BRAMA, August 28, 2009, 9:00 AM ET|
Privileged Money Tries to Derail Healthcare Insurance Reform
By Boris Danik
A major source of funding for government subsidies envisioned in President
Obama's healthcare insurance reform is expected to come from a marginal
tax increase in the top income class (those making over $500,000).
The allergy in the top bracket to such a possible tax hike became an
instant trigger for the proxies of the monied elite to mobilize the
hackers to sink the reform. The New York Times
named the US Chamber of Commerce as one of the organizers of a multi-million dollar
campaign to derail the reform (August 13, 2009 online [August 14 print version] Ad Campaign Counterattacks Against Overhaul Critics). The Chamber's commercial paints the expense
of the reform as something that "would all but break the national bank."
The instigated quasi-populist assault is focused on a soft link in Obama's
plan, the one that admittedly relies on savings to be realized by getting
rid of "the inefficiencies" in the existing system. The hackers quickly
dubbed it "healthcare rationing."
In particular, their polyphony is distorting the provision in the proposed
reform that authorizes optional, voluntary consultation with doctors about
hospice care and options to permit aggressive intervention that may be
life-saving. The detractors call such consultation "death panels."
But, lo and behold, a similar provision was passed in Congress last year
without such a furor. This provision makes sense, and here is why.
Approximately, one-half of all Medicare expenses take place in the last
six months of the patients' lives no doubt due to heroic treatment
efforts and market-indexed technology that may or many not make much sense
for the dying but are profitable for the medical-industrial establishment.
So, when The Ukrainian Weekly features a column in which the writer shows an alarming concern for his Baba as a potential victim of "Obama-care," try not to panic (ref: The Ukrainian Weekly, August 9, 2009, p.7).
Healthcare rationing is what we have now, and the uninsured get the skimpiest
ration. Along these lines, insurance policies have exclusions and
limitations depending on the premiums paid. If in poor health, private
insurers can charge a higher premium, or deny insurance renewal
Co-payments can drive the chronically ill into bankruptcy, and often do.
High medical expenses are the underlying cause of a large percentage of individual
bankruptcies in the USA (on the order of a million each year).
Most of them (85% according to The Ukrainian Weekly columnist) were
probably "satisfied" with their insurance before becoming blacklisted
by private insurers due to devastating illnesses or decked by co-payments from the treatments.
The phrase "the cure was worse than the disease" (i.e., the patient died) is not
merely an anecdotal one-liner when the wife of the deceased gets a $70,000
bill the patient's co-payment responsibility for medical care from his
bout with cancer.
An epochal transfer of wealth from the bottom and the middle to the
top marked the eight years of the Bush administration with its
reactionary legacy of tax cuts for the top echelon on incomes and the
capital gains. It left the duped believers in the Republican "family
values" in the dust with debts and foreclosures.
Getting some of the wealth back, specifically for equitable healthcare, is
the name of the game for the Democrats and for "the left-wing liberals."
This is being resisted with tooth and nail, and with plenty of deception.
"Would you like to have the government decide when you should have hip
replacement?" chimed-in The Wall Street Journal.
When the executive elite is bonusing-off with multi-million dollar
payouts, it is impossible to have an ethical explanation why their income
tax rate should not be higher than 35% as it is now in contrast to the
steeply progressive rate during the post-World War Two period, the time of
the middle-class boom.
Tax cutting for the top tier in the Bush era caused record budget deficits
and spurred reckless lending ("investing") into the housing bubble and
consumer debt from the unprecedented accumulation of money at the top
of the social pyramid. This was the root cause,
shrugged off by establishment gurus, of the ongoing mortgage default
catastrophe and the financial meltdown of 2008.
The distraction may be about Baba, but health insurance is all about the money. It can be
found where wealth is concentrated: on the Avenue of the Gilded Age, which the majority of Americans seldom see or comprehend.
Dr. Boris Danik
North Caldwell, NJ
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