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Better Believe It

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Member since: Sun Mar 16, 2008, 11:41 PM
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If the health insurance industry mandate is a great "reform" so is cutting Social Security benefits!

If the court upholds the insurance industry law, single payer will be dead for years.

That's because the health insurance companies and big pharma will have a lock on the for-profit health care industry.

It's their baby.

I suppose you can describe this horrible piece of Wall Street legislation as "health care reform", but the fact is the insurance industry wrote this bill via their lobbyists behind closed doors in order to guarantee their stranglehold over the health care system.

These parasites contribute absolutely nothing to improve our health care. They are useless "middlemen" and need to be driven out of our medical system, not rewarded!

Instead these vultures will be paid off with tens of millions of new forced customers who will shell out hundred of billions of dollars for second rate medical care.

And that's labeled by some as "health care reform"???

Sorry.

I'll pass on that so-called "reform".

Oh .... but I can't if the Supreme Court says it's legal.

So what's the government going to do if I refuse to give thousands of dollars to an insurance company for inadequate benefits .... fine me?

I just don't recall any wave of popular movements and demonstrations demanding that we be forced to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to the insurance industry sharks in the name of progressive "reform"!

I must have missed that.

So what's the next "great reform" going to be? Increasing the Social Security retirement age and/or cutting benefits?

I can hardly wait for that one.

And like Senator Schumer pointed out on Sunday, the mandated insurance gimmick was originally a right-wing Republican idea that was rejected at that time by Democrats:

Meet the Press transcript for April 1, 2012

Excerpt:

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY):


Well, I'd say, first, that of course, you take constitutional questions seriously. But at the time and still today, most constitutional scholars say it'll be upheld. Harvie Wilkerson***(as spoken)***he's the dean of the very conservative judges on the Courts of Appeals. He said it would be a heavy lift to overturn this law. And let's look at the context. The idea of a mandate came from Republicans. It was--it was proposed by the Heritage Foundation in 1993, people like Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole and that, you know, supported it in those days. In 2009, Mitt Romney, the Republican nom, you know, in the middle of the healthcare debate, the likely Republican nominee, said that the mandate was what should be used as opposed to Democrats who were then arguing for expanding Medicare.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46915274/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/meet-press-transcript-april/
Posted by Better Believe It | Tue Apr 3, 2012, 12:19 PM (30 replies)

Senator Schumer: The health insurance mandate idea came from Republicans and the Heritage Foundation

Meet the Press transcript for April 1, 2012

Excerpt:

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY):

Well, I'd say, first, that of course, you take constitutional questions seriously. But at the time and still today, most constitutional scholars say it'll be upheld. Harvie Wilkerson***(as spoken)***he's the dean of the very conservative judges on the Courts of Appeals. He said it would be a heavy lift to overturn this law. And let's look at the context. The idea of a mandate came from Republicans. It was--it was proposed by the Heritage Foundation in 1993, people like Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole and that, you know, supported it in those days. In 2009, Mitt Romney, the Republican nom, you know, in the middle of the healthcare debate, the likely Republican nominee, said that the mandate was what should be used as opposed to Democrats who were then arguing for expanding Medicare.
Posted by Better Believe It | Mon Apr 2, 2012, 11:09 PM (15 replies)

If 'Obamacare' Falls, Will 'Medicare for All' Rise?:

If 'Obamacare' Falls, Will 'Medicare for All' Rise?
Many observers see opening if Supreme Court kills Affordable Care Act
by Common Dreams staff
April 2, 2012


After last week's deliberations before the US Supreme Court over Obama's signature health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act, speculation is rampant about the political fallout if the nation's highest court knocks down some, or all, of the law.

Conservatives would see a move to throw out the law (which they derisively call 'Obamacare') as a victory, whereas Democrats and those who championed the legislation would consider it an affront to jurisprudence and a defeat of the president's largest domestic policy initiative. Progressives, however -- who only reluctantly accepted the law's passage after their preferred alternatives, either a single-payer system or a 'public option', were ruled out -- may ultimately be the ones who claim victory if the Supreme Court invalidates the 'individual mandate' or the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/04/02-0


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Why Overturning ‘Obamacare’ Could Lead To Single-Payer
by Sahil Kapur
Talking Points Memo
April 2, 2012


If the Supreme Court strikes down “Obamacare,” Republicans claim a huge short-term victory, but they may end up big losers in the long run. The future of the nation’s health care system would be thrown into disarray, and conservatives may be forced to swallow a more bitter pill.

