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Does the GOP Want to Privatize Medicare and Medicaid?

raining dollarsThe Republicans started their side of the health reform debate with a nonsensical four page document that was short of details and had no budget figures in it whatsoever. Then they published the “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights“. We noted that – “There is not one thing in the RNC Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights that will help the uninsured, add badly needed consumer protections for seniors and others, improve the effectiveness of treatment that seniors receive, or unsettle the powerful health sector lobby.

Their zeal didn’t last long though. When they touted their new health care web site it didn’t mention seniors at all. In fact, there were no occurrences of the words “senior,” “elderly,” or “older Americans” at all. This week they’ve been promoting their ideas for a health reform bill. It would have been more honest of the GOP to call it the “Health Insurance Industry Protection and Promotion Bill”. Unfortunately, the Congressional Budget Office found that, by 2019, the GOP bill would leave the number of under-65 uninsured Americans at around 52 million. That’s 6 million more than the current number of 46 million. If you allow for population expansion and aging it means that the GOP bill does absolutely nothing to help the uninsured. The Democrats’ bill will cover 36 million more uninsured Americans, basically everyone but the illegal immigrants.

The Republicans claim that their bill will cost $61 billion less than the Democrats’ bill. The GOP “No features, less protection and unspecified cuts in service” bill, understandably costs less than the Democrats’ estimate of $861 billion for a bill with new features, new consumer protections and coverage for uninsured citizens and legal residents. However, the GOP bill adds $8 billion to the overall deficit, whereas the Democrats’ bill reduces the deficit. Notably, the GOP bill omits the consumer protections that are a key feature of the Democrats’ bill. That will mean that the health insurance companies will still be able to refuse insurance, drop policy holders at will and set premium prices at any level they like. They’ll still be able to use their price-fixing cartel status to extract money from their victims until they have to declare bankruptcy and potentially become another uninsured American death statistic.

Meanwhile, in a ludicrous political rally on the steps of Congress, which the GOP hastily relabeled a “press conference” to discuss health care reform, sick right-wing extremists waved posters showing dead bodies heaped high in the Nazi’s Dachau concentration camp, outright racist depictions of President Obama and slogans that called for Congress to “Abolish Government Health Care”. They obviously haven’t read our many articles on the current government run health care programs.

One American will have reason to pause and think about government health care more deeply tomorrow. As Rep. John Boehner (R – OH) took the podium to launch into a tirade against health reform in which he bone-headedly read from the Declaration of Independence instead of the Constitution, one demonstrator had a heart attack. His life was saved by the government medics who rushed to his help. That’s right – government run health care saved his life. Five other patients were treated by the government medics at the same event. Let’s hope the government gets paid by those peoples’ health insurers. Or, maybe they were on a government plan already and had forgotten that fact.

The obvious conclusion is that the GOP is working for the health insurance industry, not the electorate. Can they and their camp followers really be in favor of privatizing Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Health Administration and the other four fine government run health systems we’ve just put under the microscope? Those programs provide coverage for one third of Americans.

We can’t let the Democrats off of the hook either. Senate Majority Leader Harry “$2,041,601″ Reid1 (D-NV) is talking about delaying the Senate vote until after Christmas, no doubt in the hope that he’ll be able to swing a better deal for his health industry buddies. We truly do have a sick nation that’s in need of its own care, not to mention political system financing reform.

 1  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has received $2,041,601 in contributions from the health sector.

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2 comments to Does the GOP Want to Privatize Medicare and Medicaid?

  • Calvkin Sturgies

    Leon wrote a letter to the editor of the Rio Vista Beacon, in response to a column by Jean Last. I loved it, as Jean Last’s columns give my brain the equivalent of a tooth-ache. I could not locate him or the paper in the Rio Vista telephone directory, so I am taking a chance. One good thing is that I have now discovered the SILVER BUZZ CAFE.
    Hooray. Anyway, the article was great AND a big surprise that the response was printed. My fantasy is that Jean Last is either a relative, owner or pen name of the editor of the paper. Her work sickens. Your’s enlightens.
    Thank you
    C/ Sturgies, Rio Vista

  • Leon and Verna will neither confirm nor deny that they may or may not be Trilogites. However, they can sometimes be found in The Nines or Foster’s Bighorn. See About Us for more clues.

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