fauxgressive Stewart actually claims that having the government force citizens to buy inferior products from private for-profit companies is some kind of current “definition of freedom and society”. Fascism, the marriage of the state and the corporations, is what Jon Stewart claims is a “social contract”. I guess that’s Stewart’s version of a new privatized social contract between us and the state. How’s that for your “CHANGE”?

——– original ————

I don’t really do predictions here, except of course when I said that the Washington Consensus was going to do to us what they did to Chile in 1973 (Sept. 11th 1973 to be exact) and when I claimed prior to the election that Obama was not going to “change” anything… but aside from those and a few others, I try not to get into predicting certain outcomes. I just put the evidence out there as best as I can and let people come to their own conclusions.

That disclaimer said, here’s a prediction: the Supreme Court is NOT going to cast out the unconstitutional mandate part of the Obamacare travesty. No way in hell.

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Extension of the Patriot Act Fails on Procedural Vote

by Scott Creighton

Well, you take your good news in small doses where you can find it these days. I guess I’m a “glass 1/8th full” kind of guy.

The extension of the Patriot Act failed yesterday on a simple procedural vote.  But, like Kenny points out over at his sideshow, this cloud’s paper-thin silver lining is already tarnishing.

“The bad news is that Patriot Act extension failed because of a procedural move that required a two-thirds majority that fell short with 277 voting yes and 148 voting no. Which means that the majority of Congress are still traitors who don’t give a flip about our rights and who remain shills for the lies of the ‘war on terror.'” Kenny’s Sideshow

To be sure, this is a temporary victory as that they will bring it back with a straight vote which will only need a simple majority to succeed.  It’s defeat probably has more to do with which party submitted this version of the extension and who gets bragging rights for being “tougher on terror” or some other nonsensical B.S.

But at least a few of our representatives are out there pretending to hold firm to the principles that sent them to congress. Take a look at video below of Dennis K. grandstanding about “freedom” and the “constitution” and all that jazz.

Payday for Dennis

Do I really need to remind anyone of how Dennis K. stands up to the powers that be in the White House?

History teaches us that we already know Kucinich’s real focus is to support “Obama’s agenda” over the rule of law when it comes to the unconstitutional Obama health-care bill and its illegal mandate forcing Americans to buy a flawed product from the big insurance companies.

So much for that constitution he brags about carrying around in his pocket.

Here are a few lines from the email Dennis sent to me explaining why he abandoned his support of the constitution and supported Obamacare. See if you can find the recurring theme Dennis hits on over and over again.

“To look at this in terms of the long-term impact on my constituents, of the moment in history in which we now stand, of the impact on the country, of the impact on the Obama presidency, on the impact on the president personally. I had to think about all of this.

… Those claims are just part of an effort to destroy the Obama presidency.

The presidency will be weakened…

… and in contrast to a crippled presidency …

The president will have a stronger hand in domestic and international affairs…

the White House invested so much in this health care bill…

… a very exciting time where the Obama presidency gets a chance to hit the reset button. (excerpts from Dennis Kucinich’s letter explaining his support of Obamacare)

Anybody see it?  I didn’t make it too subtle, did I?

I wonder how Dennis feels these days about supporting that Obama Agenda he was so worried about.

When it comes right down to it, Dennis Kucinich can be counted on to cave on this moral stand just like he did with the Insurance Company Bailout Bill.  But it’s still fun to watch him from time to time. Almost seems like he thinks we have forgotten.

Obama Care’s “Personal Mandate” Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Judge

by Scott Creighton

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that the Obama Care personal mandate, the law that requires U.S. citizens to purchase an insurance policy from a private company, is unconstitutional.

I, and many others, have been against this “personal mandate” since it first appeared in Hillary Clinton’s campaign rhetoric back in late 2007 and it is only one of many bad aspects of Obama’s Insurance Company Bailout Bill (what the Obama administration and his amen chorus have been trying to pass off as “health-care reform”).  But not to worry globalists, Obama’s administration has already taken up a position defending themselves and this unconstitutional provision…

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A Lie Exposed

by Jerry White, WSWS

Four months after the passage of Obama’s health care legislation—hailed by most of the media and the entire liberal establishment as the most progressive social reform since the 1960s—the reactionary implications of the measure are emerging ever more clearly.

