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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