3/25 Big Fix In Before PR Game Began: Why Drs. & Nurses Denounce "Healthcare" Bill; Latest Capital "Bailout"

digest:
Like every other attack by capital 'healthcare reform', also in the name of the people, is part of the bipartisan ruling class manipulation of their crisis to serve finance capital's global agenda on the backs and blood of working and oppressed peoples worldwide, including in the 'homeland' with a brew of hard and soft state power. The great electoral scam promotes the bipartisan strategic agenda, feigning 'opposition' and 'choice' by creating a media circus painting the opposition - that polls showed was a majority - as only far-right-racist-republicans: the 'progressive by default' trick.

"In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality"
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/business/24leonhardt.html?th&emc=th

Health Insurers Have Already Won
How UnitedHealth and rival carriers, maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, shaped health-care reform for their own benefit
By Chad Terhune and Keith Epsteinhttp://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/content/09_33/b4143034820260.htm

United Health Group Q2 Profit Jumps 155%
http://www.nasdaq.com/newscontent/20090721/unitedhealthgroupq2profitjump...
UnitedHealth Group Inc. second quarter profit more than doubled from last year, but its health insurance enrollment continued to decline...

...about 40 Democratic opponents of abortion forced tight restrictions on abortion financing into the chamber’s bill just before passage and are now insisting that those provisions be in the final version of the legislation
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/health/policy/27abortion.html?hpw

Legal Immigrants Subsidize Healthcare for Everyone Else
...legal immigrants, who work and pay taxes that contribute to our health care system will continue to be ineligible to receive federally-funded Medicaid services for five years...
we are not talking about those who make at least 133 percent of federal poverty level and could access affordability credits like everyone else for purchasing insurance in the exchange. We are talking about immigrants with the lowest incomes.....http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=92c921d08cab4c4c6cf486edf77ed8f6

In reality both the House and Senate bills have at their core a regressive and harmful mandate that will force people to purchase insurance plans that will not guarantee they get health care when they need it or that the care will be affordable.... handing them hundreds of billions of public dollars to subsidize utterly inadequate insurance plans... Americas Health Insurance Plans, the private health insurance industry’s leading lobbying group...will continue to drive up health costs, raise premiums, and send people, even those with insurance, into bankruptcy. The health care crisis will not end, and this bill will not bring us closer to a real solution... from No Insurance Company Left Behind By Katie Robbins, Health Care for America Now (HCAN) coalition

from Diary of a Wimpy Health Care Bill
03/25/2010
By Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director, National Nurses United
As an organization of registered nurses, we have an obligation to provide an honest assessment, as nurses must do every hour of every day. The legislation fails to deliver on the promise of a single standard of excellence in care for all and instead makes piecemeal adjustments to the current privatized, for-profit healthcare behemoth.

-Expansion of government-funded Medicaid to cover 16 million additional low income people, though the program remains significantly under funded. This limits access to its enrollees as its reimbursement rates are lower than either Medicare or private insurance, with the result some providers find it impossible to participate. Though the federal government will provide additional subsidies to states, those expire in 2016, leaving the program a top target to budget cutting governors and legislatures.

-The mandate forcing people without coverage to buy insurance. Coupled with the subsidies for other moderate income working people not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, the result is a gift worth hundreds of billions of dollars to reward the very insurance industry that created the present crisis through price gouging, care denials, and other abuses.

-Inadequate healthcare cost controls for individuals and families.
1. Insurance premiums will continue to climb. Proponents touted a “robust” public option to keep the insurers “honest,” but that proposal was scuttled. After Anthem Blue Cross of California announced 39 percent premium hikes, the administration promised to crack down with a federal rate insurance authority, an idea also dropped from the bill.
2. There is no standard benefits package, only a circumspect reference that benefits should be “comparable to” current employer provided plans.
3. An illusory limit on out-of-pocket medical expenses. But even in the regulated state exchanges, insurers remain in control of what they offer and what will be a covered service. Insurers are likely to design plans to attract healthier customers, and many enrollees will likely find the federal guarantees do not protect them for medical treatments they actually need.