The centerpiece of the plan, the White House claimed, was the extension of coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and the containment of costs that were making medical care unaffordable for average citizens. Cost-cutting and the implementation of “efficiencies” would not affect the quality of care, the president claimed. Moreover, those already insured would be able to keep their doctors and medical plans.

As the World Socialist Web Site explained, these claims were false. The purpose of the legislation was to slash health care costs for US corporations and the government by reducing coverage and rationing care for millions of Americans.

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Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make You Sick

by Chris Hedges, TruthDig

A close reading of the new health care legislation, which will conveniently take effect in 2014 after the next presidential election, is deeply depressing. The legislation not only mocks the lofty promises made by President Barack Obama, exposing most as lies, but sadly reconfirms that our nation is hostage to unchecked corporate greed and abuse. The simple truth, that single-payer nonprofit health care for all Americans would dramatically reduce costs and save lives, that the for-profit health care system is the problem and must be destroyed, is censored out of the public debate by a media that relies on these corporations as major advertisers and sponsors, as well as a morally bankrupt Democratic Party that is as bought off by corporations as the Republicans.

The 2,000-page piece of legislation, according to figures compiled by Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), will leave at least 23 million people without insurance, a figure that translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths a year among people who cannot afford care. It will permit prices to climb so that many of us will soon be paying close to 10 percent of our annual income to buy commercial health insurance, although this coverage will only pay for about 70 percent of our medical expenses. Those who become seriously ill, lose their incomes and cannot pay skyrocketing premiums will be denied coverage. And at least $447 billion in taxpayer subsidies will now be handed to insurance firms. We will be forced by law to buy their defective products. There is no check in the new legislation to halt rising health care costs. The elderly can be charged three times the rates provided to the young. Companies with predominantly female work forces can be charged higher gender-based rates. The dizzying array of technical loopholes in the bill—written in by armies of insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists—means that these companies, which profit off human sickness, suffering and death, can continue their grim game of trading away human life for money.

“They named this legislation the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and as the tradition of this nation goes, any words they put into the name of a piece of legislation means the opposite,” said single-payer activist Dr. Margaret Flowers when I heard her and Helen Redmond dissect the legislation in Chicago at the Socialism 2010 Conference last month. “It neither protects patients nor leads to affordable care.”

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AT&T, Verizon considered dropping employee health insurance as a result of healthcare overhaul

 Democrats canceled hearings after learning companies’ plans would make health insurance bill look bad

(Well, actually, they didn’t want the general public to see that the Obamacare insurance/industry bailout bill would allow major corporations to save massive amounts of money by dumping the coverage of their employees… something that many of us said would happen while most “progressive” Obama apologists were yelling that “something was better than nothing.  Well, there’s your “something”)

by John Byrne, Raw Story

House Democrats abruptly canceled hearings into major US companies’ responses to their massive health care overhaul after receiving documents revealing that companies were considering dropping all of their employees’ health benefits in response to the healthcare bill.

Documents obtained by Fortune and published on CNN show that AT&T and other major companies — including Verizon, Deere and Caterpillar — considered eliminating their employee benefits program and simply paying a fine to the government for those they employed without insurance. The fine for AT&T would have amounted to $2,000 per employee, costing the company a grand total of $600 million a year. Maintaining benefits, meanwhile, will cost the firm some $4.6 billion.

Democrats apparently canceled hearings into the companies practices when they received the documents and learned that such hearings might expose a major flaw in their health insurance overhaul: namely that companies might pay a fine rather than provide benefits for employees because the fine would be dramatically cheaper. They’ve had the documents for roughly a month, Fortune magazine said.

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Biden and Kucinich Spin Up a Modern Day “Fox and the Grapes” Fable

by Scott Creighton

There was a time in this country when you could always count on Dennis Kucinich to stand up and speak out against the monied interests that have crippled this nation. Now he dutifully parrots Joe Biden’s talking points right on que.  And as cognitive dissonance goes, this one promises to set a new standard.