The prospect of moving toward a more liberal, government-controlled health care system is fraught with political peril, and therefore far from inevitable, but may wind up being the only way to prevent the demise of the unsustainable, existing system from leaving many more millions without access to health care. Without a mechanism like an individual mandate to cover the uninsured and tackle the free-rider problem, health care costs are set to rise at an unsustainable rate and compel potentially drastic action from Congress.

“Conservatives may find that they weren’t careful about what they wished for in opposing ‘Obamacare,’” Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA School of Law, told TPM. “The economic, social and political pressure for health care reform aren’t going to just disappear. There’s a reason every major industrialized country has national health care. If the Supreme Court invalidates the Affordable Care Act, we are likely to see a government takeover of health care in the next decade.”

In that scenario, progressives could turn to two alternatives that have proven successful at lowering costs in other countries: A single-payer plan a la Medicare but for everyone, or a two-tier system in which private and public insurers compete. Both concepts are anathema to Republicans, but their constitutionality is not in doubt — and the GOP has been unable to devise a replacement plan, which could give liberals ammunition for their cause.

Read the full article at:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/04/why-overturning-obamacare-could-lead-to-single-payer.php?ref=fpa


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Supreme Court Judges Have Access to Guaranteed Care, Shouldn’t You?
by Rose Ann DeMoro
Rose Ann DeMoro is executive director of the 160,000-member National Nurses United
March 30, 2012


Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer did not have much in common during the three days of debate on the 2010 healthcare law before the Supreme Court March 26-28.

But they did share one essential characteristic. All four will never have to worry about guaranteed access to healthcare.

It’s because all four are over 65, and thus eligible for Medicare – which gives the four justices the same guaranteed coverage that every other American at 65 has. The same coverage that all Americans need and deserve.

Single payer, Medicare for all. If Medicare is good enough for grandma, and for Scalia and Breyer and Kennedy and Ginsburg, it ought to be good enough for all of us.

Read the full article at:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/30-0


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Healthcare Jujitsu: A Path to Medicare for All
by Robert Reich
March 27, 2012


So why not Medicare for all?

Because Republicans have mastered the art of political jujitsu. Their strategy has been to demonize government and seek to privatize everything that might otherwise be a public program financed by tax dollars (see Paul Ryan’s plan for turning Medicare into vouchers). Then they go to court and argue that any mandatory purchase is unconstitutional because it exceeds the government’s authority.

Obama and the Democrats should do the reverse. If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate in the new health law, private insurers will swarm Capitol Hill demanding that the law be amended to remove the requirement that they cover people with pre-existing conditions.

When this happens, Obama and the Democrats should say they’re willing to remove that requirement – but only if Medicare is available to all, financed by payroll taxes.

If they did this the public will be behind them — as will the Supreme Court.

Read the full article at:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/27-0

Posted by Better Believe It | Mon Apr 2, 2012, 11:00 PM (42 replies)

Chomsky, Hedges, Ellsberg file lawsuit against "anti-terrorism law" that curbs free speech and press

Journalists, Activists Challenge NDAA Law
Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, among the plantiffs involved in the case
by Common Dreams staff
March 30, 2012


A group of prominent activists and journalists presented a legal challenge to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) yesterday, claiming to a New York City federal judge that the law inhibits their First Amendment Rights.

Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg are among the seven plaintiffs on the case. They argued the law, which includes controversial provisions authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world, without charge or trial. Critics say the the law is written in a way that it could put journalists who report on terror-related issues at risk for detention for supporting enemy forces.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/03/30-5


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US anti-terrorism law curbs free speech and activist work, court told
Controversy over NDAA centres on loose definition of key words, such as who are 'associated forces' of named terrorist groups
Paul Harris in New York
March 29, 2012


A group political activists and journalists has launched a legal challenge to stop an American law they say allows the US military to arrest civilians anywhere in the world and detain them without trial as accused supporters of terrorism.

The seven figures, who include ex-New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, professor Noam Chomsky and Icelandic politician and WikiLeaks campaigner Birgitta Jonsdottir, testified to a Manhattan judge that the law – dubbed the NDAA or Homeland Battlefield Bill – would cripple free speech around the world.

They said that various provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Bill, which was signed by President Barack Obama at the end of 2011, effectively broadened the definition of "supporter of terrorism" to include peaceful activists, authors, academics and even journalists interviewing members of radical groups.