-No meaningful restrictions on claims denials insurers don’t want to pay for. Proponents cite a review process on denials, but the “internal review process” remains in the hands of the insurers, and the “external” review will be up to the states, many of which have systems now in place that are dominated by the insurance industry with little enforcement mechanism.

-Significant loopholes in the much touted insurance reforms:
1. Provisions permitting insurers and companies to more than double charges to employees who fail “wellness” programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions.
2. Permitting insurers to sell policies “across state lines”, exempting patient protections passed in other states. Insurers will likely set up in the least regulated states in a race to the bottom threatening public protections won by consumers in various states.
3. Allowing insurers to charge three times more based on age plus more for certain conditions, and continue to use marketing techniques to cherry-pick healthier, less costly enrollees.
4. Insurers may continue to rescind policies, drop coverage, for “fraud or intentional misrepresentation” — the main pretext insurance companies now use.

-Taxing health benefits for the first time. Though modified, the tax on benefits remains, a 40 percent tax on plans whose value exceeds $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families. With no real checks on premium hikes, many plans will reach that amount by the start date, 2018, rapidly. The result will be more cost shifting from employers to workers and more people switching to skeletal plans that leave them vulnerable to financial ruin.

-Erosion of women’s reproductive rights, with a new executive order from the President enshrining a deal to get the votes of anti-abortion Democrats and a burdensome segregation of funds, that in practice will likely mean few insurers will cover abortion and perhaps other reproductive medical services.

-A windfall for pharmaceutical giants. Through a deal with the White House, the administration blocked provisions to give the government more power to negotiate drug prices and gave the name brand drug makers 12 years of marketing monopoly against competition from generic competition on biologic drugs, including cancer treatments.

Most critically, the bill strengthens the economic and political power of a private insurance-based system based on profit rather than patient need...this bill requires people — in the midst of the mass unemployment and the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression — to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to big private companies for a product that may or may not provide health coverage in return.Too many people will remain uninsured, individual and family healthcare costs will continue to rise largely unabated and private insurers will still be able to deny claims with little recourse for patients.
Rose Ann DeMoro is executive director of the 150,000-member National Nurses United

As Medicaid Payments Shrink, Patients Are Abandoned
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/health/policy/16medicaid.html?pagewant... In 2008, Medicaid reimbursements averaged only 72 percent of the rates paid by Medicare, which are themselves typically well below those of commercial insurers, according to the Urban Institute, a research group.With states squeezing payments to providers, patients are finding it increasingly difficult to locate doctors who will accept their coverage.

The Real Reason Obama's Plan ... " Obama's deal with the for-profit hospital lobby to insure ...Obama cut secret deals with hospitals, insurance companies and PhRma on profits: ..." Miles Mogulescu: www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/the-real-reason-obamas-pl_b_47392...

Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways In White House Deal With Big Pharma