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Like Water to Wine:The Miracle of Changing Neoliberalism into Populism, It is a Very “Big Fucking Deal”

by Scott Creighton

Today, I’m signing this reform bill into law on behalf of my mother, who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days“. Barack Obama

In the Neoliberal Age, in Washington especially, all focus is concentrated on the appearance of a thing, rather than the substance behind it. That is because the appearance creates its own substance, its own momentum relative to the weight of belief the appearance can generate. And thus it is that momentum that is all important, it is that momentum that the purveyors of fable ultimately strive for at any cost and even the subjugation of the memory of one’s own mother must remain “on the table” if that momentum is to be adequately served.

The “momentum” that the Democrats and the liberal intelligentsia are working hard to create here goes well beyond their desire to maintain control of the House and Senate in the upcoming mid-term elections. Well beyond it.  Behind the podium at Obama’s signing ceremony, the corporatist Joe Biden, hardly able to contain his globalist glee, whispered to Obama that this really is a “big fucking deal”.  He was absolutely right.

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Some Notes on the Glorious Leader’s “Neo Deal”

by Scott Creighton

The neoliberal capitalist New Deal (let’s start calling it Obama’s “Neo Deal” shall we?) of the Obama administration is being marketed as a great social reform that “could ultimately rival Social Security and Medicare in historic importance.”  

Even its staunchest opponents like Micheal Moore, a man who just a week ago went out of his way to declare that this bill was going to harm more people than it helped (it actually only really helps the insurance companies and Big Pharma and the Wall Street investors who own their stock), are coming out of the woodwork to spin up a new take on the bill.

I guess some would rather jump on the band wagon now that the bill has passed;a purely opportunistic move by certain “progressives” who would rather start singing a different tune rather than risk loosing page views (something I have never been accused of).

To me, the bill was bad back when people like Kucinich and Moore and Olbermann were dead-set against it and all it did was get worse in the lead-up to the vote. For SOME reason, “progressive” pundits and lawmakers alike are choosing to get behind the measure now that it’s passed, but for me, political convenience doesn’t factor into my opinion of the trash. It was bad then, it’s worse now and according to the New York Times, they are already making even more bad changes to the damn thing. I don’t give a shit how many “progressives” tell me to change my tune, this is a horrible bill and it’s promotion by the liberal/progressive side will only ensure that it gets worse and other measures that follow it  (Social Security “reform”) takes the same neoliberal path.

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The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed

by Chris Hedges, TruthDig

Mission Accomplished

Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s decision to vote “yes” in Sunday’s House action on the health care bill, although he had sworn to oppose the legislation unless there was a public option, is a perfect example of why I would never be a politician. I respect Kucinich. As politicians go, he is about as good as they get, but he is still a politician. He has to run for office. He has to raise money. He has to placate the Democratic machine or risk retaliation and defeat. And so he signed on to a bill that will do nothing to ameliorate the suffering of many Americans, will force tens of millions of people to fork over a lot of money for a defective product and, in the end, will add to the ranks of our uninsured.

The claims made by the proponents of the bill are the usual deceptive corporate advertising. The bill will not expand coverage to 30 million uninsured, especially since government subsidies will not take effect until 2014. Families who cannot pay the high premiums, deductibles and co-payments, estimated to be between 15 and 18 percent of most family incomes, will have to default, increasing the number of uninsured. Insurance companies can unilaterally raise prices without ceilings or caps and monopolize local markets to shut out competitors. The $1.055 trillion spent over the next decade will add new layers of bureaucratic red tape to what is an unmanageable and ultimately unsustainable system.

The mendacity of the Democratic leadership in the face of this reality is staggering. Howard Dean, who is a doctor, said recently: “This is a vote about one thing: Are you for the insurance companies or are you for the American people?” Here is a man who once championed the public option and now has sold his soul. What is the point in supporting him or any of the other Democrats? How much more craven can they get?

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Institutionalized Theft:A Clinton Family Tradition

by Scott Creighton 

A plague o’ both your houses” 

We all know the “New Dems” and the DLC are the real power behind this phony “healthcare reform” fraud (what some are calling “The Road to Neofeudalism” or “20% of your labor belongs to Aetna“). So let’s just take a look at them, shall we. And who better than the First Family of the New Neoliberal Globalist Dems, the Clintons. 