Controversy centres on the loose definition of key words in the bill, in particular who might be "associated forces" of the law's named terrorist groups al-Qaida and the Taliban and what "substantial support" to those groups might get defined as. Whereas White House officials have denied the wording extends any sort of blanket coverage to civilians, rather than active enemy combatants, or actions involved in free speech, some civil rights experts have said the lack of precise definition leaves it open to massive potential abuse.

Read the full article at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/29/journalists-us-anti-terrorism-law-ndaa?newsfeed=true


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NDAA Lawsuit Seeks Preliminary Injunction Against ‘Unprecedented Threat To Civil Liberties’
By Ashley Portero:
March 29, 2012


Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir are among the seven witnesses expected to testify in a New York federal court on Thursday in support of a class action lawsuit against the United States government over controversial provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a military spending bill they claim threatens American's civil liberties and basic human rights.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest will hear arguments for a preliminary injunction against certain sections of the legislation, which was signed into law on Dec. 31. Buried in the otherwise mundane budget and expenditure bill is a provision under Section 1021 of the law that permits the indefinite military detention, without a formal charge or public trial, of anyone suspected of participating in or aiding a terrorist organization "engaged in hostilities against the United States."

Although the bill explicitly states the military detention provision does not apply to U.S. citizens, but only American al-Qaeda members overseas, some critics fear the language could eventually be interpreted to apply to all citizens, something Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said would be an "unprecedented threat to our constitutional liberties."

"If there is no rolling back of the NDAA law, we cease to be a constitutional democracy. Totalitarian systems always begin by rewriting the law," Hedges said this week. "They make legal what was once illegal... Foreign and domestic subjugation merges into the same brutal mechanism. Citizens are colonized. And it is always done in the name of national security."

Read the full article at:

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/321445/20120329/ndaa-lawsuit-obama-chris-hedges-daniel-ellsberg.htm
Posted by Better Believe It | Sat Mar 31, 2012, 11:18 PM (19 replies)

Under "Obamacare" 27% to 32% of insurance premiums will go for profits and administrative costs ...

even under the 80% to 85% medical/loss ratio formula!

And states can apply for waivers from the medical/loss ratio!

HHS has so far granted waivers to seven states: Maine, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Nevada, Iowa, Georgia and Wisconsin.


And why should the insurance companies reduce their premiums under an individual mandate rather than simply increase their profits?

Should we trust them???

They exist for profits, it's all about profits made from us! They are not some sort of do gooder service trying to improve the health and medical treatment of the public. End of story. And this insurance industry written law doesn't change that.

It has not been magically changed under this law into some sort of social service agency serving the public as some seem to believe!

The insurance tycoons are money hungry, parasitic, unnecessary vultures who contribute nothing to improve health care.

They must be removed from the health care system and not rewarded as they are under under the new law!
BBI




Don McCanne, San Juan Capistrano, CA
September 3, 2010


Focusing on narrow issues such as whether the administrative cost of brokers’ fees somehow represents patient care or quality improvement as opposed to being an administrative expense distracts us from the much more important overriding issue of the profound administrative waste throughout our health care system that is related to the dysfunctional, fragmented manner in which we allocate health care spending.

The first consideration is the administrative cost of the private insurers. Should we really be allocating 15 to 20 percent of the insurance premiums to the private insurers for them to use for their own intrinsic purposes – funds that never make it to paying for health care? When you consider the very high health care expenditures in our nation, 15 to 20 percent is a huge allocation for non-medical purposes.

Another very important diversion of health care dollars is the cost of the administrative burden placed on hospitals and physicians merely to deal with our fragmented system of a multitude of public and private plans – especially in claims processing, including not only the protracted process of managing disputed claims, but also other administrative diversions such as negotiating and managing insurance company contracts.

This administrative burden on the providers has been estimated to consume about 12 percent of premium dollars. Thus the combined administrative costs merely for the insurance function will be about 27 to 32 percent of the insurance premium – a very high percentage of our very high priced system. That does not include all of the other essential administrative functions that hospitals and physicians face. What a waste!

Read the full article at:

http://pnhp.org/blog/2010/09/03/uwe-reinhardt-on-the-details-of-the-medical-loss-ratio/
Posted by Better Believe It | Sat Mar 31, 2012, 04:19 PM (174 replies)

The Nightmare Scenario: Supreme Court Guts Medicaid and Guarantees the Private Insurance Monopoly

The Nightmare Scenario: Supreme Court Guts Public Healthcare and Guarantees the Private Insurance Monopoly
The stakes in the healthcare reform debate became larger as the justices found a new target late Wednesday.
by Steven Rosenfeld
March 29, 2012

At the U.S. Supreme Court this week, most of the attention has focused on whether the new federal healthcare reform can require every American to have a health plan. But as the hearings ended on Wednesday, another prospect came into view that could satisfy the conservative justices' obvious displeasure with the law and it is far more chilling—striking down the expansion of state-run Medicaid programs.

