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]

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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ER Daytrip Revisited

by Scott Creighton

The controlled demolition of the economy of the United States in order to impose a “crisis” reaction to their devised collapse (privatizations) has spawned countless numbers of faceless victims, victims never heard from, victims who’s suffering is never seen. Though the robo-signing mortgage foreclosure fraud is indeed under-reported by corporate media, the ancillary victims of the banking destabilization campaign receive even less press. This story is about one of those people. I don’t know his name, I never met him. But on Sunday morning just after breakfast, I saw him die. I don’t think he had too. This is his story.

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Vt. House Passes Single-Payer Health Care Bill

from Common Dreams

The Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill calling for a single-payer system Thursday afternoon, putting the state on a path to become the first in the nation to adopt universal access to health care.

Lawmakers voted 92 to 49 after nearly two days of debate, including discussion on the floor until the early morning hours on Thursday.

Advocates hail the measure as the solution to control costs by reducing administrative overhead. However, critics said it leaves too much financial uncertainty and could hurt the economic growth in Vermont.

[read the rest, here]

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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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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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.


A Snapshot:”Grassroots” Healthcare “Reform” and the Insurance Industry Stocks

by Scott Creighton

The public relation campaigns are in full swing doing their level best to try and prop-up some kind of grass-roots looking “movement” for this Obamacare Insurance Industry Bailout Plan. So I thought I would post a few pictures of their astroturfing demonstrations and along side of them some of the more somber “reality based” results that just happen to be going on at the same time. Let’s take a look at what’s going on.

This lady holds up a sign claiming 149,000 more people in her state “will be insured”. That says nothing about whether or not they will actually get healthcare, and it doesn’t seem to mention the fact that they won’t be “insured” till 2014, after an estimated 180,000 more of us die for lack of healthcare not insurance, mind you.

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The Last Stand for Obamacare’s PR Campaign

by Scott Creighton

It’s a remarkably well orchestrated effort going on right now to pass what is laughingly refered to as “healthcare reform” (read as “insurance industry bailout and Longevity Assurance Program”).

First you have the senate version of the bill passed with all its massive entitlements for the insurance industry, including but not limited to;

1. mandatory enrollment (some new 30 million customers for the industry that President Obama is deriding daily with his stump speeches) forcing Americans to buy into deeply flawed insurance policies…

2. no “public option” to help keep costs inline at a time when the public option and single payer healthcare BOTH poll higher than Obama’s Senate version of this plan…

3. projected cost increases for the next 5 years limited only by a laughable “”Health Insurance Rate Authority“, which “would issue an annual report setting the parameters for reasonable rate increases based on conditions in the market.”” “conditions in the market” meaning… “do they want bigger houses?” and “how do we make even more money than last year?”

4. “expanding malpractice reform to shield insurance companies from lawsuits”

5. the senate version removed “Kucinich Option” that protected state’s rights when it comes to passing their own single payer plan (which 12 or 13 states are already in the process of doing).

Now, everyone knew the senate version of this thing would never pass the House, not right before an election. And they can’t wait till after the election to give the democrats cover for at least two years because the Fed can’t afford to keep propping up the stock market forever and this economy is about to crash and crash hard. Once that happens, there is no way they could ever get this bloated, corporatist pig of an “insurance company giveaway plan” to market.

So what do you do? You get your PR guys to write-up a scheme in which senate dems, senate republicans, the White House, the insurance companies, the media pundits on both sides, leading “progressive” bloggers all work in tandem to give the House’s Democrat holdouts enough cover to justify voting with the White House to pass this horrible bill. It’s a convoluted and obviously scripted scheme apparently written by some sophomoric PR firm dimwit… but unfortunately it looks like it will be “smart enough” to fool the foolish American public for just long enough once again.

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There is Still Time For Real Reform, Listen to the American People

[read Dr. Flowers open letter to President Obama after the break]

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“Reconstructing Haiti” on starvation wages

(“Due to its poverty and relatively unregulated labor market, Haiti has labor costs that are fully competitive with China, which is the global benchmark,” Collier wrote in a UN plan for restructuring Haiti written 9 months prior to the earthquake and apparently being used as a blueprint for Bill Clinton’s neoliberal “free-trade-zone” based plan now.)

by Bill Van Auken, WSWS

Government ministers, international bankers and aid agencies gathered in Montreal Monday to discuss plans for reconstructing earthquake-ravaged Haiti. At the heart of their proposals is the exploitation of Haitian workers at poverty wages.

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What a Sad Week for Democracy

by Scott Creighton

***UPDATE*** (Five. I stand corrected. There are now 5 events from this past week that I should have mentioned. Please see the last one reported on by Glenn Greenwald at the end of this article.)

What a week it was for our democratic freakshow. How many more shocks can our fragile egos take before the entire illusion of American exceptionalism crumbles from under our feet? What happens when it does? This past week, four events played out that should by all rights shake the people of this nation out of their self-induced comas. I’m not holding my breath.

1. Obama Plays the Populist Card

This week President Obama and his script writers did what they could to help shore up the decaying illusions of our democratic foundations. They announced some new rules, the Volcker rules, supposedly to reign in the Wall Street bankers. The hasty press conference Obama and his DLC/New Dems staff put together couldn’t have looked more like a sophomoric propaganda pep-rally session if George Bush and his pathetically unsophisticated writing staff had done it themselves. They might as well have shipped in some homeless, jobless, ex-middle-class Americans and piled them up on the floor so that Obama could stand on top of them with a bullhorn to deliver the speech.

I hear they are already planning for President Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” celebration to be held in a soup kitchen in Detroit next week (figured they would get a photo-op session in before the banks shut it down).

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Obama received $20 million from healthcare industry in 2008 campaign

Almost three times the amount given to McCain

by Brad Jacobson, Raw Story

While some sunlight has been shed on the hefty sums shoveled into congressional campaign coffers in an effort to influence the Democrats’ massive healthcare bill, little attention has been focused on the far larger sums received by President Barack Obama while he was a candidate in 2008.

A new figure, based on an exclusive analysis created for Raw Story by the Center for Responsive Politics, shows that President Obama received a staggering $20,175,303 from the healthcare industry during the 2008 election cycle, nearly three times the amount of his presidential rival John McCain. McCain took in $7,758,289, the Center found.

The new figure, obtained by Raw Story through an independent custom research request performed by the Center for Responsive Politics — a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics — is the most comprehensive breakdown yet available of healthcare industry contributions to Obama during the 2008 election cycle.

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