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Posts Tagged ‘Health care reform

Jeffrey Sachs on the American Corporate State

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The Economist   Nov 12, 2011          

Homeward bound

How to turn America around

The Price of Civilisation: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity. By Jeffrey Sachs. Random House; 336 pages; $27. Published in Britain as “The Price of Civilisation: Economics and Ethics after the Fall”. Bodley Head; £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

JEFFREY SACHS is an American economist best known for his prescriptions for economically diseased poor countries. The country he now considers most in need of his diagnostic gifts is his own. “Something has gone terribly wrong in the US economy, politics, and society in general,” Mr Sachs writes in “The Price of Civilisation”. American politicians are the stooges of corporations, he says. And American voters have been tranquillised into obesity by saturation advertising.

Such sentiments would appear unremarkable if spouted by an Occupy Wall Street protester. But Mr Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, is a respected, mainstream macroeconomist. Mr Sachs catalogues the familiar problems that beset the American economy: unemployment stuck at 9%, an exploding budget deficit, America ceding technological leadership to China, poorly educated American children.

But this is not principally a work of economics. Mr Sachs blames America’s problems on politics. In the 1960s, southerners began to desert the Democratic Party and Republicans began to build an insurmountable congressional barrier to more activist government, which Mr Sachs deeply regrets. He despises Barack Obama’s Democratic Party almost as much as he does Ronald Reagan’s Republicans: “On many days it seems that the only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that Big Oil owns the Republicans while Wall Street owns the Democrats.” He is particularly scathing of the “revolving door” between Mr Obama’s administration and Wall Street.

The convergence between the parties, says Mr Sachs, has led to policies that systematically favour capital over labour, keep tax rates low on footloose multinational corporations and starve government programmes that benefit the poor and the unemployed. This, he claims, flies in the face of popular will: he cites polls that find the majority of Americans favour more activist government and higher taxes on the rich.

Mr Sachs’s analysis can be doctrinaire and one-dimensional, but it is almost always grounded in solid economics. Capital, he argues, has prospered more than labour during the era of globalisation. And America’s per head GDP is inflated by spending on an inefficient health-care system and the armed forces. Mr Sachs’s prescriptions are also admirably precise: the federal government should spend an additional 0.5% of GDP on worker training and the same again on early-childhood development; the top tax rate should be raised to 39.6%, which, neatly enough, he says, would raise the equivalent of 0.5% of GDP……….

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What Do Real Socialists Say About Obama’s Health Care “Reform”?

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We know a former Wellpoint (Insurance ) exec actually wrote most of the Bill that was just passed. We know that Obama made a deal behind closed doors to kill the Public Option. We’re also beginning to hear more about all the traps and loopholes that were written into the Bill benefiting the Insurance and Pharma industries, and the lack of any real price constraints so costs can continue to rise.

What I’d really like to know is why none of these details were provided by the media prior to passage? The public was asked to take sides pro and con with only their fears to guide them for the most part.

Progressives and Conservatives are in agreement that  these Health “Reform” efforts are a sham and will not deliver as advertised. But  Tea-Baggers claim the Bill is socialist. So what do real socialists have to say?


The Meaning of Obama’s Healthcare Reform and Next Steps

March 29, 2010

Statement by the Editorial Board of   The Organizer Newspaper

The healthcare reform bill adopted by the House of Representatives on March 21 and signed into law by President Obama on March 23 has been hailed widely as an historic victory for working people. Some have gone so far as to compare it to the adoption of the Social Security and Medicare bills years ago. Even those who criticize aspects of the bill argue that it marks a step forward that warrants our support.

No one could be opposed to a healthcare reform bill, however incremental, if it represented even a small step in the right direction. But is this really the case?

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Tea Party Protesters Heckle Man With Parkinsons

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AlterNet March 17, 2010

At an anti health reform rally in Columbus yesterday, Tea Partiers demonstrated why they should be taken seriously as a populist movement by heckling a man who carried a sign claiming he suffers from Parkinsons.

A video shows the man sitting down in front of a group of protesters. “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong part of town! Nothing for free here, you have to work for everything you get!” says one guy. Then, some khaki-clad dick saunters over, flings some money at the protester and smarmily says “I’ll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot.” He circles back around to scream, “I’ll decide when to give you money!” Someone else yells something about communism. Someone else screams, “No more handouts!!!”

Of course, things get heated at protests. And it may not be fair to judge everyone at the demonstration based on a handful of crazy idiots caught on video. What a nice illustration, though, of a mindset that brings someone out in the middle of the day to scream about (very imperfect) legislation that promises to extend insurance to millions and curb some of the most egregious abuses of the insurance industry.

(The video was originally posted on the Columbus Dispatch.)

Written by laudyms

March 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Stop Big Insurance: Demand the Public Option

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On March 9th in Washington, DC, a citizens’ posse – thousands strong – descended on the Ritz-Carlton Hotel where the insurance companies were meeting to plot to KILL health reform. They came to arrest the insurance companies, and that’s what they did.

The House may vote on health reform as early as next week. It’s now or never. Demand that the Public Option be part of Reconciliation!


