Okay, kiddies. I refer to those of you out there who still believe in A) Santa Claus and B) This Two Party System of Government. Why? Well, for those of us who study what is called A) Truth and B) Facts that prove it, no one has ever seen either Santa Claus or this two party system of government being really adversarial on the key issues that go against this Military-Industrial Empire.
Of course the major case in point has always been the race by the two parties to see who can spend more of your tax money on military spending to maintain our phony wars overseas and the 1,000 bases there—in over 100 different countries. We’ll leave that one for another day and another of my already over 100 columns on that subject. Let’s stick with the healthcare fiasco.
Reference point: Obama’s sellout to the private insurers, Big Pharma and the entire healthcare industry, better known as ObamaCare. In 2009, upon assuming office, Barack had the opportunity, using what is referred to as the bully pulpit, to publicize to Americans the need for what was labeled ‘The Public Option,’ a.ka. Medicare for All (who choose it ). This would allow anyone under 65 to have the choice to join the same plan that we seniors have: Medicare.
Now, this writer has been on Medicare for a few brief years, and knows it is not as viable as could be. It still has these sharks, a.k.a. private insurers, basically handling things, and then getting reimbursed by Uncle Sam. They still have the weight to deny many surgical procedures by insisting that doctors and patients who wish something done to ‘jump through hoops’ first.
Yet, compared to what this writer had previously, Medicare as it now is can be a blessing. The ability to go to specialists for a fair co-pay, and to have those surgeries for maybe a fraction of the old costs through private insurance, or medicines at much better prices than before is a giant step forward!
Well, Obama caved in, along with his (so called) progressive Democratic Party colleagues, and allowed this Affordable Care Act to keep the private insurers basically active and predatory. There were still very high deductibles (duh, like $3,000—$5,000 in many instances) and premiums still rose. If you were under 65 and could not afford $6,000 and up for decent coverage, then you settled for an inferior plan that still cost you $4,000 or so a year. A friend of mine 56 could only afford a hospitalization plan which still costs her over $3,000 a year. When she had an incident at an urgent care facility, and she passed out due to a deep cut, the ambulance and the emergency room has her still paying off the $2,000 bill now 18 months later!
Now we have the (bought and paid for) Congress, run by the Republicans, hammering out a plan which is worse than even Obama’s plan. We know that under the Affordable Care Act millions of low income working stiffs did get coverage that they never before could get. These were folks who did NOT qualify for Medicaid, but the plan they did get was no oasis. Yet, better than nothing, right?
Alas, for the rest of we working stiffs, whose earnings, though paltry, did not qualify us for the discounted or free coverage under Obamacare, had to go onto plans as explained above: mostly mediocre coverage with those insanely high deductibles etc.
The Republican plan will be even more reactionary than Obama’s. Okay, so where is the so-called adversarial Democratic Party during this fiasco? We know that their congressional mouthpiece, Ms. Pelosi, already has determined that ‘Medicare for All’ is NOT on the table. Remember, this was the same (super-rich, by the way) lady who said the same thing about the call for hearings on the run up to the invasion of Iraq, to hold the Bush gang accountable: “It’s not on the table.”
What really cracks this writer up, and another reason why I did NOT support’ Feel the Bern’ for president, was his appearance on CNN’s Anderson (serve the empire) Cooper show Tuesday evening. The interview was about the Republican health care fiasco bill. ‘Feel the Bern’ had the great bully pulpit opportunity to trumpet the need for ‘Medicare for All’. Instead, like the good Democratic soldier he really is, he copped out and ranted about how we must save the Affordable Care Act, admitting it was NOT the best bill, but only needed some altering here and there. No mention of what millions of us out there are now being enlightened about, which is the need for an extension of Medicare for all of us, with each of us under 65 to contribute via taxes . . . still much LESS than buying into private health insurance with its high deductibles and high co-pays, etc.
With this current two party-one party empire neither group will ever ‘drain the swamp’, rather ‘swamp the drain’ of true governmental protection and oversight. Please, folks, remember this for all you ‘free market’ advocates: A Medicare for All system need not outlaw or legislate out private insurance—only compete with it for your support.
Philip A Farruggio is a semi-retired baby boomer born and bred in blue collar Brooklyn, NY. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn longshoremen, and educated at ‘free tuition’ Brooklyn College, class of ’74. Philip has written over 300 columns since 2001 and his work is found on many fine progressive sites like World News Trust, Nation of Change, Information Clearinghouse, Intrepid Report, Sleuth Journal, Dandelion Salad, Counterpunch and Dissident Voice. He can be reached at email@example.com.