Should the conservatives remove the individual mandate from their bullseye and replace it with Medicaid, it would give right-wing ideologues and the private sector a historic political victory at the expense of a slice of society the GOP has no qualms about beating up: low-income people, particularly women; communities of color; and other underrepresented people.

That scenario is more than troubling: wiping out the government’s largest expansion of healthcare for low-income people since the 1960s while enshrining a private sector monopoly on future healthcare delivery.

Striking the Medicaid expansion and leaving the coverage mandate would shrink the public health sector while enshrining a new private sector healthcare monopoly. It would move the country further away from anything resembling the way healthcare is delivered in every other industrialized nation and set a precedent that Congress cannot do anything big to address big social problems without "coercing" states to be part of the solution.

Read the full article at:

http://www.alternet.org/news/154764/the_nightmare_scenario%3A_supreme_court_guts_public_healthcare_and_guarantees_the_private_insurance_monopoly/


Posted by Better Believe It | Fri Mar 30, 2012, 04:08 PM (6 replies)

All U.S. Groups Oppose Obama’s “Individual Mandate” for Health Care



All U.S. Groups Oppose Obama’s “Individual Mandate” for Health Care
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Executive Editor Glen Ford
March 27, 2012


When one takes a cursory look at where various groups in the nation stand on President Obama’s health care legislation – now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court – it appears the country is split along party and race lines. A new poll conducted by Princeton Research Associates shows 75 percent of Democrats support the Obama position, and 86 percent of Republicans oppose it, with so-called independents evenly split. The racial divide is similar. Sixty-eight percent of non-whites “strongly favor” or “somewhat favor” the overall health care law, with only 18 percent opposed. Whites are far more divided, with 33 percent favoring Obama’s law, and 47 percent opposed.

These numbers are, however, heavily influenced by what people think is in the law, and what side they think they should be on, based on their larger loyalties. It is doubtful that majorities on either side of the issue actually understand most of the law’s many provisions, some of which do not go into effect for several years. Therefore, many of the respondents are using the poll to register their broader preference for or against the incumbent president and his party. It is no surprise that majorities of whites and super-majorities of Republicans oppose ObamaCare, as Republicans call it, and more than two thirds of non-whites and three-quarters of Democrats support Health Care Reform, as Obama calls it.

However, most people do understand the central element of the law, the “individual mandate” that forces nearly everyone to buy health insurance from private companies, or face a fine. The new poll shows that no significant constituency supports Obama’s individual mandate, with only 28 percent of the overall public favorable to the scheme. Even non-whites, two-thirds of whom claim to support Obama on health care in general, balk at mandatory purchase of insurance from private companies. Fifty-three percent of non-whites give thumbs down to the individual health insurance mandate, as do 71 percent of whites. More Democrats are opposed to Obama’s individual mandate than favor it: 48 to 44 percent. And Republicans are off the scale in opposition, at 15 to 1.

There’s another interesting aspect to the new poll. It shows that only a hard core of one in four people want to tamper with Medicare as the Republicans do, with around two-thirds of all racial groups opting to keep the program the way it is, with the government paying doctors and hospitals directly for the service they provide to seniors.” Taken together, the poll indicates strong support for the core elements of the U.S. healthcare safety net, and rejection of private schemes, including Obama’s mandatory purchase of insurance from private companies. It appears that most Americans would rather have the option of dependable, direct health care paid for by the government – which was the case at the beginning of 2009, before Obama unveiled his health care scheme, when 60 percent and more of the American people favored single-payer health care. But Obama maneuvered them into a something they hadn’t asked for, and which, three years later, nobody wants. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford.

Listen to or read the full commentary at:

http://blackagendareport.com/content/all-us-constituencies-oppose-obama%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cindividual-mandate%E2%80%9D-health-care


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Public Still Opposes Health Care Mandate
by Ronald Brownstein
March 27, 2012


Americans remain overwhelmingly against requiring individuals to purchase health insurance, but they divide in half about the health care law that President Obama signed in 2010, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.

The poll found sweeping opposition to the so-called individual mandate, whose constitutionality the Supreme Court is considering. But it also found the nation split along overlapping lines of partisanship and race when respondents were asked about the impact of Obama’s health reform law and its effort to expand coverage to the uninsured. At the same time, the Republican proposal to restructure Medicare into a premium-support or voucher system faces resistance as widespread as the individual mandate.