Pledge to call your Representative in the House as many times as it takes until they listen to us and vote YES on health reform!

You might also want to read: The Democrats’ scam becomes more transparent which details the big Sell-Out the Democrats have in mind.

Written by laudyms

March 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

Spineless, Timid, Tepid and Wimpy

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The Obama administration stolidly mans their shovels to dig a deeper hole. Never mind the increasingly disparaging comments in print (can you imagine what is being said privately?) about how quickly they collapse when asked to support people-first policies they supposedly favor.

Jim Hightower writes:

The Obama-ites seem incapable of firm stands. They excite us by boldly addressing our economic woes. But when it comes time to follow through — it’s droopsville….

Obama himself has titillated the hopes of working families by proposing a $266 billion national emergency program to put America to work.

Strong stuff — let’s get it on!

Sure enough, after a lengthy romancing of their Republican colleagues (who are devout believers in an abstinence-only job-creation policy), the Democrats finally made their move last week. With the support of five GOP senators, the “jobs, jobs, jobs” bill passed in both houses of Congress.

But … what a letdown. To win those five Republican senators, Democratic leaders shriveled their job investment program from a robust $266 billion to a frustratingly puny $15 billion. Even such phony Casanovas as Sen. Chuck Schumer had to confess that the “package is not a panacea; it’s not going to solve everything.”

Everything? Chuck, admit your impotence. At most, this bill might stimulate the creation of 250,000 new jobs — a bit short of the 11 million that America needs just to get back to where were in 2007, much less the need to create an economic path to lead us into a bold future of new, sustainable, middle-class job creation.

George F. Will opines:

Barack Obama has refuted critics who call him a radical. He has shown himself to be a timid progressive.

His timidity was displayed when he flinched from fighting for the boldness the nation needs — a transition from the irrationality of employer-provided health insurance. His progressivism is an attitude of genteel regret about the persistence of politics.

“Tepid” is one of the most common words used to describe Obama. Just use a search engine- I started to count the entries and gave up.

Digby adds:

According to Sam Stein members the Treasury Department, including Tim Geithner himself, met with a group of progressive bloggers yesterday to tell them what a good job the administration’s done all things considered, but that now they need to get the voters all charged up to help them pass a tepid financial reform bill. This is part of a larger public relations offensive to rehabilitate Geithner and the Obama economic policies.

I doubt any American President has ever offered so many policies designed to fail or made such a concerted effort to be a one-termer.  I’d sure like to know why.

Written by laudyms

March 11, 2010 at 10:33 am

Root of Our Health Care Problems: Privatization

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Patients gather outside the Virginia-Kentucky Fairgrounds for their turn to enter the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Health Expedition in Wise, Va., July 24, 2009. Photo by Paul Morse for AARP Bulletin Today

“The root of the problem is the privatization of the funding and organization of medical care.”

Consequences of the Privatized Funding of Medical Care and the Privatized Electoral Process

By Vicente Navarro, M.D.
American Journal of Public Health, Jan. 14, 2010

The current state of health care reform in the United States reveals the enormous limitations of democracy in this country, unparalleled in the western world. Why is there such a large gap between what people want from their representatives in Congress – including universal access to health care as a matter of right – and what they get?

To answer this question, we first need to look at what is happening in the U.S. medical care sector. I think it’s fair to say that what we see there is also unparalleled in the western world. Forty-seven million people are without any form of health insurance coverage (and a million more are added each year) and 102 million have insufficient coverage (and many aren’t aware of how limited their coverage is until they find out that an illness or needed test is not covered). The clearest indicator of the inhumane system of funding and organizing medical care in the United States is that 40 percent of people in the terminal stages of illness say they are worrying about how to pay their medical bills. No other major country comes even close to this level of inhumanity.

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Howard Dean: “Kill The Senate Bill”

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Greg Sargent’s blog

In a blow to the bill grinding through the Senate, Howard Dean bluntly called for the bill to be killed in a pre-recorded interview set to air later this afternoon, denouncing it as “the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate,” the reporter who conducted the interview tells me.

Dean said the removal of the Medicare buy-in made the bill not worth supporting, and urged Dem leaders to start over with the process of reconciliation in the interview, which is set to air at 5:50 PM today on Vermont Public Radio, political reporter Bob Kinzel confirms to me.

The gauntlet from Dean — whose voice on health care is well respsected among liberals — will energize those on the left who are mobilizing against the bill, and make it tougher for liberals to embrace the emerging proposal. In an excerpt Kinzel gave me, Dean says:

“This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”

Kinzel added that Dean essentially said that if Democratic leaders cave into Joe Lieberman right now they’ll be left with a bill that’s not worth supporting.

Dean had previously endorsed the Medicare buy-in compromise without a public option, saying that the key question should be whether the bill contains enough “real reform” to be worthy of progressives’ support. Dean has apparently concluded that the “real reform” has been removed at Lieberman’s behest — which won’t make it easier for liberals to swallow the emerging compromise.

Update: The full interview is now up at Vermont Public Radio.