This is the face of the “New Dems”. “Business” focused neoliberal globalist “democrats” who sold us out from day ONE with NAFTA and GATT (while their WalMart stocks went through the roof), with the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the deregulation of Wall Street which helped lead to the neoliberal structural reforms that we are suffering under now. Hillary just signed a $5.3 million dollar deal to put crystal stemware (outsourced of course) in new State Department outposts all across the globe and she also worked out a deal where her husband will be one of two people in charge of major financial decisions in Haiti along with whatever puppet president we install there. 

I wonder if the new Clinton plantation in Haiti will have crystal stemware. 

Slimey Thieves

Hillary has always been a thief. Always been an opportunist. 

President of the Young Republicans at Wellesley College, Hillary hooked up with Slick  Willy in Yale. They got married, he got elected, and she accepted a newly formed seat on WalMart’s board of Directors while her husband was governor of their homestate. 

She’s been pretending to be a democrat ever since.

The Clintons passed NAFTA while they still owned WalMart stocks which made the Waltons billions and the Clintons millions.

She padded her excessive bank accounts for years with defense contractor stocks while standing on the floor of the Senate repeating Bush’s lies as justification to go to war with Iraq.  

She was the leading recipient of insurance industry money while in the Senate, god only knows what she is getting for this “New Deal” being shoveled our way now. 

And it runs in the family. 

Her daughter took a job working for a hedge-fund company that was a major Clinton donor. They work in collateralized debt obligations, you know, the kind that helped crush our economy? Chelsea got an even bigger payday when her investment banker boyfriend sealed the deal for yet another politico-class merger with a massive diamond engagement ring, probably paid for with our bailout money in one way or another. 

Chelsea’s soon to be husband is none other than Marc Mezvinsky, son of ex-politico class member Edward Mezvinsky: convicted felon for fraud, supposedly linked to those Nigerian Banker scams, pled quilty to 66 counts of FRAUD, including PONZI SCHEMES…. 

and where, you ask, does Hillary Clinton’s soon to be son-in-law work?  You really want to know? Really? 

All in the Family

Goldman Sachs was, without any doubt, the biggest single recipient of bailout cash, period. They got money on all sides and was even allowed to become a commercial bank so they could get discount window loans. The vast majority of the $180 billion to AIG was so they could pay Goldman Sachs debts at full face value (for garbage notes). 

So how much of OUR FUCKING MONEY is now sitting on Chelsea Clinton’s ring finger? Inquiring minds want to know

This is what is running the White House. This is what is running your country. Institutionally corrupted scum and their Clintonista retreads from their previous glory days in the White House. 

This is what created the “healthcare reform” bill. This is what MoveOn and DailyKos and ThinkProgress are actually working for. This is what made Dennis tuck his tail and run. 

You want “CHANGE”? You want to help Obama? Get this scum the fuck out of OUR White House and keep SlickWilly out of Haiti. That’s as good a place to start as any.

Flashback:THE Notorious AIG

by Scott Creighton

The United States mandates that contractors working overseas in hostile areas must have a kind of disability insurance, which they pay for out of their checks. AIG, the company that is connected with yet another Washington insider firm Goldman Sachs, is the insurance company that handles the policies. AIG has also been the recipient of over $180 billion dollars in government bailouts since 2008. This report was filed by Brian Ross back in April of 2009. As the “New Dems” in congress (read as “business friendly fake democrats”) manuever behind the scenes to get the magical 216 votes needed to pass the corporate friendly Senate version of the Insurance Industry Bailout Plan, I thought it would be good to check out another reporters take on just how much “good” the insurance industry has been doing for us these days. The dems are about to pass a $980 billion dollar bill which will do nothing more than empower these mega-corporations even more than they already are. “Something is better than nothing”? You tell me.

This bill is the solidification of a class-based healthcare program for America.

The insurance companies monopoly exemptions will remain, they will receive billions in additional money, and people with company insurance policies from their place of business will be locked into them with ever decreasing benefits at an ever increasing cost.

… and 14-20+ million Americans will STILL be without coverage. And the pre-existing condition protections will NOT start till 2014 (unless you happen to be a child). With me so far?

Wanna read the 154 pages of “CHANGES” they are submitting as an add-on the horrible Senate version of the “Insurance Industry Bailout Bill”? Here it is.

(H/T ADS)

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