The mandate on individuals to purchase insurance or pay a penalty, as in earlier national polls, remains an idea without any significant constituency. Overall, when asked if “the federal government should or should not be able to require all Americans to obtain health insurance or else pay a fine,” just 28 percent of those surveyed said they supported the mandate, while 66 percent opposed it.

The United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, surveyed 1,003 adults on March 22-25. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

See the poll graph at:

http://cdn-media.nationaljournal.com/?controllerName=image&action=get&id=16349&width=628

Read the full article at:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/public-still-opposes-health-care-mandate-20120326

Posted by Better Believe It | Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:40 PM (18 replies)

If Health Care Reform Falls, Progressives Need to Look In The Mirror

If Health Care Reform Falls, Progressives Need to Look In The Mirror
by Karen Dolan
March 30, 2012

.... progressives did fight for the public option. With some notable exceptions, almost exclusively. Instead of being the rallying grassroots campaign and reasonable solution desired by all progressives, universal, single-ayer health care became the pariah of the organized progressives, scoffed at and scorned as unachievable.

(Don't we hear the same sort of crapola today about Medicare for All being a utopian unachievable dream? BBI)


It should have come with no surprise that starting where you want to end in a negotiation is a sure way to not get what you want. Progressives could have not only kept their integrity, but they could have provided a left flank as a foil for the administration. Centrist Dems and less-extreme Repubs could have seen a public option as a place to go. The administration should have allowed it, encouraged it, engaged it, used it. Progressives should have fought like hell for it.

No one can say that the outcome then would have been the public option, or wouldn't have. No one knows what the political climate could have been with a strong, organized fight from progressives for Medicare for all. But without a strategy that included such a fight, it could easily have been predicted that public option would not be the outcome.

If we had ended up with a single-payer system, then of course the "individual mandate problem" is non-existent. Even if we had ended up with a "public option," we would not have had this the question before the Supreme Court this spring. Justice Kennedy himself suggested so in his comments that the Individual Mandate problem could be avoided by a tax funded single payer national health service.

Read the full article at:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/30

Some those same self-proclaimed liberals today claim that Medicare for All can't be passed if the individual mandate in the health insurance industry law is overturned by the Supreme Court. Actually just the opposite is true. They are wrong on this just as they were wrong in refusing to campaign for a single payer system before the insurance industry law was passed by Congress. A health insurance industry lock on the health care system will all but make Medicare for All impossible for a generation. BBI
Posted by Better Believe It | Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:09 PM (2 replies)

If ACA mandates are upheld, we won't get Medicare-for-All and better health care for a generation.

The insurance industry and big pharma will have a lock on the for-profit health care system under what I call the "Insurance Industry and Big Pharma Protection Act".

The unnecessary insurance industry will add hundreds of billions of dollars every year to the cost of medical care without contributing anything of value that will improve our health.

They are useless parasites feeding off public with the approval and help of the government under the individual mandate.

Posted by Better Believe It | Thu Mar 29, 2012, 09:57 PM (128 replies)

Individual mandates are the key to big business plans to destroy Social Security and Medicare

Individual Mandates and Unraveling the Great Society
By: Jon Walker
March 29, 2012


If Conservatives get their way and the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate to buy health insurance, it would be a real victory for them; but in the end, the last laugh may be with actual progressives. While in this case an individual mandate was used to expand health coverage, similar individual mandates are the cornerstone for corporatist plans to unravel the public social insurance systems created by the New Deal/Great Society.

•The way to destroy the Social Security retirement insurance program, it is to eliminate the universal public program and replace it with an individual mandate to buy only private retirement accounts. You can also eliminate Social Security’s public disability program by creating an individual mandate requiring everyone to buy subsidized private disability insurance.
•The way to destroy Medicare as we known it is to basically replace the Medicare’ single payer system with ObamaCare for everyone over 65. For all participial purposes this is effectively what Paul Ryan’s original plan to destroy Medicare was.
•You can replace our current unemployment insurance system with an individual mandate requiring everyone to buy only subsidized private unemployment insurance.


If the Supreme Court rules against this individual mandate in a way that basically makes it legally impossible to replace most of our current public insurance systems with mandated private systems, that should be seen as a big silver lining for progressives.

Read the full article at:

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2012/03/29/individual-mandates-and-unraveling-the-great-society/
Posted by Better Believe It | Thu Mar 29, 2012, 09:41 PM (18 replies)
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