Physicians denounce Obama’s bill
A false promise of reform
Pro-single-payer doctors: Health bill leaves 23 million uninsured
For Immediate Release March 22, 2010
Contact:Oliver Fein, M.D.
Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H.
David Himmelstein, M.D.
Margaret Flowers, M.D.
Mark Almberg, PNHP, (312) 782-6006, mark@pnhp.org [1]
The following statement was released today by leaders of Physicians for a National Health Program, www.pnhp.org [2]. Their signatures appear below.
As much as we would like to join the celebration of the House’s passage of the health bill last night, in good conscience we cannot. We take no comfort in seeing aspirin dispensed for the treatment of cancer.
Instead of eliminating the root of the problem – the profit-driven, private health insurance industry – this costly new legislation will enrich and further entrench these firms. The bill would require millions of Americans to buy private insurers’ defective products, and turn over to them vast amounts of public money.
The hype surrounding the new health bill is belied by the facts:
About 23 million people will remain uninsured nine years out. That figure translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths annually and an incalculable toll of suffering.
Millions of middle-income people will be pressured to buy commercial health insurance policies costing up to 9.5 percent of their income but covering an average of only 70 percent of their medical expenses, potentially leaving them vulnerable to financial ruin if they become seriously ill. Many will find such policies too expensive to afford or, if they do buy them, too expensive to use because of the high co-pays and deductibles.
Insurance firms will be handed at least $447 billion in taxpayer money to subsidize the purchase of their shoddy products. This money will enhance their financial and political power, and with it their ability to block future reform.
The bill will drain about $40 billion from Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals, threatening the care of the tens of millions who will remain uninsured.
People with employer-based coverage will be locked into their plan’s limited network of providers, face ever-rising costs and erosion of their health benefits. Many, even most, will eventually face steep taxes on their benefits as the cost of insurance grows.
Health care costs will continue to skyrocket, as the experience with the Massachusetts plan (after which this bill is patterned) amply demonstrates.
The much-vaunted insurance regulations – e.g. ending denials on the basis of pre-existing conditions – are riddled with loopholes, thanks to the central role that insurers played in crafting the legislation. Older people can be charged up to three times more than their younger counterparts, and large companies with a predominantly female workforce can be charged higher gender-based rates at least until 2017.
Women’s reproductive rights will be further eroded, thanks to the burdensome segregation of insurance funds for abortion and for all other medical services.
It didn’t have to be like this. Whatever salutary measures are contained in this bill, e.g. additional funding for community health centers, could have been enacted on a stand-alone basis.

Similarly, the expansion of Medicaid – a woefully underfunded program that provides substandard care for the poor – could have been done separately, along with an increase in federal appropriations to upgrade its quality.

But instead the Congress and the Obama administration have saddled Americans with an expensive package of onerous individual mandates, new taxes on workers’ health plans, countless sweetheart deals with the insurers and Big Pharma, and a perpetuation of the fragmented, dysfunctional, and unsustainable system that is taking such a heavy toll on our health and economy today.

This bill’s passage reflects political considerations, not sound health policy. As physicians, we cannot accept this inversion of priorities. We seek evidence-based remedies that will truly help our patients, not placebos.

A genuine remedy is in plain sight. Sooner rather than later, our nation will have to adopt a single-payer national health insurance program, an improved Medicare for all. Only a single-payer plan can assure truly universal, comprehensive and affordable care to all. By replacing the private insurers with a streamlined system of public financing, our nation could save $400 billion annually in unnecessary, wasteful administrative costs. That’s enough to cover all the uninsured and to upgrade everyone else’s coverage without having to increase overall U.S. health spending by one penny.

Moreover, only a single-payer system offers effective tools for cost control like bulk purchasing, negotiated fees, global hospital budgeting and capital planning.
Polls show nearly two-thirds of the public supports such an approach, and a recent survey shows 59 percent of U.S. physicians support government action to establish national health insurance. All that is required to achieve it is the political will.

The major provisions of the present bill do not go into effect until 2014. Although we will be counseled to “wait and see” how this reform plays out, we cannot wait, nor can our patients. The stakes are too high.

We pledge to continue our work for the only equitable, financially responsible and humane remedy for our health care mess: single-payer national health insurance, an expanded and improved Medicare for All.

Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org [2]) is an organization of 17,000 doctors who support single-payer national health insurance. To speak with a physician/spokesperson in your area, visit www.pnhp.org/stateactions [3] or call (312) 782-6006.

Physicians for a National Health Program
29 E Madison Suite 602, Chicago, IL 60602 ¤ Find us on a map [4]
Phone (312) 782-6006 | Fax: (312) 782-6007 | email: info@pnhp.org [5]

Pharma’s Stimulus Plan: Treatment Resistant Conditions
by Martha Rosenberg / May 13th, 2009
http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/05/pharmas-stimulus-plan-treatment-resist...

Baucus Bill Sticks To Pharma Deal That Supposedly Wasn't Struck
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/18/baucus-bill-sticks-to-pha_n_290...

Big Pharma May be Handed Blanket Immunity for All Drug Side Effects, Deaths.
November 03, 2008, David Gutierrez, staff writer, www.naturalnews.com/024688.html

White House Discloses a partial list to deter ACLU suit
Meetings With Health Care Executives
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/07/22/white_house_discloses_mee...
The Obama administration released Wednesday night a list of 15 health-care lobbyists and senior executives who visited the White House to discuss health-care reform....[it] included Billy Tauzin, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Karen Ignagni, America's Health Insurance Plans; Richard Umbdenstock, American Hospital Association; J. James Rohack, the American Medical Association, senior executives including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, United Health Group and Merck

What's Really In House and Senate Health Insurance Bills
By Ida Hellander, MD
http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/whats-really-house-and-senat...
Originally published at http://pnhp.org
It's not universal health care. It's not even close. Insurance companies will be bailed out and millions forced to purchase crappy insurance with government subsidies. Drug costs will soar, the existing safety net will be slashed and none of the uninsured will be covered till 2013... The devil lurks in the details, and there are lots and lots of details [...]
Ida Hellander, MD, Physicians for a National Health Program, Phone (312) 782-6006 | Fax: (312) 782-6007 | email: info@pnhp.org

Obamacare: A Health Care Rationing Scheme to Enrich Insurers, Drug Companies and Hospital Chains
Stephen Lendman
http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/
...On June 10, Physicians for a National Health Program advisor Walter Tsou told the House Education and Labor Committee: "Attempting to reconcile the dual imperatives of universal coverage and cost control through alternative methods besides single payer is an exercise in futility. When some congressional leaders declare that single payer is off the table, they are in effect saying that insurers will be protected, leaving the pain to patients, taxpayers and health care providers."
At the same hearing, the California Nurses Association and National Nurses Organizing Committee co-president Geri Jenkins said: "The current system rations care based on an ability to pay. Right now we are the only nation on earth that barters human life for money." ...

Project to get transplant organs from ER patients raises ethics questions
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/14/AR201003...
In the hope of expanding a controversial form of organ donation into emergency rooms around the United States, a federally funded project has begun trying to obtain kidneys, livers and possibly other body parts from car-accident victims, heart-attack fatalities and other urgent-care patients...

US Nursing Home considers including Israeli health technology companies
http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/57414/nursing-home-considers-israeli...
The CEO of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, a prominent New York nursing home, visited Israel last month in hopes of including local companies in a business venture he thinks will ultimately benefit Israel’s public image. The Hebrew Home, which has been awarded special legislation by the state of New York to carry out a new cost-savings health-care project as part of the state’s Managed Long-Term Care, is hoping to make Israeli companies the focal point. Dan Reingold, CEO of the Hebrew Home, met with leading technology companies and government officials in an attempt to utilize Israeli innovations for the project, whose goal is to make use of a state grant of $3,600 per month per resident to provide for health-care needs, which at present cost $8,000 a month. “This is an opportunity not only to create or modify existing technology, but also to make sure that people in the U.S. know about the humanitarian side of Israel,” Reingold said. “As Zionists,” he said, “we start with the humanitarian side; we took the mission to Haiti for granted because we knew Israel would be there. And the fact that we have a strong military is an unfortunate necessity. But the rest of the world starts from the opposite, the military, and maybe sees that Israel has a small humanitarian side as well.” Reingold thinks this is his opportunity to change that image.

Israel tries a new method to boost donation of organs
Israel is launching a potentially trailblazing experiment in organ donation: Sign a donor card, and you and your family move up in line for a transplant if one is needed. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2011340361_organdonor1...

Israeli army admits stealing organs | The Daily Telegraph
www.dailytelegraph.com.au/.../israeli...stealing-organs/story-e6frev00- 1225812349031
Israel harvested organs without permission, officials say
www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/12/21/israel.organs/index.html